Just for the weekend: Glisten camping, France

Vanessa Grzywacz took a second stab at camping for the good of her children and found it did her the world of good too


Just for the weekend: Glisten camping, France

We’re not really campers. The last time my husband and I went camping (eight years ago, before children) we ended up checking into a B&B after three days. However, after a stressful year that included the birth of our second daughter and a house move, the offer of a week camping in the Pays Basques region of France seemed too good an opportunity to pass up.

It was time to step out of my holiday comfort zone and to give camping another try. Not to mention that according to Dr. Stephen R. Kellert of Yale University, ‘playing in nature helps children develop the capacities for creativity, problem-solving, and emotional and intellectual development,’ so in a bid to be a half-decent parent I’m doing my best to get them out and about.

A missed flight, a rebooked flight, two taxis, a train and a hire car later we finally arrived at the Col d’Ibardin campsite more stressed than when we had set out. But when we caught sight of our ‘tent’ for the week, we began to feel a sense of excitement.

This was not camping as we knew it, this was Glisten glamping. Completely set up for a family holiday, our white ‘dome’ tent had a king-sized bed and wardrobe plus a separate kitchen tent with fridge, microwave, plancha (Spanish for ‘plate’) grill and even a high chair. Between the blue skies and the reassurance that everything was well organised I slept soundly that night and every one thereafter.

Relaxed and rejuvenated after a couple of days we ventured out to the nearby pretty town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz for our first dip in the sea. Biarritz and San Sebastian also are just a 30-minute drive away, but we were happiest chilling out by our dome.

As we settled into our daily routine we soon got used to campsite life. Even the family walks to the shower block turned into an adventure. For our three-year-old daughter, all talk of toys was replaced by the tales of trips to fetch water, the swimming pool and her hanging bed – her imagination was on overdrive, which made the trip all the more worthwhile.

And as I lounged in a hammock, feeling totally de-stressed – listening to nature, feeling the soft breeze and the warm sun on my skin – I smiled to myself and knew I’d become a glamping convert.

Prices for 7 days glamping in Pays Basque start from £399 glistencamping.com. For flights to Biarritz, see easyjet.com. Car hire from rhinocarhire.com