Camping Domaine des Mathevies
Natalie and Patrick McAlpine, the owners of Domaine des Mathevies on the outskirts of medieval Sarlat-la-Canéda, first met in India. Their subsequent travels brought them to this neglected campsite and they set about transforming it into the eco-minded sanctuary it is today. A labour of love, it’s a place where adults are as well catered for and contented as their kids – where you can sit back with a frothy latté, play pétanque over a leisurely glass of St-Émilion as a paraglider is swallowed up by the salmon-pink sunset below.
Set on a gentle incline with masterful views over the wooded valley, there are 40 pitches to choose from, many of which enjoy shade from walnut, cherry, fig, apple and plum trees, and all of which have electricity hook-ups. If you’re arriving late and don’t fancy pitching up for the night, there are four spanking new cabins from which to savour the best views over the hills, plus seven more well-furnished cabins dotted around the edge of the site.
Beside the Cosy Nook Café there’s also a self- contained traditional gîte with all mod cons (Sky TV and a CD player) within its exposed stone walls and beamed ceilings. Perfectly sized for a family, with two double bedrooms, it’s recently been refurbished and is partnered by another, Le Point de Vue, a mere two minutes’ walk away. Both have two good sized bedrooms and Le Point de Vue boasts a self-contained, fully-furnished guest wing. The real ace, though, is the spectacular sunset view you can enjoy, and the privacy the place affords; giving you all the amenities plus the chance to retire to your own little palace.
The site itself is a real playground for kids, with a toddlers’ play area near the Cosy Nook Café (so you get to relax with them in plain view). Natalie and Patrick have two kids and it’s this empathy with the little ones that seems to have led to so many thoughtful details to keep them happy. There’s an excellent sand pit for younger kids and a terrific climbing area, but if that’s not enough to keep them occupied there’s a children’s pool as well as a larger swimming pool for adults, as well as tennis courts and a table-tennis table.
The Cosy Nook Café lives up to its moniker with swallow-you-up couches, a cosy ‘daybed’ for reclining on, honey stone walls and delicious bar snacks that together make it one of the most inviting campsite cafés in France. Fresh bread and croissants are delivered every morning; the best spot to take breakfast is under the shade of the linden trees. And just in case you sneaked your computer in with you, the Nook has Wi-Fi as well as satellite TV for movies or sport in the evening. With the gastronomical Mecca of Sarlat close by, coupled with what is one of the Dordogne’s friendliest, most charming sites, you may well find yourself staying much longer than planned.
Think of Mathevies as a club like experience, once you are in and set-up you have very little to do other than enjoy yourself and relax. Before you arrive, once you have booked your holiday you will receive a 40-page innovative brochure that will take you through life on-site and opportunities to take off-site allowing you to plan your stay like never before.
All facilities are carefully thought out and well maintained, from the sanitary block with baby-changing facilities to the laundry facilities with large communal lines. The well organised recycling facilities to the easily accessible free WIFI, which includes an option to pay for faster work requirements when needed.
Apart from the playground and swimming pools there’s also a full-size tennis court. If the unthinkable happens and it rains, there is an indoor kids’ area with board games, drawing materials and plenty more things to keep everyone busy.
Individual full-size fridges are available to rent on the pitches, in lockable bespoke wooden cabinets that provide campers with a place for their valuable belongings as well as making great work top's for dinner preparation. Charcoal and gas barbecues are permitted on the pitches and BBQ’s along with Picnic Tables can be rented for the course of your stay.
Something for Everyone!
Lovers of nature, space, quality facilities, small-scale setup, cosy and cool layout.
Campers in tents, campervans, camping cars and caravans.
Glampers who love proper beds, modern, clean, spacious and airy chalets or gîtes with kitchens and bathrooms.
Dogs on leads are welcome.
Location, Location, Location.
Domaine des Mathevies, is a peaceful hamlet to the village Sainte Nathalene, which is itself a village that supports the medieval town of Sarlat. The historical centre point of the Dordogne Valley.
From our well entitled position you are within easy access of the area’s key touristic sites and facilities, Sarlat for its restaurants and markets, Beynac, Castelnaud and Domme for their fortressed castles. Lascaux and Les Eyzes for their world-famous cave paintings and prehistoric dynasty. And not forgetting the magnificent river Dordogne for its nature, swimming and canoeing.
Food & Drink
The Cosy Nook Café turns out a bevy of barista style coffees, organic teas, artisan beer and a range of great value wine is on offer thanks to a good relationship with local producers. In the evening food trucks set up on the terrace and offer a variety of local and world food.
Nearby Sarlat takes its cuisine very seriously and its winding streets are full of restaurants and bistros. For something different, Chez le Gaulois, tucked away in the centre of the old town, serves rustic platters of cheeses and charcuterie, boiled potatoes, salads and melted raclette. Service is great and the atmosphere superb. It’s small and popular so booking is advisable. There’s also Delpeyrat a family favourite in Carsac – a traditional French dining room, producing homemade delights. Out of town, try the Pech-de-Malet in Vitrac, a family owned restaurant with fabulous terrace and views across the valley (ideal for kids).
April – September.
The Owner Says
Small is Beautiful - Camping as if People Matter
From our 2011 introduction into Cool Camping’s ‘Top 5 campsites in France’, to the 2015 cover photo for ‘Cool Camping Europe’, Mathevies has matured, evolved and innovated with even more emphasis on providing our guests with quality, space, access to nature and comfort. We believe that to put people first in the camping world is to provide a scale that enhances the camping experience.
There are still under 40 pitches, but we have replaced the old chalets and Mobile homes with luxury houses - Open Air and Plein Air chalets. Both gîtes have also undergone extensive refurbishment and offer high end glamping alternatives.
The Cosy Nook terrace is still the hub of the Mathevies experience, set beneath the huge lime trees. It's a place to kick back and take in the chilled music, lounge on the daybeds with a book or chat with new friends. The bar offers a range of hand-crafted beers, local wines and snacks are available all day. Through-out the summer nightly pop-up food trucks (think curry, pizza, gourmet burger, fish 'n chips, crepes, etc.) offer fresh, well priced food alternatives.
Cool off in the terraced pool, get physical on the full-size tennis court, or have a laugh playing boules by the bar.Kids will enjoy the car free playground and there's even an indoor kids playroom attached to the bar, so something for everyone.
If you prefer a personal and relaxed experience, impeccable facilities and a warm welcome then please come and stay. We offer our guests an alternative to the commercial camping scene, i.e., an indepenently owned boutique style campsite without organised activities.
Take exit 55 from the A20 and follow the signs for the D703 (direction Sarlat). Turn right on to the D61 (direction Carlux). In the village of Carlux take the D47B towards Sainte Nathalène; turn left onto the D47 and go through the village of St Nathalène until you reach the only bar in the village. With the bar on your right, take the first road on the right (you will see an old petrol station/garage and agricultural materials) and follow it up the hill where you will pick up signs to the diminutive hamlet of Les Mathevies.
The nearest airport is at Brive-la-Gaillard, some 30km from St Nathalene. Bergerac Airport is the next closest, about 70km to the west. Bordeaux (200km) is a large international and regional airport served by many airlines. Toulouse (200km) is another large international airport served by many airlines and is equidistant to Bordeaux. By air you will almost certainly need a car or pick-up on arrival.
Train into Sarlat from either Bordeaux or Toulouse.
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