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Holidaying in France as a Muslim

(9 Posts)
GnomeDePlume Thu 25-Jun-15 12:40:17

A friend of mine is wanting to plan a first family holiday. I have droned on talked enthusiastically about campsite holidays in France. Friend is interested but a little concerned as the family is Muslim.

Does anyone have any first hand experience? Any problems? Any tips?

All thoughts gratefully received.

Twinklestein Thu 25-Jun-15 23:29:26

France has a substantial Muslim population as I'm sure you know.

I find it more racist than the UK, but as with here it's quite random. I'm Caucasian though so I don't know how representative the things I've seen are.

Marseille has the biggest Muslim population after Paris.. who came over from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco... that might be a place to go and blend in...

GnomeDePlume Fri 26-Jun-15 08:37:01

Thanks Twinkelstein. I had read that Marseille's population is about 25% Muslim.

The possibility of casual racism is a concern.

Also there are the practicalities like how available Halal food will be. To my shame I have never really noticed as it hasnt directly concerned me.

alteredimages Fri 26-Jun-15 08:52:06

Haven't been camping in France but lived there as a Muslim until last year.

I wouldn't go somewhere with lots of Muslims to blend in. Large cities (and usually the more deprived parts of them) aren't great for camping and it is not as though they really have anything in common with most French Muslims.

Halal products are available in supermarkets in most cities. I found them (and kosher products) much more easily available than in the UK. This is unlikely to be true of rural areas though. They should be able to find stuff in the nearest hypermarket though, I would think.

I have never had any trouble at all in France and I wear a headscarf and have some pretty appalling French. People always were nice and took an interest in the children, etc.

I suspect casual racism would be more likely in very rural areas and also in the north around Calais where they have very legitimate grievances about illegal immigrants and this can spill over into generalisations. I would probably avoid places with FN controlled councils. I am planning to go camping in France in the future and I can't say I had ever really worried about racism.

Would they be camping in a large organised campsite with lots of facilities or just rocking up and asking the local farmer if they can camp in his field? I think if the former everyone will be used to all comers anyway.

GnomeDePlume Fri 26-Jun-15 09:22:45

Thank you alteredimages. Very useful advice. My friend is looking at eurocamp style campsites so very much organised.

My feel was that it wouldnt be an issue in an organised campsite where my experience is a very much live and let live attitude but didnt want to blithely say 'it will be fine!'

Twinklestein Fri 26-Jun-15 14:37:27

I'd have thought it went without saying that they're not going to be camping in Marseille: I'd imagine it's quite difficult to pitch tents on pavements.

But there are campsites nearby - Cassis or La Ciotat, both of which have lovely views of the sea.

In an area with plenty of Muslims, everyone's used to ethnic difference, you're less likely to attract attention or comment. It's the same in the UK.

I've seen some astonishing racism in France, including an Indian friend of mine being asked to leave a bookshop, while I could stay. That was in Dijon which is hardly Hicksville.

GnomeDePlume Fri 26-Jun-15 16:07:45

Dont worry, I didnt think you were suggesting camping on the streets of Marseille!

I think that for this holiday (first holiday with a new baby) they would prefer to stay a relatively short drive away from the channel crossings. A campsite I have recommended as I have stayed there a few times is this one: link.

Twinklestein Fri 26-Jun-15 18:36:01

I don't think they need to go as far as that. I would suggest Le Touquet, a picturesque resort on the coast, a short drive from Calais.

GnomeDePlume Fri 26-Jun-15 20:31:43

I will suggest that as well, thank you

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