Camping and Croissants

in Country Guides

The pool at La Vallée campsite in Normandy, France

The pool at La Vallée campsite in Normandy, France - Photo: ralph&dot

Camping in France is unlike camping anywhere else. Being from Canada, to me, camping is very basic with very few amenities. In France, you can often order croissants in the evening for delivery to your campsite in the morning. Now that’s luxury.

I have twice traveled through France with multiple kids in tow. For us, camping was a perfect choice for accommodation for most of the country. (Paris and other major cities were the exception of course.) During the day, we would sightseeing, but when back at the campground it was like being at home. It was predictable and kids like predictable.

On the flip side, my husband and I could be confident of our children’s safety – they really couldn’t go too far. As a result, they could be free to roam a bit and we were free to socialize. Campgrounds gave us access to a community and opportunities to stretch our French skills while sharing world views with people from all over the country.

Not all campgrounds in France are luxurious of course. Sometimes you’ll find a simple field with lavatory facilities and probably a bar. This is ok for the occasional overnight stay but for longer stays it is really worthwhile finding the more developed campgrounds. After all, if we were looking for a minimalist camping experience we would stay in Canada.

Many independent campgrounds offer pools, restaurants and bars. Some are almost like resorts with activities for kids and excursions. If you want to avoid the hit and miss of independent campgrounds, you might want to check out Les Castels Hotellerie De Pleins Air. We found a number of exceptional campgrounds through this network that stretches all over France.

Camping may not be top of most people’s minds when it comes to accommodation but I can assure you that it is a wonderful option for a fascinating country.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gwen McCauley

Janice – when your photo of the campground popped up I almost thought I’d gotten a bad link. Being a fellow Canadian, I am accustomed to pictures of little clearings in the woods, rustic outhouses, perhaps a small shower hut. Wow, I’ll definitely have to re-think camping, French style for a future trip.
My brother and his wife are going to Paris in a few months. He’s a rustic ‘he man’ fishin’/huntin’/roughin’ it’ kinda guy who has been concerned that all of the cultural delights of Paris just might do him in. I’ll forward this post along in case a few days of French camping might help him out!

Love it. Thanks.

Gwen McCauley


I did a lot of camping throughout Europe when I was a student and when I started working. The main reason was having only little money but I have to say that I always loved camping, especially on neat, clean and well-organized campgrounds. Besides France, I have wonderful memories of what used to be at the time Yugoslavia and now Croatia and Slovenia. Some campgrounds on the seashore or on the islands were amazing: lovely position, awesome beaches, lots of shades and all the amenities one could wish. I wonder how it is now…


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