2 p.m. at the Mas-de-Mourgues camp site. Locusts accompany vacationers to naps. Christiane sits in front of her caravan, and she is the oldest regularly. Glass of roses in hand, a Belgian recounts three decades of summer in Camargue for the first episode of our series My Life in Camp.
Under the blazing sun on a scorching afternoon, vacationers at the Mas-de-Mourgues camp take advantage of shade, a rare commodity in Camargue country. On the cobblestone paths, it’s hard to imagine that the Hanson family’s vineyards were growing 40 years ago, before camp emerged from the ground.
“To get shade, we would look for reeds in the robin and grow it by stretching our canvas over it”Christian Cadelat recalls. When she came 35 years ago with her husband for the first time to spend a few days in Gallican, at the invitation of Belgian friends, the residents of Liege discovered the camping site of Bourg, where the pitches were outlined by hedges of vines and where the owners’ donkeys roam. “It was a village of freedom”He remembers the seventies.
“The donkeys of the first angel were walking around the camp site, and they were among the regulars. One morning, we woke up, and we saw that there was a third donkey! However, we did not abuse the rose. You realize it but the donkey was pregnant and she gave birth at night.”Farhan says older than the regulars.
For 20 years, the Hanson and Cadillac couple lived the hippie wave at the camp site, while year after year the rhythm of progressive developments shaped the future of the Mas-de-Mourgues. “They planted trees, erected a sanitary block and dug the pool, while maintaining this family atmosphere and this spirit of lightness”.
From hippie wave to modernity
In 2002 came the hour of retirement for the British owners. The two reconverted teachers handed over the wand to the citizens, Foster’s husband. “John was in finance, he had a suit and tie, short hair, and very neat to it. We were a little scared to see how they would make the transition”Regular remembers. “As soon as he got there, he put the suit in the closet, greased his hands, and let his hair grow. He seemed too happy to drop the tie.”. For some time, Mas-de-Mourgues has become an artistic and musical camping site, where people meet in the evening to play violin, guitar or harmonica, sing along or just watch the show while sausages are cracking at a barbecue.
In 2012, Foster’s turn came to retire, leaving the keys to the Mas-de-Mourgues to the Paco couple. The residents of Nantes bring camping to modernity. “They made it a gorgeous, flowery, and impeccably clean place, in keeping with the family ethos we came for.”. Homes have been renovated and solar panels installed to heat the pool, and since this year two habitable barrels have been installed next to the mobile chalets, bringing the number of playgrounds to 81. The developments, stories and eras that bring Christian back every year, even since her husband’s death. “It’s like my family, I’m like everyone’s grandmother here. So I come back, knowing that when I don’t come anymore, I’ll cry”.