Planning next year - need ideas for camping in France.

(17 Posts)
jobnockey Mon 16-Sep-13 13:31:44

Okay so camping season this year officially over for us <sob>

So onto planning next year’s adventure – yay!

For the first time now we’re confined to the summer holidays, so planning an august trip somewhere in France, probably for a week as can’t imagine DP wanting to camp for longer than that at a time! I’ve never camped in europe before so have no idea what to expect re: French campsites etc. My only experience is a keycamp resort in Italy but we stayed in a chalet then, this time we’re taking our own tent.

So can you help me plan please?

Don’t want to have to drive too far from ferry crossing on French side (we can access Dover or Portsmouth easily) but would like to have best chance of hot weather (can somebody arrange this please) grin

DS (will be aged 5) would love a swimming pool and all that jazz but me and DP don’t really like ‘resorty’ type campsites so a happy medium of sorts would be good. Would like to be near a beach. Or a lake. Or both!

Do French sites usually let you have a campfire? - would be weird camping without one…

Oh and it should be as cheap as poss as we’re always on a budget.

Any ideas/suggestions/tips for camping in france will be most gratefully received.

thonah Mon 16-Sep-13 13:46:36

If you can go latter half of August a lot of campsites have cheaper rates. If you want to keep the cost down don't go to the coast. We have found that the weather is significantly better than the UK if you head at least as far as the Loire (about 1/3 down France). This is also a lovely area with places to visit and some good campsites. Try the area around Saumur for instance.

Have a look at the ACSI campingcard website - you will be able to find sites that have low season rates (12, 14 or 26 euros per nt) from mid-August on.

I've never been on a french campsite that allows campfires. Obiously it is generally drier in France, hence the risk of fire is greater. There may be some though, we've just never looked. We've just had 3 weeks in France and sat out every night to at least 11pm, only putting trousers and long sleeves on to prevent the odd mosquito bite. A camp fire would have been surplus to requirements!

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 16-Sep-13 14:08:10

I used to feel that the idea of no fire in France would be weird but, in summer at least, I can't imagine needing one in most parts of France - in fact, often you would actively be moving away from one I would have thought.

We just came back from a site on the Med and it was warm all night - so lovely to simply slip into pyjamas before bed and back into shorts the next day without the freezing rush to put on thermals that I always have here, even in the height of summer.

No help on sites though sadly - we always tend to head as far south as possible in France and, as DD (3) is a water slide demon, we have tended to end up at the all-singing sites in the last few years. If you could make it down as far as the Dordogne though, Domaine de Mathevies might suit you. There are a few reviews on here and Cool Camping feature it.

hillbilly Mon 16-Sep-13 14:53:07

Also close to Mummypigs recommendation is Les Valades where we went this summer. They allow fires in firepits and BBQs. The site is beautiful and spacious with a lake, pool and paddling pool. We loved it and will be returning next year. It's about 10 hrs drive from Calais.

Suttonmum1 Mon 16-Sep-13 18:44:14

If you decide on the Loire then L'Etang de la Breche near Saumurr is great. The biggest pitches ever, but be sure to book direct with them to specify a pitch, and take a look at UKcampsite for details of the best pitches.

devilinside Mon 16-Sep-13 20:27:01

www.milin-kerhe.com/

just fabulous, Small, bonfires allowed, farm animals, river for swimming and kayaking. I've never seen my ASD boy so relaxed and happy

devilinside Mon 16-Sep-13 20:29:09

You need a fire in Brittany, but the weather during the day is gorgeous

jobnockey Tue 17-Sep-13 12:15:50

that site looks lovely devilinside, just the sort of thing we'd be looking for! Just realised however, how bloody expensive the ferry is! I had no idea! the tunnel would be a much cheaper option but leaves us in Calais so it's a bit more of a trek to anywhere...

EmilyAlice Tue 17-Sep-13 12:22:23

Have a look at Newhaven Dieppe with DFDS / LD Lines. They can be much cheaper. It saves a couple of hours on the Calais run.

devilinside Tue 17-Sep-13 12:56:37

We got the Ferry to Calais, and had stopovers on the Normandy beaches. I Recommend Honfleur as a place to stop.

jobnockey Tue 17-Sep-13 13:02:01

I never even considered Newhaven route but will look into that, thanks!

The stopover idea might work too though and that way we get some beach action too... could maybe have a 2 week holiday and break it up into 3 destinations? One of the benefits of a bell tent is its easiness in putting up and down so hopefully DP could be convinced...

hmmm. goog job i have started my planning ridiculously early! theres lots to sort out!

justforachange Wed 18-Sep-13 13:42:30

I'd second Milin Kerhe - we were there for a week in mid August and it was fabulous, all the things devilinside said! It did tend to be more overcast weather-wise but a 30-40 minute drive to the beach and it cleared. We spent our first week further south at Les Embruns. All singing and dancing site, great swimming pools, spotless facilities, kids activities (that ours didn't do) and very near the beach. Weather-wise it was hotter and easily walkable to several restaurants and there was a much bigger mix of nationalities. Milin kerhe was 80% British, I'd guess. Both our DDs preferred M-K as they made so many friends there. (If you're into watersports, the sea around Les Embruns was great for body boarding or surfing, the beaches that we went to in the north would be better for sailing or kayaking, I'd say) Happy planning!

millimat Sat 21-Sep-13 07:47:14

We worked out that the ferry costs were so much more when not Dover Calais that it was still less money to do this cheapest crossing and an overnight stop in a Travelodge type place. Saves unpacking everything for one night. I was shocked by the cost of the tunnel!

tyaca Thu 26-Sep-13 18:59:02

oh gosh, i hated milin kehre. we booked for 8 nights this summer and left after 2. Really over crowded, everyone squished together. We were on the non-EHU field which was just about tolerable - the other bit looked like a shanty town. Only a few pitches allowed campfires and the showers and toilets were worst I've ever known.

I love back to basics, campfire sites in the UK and was hoping milin kehre would replicate some of that sense of posh peaceful laid back beautiful space. it really really didn't. the owners seemed to have no idea how many people were arriving each day, and were hardly around, which was strange considering we were there the first weekend of august.

my kids did like the goats and the boats, and i imagine that out of peak season the campsites good features may outweigh the cons eg the toilets but i would never go back and am always very surprised at the good reviews it gets.

Ed234 Thu 26-Sep-13 21:58:58

Camping Le Moulin Fort in the Loire. Beautiful location by river and a Chateau just up the river bank. The Chateau has night time musical garden walks and you can hear the classical music drifting up river. You'll be awoken by hot air balloons overhead in the mornings. Lots of UK campers. If you do go, bring some inflatable boats to enjoy the river. Lovely towns and villages nearby.

moulinfort.pagesperso-orange.fr/moulinfort/index_files/Page414.htm

jobnockey Fri 27-Sep-13 14:19:45

I almost forgot to keep checking this thread. Thanks for your review Tyaca interesting to hear the other side- doesn't sound quite so idyllic now! Maybe a victim of it's own success?
I think Loire might just be a bit too far to drive but keep 'em coming as it's good to have lots of places to research and if we see somewhere perfect i am sure i can convince DP that a few extra hours in the car will be worth it!

Kahlua4me Fri 27-Sep-13 18:01:20

We stayed at Le Chant d'Oiseau in Mouliherne this year and had a fantastic time.

Would highly recommend the site and the local area. Lots to see and do and the site was incredibly relaxing. Our dc are 7 and 10 and they had an excellent time. Ds had his birthday whilst we were there and says it was the best birthday ever.

It was an easy days drive from Calais. Weather was good during the day but we did have 2 nights of thunderstorms!

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