Easter in Diuelefit

A week at Easter can be two completely different kinds of camping trip depending on the weather. We were hankering for sunshine and so left booking a campsite until one week beforehand to be guided by the long-range weather forecast.

The best weather was in the south of France and so we had the usual scout around for suitable sites, limiting the search to this area. Many French campsites are still closed this early in the year so many promising sites had to be discounted.

In the end we decided on our favourite chain of campsites, Camping Indigo, a part of Huttopia and now rebranded under the parent company's name.

What Huttopia does that so many other sites don't, is fit in to the landscape. The sites are all in beautiful locations and the pitches are dotted around between the trees. You're part of nature. So many campsites take a piece of land, remove what was there and carve it into soulless pitches separated by privacy hedges.

Not many Huttopia sites were open at Easter either, but we found Diuelefit in the Rhone Alpes region and decided to book only the first four nights there. If there was enough for us to do - cycling, hiking and sightseeing - then we'd stay another four nights, otherwise we thought perhaps we'd move on to Annecy.

It was hard to decide what conditions to pack clothes for and we both overpacked. I'm pleaded to say that more pairs of shorts were worn than fleeces.

After an 8.30pm tunnel crossing we arrived at a favorite air near to Reimes at just gone midnight. The aire was the busiest we've seen but there was still room for us and we tried to be as quiet as possible turning the front seats around and popping up the roof of our campervan so as not to disturb anyone. I think we were the last to drive in at night and first to leave in the morning.

Six hours of driving plus a few fuel and toilet stops later we arrived at
Huttopia Diuelefit at 3pm. You can find out more about the site in my next blog post.

The forecast was pretty accurate and we enjoyed six days of uninterrupted sunshine. We didn't need to find much to do as we just laid in the sun, soaking up rays and the views. I read a whole book, which is unusual for me and is a good sign that I've switched off from day-to-day life.

There was only one day we didn't leave the site at all. The other days we at least had a walk into the town to buy groceries.

On three days we went hiking. The first walk, following a footpath north from the campsite and then a sign to 'Antennes' took us, unsurprisingly, to the top of the mountain where two communications masts stood tall above the valleys below. A French couple were at the top too and spoke to us briefly about the abundant purple flowers. She told us that, in French, they were called 'anemone'. I think she was wrong, or that British and French word anemone refer to two different plants.

It was an easier walk across to the church of St. Maurice, where we enjoyed the views down to the pretty villages below, and then downhill all the way back to camp.

Our second adventure led us to the south of Diuelefit where we walked to the top of the mountain and then west along the peak. Heavy tree cover meant only grabbing a view every now and then. Our descent brought us back into town where we rewarded ourselves with two ice creams each, not being able to find them for sale singularly, only in four, six or eight packs. It was tough, but we managed it!

Our final expedition followed the path to the east of the campsite and round so that we finally approached Diuelefit from the eastern side. A path on our map didn't turn out to be much of a path in real life and at one point, as we left the woods next to a house, I had a real feeling we are on somebody's private driveway. We ate six Magnum ice creams between us to forget about that!

Our bikes sat locked to a tree for eight days. It we to hilly for bike rides to have been enjoyable. The hikes were fun, but it was more of a chill out holiday thanks to some really great weather. I don't think I've had such a dark suntan from a holiday at Easter before.

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