Camping & mobile home holidays in France
Savings of up to 30% on 7 night European family holidays for May Half Term 2018:
Many of us who visit France may experience a certain feeling of joie de vivre on disembarking from the ferry, a feeling of joy, happiness or delight. Probably some of this is just down to having a long awaited holiday but for many of us it much more than that, the knowledge that we are “abroad” even though our countries are so close to each other.
Regions where our French campsites are located. Please follow the links
Picardy, in the north of France just a short drive from Calais and Dieppe & where our campsites are near to the coast.
Upper and lower Normandy are in northern France where there are some excellent beaches, lots of history such as the Bayeux Tapestry, the D-Day landing beaches and the ferry ports of Dieppe, Le Havre, Caen, Cherbourg and St. Malo.
Brittany has a great many lovely beaches and lots of history and culture with castles, fortified towns, Dolmens (Standing Stones or Alignments) in the south & lots of nature to walk or cycle in.
The Vendee department of the Pays de la Loire has many small towns and villages, mostly on the coast, but a few inland, where our featured campsites are located. Slightly warmer than Brittany on average, this is where surfing in France begins.
Charente, or Charente-Maritime lies immediately below the Vendée and has a micro climate of it's own, having nigh on as many sunlight hours per year as does the southern regions. The Charente also includes the Ile de Ré and the Ile d'Oleron.
Aquitaine extends southwards from Charente and meets the French/Spanish border. This is one of the best surfing areas in Europe with some seriously good breakers when the tides are high. Aquitaine includes the Gironde, Landes, Lot et Garonne, the Pyrénées Orientales & the Dordogne.
Dordogne, a department of the Aquitaine region is one of the most visited areas for walkers, chateaux hunters, rivers and scenery as well as food & there are a great many Brits living in the Dordogne.
We have divided the Languedoc-Roussillon region (now re-named Occitanie) into 2 parts - Languedoc and Roussillon because there are too many campsites to reasonably add to just one page. You will love both Languedoc and Roussillon.
Roussillon, which starts near the southern French/Spanish border and finishes roughly at Montpellier, is a haven for camping and mobile home holidaymakers because of the long, sandy beaches, the fantastic weather & because the shops are a tad cheaper than in the Provence, French Riviera areas.
The South of France includes the French Riviera and the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur and other names it may be called. This is the area where the marinas are choc full of billionaire's yachts, real and pseudo celebs in season, but most of all we Brits visit it in droves every year.
To call the Ardeche hilly would be an understatement as there are mountains in profusion, volcanoes, caves & gorges. This is a paradise for walkers, mountain bikers, climbers and people with high energy levels. It also has a wonderful climate in Spring & Summer.
The French Alps (Alpes) boasts some of the highest peaks in Europe and are a magnet for skiers form all over Europe in winter, and in the north there are forests full of pines and fir whilst the southern parts have larch, thyme and lavender.
The Jura is an especially lovely place with mountains and high plateaux dipping down to huge forests and has gorges, caves and chasms all carved out of the rock over millions of years. Part of the Jura lies in France and part in Switzerland.
The Loire and Loire valley are a "gateway to heaven" for walkers and cyclists, people who are nature lovers, lovers of chateaux and we mustn't for get the winery tours and wine tasting days which are advertised hereabouts.
We are spoiled for words to describe the beautiful island of Corsica which will suit culture vultures, sun worshipers and those who love water sports just off shore. Corsica is a happy blend of old and new with nice restaurants scattered all over the island.
NB: For camping holidays we include mobile home holidays, tent camping, chalets on a site, lodges and those wooden hut things. You may notice that most, but far from all, campsites on our websites are near to or on the coast. Others such as those in the Dordogne, the Rhone Alpes, Franche-Compte and the Ardeche are landlocked but are excellent for walking, cycling, hiking and climbing.
Now if you are taking a camping or mobile home holiday in France you do not have to speak the language to have a wonderful vacation. It may appear at first that the locals don’t speak English but we have always found though that if you say hello (bonjour) and let them have a sentence or two of your most execrable French then they will be all over you like a rash. They like you to try you see, and then they like to practice their English on you.
