Home Recreational vehicle What It’s Like Motorhome Camping in France

What It’s Like Motorhome Camping in France

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What It’s Like Motorhome Camping in France

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France is called one of the camper-friendly international locations in Europe. However what’s it like RVing in France?

This weblog will share a few of the prime stuff you’ll must know earlier than you hop in your motorhome.

Watch this video for the complete scoop ⤵️

Driving

French roads may be slim, particularly in smaller villages, to the purpose the place you could end up pondering, “Is that this actually a two-way highway?” The reply might be sure and as you noticed within the video, it could actually get demanding quick!

However for probably the most half, driving customs in France are just like wherever in America. You’ll see velocity restrict indicators (in kilometers), you’ll go slower visitors on the fitting, and also you’ll keep throughout the traces of your lane whereas driving. You wouldn’t assume I would want so as to add that final one, however when you cross into Italy, you’ll instantly discover that the traces on the highway imply nothing to Italians. They drive the place they please! You’ll discover vehicles half parked within the lane, half parked on the sidewalk throughout France, however they do at the very least keep of their lane whereas driving.

Associated: Planning an RV Trip in Italy

Toll Roads

Most main roads throughout France are toll roads (consider interstates or highways in America—they’re all toll roads in France).

Usually, you’ll seize a toll ticket if you enter the highway and can dangle onto it till you exit or till you come throughout a toll plaza. You possibly can simply pay with bank card—typically utilizing faucet to pay—and in case your French is rusty, press the British flag icon to modify the toll machine to English. Extra not often, you’ll come to a toll sales space with a set charge and an individual within the sales space. For instance, the tunnel within the Alps that connects France to Italy is manned and has a flat charge of round $60.

Sure, French tolls are extraordinarily costly!

That was our greatest toll ticket, however on days the place we spent a few hours on toll roads, we normally paid $20-$35 in charges. We opted for toll roads once we wanted to cowl a couple of hundred miles or when the non-toll-road possibility provided by Google Maps appeared a little bit too lengthy.

The toll roads will provide many relaxation stops, often called aires, the place you may refuel, seize meals, have a picnic, and even let children play on the playground. (When you’re in search of a style of dwelling, you’ll typically see McDonald’s and Starbucks at aires.)

Highway Indicators and Alerts

Usually, highway indicators in France are symbols that may be universally understood, versus worded indicators.

For instance, a Do Not Enter Signal within the US will say Do Not Enter with a crimson circle with a white line throughout the center. In France, it can simply be a crimson circle with a white line throughout the center.

Not all indicators are the identical as their US counterparts, however they’re pretty self-explanatory. An important indicators to search for when RVing will probably be width, top, and weight restriction indicators. These white and crimson round indicators may have black triangles on the prime and backside for top or on the perimeters for width and say “2,3 m” to let of an upcoming restriction. A weight restriction signal will doubtless say 3,5t. (Test your RV weight earlier than you lease, however you have to be protected with this restriction! 3,5t was the load restrict we noticed most frequently.)

And sure, the place we use durations for decimals within the States, they use commas!

Visitors lights in France are similar to the US with inexperienced, yellow, and crimson lights. Lights are vertical, with inexperienced on the underside and crimson on the prime. In contrast to different neighboring international locations, you gained’t see any flashing inexperienced or yellow lights. (Except you’re in a development zone—they do arrange yellow flashing lights.)

Mild posts are sometimes posted on the identical facet of the road as you might be, which might make seeing the sunshine unattainable when you pull up too far at an intersection. We needed to again up a couple of instances to see the publish. Nonetheless, you gained’t see crimson lights fairly often in your travels. Most intersections throughout the nation are roundabouts, making driving throughout the nation that a lot simpler.

Associated: 16 Differences Between RVing in America and RVing Abroad

Tenting Choices

France is understood for being one of the camping-friendly international locations on the planet and it lives as much as its status. Throughout our month of adventures, we by no means struggled to discover a place to camp in a single day. (Conversely, once we crossed over to Italy for a couple of days, it was a lot tougher to search out an open campsite!)

There are a number of methods to camp in a single day in France and through our first few days on the highway (seen within the video above) we tried a couple of.

Three white motorhomes parked next to each other in a grassy campsite.

