Dieulefit is a market town in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of south east France, nestled in a valley away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It's as good a place to plop a campsite as any, and Huttopia Dieulefit, sitting a twenty minute walk uphill from the town, feels remote and yet connected if you desire. Situated as is it with mountains all around it's fantastic for hikes and whichever way you set off you'll be in for a rewarding view. A walk into the pretty town along quiet country lanes is equally pleasant and you'll discover cobbled streets, pottery and art shops, two small supermarkets and a large Super U supermarket. Get there early on a Friday for market day, you can't fail to find it for the locals heading there with empty shopping baskets ready to fill with fresh local produce from a wealth of tempting stalls.
The Huttopia Diuelefit site itself is picture perfect. It has its own azure-blue lake, clear as can be, and next to this a similar-sized lavender field. The cynic in me can't help wonder if they were put there for the brochure pictures, all of which feature the pretty wood and canvas huts on slits in the background, lake or lavender in the fore. But whatever the reason for their existence, they're there and they are beautiful.
Visiting over Easter, the site only having opened the day before our arrival, it was quiet and we were allocated a pitch right on the lake with only a single tent for company. The site meanders through the valley and it's elongated space means it feels intimate despite its size. The intimacy and outdoorsy feel is continued in the small sets of facilities dotted around. A couple of showers and toilets here and a couple more there mean you don't have to walk far and you don't feel overshadowed by giant shower blocks. Pairs of dishwashing sinks under a small canopy, some with hot water from solar tanks above make washing up a pleasure and not a chore. Thoughtful touches, such as the help-yourself herb garden add the the feeling that you're somewhere a little bit special.
There are two pools for swimming and dozens of deck chairs, two table tennis tables under shade and two petanque courts. An indoor area for boardgames or drinks from the bar feels intimate despite its huge, open-plan design.
The site has everything for campers or glampers to enjoy a relaxing holiday away from it all, and the ability to choose to be active or not. Bring your own tent, caravan or motorhome or choose a luxurious two-storey wood/canvas hut on slits in the trees, a safari tent or log cabin.
With good weather likely (Diuelefit has a micro climate which a cardiovascular hospital in the town takes advantage of) you get possibly more sun than the French south coast while avoiding it's crowds.