3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

How we moved to France to run a luxury camping business

PUBLISHED: 15:20 08 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:20 08 May 2018

Luxury camping destination Le Camp in Tarn-et-Garonne © Le Camp

Luxury camping destination Le Camp in Tarn-et-Garonne © Le Camp

Archant

British couple Nigel and Claire moved to France to run a glamping business in Tarn-et-Garonne after visiting a property exhibition in the UK two years ago

Claire and Nigel, owners of Le Camp © Le CampClaire and Nigel, owners of Le Camp © Le Camp

Nigel Francis spent 11 years running a tented safari camp in Kenya before returning to the UK, so when he and his partner Claire MacMenemey decided to escape their nine-to-five jobs in Harrogate, they decided to move to France and set up something similar.

They attended the French Property Exhibition in Wetherby in May 2016, knowing they wanted to run a “glampsite” somewhere in France, but not really knowing where to focus their search.

“It’s a huge country and the show helped us narrow down our ideas enough to plan a viewing trip. We made some really useful contacts with estate agents and were introduced to the beautiful department of Tarn-et-Garonne. We had never explored this corner of France before but on visiting, it was absolutely perfect for us”, said Claire.

________________________________________________________________

Don’t miss

Different ways to make money from your French property

How to decide where to buy in France

________________________________________________________________

Guests can stay in woodland yurts and safari tents at Le Camp © Le CampGuests can stay in woodland yurts and safari tents at Le Camp © Le Camp

They planned to buy land and start a luxury tented camp from scratch, and narrowed their search to the Tarn-et-Garonne area, at first travelling from the UK frequently for viewings. Before long, they decided it would be easier to find what they wanted if they lived closer, and took the significant step of moving to France. “Nigel moved over in September 2016 and I followed a month later,” says Claire.

The search for a plot of land was often disheartening. At one point they thought they had found the perfect place, but when their planning application was rejected twice they decided to try another approach.

“We knew about Le Camp, as it would have been our main competition, and then one day we found out the owners were planning to sell,” says Claire. “We thought it was out of our budget but we spoke to them anyway, and we talked to the estate agents about our options for getting a loan, and it began to look possible.” Finally, it was all coming together – they made an offer and applied for a loan.

________________________________________________________________

Don’t miss

Guide to setting up a campsite in France

Buying an existing business in France

________________________________________________________________

Sleep in a handmade bed at Le Camp © Le CampSleep in a handmade bed at Le Camp © Le Camp

After a long wait for their loan, they managed to buy Le Camp in May 2017, five weeks before their first guests arrived. “It has always been run as a summer-only camp, so we had to put up all the tents and furnish them.”

This summer’s bookings were made with the previous owners, and many customers had been before, so they had to learn the ropes while meeting high expectations. “It’s a difficult gap to fill, but feedback has been really positive,” says Claire. “And Nigel has lots of knowledge and experience, so we have a safe pair of hands. Any problem we come up against, he has seen 10 times worse in Africa.”

“Now we are looking forward to another busy summer and hopefully quite a few off-peak bookings too. It really feels like home now and we have made lots of friends (mostly expats like us). We spend as much time as possible outdoors, enjoying the beautiful countryside. It’s a million miles from our old life in the UK but it’s the best decision we ever made.”

www.lecamp.co.uk

Find your French home at the French Property Exhibition in Wetherby 19-20 MayFind your French home at the French Property Exhibition in Wetherby 19-20 May

For anyone dreaming of a holiday home in France or even a move across the Channel, then why not visit The French Property Exhibition at Wetherby Racecourse on 19-20 May 2018.

The daily seminars offer free expert advice on all aspects of buying and living in France, there are lots of properties to browse through with great value properties still to be found and it’s a perfect opportunity to meet property agents face to face to discuss your plans.

Register for free fast track entry to The French Property Exhibition at Wetherby Racecourse on www.frenchpropertyexhibition.com

More from Living in France

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

His chambres d’hôtes renovation continues and the builders are making progress, but Ian Moore soon learns there’s never a dull moment when communicating in a second language

Read more
Ian Moore
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

She made an impulsive decision to move to Limousin 10 years ago and a decade and five children later, Gillian Harvey has no regrets about jumping in feet first. In fact, she couldn’t be happier

Read more

Relocating to France? Make sure you prepare these 6 things before the big move to your French property

Read more
Expats in France
Yesterday, 11:07

Need something new to watch? Check out our list of French TV shows that you can watch in the UK.

Read more
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Thinking of setting up a campsite in France? Here’s what you’ll need to consider when it comes to planning permission.

Read more
Friday, April 6, 2018

Understand the home-sharing website Airbnb, including the latest French rules, and follow our top tips for using it to rent out your property in France

Read more
Running a business
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

With its unbeatable wine and cheese and laissez-faire attitude, there’s nowhere better to retire than France. But which cities are best for growing old in? Here’s the top 10

Read more
Pays de la Loire
Thursday, January 25, 2018

If you are buying in or moving to France you will need a French bank account but before you open one make sure you read these 11 things you need to know to avoid making a costly mistake

Read more
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The French pharmacy is so much more tham a place to pick up your prescriptions. Here are 11 things you might not know about pharmacies in France.

Read more
Healthcare in France
Friday, March 9, 2018

If you’ve just moved to France then you will need to get to grips with the French welfare system. Here’s our guide to the system including healthcare, benefits, social contributions and the changes Macron intends to make this year

Read more
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now