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Please tell me all I need to know about camping in France

(14 Posts)
hackingandhewing Thu 09-Jun-11 18:30:59

We have just got our first tent since we had DCs.

DD 12, DS 6. Would love to go to France in the summer.

Would you lovely MN campers please tell me anything important I need to know about camping in France?

Have been to France on other types of holiday but no idea if their cmaping culture is very different to English camping.

BelovedCunt Thu 09-Jun-11 18:33:44

the campsites are magnific and if you have a male partner he will have to wear briefs in teh pool.

if you want to save money municipal sites are generally better value

hackingandhewing Thu 09-Jun-11 18:37:11

Thanks and I LOVE your name!!! I seriously doubt that DH will do briefs for swimming - he will just not swim (probably best for all concerned!!!)

BelovedCunt Thu 09-Jun-11 18:40:29

dh was like that until the campsite owner frogmarched him to the swimming pant vending machine and insisted he partake!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Thu 09-Jun-11 19:29:37

We saw men being booted out of the pool for wearing shorts last week, even tight cycling short types. Most of them keep shorts on the poolside to slip on when they are out of the water.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 10-Jun-11 00:12:42

Camping in France will be a revelation, I hope. We go there every year, to different parts, but find it fantastic. Usually you only pay per person and can have pup tents, etc on your pitch. The weather is usually good, depending on how far down France you go, and that seems to make such a difference.

Concur with the others about the speedos. Have been to one site in low season where they didn't enforce the speedos rule, but it may have been different in high season.

If you want your pick of sites, don't go high season - 15 July to 15 August-ish. Go the last two weeks of August. We usually do this, but because of GCSE results are going the first two weeks of August this year and so have booked, for the first time ever. If you go in the last two weeks of August you can decide what area you want to go and just turn up at a campsite. If you don't like it, you leave. Also, usually you don't pay until you leave, unlike UK where you pay before you pitch.

Don't forget to order the baguettes/croissants for breakfast at the site, usually the evening before. Above all, have fun. I'm sure you will.

thereistheball Fri 10-Jun-11 08:33:05

I really recommend the Indigo / Huttopia sites. We've stayed in lots and they are all gorgeous. You'll need to book.

hackingandhewing Fri 10-Jun-11 16:08:50

Thanks all for your very useful tips. Will be spending a happy weekend searching for a place to go - DH hasn't been that enthused about going abroad for our first proper camping holiday but I'm certain I can convince him, even if he does have to wear speedos!!!!

GnomeDePlume Fri 10-Jun-11 16:56:35

We were in a site in the Dordogne last week and the speedo rule wasnt enforced. On the whole short leg, tight trunks are normally accepted. Take the flappy sort as well. A lot of people lounge around on the side in the flappy sort over their speedos then just whip off the flappy ones to swim.

This is an excellent website:

Other top tips:
- campsite takeaways are normally pretty damn good. Great for buying chips to go with whatever you are cooking back at your tent
- the French 'do' camping, it is part of their national culture
- campsites take many forms, municipal campsites tend to be simpler and may be attached to the local municipal pool. Larger campsite will have their own pool though this too may be open to the public.
- read the reviews - I often look for the Dutch reviews (the Dutch are another big camping nation) as they focus on the practical like how clean the showers are rathar than the more nebulous 'atmosphere'
- away from the med where campsites tend to be cramped, emplacements (pitches) are quite often marked out with hedges and can be quite spacious.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 10-Jun-11 19:07:38

It's funny you should say that about the Dutch, Gnome, as we stayed on a French campsite last year that was predominantly occupied by Dutch campers. The toilets/showers were the cleanest I have ever seen, even though usually in France they're OK as you're expected to clean up after yourself. We did say that we thought that must be the reason.

We have sometimes found, though, that only speedos will do on some campsites, even though the tight-legged shorts are the same, some owners just won't accept that.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Fri 10-Jun-11 19:45:20

Lots of Dutch where we went too. Short tight trunks and briefs were accepted but not longer cycling type ones. We had a lovely week here Chateau de LEz Eaux last week, I have just posted a review in the reviews section

BelovedCunt Sat 11-Jun-11 11:53:51

check out excellent reviews,

overthemill Sat 11-Jun-11 12:55:05

gnomedeplumecan you help me find out how to search on that website for municipal sites?

GnomeDePlume Sat 11-Jun-11 13:37:45

overthemill when you open up the website there is a green map of France on the left with the French regions marked. Next to that map are two search boxes:

- the top one is par region
- the sesond one is name/keyword

If you have a region you are interested in then key that in the top box. Then in the second one key in 'municipal' (without quotes of course!). Then hit 'valider'

'Tis as simple as that!

Bon chance!

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