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Camping in France

Camping is a Great Budget Lodging Choice

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Camping in France

Camping in France

Jeroen Nvt
Camping in France is an inexpensive and at times surprisingly comfortable accommodation. Quite popular with European tourists, there are campgrounds sprinkled throughout the country. Some of the four-star versions even offer wonderful amenities like pools, fine dining and on-site grocery stores. You might be surprised just how much you like camping in France.

France Camping and Government Ratings

Much like France's hotels, the French goverment issues star ratings to campgrounds. While this isn't a 100 percent guarantee (there are some mediocre four-star campgrounds), it serves as a good guide. Most three- and four-star campgrounds are comfortable, and some are downright luxurious (for camping, that is).

France Camping is Cheap

The prices are usually quite reasonable as well, ranging from a handful of euros for a primitive tent site, two people and a car to 400 euros for weekly rent of a 6-person bungalow. Electricity is frequently available for about 2-4 extra euros, but you will sometimes need a special campsite adaptor and/or an extension cord.

Camping Amenities in France

Some campgrounds also rent out furnished tents, refrigerators, grills or even TVs. Many have pools, restaurants or snack bars, nightclubs and grocery stores. Some feature Internet cafes or wi-fi, ATM machines and doctors on-site. The most upscale camping resorts can be found along the coasts.

The peak tourist season (July and August) will be the most expensive, but campgrounds will have the most amenities available. A site that lists a grocery, nightly shows and a doctor on-site, for instance, may only have those available in July and August, so check ahead.

The Added Cost of Camping

While you will save potentially hundreds of euros on lodging, do research first to be sure other costs related to camping don't bump you above the price for simple lodging.

You will probably need to rent a car, for instance, to reach many campgrounds. (If nothing else, a tent is not a very secure place to store your luggage during trips into town).

You may also want to consider renting a camper van for the visit, providing transportation, a more secure place to store luggage and better accommodations at night. If you are on foot, you may need to spend money on bus rides into the city.

There is also the cost of camping equipment to consider. For those flying into Paris, try to keep your equipment light and to a minimum: tent, sleeping bag, cooking items, first-aid kit and sleeping mat.

There are, however, some campgrounds inside city limits. Paris, for instance, has a popular campground with bus lines connecting visitors to much of the city.

Tips for Camping in France

Reservations are highly recommended in the peak season, and some campgrounds are only open in the warmer months. Reservations usually cost an extra 15-20 euros, though. If your plans are flexible and you can call same-day to check availability, you can just cut that cost and wing it.

Carry a camping guide, such as Michelin's Camping in France, on you during the trip. Many tourist offices also publish brochures of camping in their city or region.

Camping in France is much more mainstream than in America. You get the chance to mingle with more European tourists. It provides a low-cost alternative to pricy hotels. Best of all, it could save you enough money to let you prolong your French vacation.

French Camping Translator

EnglishFrench
Do you have a camping pitch/site available?Avez-vous un emplacement disponsible?
A tent Une tente
With/without electrityAvec/sans electricité
With my carAvec ma voiture
For one/two/three people and a child/baby/dogPour une/deux/trois personne/personnes et un enfant/bébé/chien
Are you close to town?Êtes-vous près de la ville?
Do you have...Avez-vous...
...a pool?...une piscine?
...a restaurant?...un restaurant?
...a grocery?...une épicerie?
...hot showers?...les douches chaudes?
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