Motorhoming in France is about pretty villages and towns, wonderful food and wine, long sandy beaches, forests, mountains, winding rivers, in fact just about everything you could wish for in a holiday. It’s all on our doorstep and easy to do.
It’s definitely worth trying for a week or two and I guarantee you’ll be back for more.
Motorhoming in France.
France occupies twice the land area of the UK with about the same population. Most of the population live in the cities so vast areas of countryside and seaside remain sparsely occupied especially outside of the national holiday period of July and August. And you don’t have to travel to the Mediterranean coast. The West coast of France is equally stunning and the weather almost as good. The ‘good weather’ season extends well beyond that of the UK and many people take advantage of the empty motorways during the Spring and Autumn.
So how do you go about motorhoming in France? What are the costs? What about the language? Here we go!
Crossing from the UK to France.
Look at the following site for prices of ferry crossings.
Direct Ferries. One of several universal booking sites. They offer good prices for many of the ferry operators and will give you a price comparison based on your route, crossing times and vehicle type.
There are many ferry routes and these take from 1 hour (Dover to Calais, in the East), to 6 hours from Plymouth to Roscoff. Costs vary a lot of course but go for the shorter routes out of season and you will be surprised at how little it will set you back.
Driving in France.
Yes, it’s on the the ‘wrong’ side of the road but the traffic levels are much lighter and you can take your time. There are frequent places to stop and rest, and there’s no rush. There’s an awful lot to see!
What about the motorways?
Most of the main roads in France are more like our dual carriageways. All are free to travel on except those designated ‘Péage’. These are top quality motorways that you have to pay for. The costs are not too high given that you can travel at 80 mph with often no traffic to hinder you. But for every motorway there is always an A road option (N roads in France) and these often pass through beautiful towns, villages and countryside.
Staying overnight in your motorhome.
Look for the ‘Aires’. These range from a simple layby to motorway service areas.
But one of the special things about motorhoming in France are the numerous Aires specially put aside for motorhomes. Motorhoming is very popular in France and almost every town of note has such an area. These are often free, or make a very small charge. They often have facilities for emptying your grey and black water tanks, and for taking on water. Look for this sign:
The France Passion organisation provide hundreds of free overnight stops on vineyards and farms. You must be a member which costs 25 Euros (2017) and for this you get a very comprehensive handbook and map both of which are in French and English. There is often a small shop selling their own produce. This is the way to see the real France!
There are so many free organised places to stop in France that you rarely need to wild camp. But if you do find somewhere that looks promising for an overnight stop the chances are you will not be moved on. Obviously you must show respect for the place, but wild camping is generally tolerated.
The Mediterranean coast is very built up and busy. There’s lots to see and do, but why not take a look at the West Coast, especially the Charente Maritime region. Here you will find beautiful islands like Île de Ré and Île d’Oleron. You will also find amazing beaches, and lots of interesting towns and villages. Take a look at La Rochelle, Rochefort and Bordeaux. All places you must visit.
This area is also home the the famous town of Cognac which makes the very special spirit drink. Less famous are the wines of Charente. These exceptional wines benefit from the abundance of sunshine and are becoming very respected throughout France. Take a look at these producers:
French language for motorhomers.
French is of course the spoken language. But if you have a Tomtom for example, there’s a good chance that it will recognise French place names and make your navigation easy. Shopping in France is easy in the supermarkets as all you have to do is pick things up and pay for them with your UK credit or debit card. The same for petrol and diesel.
If you are passing through the Charente Maritime region, please pop in to our local office and talk to us (in English) about the solar panel system on your motorhome. We offer free advice, a range of top quality products and a competitive fitting service.
Happy motorhoming in France!
For more information: