Looking behind the scene of Castels, and discover the men and women who work all year to offer you the best possible holiday !
Today, we present Angela Finch, owner of Camping Castels La Forge de Sainte Marie, in the Champagne-Ardenne region.
Hello Angela, Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers ?
Hello, Long live France! Life is beautiful !
My name is Angela Finch and I am the owner of the Camping Castels La Forge de Sainte Marie.
I was born in Nottingham, England. My partner Jacco Lispet, and I have managed the camp for almost 20 years. Our story began like a dream 25 years ago: in the South of France, two young people meet, one from England and the other from the Netherlands. Sharing the same dreams and passion for a camping lifestyle it was impossible for us to leave the tourism industry where we had spent our younger days. Our dream to become an owner became a reality in 2010 *emotional *! We live on an 11 hectare “French-style” magnificent 18th century property.Our two children, Jordi 16 years and 14 years old Bethaney plus our campers and tenants ! We speak 4 languages and Jacco also speaks German. Today as a family we have more than 50 years experience in the international tourism sector.
What is your role within the Camping Castels Forge de Sainte Marie ?
Wow how to explain ! Our roles change hour by hour. We can begin the day as the administrator or the accountant and finish as a waitress or a maintenance person ! Our role within the camp is very diverse and rich. We are available at all times for our customers and for our team, throughout the season. Making others happy makes us happy, we work around this philosophy. We also take on people as trainees, learning on the job as much as possible. We are very happy to see their success ! We are always updating the business structure of the company, as we cannot take our administrative or fiscal obligations lightly.
Can you tell us a little more about this holiday resort ? The proposed services, activities ?
At La Forge de Sainte-Marie young an old always find their niche whether you would like a relaxing and quiet holiday or be more active ! Spending time with nature during a morning stroll in the forest whilst children have fun with their friends at the children’s club. In the afternoon, exerience archery, a petanque competition between friends or come and relax in our heated swimming pool. How about a wine and cheese tasting on our sunny terrace and discover a selection of regional products ? In the evening gather at the bar where you can dance and sing during one of our live musical evenings! Do not miss out on the outing with the tractor rides on the farm, children will discover animals, followed by a huge barbecue as night falls !
As owner, can you tell us the new proposed activities for the season 2016 ?
The first one is the Tour Historique de La Forge de Sainte-Marie! It is a project which means a lot to me and of which I’ve been thinking and planning for ages. It is important for us to unearth our historical heritage of the region because it is very rich nd must not be lost ! Another activity that I would like to introduce to vacationers is “Tree hugging” (which is giving cuddles to trees). Trees are very important for our planet and our survival ! If they are capable of absorbing more or less 20kg of carbon dioxide, then they are capable of doing good. Besides, maybe that they thrive when loved and cared for!
Our readers are curious, what is your timetable in the off season ?
We are at the camp early in the morning until very late in the evening Between the preparations and opening the grounds after Winter, hiring staff and training, it is very important to be around at this time . During off season, we work in human resources, training, distribution of work, control of installations, but we are also on the ground dealing with various aspects of the business from outdoors to the restaurant, welcoming the customers ! And the inevitable administrative side of managing a business. We manage the priorities for the well-being of everybody.
How do you prepare the high season ?
We welcome many families in May and June for family get togethers, and at the beginning of May for the Dutch Summer holidays. We have the early season tarif.This period allows us to locate small technical problems in the installations and the rentals. Year by year we try to limit the problems before the opening thanks to our questionnaires of satisfaction and to the comments of customers who are staying with us. Our teams are attuned to the clientele.
What is your favorite moment of the season ?
My favorite period is towards the end of July – beginning of August when the camp receives so many holiday makers ! It is at this time we see the fruit of our work. We invest a lot of time with our team before and after this period to be at the top in high season ! Everyone knows their daily job and how to manage the priorities, I know that I can count on them.
Your favorite memory shared with customers ?
There are a lot ! “Les Cabarets” for children on Fridays evenings we have some wonderful memories. We love seeing children discovering the stage and revealing us their talent. I always become teary-eyed *small laugh*
We love “Live Music” at the bar and the restaurant. No matter the nationality, the genre or age, everybody meets to sing, dance and have fun at La Forge de Sainte-Marie
We also love to hear occasionally that our seasonal workers, who met on the camp, are going to get married ! It is always a very emotional moment for us.
Final words ?
We would like to thank our family, and our staff as well as all the people with whom we have met, you helped us to create our character, and participated in the success of Camping Castels La Forge de Sainte-Marie