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Caravanning and camping holidays in France

As much as we don’t like to admit it, France arguably enjoys better weather, has more charming towns and, as a whole, produces better wine than us. No wonder around 17 million Brits visit the country each year.

It’s also rather convenient. Thanks to the Eurotunnel and several ferry options, we’re able to easily pop across using our own wheels, which may explain why caravan and camping trips in France are so popular.

So what are the other benefits to this type of holiday?

  • Cost: a week or two in a caravan or campsite can be considerably cheaper than staying in a hotel or holiday cottage.
  • Location: whether it’s next to the beach, surrounded by countryside or even on the city outskirts, being mobile means you can be close to the action with the flexibility to move around for variety.
  • Space: caravans can be surprisingly spacious and comfortable inside, and most sites have play areas and their own plot of land so you can relax outdoors.
  • Facilities: most sites and parks also offer a range of facilities, including mini-markets, restaurants, bars, and sometimes live entertainment.

A holiday in France it is then.

But before you set off, make sure you have the correct European breakdown cover and that you’re also up to date with all the rules of the road. Our checklist on driving in France is a good place to start.

Best French caravan and camping routes

Once you’ve noted that driving in continental Europe takes place on the other side of the road, it’s wise to also have your route planned.

So which is the best direction to head in?

Western Route (Midi – Pyrenees region)

If you want to combine the lush green countryside of Brittany with stretches of wild French Atlantic coastline… remember that west is best.

In terms of where to stay, here are some examples of four-star campsites;

Eastern Route (Provence)

If you’re more tempted by the glamour of the Champagne region and scorching Mediterranean beaches, then maybe France’s eastern side is a better option.

Be sure to check out these stopovers along the way:

Beach campsites in France

Here are five examples of beach campsites. They have a range of facilities and you can also kick off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes.

Le Bois Coudrais near Cuguen, Brittany

Close to the Emerald coast and the beaches of the Cote d'Armor, this is a popular place with British campers who like a family-friendly vibe. It’s certainly a good site to take a break from cooking – enjoy one of the takeaway options in the evening, then pick up some fresh bread and croissants the following morning.

Le Club Farret Vias Plage near Béziers, Languedoc

A popular place with younger families thanks to the range of facilities, including numerous pools, restaurants, kids' clubs and a wellness spa for grown-ups. It’s also on its own exclusive-use beach. Some units have gated gardens right on the sand.

L'Anse du Brick, Maupertus-sur-Mer, Normandy

This is an excellent choice if you like waking up to good sea views. The terraced site leads down to the beach and, on the inland side, there’s a 300-hectare protected area of woodland, river and waterfalls. And to remind you that this is France, the sea-view restaurant serves local dishes.

Camping Kervilor, La Trinité-sur-Mer, South Brittany

If you’re looking for a peaceful location just outside a famous marina and port, then this place is a really good option. Not only has it got good quality facilities on site, water babies will enjoy the scuba diving, waterskiing and wind surfing opportunities close by.

Le Clarys Plage St-Jean-de-Monts, Pays de la Loire

Being just 400 metres to the beach is only one reason why this is a fantastic place to park up your caravan. The heated pool complex, waterslides, jacuzzis and crazy-river means you can spend pretty much all day in the water if you wanted to.

Entertainment for rainy days

There’s no questioning that the camping experience can be fun… providing the weather is on your side. That’s why families should come prepared in case of long periods of rain. A bored child stuck indoors on an outdoor holiday can certainly put a downer on things.

Obviously laptops, portable DVD players and game consoles can be your best friends in these types of situations. But those who wish to get into the camping spirit may want to try these cost-effective, non-digital ideas…

  • Write a story: Kids have wonderful imaginations, so test them out with a topic or situation and get them writing their own story around it.
  • Hit the beach: Who cares if it’s raining? Sandcastles and sculptures can be made bigger and better when the sand is wet.
  • Paper aeroplane competitions: Show them how to make them the old-fashioned way, without downloading an online template.
  • Teach a new skill: Perhaps it’s knitting, tying knots or a card trick you know.
  • Create a new superhero: What powers would they have? Who would their nemesis be? Where would they live? Do they have a sidekick?
  • Bake: Most motorhomes have a small oven and you should be able to easily pick up basic ingredients for homemade biscuits or cakes
  • Design a family tree: Go back as far as you can remember, or do a little online research if you have an internet connection.
  • Play hangman, I-spy or charades: Sometimes the oldies are the best.

Even in a limited space there is plenty to do to keep entertained without spending a fortune. All you need is paper and pen, along with some good old-fashioned enthusiasm.

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