When it comes to speaking French or any other lingo please try not to do what my wife does – shout loudly in English and point at things. She’s a lovely girl of 73 but even after much practice has only mastered English as yet.
There are 13 Regions of France, and within each region are one or more Departments. We start in Picardy which is in the far northeast, then going west we have a presence in Normandy and further west still in both north and south Brittany. Going south now we have quite a lot of campsites in the Vendee which is a department in the Pays de la Loire Region, and further south still in the Charente-Maritime , a Department of Poitou-Charentes. And we mustn't forget the Loire either.
Further south again and still facing the Atlantic sea (Bay of Biscay) is the huge Region of Aquitaine which is divided into 5 Departments, 4 of which are camping and mobile home holiday destinations: the Dordogne which is landlocked, Landes, Gironde and the Pyrenees Atlantiques.
On the southwest coast are Languedoc-Roussillon and the South of France which many people call Provence-Alpes-Cote-d'Azur. Then we go up the east side of France starting with the Ardech, the Jura, the Alps and last but not least, Corsica, Frances' island in the sunny Mediterranean Sea.
Certain areas are more expensive than other – just as it is in the UK really. For example, the south coast around Marseille, St Tropez, St Raphael, Cannes, Nice etc. are pretty expensive and most of us can only afford to look at the £100,000,000 yachts and wonder how long it would take to save up for one. But your camping or mobile home holiday is the same price as one in the far north such as the Pas de Calais.
We have to suppose that you have done a little research about where you want to end up in France, and usually that will result in which ferry route you take to get there. If you live south of the Midlands then the Dover - Calais route or the Shuttle (Eurotunnel) will probably be your best bet, but there are quite a few ports which service northern France so going from east to west you have:
Dunkerque (Dunkirk), Calais port, Coquelles Eurotunnel Terminal, Dieppe, Le Havre, Cherbourg, St Malo, Roscoff and Bilbao in Northern Spain.
France is not quite 3 times the size of the UK, and with its size come quite a few micro climates. First of all though, the very North of France is just slightly warmer than the south of England, and so it follows that the south of the country is very hot indeed. The inhabitants of Provence for example, try to take their vacations in August as that is the hottest month there.
Northern France is popular with Brit holidaymakers: Picardy, upper and lower Normandy and of course Brittany. Other visitors discount the north because it probably doesn’t have the same amount of heat as there is further south, but all those regions have a mass of history which would keep a holidaymaker enthralled for months.
For instance, you can visit the site of the Battle of Crécy where we Brits annihilated the French army on August 26th, 1346. Then there are the Normandy Beaches where the Allies came ashore during WW2. These are special to people of all nationalities whose relatives fought and died here all those years ago. The Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy is well worth going out of your way to see – it was actually made in England because our seamstresses had better sewing skills than did the French ladies.
Brittany of course is famous and there is a theory that many thousands of years ago before France and England parted, northern Brittany was joined to Cornwall. Certainly the rocky shores and the terrain in general support that train of thought.
Below Brittany lies the Vendée and this department of the Pays de la Loire is extremely popular with Brit camping holidaymakers. Anywhere in the Vendée is reachable from the evening St Malo ferry (which arrives circa 7.30 to 7.45 pm). Towns such as St Jean de Monts, les Sables d’Olonne and la Tranche are, as well as being very pretty, excellent venues for tourists.
On the west coast, a very popular region for Brits, the Charente-Maritime department has a micro climate all of its own which gives it nearly as many sunshine hours per year as the very south of the country.
Further down the west coast is the vast region of Aquitaine and this is where surfers get very excited because this coastline produces the best surfing conditions in Europe, apart from southern Portugal perhaps. It is wetter there though because of the precipitation from the Bay of Biscay and the Pyrénées along with rainfall that is well distributed over the year, this sunshine is one of the elements which favours vine-growing in Aquitaine.
