A holiday in the French countryside does not have to break the bank. Indeed if you follow a few simple guidelines from the France Motorhome Hire team, we believe you can have a luxury break on a shoestring budget.
One of the great things about a motorhome or campervan holiday in France is that you can retain total control over how you spend your hard earned money so if this year’s budget is little on the tight side, worry not, there are many ways to save.
Once you rent your motorhome or campervan, that’s the accommodation and transport sorted out and if you choose to eat in for most meals, your food costs will be pretty much exactly what they are for a week at home. The obvious difference being that you do your food shopping in the gourmet capital of the world so ingredients tend to be fresh and fabulous and you can still buy drinkable wines for the same price as fruit juice here.
With ever changing scenery and a new pretty village or town to explore around every corner, there are endless possibilities for spending the day without spending any money too. France has beautiful churches and cathedrals which you can visit for free, many towns offer an interesting walking tour or you can simply potter about and discover the historic highlights for yourself. Most winemakers offer free tastings and are commonly happy to show you their winemaking process and cellars which is always an interesting way to spend an afternoon.
Year round there are gourmet festivals, markets, cultural festivals, wine festivals, parades, music festivals, country fairs and antiques fairs. Just call into any tourist information office and they will give you a list of local events to choose from (or visit their websites if you want to see what events are on offer before you come).
If you enjoy the open countryside, away from the madding crowd, France offers incredibly varied terrain from mountains to coastal paths (and literally everything in between from sandy beaches to canal tow paths). You can hike or bike, swim or simply drive your motorhome to a beautiful spot and stop for a picnic.
Here are our other top tips for a motorhome holiday on a budget…
Hire in low or value season: Our high season is surprisingly short – just 1st July to 5th August so it is easy to avoid paying the top price for your hire, even if you have to come during the school holidays.
Use less fuel: Stick to our “one tankful” rule, you can do about 750 kilometres on one tank and if you explore the beautiful regions closest to our depot, you’ll save a fortune in road tolls and fuel.
Don’t stay on campsites every night: There are loads of free places to stay in France and all of our vehicles come with free membership of “France Passion” (a truly brilliant scheme offering free pitches for motorhomes and campervans at vineyards, farms and many other interesting places, see: www.francepassion.com). All of our motorhomes and campervans are fully equipped for autonomous overnight stays so you don’t need electricity/water connections or even a shower and toilet block. Many towns even provide “Aire de Camping Car” halts where you can stay overnight for free and empty your tanks/top up with water for a couple of euros. Even if you do want to head for the odd campsite, the choice of sites is so vast in France that you can easily choose a site to suit a limited budget and most of the sites run by the towns offer great value.
Eat in not out: Restaurants can soak up quite a large part of your budget, especially if you eat out in the evenings. Eat out at lunchtime to get the best deals or eat in and make use of the fully equipped kitchen. If you find cooking a chore, pick up a regional dish at a deli or market and enjoy it al fresco with a nice bottle of local wine as you watch the sun go down.
Whatever you choose to do on your motorhome or campervan holiday, you don’t have to compromise to save money. France is such a feast for the senses, if all you do is arrive, unwind and soak up the smells, sights and sounds of this wonderful country, you’re still bound to have a great time.