Spain Guide

France Guide

French Camping Holiday Campsites France

French Camping Holiday Campsites France

Camping is extremely popular in France and almost every town has a campsite (un camping) to cater for the thousands of people (including the French themselves) that take camping holidays every year. These campsites are often campings municipal s and offer basic accommodation at reasonable rates. Some campsites have superb facilities and organized fun for kids as well as adults; others just let you pitch your tent or hook up the caravan and then leave you to it.

Campsites in France are graded according to a four star system, where one star is the lowest and four stars the highest accolade. The Fédération Française de Camping et Caravaning, based at 78, rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris (01 42 72 84 08), is responsible for evaluating French campsites and producing very helpful guides. A one or two star campsite will provide basic amenities such as toilets and showers but this does not guarantee hot water, nor can you be sure that the standards of cleanliness will be up to scratch. On a four star campsite you can be sure of hot showers, electric points, a pool (possible even heated), shops, laundry and sports facilities, and possibly a restaurant. A three star campsite will have a mixture of qualities from all of the above, tending to be good on the whole. The new grade of Camping de Qualité has been introduced to denote a campsite with extremely high standards of privacy, cleanliness and service.

A night in a campsite in France is usually charged per tent and then per person, with the car possibly included in the price although sometimes charged separately as well. Thus, for a family of four with a car, you are looking at roughly €15 per night on a one star and around €35 per night on a four star campsite. Sometimes, it is also possible to rent caravans and chalets on French campsites.

Be aware that if you do intend to spend you holiday camping, France books up very quickly during the peak months of July and August, so it is best to book your spot in advance to avoid disappointment when you arrive. If you arrive late in the day with no reservation, you are more likely to get a spot if you have no car. Also, campsite offices tend to be open before 10am and after 4pm, so don't despair if there is no answer during the day.

Lastly, don't be tempted to rough it and camp in a field by the road (camping sauvage) as this is an illegal practice that leaves you open to both prosecution and thieves. If you do want to camp on some private land, go and ask the owner first. On beaches, only camp if there are other people doing it in the same area.