Rollers can be massive along this coastline and 5 metre ones are commonplace. They grow much bigger that that as well but we don’t wish to put you off! One thing we should stress if you aren’t an experienced surfer is not to go out of your personal comfort zone. Resist peer pressure and stay within your limits OR body surf until you get used to the sea. Body boards can be purchased for a few Euros, cheap enough to give away at the end of your vacation instead of lugging it home in the car.
Just around the corner in the Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence, the Cote d’Azur further along there is no surfing to speak of because that is the Mediterranean Sea which has little tide. What you get here is hot weather and golden beaches – if you can stand that. Take plenty of sunscreen!
Brits have been taking vacations in the South of France for over a century – not as camping or mobile home holiday customers but as wealthy couples and families who had the time and money to spare for long, luxurious holidays way before package holidays were ever thought of.
If you travel north and inland from Provence (real name Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur) then you will be in the Rhone-Alpes which is the preserve of walkers, climbers and mountain bikers.
Further north still is the Franche-Compte region which is similar in that it is a walking, hiking area in summer and skiing in the winter.
What we do
Quality Camping offers information & resources for camping holidaymakers going to France in terms of describing what you will find in the camping holiday resorts which are advertised by most of the larger tour operators. We take a look at the towns and villages where you stay and are able to give a description of them from our point of view which does not always gel with the blurb you read from a holiday brochure.
Where do we obtain this information? Well, all the information about French resorts has been researched by myself (Editor), as well as some other countries in Europe. The rest has been generated by visits by our close family members during their wanderings.
We tell things how they are, warts and all, though to be fair most resorts come out very well indeed. You may notice that we do not enter into detail about the actual camp sites as info about those are on their own pages, but we do tell as much as possible about the resorts where they are based.
For drivers we have gleaned information about mileages from most of the northern French ferry ports to the resorts, and if you are not a Sat Nav user then don't worry because driving and negotiating your way through Europe is a darn sight easier than it is in the UK. NB: Some resorts in regions such as Languedoc-Roussillon and the South of France show Bilbao as being the nearest port and, though this may be true we have provided an alternative ferry port as the route to Bilbao is extremely expensive and a trip down from Caen is far, far cheaper.
Driving through France
Throughout Europe and especially in France you will find that the roads are far superior to ours in the UK, and you have the added benefit of having less traffic on them. In France, which is where the majority of driving holidays are taken you rarely have to venture into a large and busy town or city unless you specifically wish to as the French road system bypasses nearly all of these. As you can imagine, this saves an enormous amount of time on a long journey.
We tend to stick to the N roads wherever possible because (at the time of writing – May 2017) they are toll free, and on a long journey road tolls can add up to a significant amount – especially when you have to pay them again on the way back.
Do you need a Sat Nav?
You need a decent map but generally we think not as the road signing is excellent, but we most certainly advise that you write out a route from whichever port you are using to the town/village to which you are travelling. Follow signs for major cities rather than road numbers – example below:-
You are travelling from the port of Caen in Normandy to St Jean de Monts in the Vendée.
When you disembark you follow toutes directions (all directions) until your first major town, Rennes, is signed. Follow that sign until you reach the Rennes périphérique (ring road) and from there to the Nantes périphérique. Your homework will tell you that you leave that road at Junction 48 signed for Bordeaux & Challans. Take the road for Challans when it appears and the sign for St Jean will follow shortly.
The only reason you may need a Sat Nav is to find your campsite but you really should have been given that info by the holiday company you booked with.
Well food is no problem here! The French, rightly or wrongly believe their food is the best in the world and I would not argue with them about that. It can be a tad dear depending where you go but if you are staying at a holiday camp we suggest that you either ask one of the reps or ask in the campsite office – they nearly all speak good English. If in doubt, try and find out where the locals go for lunch/dinner and you will find the best deal possible.
If you are buying alcohol then we strongly recommend that you do so from a supermarket - as opposed to a bar because that is by far the best deal. Govt. tax on any alcoholic drinks is well below ours in the UK. Stick to buying from the supermarkets and have a few leisurely drinks outside your mobile home.
People are often wary about drinking water when they go abroad but we can reassure you that, like the roads, the French water system is cleaner and better than ours wherever you are in the country.
Last update: 11.10.2017
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