Fancy a camping holiday in France? Well, you’re in luck. France just happens to be the most popular camping destination in the whole of Europe! The scenic French valleys and hills are positively littered with campsites that cater to campers of all sorts, whether it be caravanning, tenting or somewhere in between. You can even find campsites in Paris.
French campsites can be owned privately or by the municipality. Private campsites are more likely to be located in the country whilst municipal sites can be found around the edges of town.
All 11,000 French campsites are rated using a star system. It works the same way hotel ratings do, with one being extremely basic and four, the lap of luxury. One-star campsites are increasingly rare and are usually found in remote villages because most owners try to invest in their property to attract more campers.
Two-star campsites are by far the most plentiful and are often owned by the municipality. You can expect a reasonable level of amenities at a campsite of this standard. Hot showers are available and toilets will be kept clean. There may be some sports facilities such as a roughly cleared football pitch or tennis court and perhaps an on-site or near-site café but don’t expect anything too elaborate. You are camping after all.
If you want an outdoor taste of France but don’t want to give up all the conveniences of a hotel, you will likely wish to choose a three or four-star campground. These sites are very much more than just a place to pitch your tent for the night. At the highest level, these luxury campgrounds will remind you of an open-air luxury hotel.
It would not at all be unusual to discover first class restaurants on-site along with extremely well organised entertainment programmes. There will be both children’s programmes running during the day as well as evening entertainment geared to adults. Luxury campsite will most definitely have at least one swimming pool and beautifully landscaped grounds along with very well developed sports facilities.
Although the rating system is handy, it is important to remember that it is not a completely reliable indicator of quality. The system is designed mostly to provide information about the number of amenities available and does not take into consideration other important features such as proximity to the city, for example.
One really important thing the star system doesn’t cover is the quality of your welcome. Most privately owned campsites are part of the owner’s primary property and it is quite likely that he will live on-site. French campsite owners are a friendly lot and will usually be quite keen to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
Knowing the washbasin to pitch ratios and minimum pitch size will give you a general idea of what to expect but it is really through trial and error that you’ll find campsites that work well best you and your family. Let the adventure begin!