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A hiker camping in France in the Alps near Montblanc

Camping in France

Explore the best campsites, RV parks, tentspots, cabins and glamping sites for camping in France.

France is simply perfect for camping. Western Europe’s biggest country has the mighty Alps and the magical Pyrenees, the vast Atlantic and balmy Mediterranean. France is very popular among all kinds of campers who often visit remote and idyllic areas close to nature, but if you’re looking for a short escape there are also lots of camping opportunities just outside city centers across the country.

Insider tips for camping in France

A road bicycle in front of an old French house

“With our bike trails and iconic roads, you’ll get almost anywhere by bicycle. The Tour de France doesn’t happen for nothing! Talking about the Tour, it’s the mountain passes that are most impressive. Take it easy and you can complete one too. I usually use this cycle travel website to plan my bike camping trips in france”

- Léo 32

A French woman backpacking while camping in France

“Bivouacking is actually allowed in some French national parks, but you should book a spot in advance. Just contact the national park you want to visit directly. The basic rules are: travel light, leave nothing behind, pitch your gear at sunset and get up and going with sunrise.”
- Chloé 26

Campervan parked on the French countryside

RV service areas are fairly easy to find all over the country. Here you can empty gray water and fill up your water deposit, as well as stay for the night. You can find the specific rules on a sign somewhere at the Aire de Service.”
- Matthieu 34

Camping France: best road trips for your holiday

There is something for every kind of taste in France. From mountains and canyons, to islands, dunes and coastlines. There’s the countryside, forests, creeks, and ancient caves. And French culture, iconic cities and fine french food. Here are some of the best road trips in France :

A view of the French Alps and a forest

On the road to the great Alps

From Lake Geneva to the French Riviera in +8 days

Thonon les Bains - Morzine - la Clusaz - Col des Aravis - Les Arcs - Val d'Isère - Col de L'iseron - Bonneval sur Arc - Col du télégraphe - Col du Galibier - Col du Lautaret - Briançon - Le Lasseron - Col d'Izaard - Gorges du Guil - Col de Vars - Col de la Bonette - Col de Turini - Col de Castillon - Menton

See the full road trip with all stops here

Sunset on the coast of Brittany in France

A coastal road trip in Brittany

Travel along the wild cost of Finistère in +10 days

Bot Conan - Beg Moc’h - La pointe du groasguen - Glenan archipelago - La pointe du Raz + Le torche - Morgat Beach - Crozon peninsula - Ouessant island "

See the whole road trip here.

The Pyrenees are great for camping in France

Traveling through the Southern passes

A road trip from the Atlantic Pyrenees to the Haute Garonne in 5+ days

Cazeaux-de-Larboust - Bagnères-de-Luchon - Saint-Mamet - Col du Portillon - Fos - Saint-Béat - Boutx - Col de Mente - Col de la Clin - Col le Couret - Col du Portet-d'Aspet

See more info about all the stops here.

View of the Massif Central while camping in France

The volcanoes and hot springs of Auvergne

From Le Pariou to the lakes in the Massif Central region in 3+ days

Puy de Pariou - Puy des goules - Puy de dôme - Puy de la vache - Lac de servières -  Les roches Tuilières et Sanadoires - Lac de Guéry - Hot springs in Mont Dore - Lac Chambon - Lac Pavin

See all the places to visit here.

The Vosges forest in France

Discovering the Vosges forest

Cute towns and green valleys in the Alsace in 2+ days

Le Grand Ballon - La Bresse - Hohneck Peak -  Le Taner - Le lac Blanc - Munster valley

See more details here.

Surfers in Hossegor in France

On the road for the finest French surf breaks

Surf road trip from Brittany to the Basque Country in 10+ days

Hendaye - Guétary - Biarritz - Anglet - Hossegor - Mimizan - Biscarrosse - Lacanau - Carcans - Brétignolles-sur-Mer - Oléron Island - Longeville-sur-Mer - Quiberon - La Torche

See more info here

Most popular activities to do on a camping trip to France

France is a wonderfully diverse country with a whole host of different microclimates, cultures and natural landscapes. Whatever you’re in for, you can probably do it here in some splendid setting. These are some of our top suggestions for activities when camping in France:

Combine camping France with surfing on the Atlantic coast from the north to southwest. Early autumn and late spring are shoulder seasons, when waves are great and the weather is too.

Winter sports in the French Alps and the Pyrenees. Pick between skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice climbing, and other snow activities.

Snowboarder looking out at the mountains in the alps

Extreme sports in the mountain regions. Go rafting, mountain climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, and more.

For canoeing or kayaking, our favorite areas are the Ardèche, Landes, Loire, Marseill, Tarn, Corsica and Brittany.

