It’s all pine woods and lovely beaches – and in early June we had it almost to ourselves. The Ile de Noirmoutier is a tiny island off the west coast of France, joined to the mainland by a tide-dependent causeway and a bridge. A great place for camping.
On the far side of the island is Camping Indigo, right on the stunning Sableaux beach with sea views for pretty much every pitch and plenty of shade from trees.
If you want big towns or attractions, then this is probably not the right place – although the main town, Noirmoutier en Ile, is just up the road. If you love lazy walking and easy cycling, miles of beaches and quiet coves, then it could be perfect.
The Indigo campsite is in an ONF area (the French national forestry commission) so has plenty of eco-credentials as well as good facilities, including free wifi, and some nice touches for gastro-campers. One of these is the communal freezer outside the main reception – a real treat to be able to refreeze coolbox blocks so easily, and to be able to chill a bottle of wine, of course. The other was a surprise.
One day, we saw 10 or 20 people out on the beach with buckets, poking around in the wet sand. It turned out they were collecting clams and cockles. The campsite even has a special area for washing your shellfish too. How fantastic to lazily gather free delicacies on the beach and then cook up a meal looking out over the water.
One bit of advice, though: don’t go in August – you’ll find 100,000 people on the island instead of the usual 10,000.