Tent Camping
In and Near Paris

While Americans can fly into French international airports other than Charles de Gaulle, just northeast of Paris, or fly from Charles de Gaulle to other locations in France, Paris is the likely point of arrival and of departure for most Americans. Fortunately, there are several options for fine tent camping in the vicinity of Paris. One option is a campground located in Paris. It is situtated on the western edge of the city, in the Bois de Boulogne. Its internet site is Welcome to the Bois de Bologne Camp Site. Our website does not yet have a camper's report on the Bois de Boulogne campground. One reason is that the campers who have so far provided information to Tent Camping in France are older couples who find the inner city campgrounds uncomfortably crowded in summer.

What follows is a brief survey of four options to tent camp at grounds outside of, but in close vicinity to Paris. Two are suggested for use upon arrival from the airport. They could also be used prior to departure from the airport. Both can be reached by public transportation from the airport. However, two others are suggested as probably being better for camping prior to an airport departure and if driving a car.

Champigny-sur-Marne, in department VAL-DE-MARNE (94).

Camping Paris Est le Tremblay [Camping du Tremblay], located immediately southeast of Paris, close to Vincennes, is an excellent first-night campground after arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport. Equally, it is a particularly comfortable location, close to the Marne river, and a short distance into the city of Paris. It is excellent for a sustained stay that intends to make frequent trips into the city of Paris.

The campground is about a 45 minute drive from the airport: taking autoroute A-1 from the airport south to A-3. Take A-3 south only to where it joins with A-86; then take A-86 south toward A-4. However, when nearing the exit on to A-4, one should exit the autoroute system, following the signs to Champigny-s-Marne. Exiting A-86, should lead one to Boulevard de Stalingrad. However, one can easily be led off on to some of the other local roads, winding up in the suburbs of Nogent or of Champigny-s-Marne. Best fix is to follow the signs to Champigny-s-Marne, and have in mind the map shown below.
If one happens to end up on A-4, it will most likely be in the direction of Paris [heading west]. At this point, continue west a very brief distance to exit at Joinville-le-Pont.
Once off the autoroute, the secret to finding the campground is to know that, while technically in the suburb of Champigny-s-Marne, Camping du Tremblay lies at the northwest edge of the Parc du Tremblay, which itself is at the northwest part of Champigny. Camping du Tremblay is actually closer to the center of Joinville-le-Pont. Very few maps indicate this clearly, and until you are right near it, the sinage directing one to the campground is skimpy. As the campground is remote from the main roads through either Champigny-s-Marne or Joinville-le-Pont, it is a little tricky to find without stopping and asking directions. Another help in orientation is to know that Joinville-le-Pont occupies the area between Champigny-s-Marne and Vincennes.

The above sketch is not to scale, its top is to the north, and Paris is to the northwest. The sketch map identifies the main secondary roads once one leaves the autoroutes. Note that exiting A-86 at Nogent and following signs to Champigny-s-Marne's center puts one on the Boulevard de Stalingrad. Where Stalingrad intersects with Avenue du Général De Gaulle (N-303) [this is the first main (it has a traffic light, but poor sinage) intersection after passing the park on one's right (west). Turn west [right if heading south] on to Avenue du Général De Gaulle (N-303), and proceed until joining Avenue Général Gallieni (N-4). Continue west carefully until passing the second traffic light. Soon after, turn north [right if heading west] on to the narrow road called Boulivard de Polangis. Stay on this until just before it ends in park area on the Marne's bank or going under the autoroute [which cuts through the northern part of the Parc du Tremblay]. Your are at the northwest edge of the Parc du Tremblay. There will be a camp sign directing an east [right] turn on to a small road, Boulevard des Alliés, and then a quick turn north [left] on to a short access road, passing under the autoroute's overpass and taking you immediately to the camp entrance.
If you miss the Boulivard de Polangis turn, at your next chance, to the right [north] on to Avenue Foch. This also runs into Boulevard des Alliés.
If you miss exiting A-86 at Nogent, then you are probably on A-4 heading west. Take next exit for Joinville-le-Pont. Follow directions to Champigny-s-Marne. That should take you east, across the Marne and on to Avenue Général Gallieni (N-4). You then have the options to make the left turns [to the north, as you would be approaching from the west] on to Avenue Foche or to Boulivard de Polangis.
Joinville-le-Pont is where one gets the RER [Réseau Express Régional] suburban train into Paris. The RER station a 40 minute walk from the camp. Most of the walk can be done along a path on the bank of the Marne as one departs the campground. The route goes south to a bridge that crosses the Marne and then proceeds two long city blocks to the RER station. There is a bus that shuttles frequently between the Tremblay campground and the Joinville-le-Pont RER station. Purchasing a multi-day 'Paris Visite' ticket lets one use the bus, the RER, and Paris METRO all at significant savings. The 'Paris Visite' can be purchased at the RER station ticket office in Joinville-le-Pont. The RER ride to the center of Paris is about 30 minutes. However, it is only 10 minutes to the first METRO station at Vincennes. The bus connection from the RER to the camp does not run as late into the evening as does the METRO. So evening activites in Paris need to be planned. Be ready to take a taxi or have a flash light and know the walking path between the Joinville-le-Pont station and the campground.
The Tremblay campground has been there for many years and is well known by European campers and bus touring companies that cater to school-age camping groups. Though an old camp, it has modernized its facilities and offers grassy sites with considerable surrounding vegetation that blocks out much of the noise generated from the nearby autoroute. Le Tremblay campground also has its own snack bar and a small grocery store. The wash-room facilities are clean. The office staff speaks English.
The campground tries to keep the tents separated from the vehicle campers and rental bungalows, as well as keeping group campers and their buses in a separate area. Trembaly is a large site and has a considerable over-flow area. Tent campers select their own sites in the general areas designated for non-electric, tent-camping. The campground is located between the path of the A-4 overpass and the left bank of the Marne. However, to access the Marne's bank, one has to exit the camp, walk under the A-4 overpass, then walk north a few meters to the west, and then go under the overpass again, so as to enter the park area directly along the edge of the Marne. A nice surprise is to find two attractive, river-side restaurants that butt up against the campground -- but you have to exit the campground to get to them. On weekends and holidays these restaurants are heavily attended by locals, and begin to have long waiting lines soon after 1900 hours.
Tremblay is an excellent camping base for not only visiting Paris, but for being in position to make day driving trips to locations east and souteast of Paris: Provins, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau, etc.. The couple who provide most of the reports for this website used Le Camping du Tremblay for both the first camping after arrival at the airport and picking up a rental car, and for the last camp before departing to the airport to return the rental car and catching the flight back to the US. They found the driving to and from the Charles de Gaulle airport, as well as the convience for visiting Paris, make Tremblay a top choice for both needs.

