This website provides general information on tent camping in France and links to more specific pages.
This site and supporting pages will be under continuous development and revision. There will be an attempt to address a variety of tent camping styles. However, the initial focus will be on small family tent camping, with an interest to enjoy French culture and history.
France abounds with many 'playground' campgrounds, which are highly advertised in web-based promotion pages and travel brochures. Such campgrounds are designed to be a 'vacation' in themselves with swimming pools, beach locations, and entertainment facilities.
However, camping in France is an excellent way to travel about the magnificent country to visit the extensive variety of landscapes as well as some of the Western World's greatest historical sites and related museums. France, as well as most Western European countries, has numerous campgrounds that serve much as would motels for travelers who wish to visit the natural scenery and places of historic interest in towns and cities. The special advantages tent camping offers in such a pursuit are explained in the General Remarks below.
- General Remarks:
- Advantages of tent camping in France.
- Guide Books.
- International Camping Carnet and credit cards.
- Transportation, car rental.
- Eating, grocery purchases, cooking, etc.
- Visiting Paris.
- Webpage Links:
- Webpage for Official Guide to Camping/Caravaning in France. This site has an English version. It is allows for searching by type of environment (seaside, countryside, mountain, farmland). It has added (since 2000) a search by regions . It is an extensive site sponsored by the French Camping-Caravan Federation (Fédération Française de Camping Caravaning [FFCC]). This organization also provides one of the best printed guides, mentioned below.
- Tourist Tips for France. Page contains some general information for anyone new to visiting France. It is not a comprehensive list of 'tips', but rather some points the author of this webpage believes are not covered in the many otherwise excellent travel books and webpages on France. Anyone familiar with France will find this link elementary.
- France For Families website is a travel guide to family holidays in France, based on personal experience. It addresses a broader scheme of travel than camping, but shares the interest of this tent camping site in encouraging self-directed vacations in France.
- Camping in France Magazine is a new website to serve "UK holidaymakers and outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy backpacking, camping and caravanning in Europe's most visited country -- France."
- Campsites-France.net is another new website to assit searching and planning camping vacations in France.
- A general page about camping that should be read by anyone new to camping in France is an article by Kelby Car on Camping in France, Lodging on a Budget.
- More tips about visiting France at FranceKeys.com.
- Suggestions for Camping In and Near Paris.
- Reports of specific camping trips:
As any experienced camper knows, the word-of-mouth reports from other campers can be some of the best information. Here are some sponsored by this web site.
- Camping in Paris northwest suburb, central France (Loire Valley), and French High Alps. One American couple's experience taking their tent and other camping equipment with them on the airplane, and spending three weeks in July 1995 traveling to some campsites in France.
- Camping at Vernon and Bayeux (Normandy), La Rochelle (Atlantic Coast), southwestern France (Dordogne), and north of Paris. An American couple's experience tent camping in France during June and early July 1998.
- Camping near Paris, in Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, Pyrénées-Atlantique (Pays Basque), Ariège and Vienne. An American couple's experience tent camping in France late June and July 2000.
- Camping near Paris, at Metz and at Strassbourg. Late June and early July 2001. While this was part of a larger vacation for tent camping in Austria, this particular trip focused on some alternative camping near Paris. As a result information for camping near Paris has been incorporated in an update to the standing special page on that topic at this website.
- Camping in Paris suburb, in Burgundy (Côte-d'Or), and in the French Alps (Rhône Alpes). An American couple's experience tent camping in France in June 2003.
- Camping next to Vence, in Alpes-Martimes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) [‘French Riviera']. An American couple's experience tent camping in France in mid June 2004.
- Camping at Avignon in Vaucluse (Region of Provence-Alpes-Cote-d'Azur), Côte Vermeille in Pyrénées-Orientales (Region of Languedoc-Roussillon), and at Valençay in Indre (Centre-val-de-Loire). An American couple's experience tent camping in France during in late June to mid July 2006.
Advantages of tent camping in France:
- The 'price is right'. For about $25 per day you can pitch a tent in a well provisioned campground close to the Marne, in a park, at the very outskirts of southeast Paris; or along the Seine in a quiet suburb northwest of Paris. See section on 'Tent Camping In and Near Paris' for details. Many locations away from Paris can be visited for less than $20 per day. These figures are 'as of 2003', and expect the prices to be slightly highier as the dollar falls against the Euro. However, July 2004 campground prices did not seem to rise as much as would have been expected. Hopefully we can provided an update by mid summer of 2006.
- France has an abundance of very fine campgrounds that permit casual and independently paced visits to the country's wealth of
cultural and scenic locations. Tenters should always be able to find a place to stay. Generally, French road signs are good at marking nearby campgrounds (However, a clutter of signs near the big cites places emphasis on pre-planning with a detailed road map). Many of the campgrounds are well developed and allow for camping under trees and near rivers.
- Only a modest French speaking ability is need. Americans will find many British and English-speaking campers of other nationalities at most all medium to large campgrounds. Most of the camp managers either speak English or have staff that do. Many of the museums have tours in English at designated times.
- Arranging for travel between America and France is outside of the scope of this report. A good travel agent can usually get reasonable round-trip fares if one's departure and return times are flexible. The trip reports linked to this page involved air travel crossing the Atlantic. A recent experience in arranging for relarively inexpensive flights to Paris in mid June, returning early July 2003, was with FlyEurope. They have a website, http://www.1800flyeurope.com and can be reached by telephone at 1-800.359.3876 [1-800-FLY-EUROPE]. Unlike the attempt to contact airlines directly, FlyEurope has someone ready to assits when one makes a call. The website is very user friendly for examining trip planning options. Further, the company is linked to an office that will set up car rental arrangements.