France counts 369 long-distance hiking trails. The most popular are the GR 65 Compostelle trail and GR 10 Mediterranean/Pyrenees trail. Check out the GR 20, 49, 21 and 34 too.

Follow the footsteps of the Tour de France and bike across the country.

Cross the country with a canoe. Take to the water from Geneva lake until Saint-Nazaire and cover 1400 kms in 50 days.

Two canoes on a pitstop on a river

Things to consider when going on a camping trip to France

  1. Avoid the crowd and coastlines during July and August or choose to travel off season. The coastlines are especially packed with tourists during holiday seasons, so stay inland to avoid the crowd in summertime.
  2. Always hike with a mountain guide if you want to challenge the highest peaks in France’s mountain regions.
  3. RV service areas are found all over the country. Here you can empty gray water and fill up your water tank.
  4. Respect national parks rules and guidelines. Bivouacking in French national parks is allowed but book in advance your spot by contacting the national park directly.
  5. Be aware of strong swell phenomenons on the Atlantic coast called baïnes. Never surf alone and know your own capacities.
  6. France is the second largest country of the EU, do not underestimate distances. Highways tolls can be costly so plan your route carefully. Avoiding highways adds time but lets you experience more nature along the way.
  7. Roads in the mountain regions and in countryside might look feasible on the map but might have very narrow streets, so check the route ahead if you have a large car or campervan.
  8. “No one speaks English in France.” True, English is not the first language French people try to master, BUT if you speak Spanish, Italian or German you might get a chance to find someone speaking your language.
  9. France is the most visited country in the world, so Frenchies are used to tourists – but please try to respect the locals. Don’t throw things on the floor, make noises at night, or park your car on private land. Learn a few French words to start a conversation.
  10. Keep your tone low. Speaking loudly in France will bring unwanted attention to yourself. This etiquette applies even to children, so it should to you too.
  11. Always keep your ID on you. Police checks can be random and common during high season.
  12. France has four seasons with a mild climate throughout the country and mild winters in the south. Be aware that if you camp in winter you will need to be equipped appropriately, especially in the mountain regions.

Norms and regulations for camping in France

Wild camping in France (tent)

Wild camping is permitted anywhere in France subject to the permission of the landowner or tenant of the land, and subject to certain general limitations. The basic rules are set out in  Article R111-33 of French town and country planning law.

The main restrictions stipulate that wild camping is not permitted on the coast, in protected natural sites, and on the perimeter of classified historic monuments.

Tent camping in the Pyrenees in France

Motorhome parking in France

Motorhomes can park wherever cars can park, unless specifically prohibited. Please be sure to obey the signs. Once you have parked, you may sleep in your motorhome, provided you are not camping on the public road. This means that if you are in a parking space, you cannot use any exterior accessories from the motorhome. No camping chairs, no awnings, etc.

A girl and a motorhome in France

BBQs and bonfires in France

Bonfires are generally not authorized in France due to the high risk of fire incidents in dry regions. Please start a fire only in dedicated and safe zones. Fires have a lasting impact on natural areas and the fauna and flora they support, so we always suggest that we reconsider the and surrounding nature before lighting a fire or BBQ. Public BBQs can usually be found in public parks and close to lakes, however be sure to read local signage if its an authorized BBQ or not.

A wildfire in France

Camping France - Frequently asked questions:

Best times for camping in France?

There is something to satisfy campers in each season in France. In winter, mountains regions are great for those into winter sport and leisure, while the south of the country has mild temperatures and sun all year.

Spring and summer are the main camping season across the country, so some places might be more crowded as everyone is outside and there are lots of local events all over the country.

Fall is the best time for crowdless parks and fall foliage in the forest regions and mountains. Corsica is full from May until August, low season is the best time to enjoy the island and meet locals.

Are campsites open during winter? Is it safe to winter camp?

Several remain open in winter, especially municipality campgrounds. Ensure your equipment is suitable for winter camping before camping in mountain regions, and bring enough clothing and gear.

In general, only the people looking to go off-track skiing and snowboarding, or climbing go winter camping in France.

Can I drink water from the tap in France?

Yes, tap water quality is safe and fairly equal all over the country. Bring and refill your water bottle to reduce plastic use.

Is it safe to camp in France?

Yes, France is generally a very camping friendly country, with low crime and lots of accessible nature and campsites in nature. Be aware that some natural forces can cause risk in different periods and areas. Fire risk is high in summer in the South of France, where it’s very hot and dry.

Can I bring my dog when camping in France?

France is a dog friendly destination. Many campsites allow dogs, but check with the owner or staff before arriving. You can bring your dog to restaurants, beaches, and national parks. This changes in summer months, when dogs are often not allowed in national parks and on beaches with crowds.