Travels with Papillon




The Narrative



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The French love their camping and will hit the road whenever they can.  They particularly like their Class C Camping-Cars of 15 to 21 feet in length.  During the summer vacation season they will go to one campground and stay for 2, 3, 4 weeks at a time.  An available space near the coast during that time is virtually impossible to get.


Two Yahoo Internet Chat Forums

Camping Car 

Camping Car Liste Francophone


There are over 2000 listed campgrounds in France, ranging from 4 star resorts to 1 star basics.  Usually rated 2 star and above most have cafes or small restaurants on site as well as a grocery.  Many have fresh bread delivered every morning.   Sanitary blocks are usually clean and functional, though hot water for showers is usually limited.  Most are near public transportation.  The size of the pitches can vary but small would best describe most of them.  Often you will be cheek by jowl to your neighbors and large 25 foot plus rigs may not fit easily into most campgrounds.  The 30 footers in particular will have trouble finding campgrounds that can accommodate them.

Use your search engine with "Camping France" or camping and the town name and you will find dozens of websites to review.


Aires de Service 

We need the Aires concept in the United States

Built especially for Camping-Cars, these facilities are usually constructed by the village or commune as an enticement for RV'ers to spend the night and patronize the local shops.  From "full service" where you may have a few overnight spots plus waste dumping and fresh water (few have any electric hook ups), to just the basic fresh water and/or dump stations these are very helpful.  As you can imagine they come in all shapes and sizes, and in all states of repair and cleanliness though most are always acceptable.

At leftAires at St Valery de Caux - Normandy coast

Aires locator websites with photos:

click on "rechercher une aires"




France Passion                                                         France Passion website

Domaine Herbert Beaufort

Bouzy, Champagne

France Passion is a program where "RVer's" may spend the night free of charge in the safe environs of a winery or farm.  (Over 1100 wineries and farms participate.)  The cost is 30 Euro a year and they mail you a membership card, a guidebook (telling what languages your hosts will speak) and a map of the participating farmers.  Additionally  they have a guide to nearby restaurants.  You are encouraged to visit the vintners tasting room but a purchase is not mandatory.  In the above photo we are with our rented rig  within the fenced confines of  this Champagne winery warehouse, along with Roger and Viv from the British Midlands.  The Tasting room cost us $65 in fantastic champagne.  Some "free" stay.  This is a very good deal and we have signed up again in 2007.  Make note that in most cases there are NO hook ups of any kind.


Wild camping (Camping savage)

This is one of those gray areas in France.  It is a question of how secure you feel in an area, as well as whether it is permitted (or rather "forbidden") in that spot.  You will see a lot of free campers in the country but you also hear of many stories of the police waking you during the night and telling you to move on.


Camping in PARIS

There are 3 campgrounds in Paris and one in nearby Versailles.

Bois de Boulogne  Website GoogleEarth  48.869770, 2.236260
Camping International de Maisons Lefitte Website GoogleEarth  48.939959, 2.146778
Camping Paris Est (at Tremblay) a Website GoogleEarth  48.830169, 2.479025
Camping Versailles Website GoogleEarth  48.794229, 2.160984

Additionally, one may park overnight in Paris wherever you can find a flat quiet place.  For example, on GoogleEarth, search and zoom in on these coordinates and you will see 2 Camping Cars on the Ile de Cite near Notre Dame Cathedrale.  48.854087, 2.351725

We stayed 3 nights at Camping Bois de Boulogne and were pleased.  Clean, well maintained, level facility.  A few hundred sites for motorhomes:  some with 10 amp service and water, and some with 4 amp and no water.  The price difference is a Euro or 2 depending on the season.  Our 4 amp bill was 100 Euro's.  Store was okay, restaurant looked nice.  Shuttle and city bus service to the Paris Metro and then easy access to the rest of the city.  Reasonably quiet.  Staff okay but indifferent.

Previously at Parc des Cygnes (Storks) in Amiens (website) we encountered super staff:  friendly, helpful - to the point of going out of their way to assist.  14 Euro per night for the space plus 3.50 for electric.  Free hot showers but both sexes used the same shower room with separate shower stalls.  (Later in Paris the shower block near us had mechanical plant issues on the ladies side so it was shut down, but had sign telling the ladies to use the men's side, which they did without notice from anyone including Judy).



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