The best thing about staying in a motorhome or campervan in France is the freedom to stay in a multitude of locations. Unlike other countries that restrict your over night stays to designated campsites only, France offers you the freedom and variety to stop at many different locations and hidden beauty spots on a whim.
Once you get used to this freedom, there really is no going back to the restraints of booking up campsites weeks ahead and then having to stick to a rigid itinerary!
To help you with your new-found freedom, I’ve gathered together some of the best websites I know of to help you locate great places to stay!
If you’re still just finding your feet and not ready to go whole heartedly off grid then I can recommend three great websites to help you find good campsites just to get you going. You can book ahead with these, however, many of them will have places available all year round. Unless you are going to aim for a particular event such as the 24hour racing at Le Mans, if you get your timing right, even in the height of the season, you will find a placement.
Most campsites work on a ‘depart by 11am’ system. So, if you arrive between 12noon and 2pm in the afternoon, all the campers leaving the site will have gone, and you’ll be settled in before all the dawdlers arriving later on in the afternoon. Aim for this time and you’ll do just fine.
Take a look at www.pitchup.com they will give you all the details about facilities and you can even book online in English with this site. I’ve stayed at several pitchup campsites in France and the UK and they have always been true to their descriptions.
ACSI Campsites (Auto Camper Service International) are a campsite association that also has a phone app. You can pay membership for a year to join and benefit from discounted overnight rates, but you don’t have to and anyone can book and stay on their sites. Again, these sites are inspected yearly and appear to be true to inspection descriptions. One of our nearest campsites in Joigny is an ACSI campsite and is very well kept.
On the ACSI website, you can select campsites by themes – so you’re able to choose between small and quiet or waterparks and children’s entertainment.
Campsite guides: This is a campsite website guide that we love and use frequently here in France.
Other places to stay
When you’re a little braver, you can try overnight stopovers at Aires de Services, our special France Passion Network of which all our vehicles have registered membership, or try the Homecamper website.
Basically, Homecamper is a great website that lets you book one night stays on private property. We wrote a blog about it a few months ago. Here’s what we said if you want to find out more.
Aires de Services, Domme
The Aires de Services are areas specifically designed for motorhomes to empty their waste water tanks and chemical toilets as well as fill up with fresh water. Many offer this as part of the town’s communal services for free. Other’s may offer electricity and charge using a token system at an unmanned site. Some offer the Aires de Services for passing motorhomes, but they are also part of a campsite, so if you want to overnight there, you have to pay for campsite fees.
Here’s a link to finding Aires de Services in France, you also get a guidebook on our Motorhomes for you to use. You can’t book Aires de Services in advance, they operate on a turn up and park basis. This site lets you locate Aires de Services based on which type of space you’d like.
France Passion is another Network that our vehicles are members of. Again, designed for overnight stops on artisan farms and sites, they are free for motorhomes. Although there are no facilities here for you, if you combine these with stopping off at Aires de Services during your travels to top up with water etc, you will never need to see a campsite for your entire holiday. There’s more information about France Passion camping on our webpage.
Our final offering for those going completely wild and free is www.Park4night.com. This is a user sharing site where people find good places to pull up and overnight, then register them online for others to find and locate. While none of these stopovers come with the inspected guarantees of the campsites or Aires de Services, and they really will be only as good as the last person’s review, they do come in handy for finding those secret little places in the middle of no-where and are fabulous for tracking down those hidden beauty spots that only Motorhomers can enjoy.
Don’t forget as part of our comprehensive package we include free of charge, a Michelin Campsite Guide, an Aires de Services Guide and Membership to the France Passion Network.
Happy Motorhoming Everyone!!