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The different types of campsites in France

Campsites in France are graded from one to five stars by the local authorities according to the amenities on offer (no longer the one to four star system that is still being quoted by some).  The prices charged reflect the number of stars, the number of people per pitch, and vary according to the season.   Campsites may cater for tents, caravans or mobile homes and all graded campsites are required to provide showers, toilets and washing areas a minimum – depending on your requirements you should check first for caravan access or to see what exactly is offered and many campsites now have websites that make this easy.

One star campsites in France

Usually fairly basic, toilets and showers though hot water is not guaranteed at all. Some are not fantastically clean but you get what you pay for and we’ve seen them for as little as €6.00 per night for a pitch.  There are approximately 1400 one star campsites in France

Two star campsites in France

Generally the same as for one star but you should get hot water and most if not all will include electric power points.   There are around 3700 two star campsite in France

Three star campsites in France

You should expect much more spacious plots, electrical hook-up, and much cleaner.  At least a food store on site or nearby, children’s play area, some will have swimming pools and sports facilities. France boasts 2500 three star campsites.

Four and five star campsites in France

These are generally very comfortable offering larger pitches, often swimming pools and sports facilities, a shop, possibly restaurant facilities, washing machine etc.  Five stars are awarded to those campsite which offer pretty much everything – real luxury.  There are around 243 four star and 468 five star campsites in France

Clef Verte campsites in France

The clef verte label is awarded to sites offering environmentally friendly accommodation (it can also be applied to hotels, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, holiday residences, and youth hostels).  An independent jury awards the label annually and asks for a monitoring of progress and improvements of the candidates.

Camping  à la Ferme in France

“Camping à la ferme” – if you want a real get away from it all type experience and to immerse yourself in the daily life and culture of a region this may well be for you.  It’s a label presented to farmers who offer a small area for camping, with a maximum of six pitches.  This option may allow you to really experience the work of the farmer and to get close to nature. The local tourist office will be able to advise which farms are offering this service in the region you visit.

Aire naturelle de camping in France

Similar to camping à la ferme but bigger with a maximum of 25 pitches, often on farms and usually with more facilities for washing, showering etc.   You can get a list of these campsites from the local tourist office.

Camping sauvage in France

Camping sauvage or camping rough i.e. not a campsite is not to be recommended without asking permission first if you are camping or parking on someone’s land.  Often a polite request for permission will get you much more positive results than hoping for the best.

Camping sauvage is generally permitted for a period from sunset to sunrise but is regulated in some areas.

It is prohibited to camp: in the woods, forests and parks that are classified as nature reserves; on roads and highways; on beaches; within 200 m of a water reservoir for consumption; in a listed or registered heritage or nature; within 500 m of a historic or listed monument; in designated area specified the prefectural or municipal authorities.

Check at the local tourist office for details if you are not sure.

Camping Naturiste in France

France offers a huge choice of resorts and campsites across many regions from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean, in rural locations or at the beach.

Glamping in France

The glamorous and luxurious end of the camping market – there is a massive and growing choice of accommodation and locations offering anything from safari style lodges, yurts, tree house cabins, gypsy caravans and tepee  – what are you waiting for?!

Choosing a campsite, making a reservation

For sedentary camping holidays on campsites, booking is always recommended especially in peak season but if you’re willing to go on a campsite that’s not got a four or five star grade it’s generally fairly easy to find somewhere if you’re touring.  Just don’t expect to find somewhere easy in the main tourist sites – it’s unlikely to happen!  Campsites generally open in April and close around September, sometimes October.

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