As soon as the prefecture announced on Saturday that all the inhabitants evacuated from the vicinity of La Teste-de-Buch could return to their homes, Jean-Marc Bregulla, the manager of the campsite, was on site. “Life is starting again! Yes, the forest has burned but that will not prevent us from living and here nothing has changed”, he assures, while the smell of burnt pines still stagnates in the air.
It didn’t take long. The fire stopped a few meters away and Jean-Alain Claverie, 81, and a fan of camping for nine years, saw the charred trunks from his caravan. “I would never go anywhere else,” he says gruffly. He appreciates the calm of the place.
“It’s a family campsite, we all know each other. If I don’t come anymore, it’s because I won’t have the strength anymore”, explains this retired Girondin, who leaves his caravan for the year.
His pitch neighbour, Bernard Galois, arrived at the campsite on Sunday, for him there was no question of postponing his trip. He comes here to see his elderly father, who lives nearby. “I hesitated to come until the last moment but the safety of the campsite being assured, I am here”, he smiles.
– 50% filled –
At the entrance to the campsite, Marie-Noëlle and René Lepoge, retirees from Finistère, read their newspapers in the shade of the awning of their caravan. “We are fine here, we will stay as planned until August 14. We left everything here (July 13) and when we came back, everything was as we left it,” they explain relieved.
However, the paths of the campsite are very quiet, more so than usual. “Of course there have been cancellations, I am 50% full, whereas at this time I am normally full,” sighs Jean-Marc Bregulla. “But I also have people calling to find out if the campsite has reopened, if it’s not dangerous,” he relativizes, waiting to see what August will bring.
In front of a dozen tents installed in a corner of the campsite, Hugo is slowly recovering from the evening of the previous day. This seasonal worker in his twenties returned to the campsite after being evacuated. “It’s back to normal but not quite. Usually we are almost thirty seasonal workers here. Many lifeguards have left because the beaches are closed and they can no longer work. The atmosphere n isn’t quite the same anymore,” he says morosely.
However, to attract tourists again, Jean-Marc Bregulla will be able to count on the Dune du Pilat, closed exceptionally due to the fires, and accessible again from Wednesday. “The Dune du Pilat is like Mont-Saint-Michel here, eight out of ten campers want to go there”, underlines the manager.
The mayor of La Teste-de-Buch, Patrick Davet, assured him during a press briefing on Tuesday, “the basin has not changed, all holidaymakers need to worry about now is knowing if the water is at 24 or 28 ° C”, he launched as a joke while calling for caution, the fires still not being extinguished.