Emmanuel Macron’s promises seem to have been kept. At the end of July 2022, the Head of State assured that the five campsites in the Dune du Pilat burned in the Teste-de-Buch fire would reopen in 2023.
Nine months later, the campsite known as “des Flots bleus” is already welcoming customers at the start of the spring holidays. The other four will reopen in July. But it will be necessary to wait until 2024 for the reception conditions for holidaymakers to return to normal.
“Today, Patrick is crying…”
“Today, Patrick is crying…”, posted Franck Dubosc on Twitter on July 18, 2022. The main actor of the film Camping reacted to the destruction by the flames of the campsite of the dune, better known under the name “of the Flots Bleus “. “We will rebuild it, our campsite”, had also launched the interpreter of the mythical character of Patrick.
We will rebuild our campsite! pic.twitter.com/QvUQJkiHPS
— franckdubosc (@dubosc_franck) July 18, 2022
The challenge was daunting. The Teste-de-Buch fire destroyed 90% of the five campsites located at the foot of the Pilat dune. Another major difficulty, the finances of the establishments were in the red. “When the disaster happened and when their season was lost, the campsites made it a point of honor to reimburse all of the customers, says Nicolas Dayot, president of the National Federation of Outdoor Hotels. It was a nice gesture, but they returned all their cash. »
A long-awaited reopening
In such conditions, the reopening of the “Flots Bleus” campsite on its usual date is a miracle. At the Panorama du Pyla, a neighboring establishment, only one building was still standing after the passage of the flames: the bar. “The carpenters and joiners came back very quickly to start the work,” describes Auriane, receptionist at the establishment for four years. However, customers will have to wait until July to return.
Difficult for the employee to know if there will be as many tourists as last year. “We usually open reservations in November, this was in January,” she explains. But there is no doubt that the regulars will be there. “In these campsites with an extraordinary location, there is a particular fervor,” analyzes Nicolas Dayot. People are attached to places and campsite managers, they are eager to come back to support them. »
Reopening in a minimalist version
“We have authorized the reopening of campsites in a minimalist version, so the sign is given: we are resuming economic activity on the Teste”, reports Pascale Got, vice-president of the Gironde department. “The campsites also had to reopen less than a year after the disaster to receive the operating loss paid by the insurance”, adds Nicolas Dayot.
Few bungalows and chalets will be available for rent this summer. Most have been devoured by the flames and are not yet rebuilt. There will also be fewer pitches. “There are places to redevelop, stumps to remove, and some campsites do not yet have all the necessary toilet blocks”, details Nicolas Dayot.
But, the president of the federation assures him, the customers will benefit from all the usual comfort. The criteria attached to the number of stars will continue to be respected. Pascale Got agrees: “We find the context of last year. Some beaches that suffered from erosion and fire are being reopened. »
2024 in sight
“This year, we are doing a short season to do better in 2024”, describes Auriane, from Panorama du Pyla. The campsite where she has been working for four years will close its doors on September 18 “to be able to start work more quickly”.
Pascale Got studied the reconstruction projects for campsites presented to the county council. “The files that I have seen are very qualitative, with renaturation and redevelopment that takes more account of the environment,” rejoices the vice-president.
The construction sites will be long, before the burnt campsites become as before. As Nicolas Dayot describes it, the managers are working so that “in twenty years, everything will be well landscaped again”.