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When we were kids, we always went camping in France, and because of the diverse landscape of the country, we never got bored. It’s a country you can visit year-round, and is ideal for city trips, beach breaks and nature treks. Visit Lyon, Bordeaux or Nice, relax alongside the Côte d’Azur or get adventurous in the French Alps. It’s all up to you!
In this article, we’ll first give some general information about camping in France, and then share two of our favourite camping spots in the south of France. And as a bonus: they fit perfectly into a two-week itinerary.
Camping in France + the benefits of camping
France is centrally located in Europe and is therefore very easy to get to by public transportation, tour bus or ferry. The (toll)roads are generally well-maintained which makes car travel a good option as well. We would always recommend to go camping in France, since it’s the perfect country to do so. And that’s not only our opinion: around two million people choose to set up their tents in France every year. It’s the most popular ‘accommodation’ in the country!
A good way to find the perfect camping spot is to visit the website of Flower Campings. This is a network of over 130 small campings. The campsites are located all across France and the website provides an easy search tool to help you find the one that suits you best. Also, all Flower Campings are environment-friendly and have the respect for nature as their top priority.
If you’re not yet convinced that camping is the best way to go in France, here are some more benefits.
- Camping is the ultimate form of slow travel. Once you’ve pitched your tent and take in your surroundings, you can truly relax.
- Camping is one of the most sustainable accommodations you can choose.
- When you go camping, you basically carry around your own portable home, which gives you the freedom to go wherever (and whenever) you like.
- For all travellers on a budget: camping is probably the cheapest way to get yourself accommodated. Of course you can go free camping (however that’s not always allowed), but that won’t give you access to clean toilets and showers.
- Last but not least: camping is a sociable form of travelling. It slows you down, and therefore helps you to truly take time for eachother and maybe even meet some friendly campsite-neighbours!
A two-week camping itinerary for southern France
On our last trip to France, we divided our time between two beautiful ‘departments’ in southern France. The first week we explored the Ardèche, and after that we drove to the Cantal to stay there for one more week. We’ll list some of the main things to do and see when you make a similar trip yourself.
What to do and see in the Ardèche, France
The Ardèche is a beautiful, nature-gifted area in the French region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The Gorges de l’Ardèche is the river that gave the area its name, and runs from Ruoms to Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche. Alongside the river you’ll find lots of extraordinary rock formations, with the Pont d’Arc being the most well-known. We also enjoyed the lesser-crowded Pont du Diable near Thueyts. The river gives you the opportunity to go for a great canoe trip.
If you want to explore the natural wonders of the Ardèche a bit more, we suggest seeing the Aven d’Orgnac and Chauvet caves, the Bois de Païolive (a forest with peculiar rock formations), the 1551 meters high Mont Gerbier-de Jonc and the waterfall of Ray-Pic. Or go mountainbiking or canyoning in the area!
Furthermore, we found beautiful, medieval towns all around. Especially Vogüé, Balazuc and Labeaume caught our eye. Here, it feels like time has stood still for some centuries, with the old castles, churches and houses still intact.
In the Ardèche, we stayed at the quiet and serene Camping Le Plan d’Eau, which is right next to the Gorges de l’Ardèche. The medieval towns Saint-Privat and Aubenas are close by.
What to do and see in the Cantal, France
The Cantal is also a part of the French region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The name comes from the Mounts of Cantal, which are the remains of the largest stratovolcano of Europe. This is the main reason the landscape is so spectacular here.
When we were in the Cantal, we stayed at Camping La Plage du Garoustel, which was conveniently situated at the Lake Saint-Étienne-Cantalès. This is the largest artificial lake in Auvergne and has some great opportunities for water sports. The hiking trails around the lake aren’t that bad either. Campsite La Plage Du Garoustel also has some great sights nearby, such as medieval villages Laroquebrou, Aurillac and Salers (which is ranked as one of the prettiest villages in France!).
Lastly, head out to Puy Mary if you’re in the Cantal. This is a part of the Mounts of Cantal and has a pretty decent hike going up. You’ll hike 1.700 meters up and will be rewarded with a 360-degrees view over the area.
If you have any questions regarding camping in France, please drop a comment in the comment section below!