LE CAMPING DU TREMBLAY
Boulevard des Alliés
94507 CHAMPINGY SUR MARNE CEDEX

Tél: 01.43.97.43.97; Fax: 01.48.89.07.94
[Calling from the US, replace the first '01' with '0033.1']
Camping du Tremblay website: www.abccamping.com/tremblayuk.htm


Guide books show more campgrounds further east of Paris. This website does not yet have camper reports on these particular campgrounds. They are often promoted as being near to EURODISNEY, but seem to be near RER statons or offer special bus service that would permit easy travel into and from 'the City of Lights'.

Closest to Paris, in the department of VAL-DE-MARNE (94) is:
Champ Paris Est Le Tremblay, at Champigny sur Marne *** Tel: 01 43 97 43 97
Just slight northeast, in the department of SEINE-SAINT-DENIS (93) is:
Camp Municipal, at Neuilly sur Marne ** Tel: 01 43 08 21 21
Slightly further east, in the department of SEINE ET MARNE (77) is:
Camping du Parc de la Colline, at Torcy ** Tel: 01 60 05 42 32.
It advertises minibus service to Paris and other tourist attractions.

Maisons-Laffitte, in department YVELINES (78).

Located in a charming suburb northwest of Paris, this is an excellent first-night campground after arriving at the Paris airport. The campground is aptly named Camping International, with campers from all over the world. The camping area is a 20-acre island in the Seine River (connected to the town by a small bridge) and has modern bath facilities and a convenience store. There is a restaurant in the camp. There are restaurants and stores within walking distance in the town. Part of the camp is reserved for English camping clubs, and the staff speaks English.
       The camp is just a few blocks from the RER [Réseau Express Régional] suburban train to Paris. The ride is 15 minutes to the center of Paris, and links with several stations of Paris' excellent METRO subway system. At night, one will hear the sound of the electric RER trains which run until about midnight. Of course, if you were to be visiting the city late, you appreciate the fact that it is operating that late.
       Maisons-Laffitte serves as an excellent camping base for not only visiting Paris, but it is close to St. Germain-en-Laye (with its very fine museum of French history from ancient times, located in the magnificent château that dominates the small suburb) and a nice day's drive along the Seine to and from Giverny (Claude Monet's home and garden). Reservations are advised for the Camping International campground at Maisons-Laffitte, especially for late July and the month of August. A good time for visiting the area would be before mid July and after the first week of September.
       One could take the RER from the airport to Maisons-Laffitte. Even though you can drive a rented car from the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport to Maisons-Laffitte by skirting the main city of Paris, it is a daunting venture for someone not familiar with the road markings and European drivers on the first day in country. Driving in the French countryside is considerably easier. Cars can be rented in the suburbs of Paris, if one wants to venture further out.
       Directions to Maisons-Laffitte from Charles de Gaulle are to head south [toward Paris] on A-1. Take off one to A-86 heading west until northwest of Paris. Exit to the northwest on to N308 at the Bezons exit; follow signs in the direction of Poissy [some signs may indicate also: Houlles, Sartrouville, or Maisons-Laffitte]. Street becomes congested as one approaches and drives through Sartouville. As one crosses the Seine between Sartouville and Maisons-Laffitte, the Camping International will be on the island to the left [south]. However, the road signs in the commune lead one north, past the center of the commune, before turning west and then south on to a small residential road that leads to the campground on the wooded island in the Seine river. The trip from Charles de Gaulle is about 45 minutes to an hour.

