France, oelala… If there is one destination in Europe that’s all about camping and RVing, it’s France. I’m not entirely sure, but I think camping is invented in France. OK, maybe not invented, but then at least developed into what we call ‘camping’ nowadays. As a kid, my family and I went camping in France every summer for years.
Okay, maybe not invented, but then at least developed into what we call ‘camping’ nowadays.
As a kid, my family and I went camping in France every summer for a three-week holiday. We have been in so many places, I lost count! The lovely coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the surf spots at the Atlantic coast, Euro Disney near Paris, the caves of the Dordogne, the mountains of the Alps and the Pyrenees, and everything in between.
RVing in France is perfect in spring and summer
RVing with your family in France is especially beautiful in spring and summer. All campsites are open; the weather is perfectly sunny, and almost all campgrounds offer a variety of kids activities.
I would not recommend camping in France during the winter or fall. It is cold and rainy from roughly Octobre untill March.
Also, nearly all campsites close between October and April, so you have to search for open campsites. The ones that remain open are typically passing-through campsites with little utilities.
What to do and see in France?
France is a very diverse country and you can see so many highlights here that it’s hard to choose. To give you an idea, In France, you’ll find:
- Romance in Paris (Eiffel Tower!)
- Stunning mountains in the Alps and Pyrenees
- Lots and lots of little, picturesque villages
- Luxurious seaside resorts and yacht harbors
- Beautiful hiking trails through national parks
- Thrilling surf spots on the Atlantic coast
- Gorgeous castles all over France
- Famous museum the Louvre
- Important pilgrimage town (Lourdes)
- and much more
Driving your RV in France
Just as all western-European countries, the main roads in France are in excellent condition. You’ll have no troubles driving your RV over highways and national roads, even if your vehicle is over 8 meters long.
For some highways, you are required to pay a toll fee (called ‘peage’). If you drive on the famous Route du Soleil, (Luxemburg-Nancy-Dijon-Lyon-Orange-Montpellier), you’ll notice that this can add up. Also, highways in the east and south of France can be jammed during high-season. There are the infamous black Saturdays where lots of Dutch and France people drive to their holiday destinations in France, causing serious traffic jams. As a general tip: avoid the south of France during July and August as it will be packed with tourists.
If you travel in a large vehicle, keep in mind that not all campsite permit big RV’s. You should always check this before you go. Also, when you leave the main roads, be aware that streets can become very small. In general, if trucks can drive there, you can assume you can too.
Boondocking in France
If you want to free camp in France, you can use France Passion – a network of farmers and winegrowers where you can park your RV for free. You do need to pay around €30 for the book that lists all the hosts. Also, it is required you have a self-contained motorhome, as hosts most often don’t offer facilities.
We use the app Park4Night almost every day, so I highly recommend this app if you want to free camp.
For more information about wild camping, see my beginners guide.
Campsites in France
We also use Great Little Campsites and CampingCard for finding campsites. This works out great! We previsouly traveled with an RV of over 8 meters and we contacted campsites beforehand to ask if their pitches are accessible for a big RV.
There are some brilliant campsites in France with proper facilities, child-friendly, (free) WiFi with a good connection, for only a small fee.
For example, we especially liked these campsites:
- Camping L’Arbre d’Or in Parentis-en-Born
- Camping Moulin de la Gassotte in Saint-Savin
- Camping Domaine du Roc in Le-Roc-Saint-André
As we are constantly on the road, and also traveling in France in 2017-2018, I will continue to add our approved campsites and boondocking sites to this list.
Internet in France
For location independent families, the number one question is: how’s the WiFi?
There are numerous ways of getting internet into your RV when traveling Europe. You can read about this here:
Click on the image to read more about how to get internet when RVing in Europe
And if you have any questions about RVing with kids in France or about a particular campsite, don’t hesitate and ask your question! I’m happy to help you 🙂