France Ardour

Greater than the rest, we used France Ardour to search out free campsites throughout France. France Ardour is a membership (about $35) that permits you to camp free of charge at wineries and farms throughout France. (France Ardour was the inspiration behind Harvest Hosts, the place you may camp free of charge on wineries in North America.) And it was extremely straightforward to search out lovely locations to spend the evening! In reality, after driving throughout the nation, I’m fairly certain 99% of the French countryside is vineyards. Miles and miles of gorgeous vines.

(We’ve got an upcoming video displaying off extra of what tenting at France Ardour websites is like, however it’s also possible to see our very first one on this video!)

Associated: Why You Should (and How to!) Camp on Wineries and Farms

Residence Camper

Residence Camper is the place you may keep in your motorhome at individuals’s houses/on their property—similar to a HipCamp or Boondockers Welcome. You’ll want a self-contained RV (AKA your personal lavatory) and also you’ll in all probability need to know a little bit French, because you’ll be conversing with locals.

We used Residence Camper on our second evening within the RV to remain within the yard of a champagne home in Epernay. (Pictured above) This web site provided electrical energy, loos, showers, and playgrounds, however facilities differ by web site.

Wild Tenting

Boondocking is sometimes called wild tenting or freedom tenting overseas. In France, we used the Park4Night app to search out boondocking spots throughout the nation. Within the video, we camped in a forest free of charge and began our day climbing one of many many trails that began from our free in a single day spot. Even higher, it was quarter-hour away from a citadel and a brief drive to a close-by village for morning pastries and low.

Associated: 31 RVing Terms You Should Know

Campgrounds

The very first thing that involves thoughts when RVing in France may be staying in conventional campgrounds. Just like an RV park or campground within the States, right here you’ll discover electrical energy, water, and sewer hookups in addition to facilities like a bathhouse, playground, and laundry. RVing with a child and a toddler, we spent much more nights than we thought we’d in campgrounds doing laundry whereas the children performed.

We had been shocked at how kid-friendly many campgrounds had been. At one specifically, there was a big out of doors tent crammed with toys for youths. Blocks, dolls, a kitchen, bikes, a trampoline—Europe actually is extremely kid-friendly!

Campsites in campgrounds various. We stayed at one with degree, poured concrete websites (above). At one other, we had an unlevel grassy space with towering timber on both facet. One other, a grassy space with vines separating websites. Truly, plenty of campgrounds used grapevines to separate websites! I informed you, 99% of the nation is rising grapes for wine.

Usually, your campsite may be very easy in comparison with States, so don’t count on an excessive amount of. However what the websites lack in niceness, the campground makes up for with recent baked items. Oh sure, you may odor the croissants and pan au chocolat out of your campsite. Heath swears the perfect pastries of the month had been at a small campground in Lourdes, France simply outdoors Pyrenees Nationwide Park. We stayed there for 3 nights for “the proximity to the nationwide park” however Heath isn’t fooling anybody. It was the croissants.

Aires

And lastly, aires. Sure, these relaxation stops that I discussed discovering off the toll roads? Lots of them provide in a single day tenting. We didn’t truly keep in a single day at any aires throughout our journey, however we spent many afternoons dumping tanks, letting the children play, and grabbing meals. Which brings me to 1 different key a part of RVing in France…

RV Providers

Within the States, tenting free of charge creates a couple of issues. The place are you going to refill your water? The place are you going to dump your black and gray tanks? The place are you going to throw out your rubbish?!

For a lot of campers, the reply is to seize a campground for an evening and deal with the RV.

However in France, no want. You could find potable water, RV service stations, and plentiful public trash cans in most cities. Heck, you will discover sorted recycling bins in virtually each city too! France lives as much as the hype and it was shockingly straightforward to search out the providers we’d like for the RV.

Associated: All the Countries Where You Can RV

That is additionally the place aires actually turn out to be essential. They’re the perfect, best place to service your tanks, refuel (on fuel, diesel, and propane), and even take out the trash whilst you’re driving down the freeway.

RV Tenting in France

Have you ever heard about tenting in France earlier than? It’s rising in recognition for worldwide vacationers like us and it blew us away!

Subscribe to our Youtube channel to keep watching our RVing in France series 🙂 

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