CAMPING INTERNATIONAL
1, rue Johnson
78600 MASONS-LAFFITTE

Tél: 01.39.12.21.91; Fax: 01.34.93.02.60
[Calling from the US, replace the first '01' with '0033.1']


St-Leu-d'Esserent, in department OISE (60).            
Campix, located immediately north of the commune of St-Leu-d'Esserent, in an abandoned stone quarry, now covered with thick growth of vegetation. The campground is excellent not only for an easy drive to make an airport departure at Charles de Gaulle, but also for excursions to areas north of Paris -- Picardie region and the various northern departments in the Region Parisenne. Campix advertises its close proximity to Parc Asterix, and it well suited for occasional visits to Paris.
       The European campers (especially from The Netherlands) seem to use it as a 'family campground' for week-long or more vacations. The facilities are modern and clean, and very well supplied. It has a snack bar and is within a 20-minute walk to the small commune of St-Leu-d'Esserent. Bread and croissants are delivered by small truck around 0815 hours every morning. The camp manager speaks fluent English and personally monitors conditions throughout the grounds. He goes to great lengths to explain and to assist tourists in visiting the local region of the Oise Valley and areas further afield. The camp is a good base from which to explore locations to the norh of Paris: Beauvais, Amiens, Compiègne, etc. Nearby, Chantilly has it famous museums; and Senlis offers a varity of good, casual restaurants and fine shopping.
       Driving directions from Chantilly to Campix: take D-44 to the west [and slighty north] from Chantilly. In about ten minutes one crosses the Oise river and enters the commune of Sain Leu d'Esserent, which is noticable from a distance by its large abbay. The road direction signs to the camp route you around the southern edge of town to the west, where you turn north on to D-12. The route takes you just north of town. As you are about to leave the built-up area and come to large, open fram fields, you turn right [east] and wind around a very small [but with good directional markings to the camp] route to the 'La Prée' old stone quarry.
       Driving from the camp ground to the Charles de Gaulle airport can proceed in two main directions. (1) One would be to drive directly east, through Chantilly and Senlis to get on the A-1 autoroute just east of Senlis. Head south on the autoroute until the airport exit some 30 minutes later. There is an autoroute toll just before reaching the airport exit. (2) A second route option would be to take the D-924 south from Chantilly. There are direction signs for this at the eastern end of Chantilly's main street. You depart Chantilly through the park, between the Château with its fine arts museum [Musée de Condé] and the large riding stable and horse museum [Musée du Cheval]. Proceed south, joining D-17, and continue south. Though there will be national route sign directions that can take you all the way to the airport, it is not recommended for the very time-consuming and convoluted routing to get into the airport. Instead, it is strongly suggested that after passing D-922 [with the towns of Survilliers and of Fosses listed off to either side, look for and take the first directions to get on to A-1. This will be a right [west] turn off that loops you around to the east, under N-17 and on to D-10 in the direction of St-Witz. Before getting to the latter, there will be the entrance to A-1 in the direction of Paris and Charles de Gaulle airport. It is best to drive into Charles de Gaulle from the A-1 autoroute. The time from the camp grounds with either option is about the same -- about 45 minutes, but allow an hour.

A little history on the underground stone-pits of 'Coteaux de la Prée': In Gallo-Roman times, the extracted yellow stone was used for sarcophaguses. During the medieval era, the stone contributed to the construction of the local abbaye, the cathedral at Chartres, the Pont-Neuf in Paris, and later, the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris. During the Nazi occupation in WWII, German V1 'flying bombs' were assembled in the caves of the quarry, before being taken to the Dieppe area on the Channel to be launched against Great Britain. This, of course, led to St-Leu d'Esserent suffering 85 percent destruction from heavy, allied bombing attacks.

CAMPIX
B.P. 37
60340 SAINT LEU D'ESSERENT

Tél: 03.44.56.08.48; Fax: 03.44.56.28.75


Guide books show some other highly rated campgrounds in this area near the commune of Saint-Leu-d'Esserent (L'Abbatiale and Le Pre des Moines). However, in 2001, both were not for tenters and served only long-term caravan campers.


Aumont, in department OISE (60).

Another location one might try camping the night before having to make an early morning drive from the campsite to the airport at Charles de Gaulle. It is a small campground, lacks some of the amenities of Campix, but adequate. A 1998 report addressed one couple's visit. They were pleased with a very small campground, Camp A.T.C. d'Aumont, adjacent to the small town of Aumont. This is 4 km north of the very charming, ancient, and active town of Senlis. The Aumont camp ground is not open until after 1 June. It has clean, simple wash room facilities. It is about 40 to 50 minutes driving time to the airport -- allow an hour.

CAMP A.T.C. D/AUMONT
60300 Aumont en Halatte

Tél: 03 44 60 00 42


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Page created 15 July 2001;last edited 18 July 2003.