Huttopia tent at the lakeside site of the White Mountains. Photo credit: Huttopia

After conquering France and Canada with its ready-to-camp tents comfortably planted in nature, the French group Huttopia, specializing in "glamping" ("camping-glamor"), continues its conquest of the United States with the acquisition of a 100-acre old summer camp in California in the heart of the Angeles National Forest.

At the head of this company, Cécile Bossane and her husband Philippe, both from the Drôme, have long been had the United States in the crosshairs. " America, the US, it seemed natural to us. It is believed that the product is particularly suitable. This way of camping is more American than French, says Cecile Bossane. Originally, when we imagined all that, we had in mind the national parks, the trapper's tent, the great natural spaces. And then, for us, America was a dream. It's a dream for all French people. "

Huttopia was born from an observation that the couple made when they returned to France after two years of study in Canada, in the 90s. The two French people realized thatThe importance of outdoor for Canadians and Americans and the lack of supply in France in natural and preserved places, says Céline Bossane. We did not know where to go camping with our first daughter. Camping in France was not good. "

To their credit, 48 sites in France, 500 tents planted in national parks in Quebec since 2007, and two sites in the United States: one of 4 hectares at the edge of a lake in the White Mountains since 2018, in the heart of the Appalachians , and another in southern Maine this year. " If you want to open a site in France, it takes 5 to 6 years, here it is rather 2 years ", Says Cecile Bossane.

The opening in California is a "tournant In the Huttopia adventure. Former camp established in 1906, the site was a place of entertainment at the time of prohibition, especially for celebrities; for the legend, Charlie Chaplin was a shareholder, and Johnny Weissmuller came to train in his big swimming pool.

Popular in the United Kingdom since the 90s, it was not until 2014 that glamping made a name in the United States. In 2016, the term appears in the dictionary, and Google searches reached a record level in July 2018 in the United States, if we believe Google Trend. " Now it's called glamping. At first, when we created Huttopia in 1999, we did not know what it was" adds Cecile Bossane.

The glamping market in the United States is still embryonic. " Either the campsite is very wild, very rudimentary, on extraordinary sites, or it is near roads, arranged to accommodate large caravans and motorhomes ".

Huttopia bets to find the balance between comfort and nature, without becoming a luxury product. Each tent is made in Dunkirk, in the north of France by the company Cabanon. The company's ambition is to have a minimum impact on the places it invests. "We get involved in a light way. We do not build hotels. "

If the group continues to develop in France, the founders plan to create a dozen sites in the United States within five years. " You have to find the right ground, says Cecile Bossane. The United States is big. We are looking for areas where there is a real natural and logistical interest. Our customers must be able to discover things in the area. "

The group, which is also developing in China, has several countries in its sights, such as Argentina, Georgia or Morocco. In increasingly urban and connected societies, the need for disconnection is growing, glamping has a bright future.


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