To avoid any doubt (as there appear to be a number of places that could come up as "Le Moulin Fort") I am talking about Le Moulin Fort campsite near the villages of Chenonceaux and Francueil, postal code 37150, in central France
Unfortunately we had an absolutely horrific experience at this site and, according to the owner, we are not the first. Consequently, we can't recommend this site for tent campers of any age or type.
We have camped in France previously a couple of times and more often in the UK.
My wife and I arrived at Le Moulin Fort campsite, just outside Chenonceaux, late-afternoon Saturday 31 May 2008. We hadn't booked beforehand but booking an initial three nights for the two of us plus a car and tent wasn't a problem. There were a couple of other tents but predominantly caravans.
What you read in the guides is entirely accurate: beautiful surroundings, pitches by the River Cher (which was swollen by flooding at the time), wonderful area and the Chateau just a half hour walk away. Which is why on just our second day we were confident of staying longer and booked an extended two nights.
So lights out at around 11pm on the Tuesday night.
Asleep on my back and my head turned towards the side of the tent something woke me up at 1.30am. I saw a dimmed single-bulb light shining through the tent canvas. Something close to the ground of the tent flapped. I sat bolt upright and looked at the light, thinking (sleepily) it was an animal. I made a "Sssshhhh" noise, the light went out and I heard footsteps running away.
It then gradually began to dawn on me. Bearing in mind there was barely 30 centimetres between my left shoulder and the pile of clothes, book, torch and headlamp between me and the side of the tent, all I could now find were my underclothes and T-shirt. Putting them on I ran out of the tent, grabbed a suitable implement from the car and another headlight and went chasing off down the field (which I realise now probably wasn't sensible). Of course, they were gone (but only just).
Returning to the tent I found a towel laid beside the tent (not ours) and a gaping hole in the side of it.
For a good two or three minutes before I and my wife were woken (probably by their torch light flicking accidentally to my eyes) they had managed to use a sharp knife to cut a large vertical and then horizontal line through the outer lining of our tent, then the same to the inner lining of the tent where we were sleeping, neatly around the side pockets of the tent.
They'd then put their hand and arm in to recover my watch from the pocket, then alongside my body to take out my book that was laying on top of my trousers, my torch, a headlamp and the trousers themselves, containing my passport and wallet in a zipped pocket. I later found the passport had been thrown under the car so I think I rumbled them while they were struggling to take my wallet out from the tight, zipped pocket.
While I found the torch, headlamp, trousers (minus belt!) and wallet (emptied of €80-100 cash, but everything else taken out and put back) in the morning's daylight at the bottom of the field, I didn't know at the time that they had been dumped.
We drove up to the farmhouse to get up the owners, who took a long time. The first thing he said was there was no point calling the police unless I'd caught them as they wouldn't come out otherwise. OK, fair enough. But he was reluctant to come out. Eventually he did (he was the one, after all, with a torch) and we went around the campsite to see if we could fine anyone or thing. Of course, we didn't.
I asked the owner how many times this has happened and, incredibly, the answer was 2 or 3 times last year. The owner also knew how they do it: by shining their torch around the outside of the tent they can see the darker shadow of where the pockets are. I'd worked out that the reason for the towel that wasn't mine was to dim the light of their torch.
The owner then left us to it to pick up in the morning . . . like we had any intention to continue sleeping in a robbed tent with a hole in it (no empathy at all from the owner, nor any suggestion of being able to sleep anywhere else, for example).
Sure enough we didn't sleep but instead spent time on the mobile cancelling my cards (I hadn't found them at this point), packing up our belongings and binning the ruined tent.
At daybreak we found some of my belongings, minus the cash. We also saw the security camera directed towards the publicly accessible riverside path which can take you through the campsite: presumably not working because the owner hadn't said "Don't worry, we can check the camera in the morning": in fact this camera wasn't mentioned at all, so any intruders are also likely to know it doesn't work.
He did though smile (oddly) when I pointed out that I had checked the security light and found the turn dials underneath it switched to zero time (for the time dial) and sunshine (for the light) . . . so that security light was never going to come on that night if any intruders arrived. So that's either a misguided attempt to economise on electricity or, and this is unpleasant, we were targetted beforehand and someone turned off the dials before dark in order to make it easier to rob us without detection . . .
We checked out at 7.30am and drove straight back to Calais after just 2 hours sleep.
The owner's parting comments were "Well, it's the way of the world now. Some guy up the road had 2 grand's worth of camera nicked from his car." And again that there was little point contacting the police if valuables hadn't been taken. We agreed at the time as the total values don't warrant an insurance claim and increased premiums, but with clearer heads we've since had second thoughts . . .
[Tip: with the benefit of hindsight, always get that police report even if you know you won't be making an insurance claim. It's useful for other reasons. The report could have been useful to us when we were explaining to P&O at Calais why we were going home early . . .]
Well, sorry, but nicking a camera from a car is a little different from using a knife to rob people of their belongings from their tent whle they sleep in it and, sorry again, it's certainly not the way of the world that I know of.
I've never experienced or heard of this type of night-time tent robbery and neither has anyone I've spoken to about it. And you won't find anything on the internet about this form of robbery either.
The owner was far too blasé about it for my liking and lacked much empathy at all. He charged us the full 4 nights we were there (not 3 nights and "I'm really sorry you've had to experience this on your fourth night"): make of that what you will.
In my opinion this campsite, for tenting, is a security risk. I'm sorry I have to say that because in the six years they've owned this site they've clearly worked damn hard to get it to what it is.
But anyone's need to run and have a successful business and reputation is far outweighed by the right for any camper to be able to relax in not just pleasant surroundings, but also surroundings where there isn't the risk of falling victim to a robbery, involving knives, while you sleep.
Remember: by the owner's admission this isn't the first time. You won't be surprised to know that in my view this place is a risky campsite for you and your belongings.
God knows what would have happened if I'd tried to grab an arm that was in my tent with the possessor of it holding a knife in the other . . .
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.