There are few countries that excite our imagination as France. From Paris to Provence, from the Mediterranean to the Alps, the country is home to stunning landscapes and countless places of great historical and cultural value, whether in little towns or major cultured cities.
With tens of millions of tourists coming in each year, France is not exactly affordable to visit. The good thing is that the country is accommodating to all types of travellers, including the most adventurous among us.
If you want to visit France, camping might be the best way to go, especially if you want a better and more affordable immersion in the local landscapes. Each historic region of the country is packed with great camping sites set in picturesque locations which offer all essential facilities.
Here are the top five gorgeous regions to go camping if you happen to visit France.
1. Côte d’Azur
Most of us associate the French Riviera with glamorous Mediterranean resort-towns like Saint-Tropez or Cannes, but the great appeal of this gorgeous stretch of coastline goes beyond the beautiful architecture and vibrant atmosphere of its most famous towns. Numerous roads connect extravagant artistic and aristocratic hubs like Monaco and Cannes with quaint coastal villages and secluded beaches with crystal-clear waters.
While the glamour we surround Côte d’Azur with is real, a camping trip in the area is an affordable and rewarding way to explore the subtle charm of the region that comes with no price tag. The sea, the beautiful Mediterranean light praised by writers and artists of the 20th-century, the beaches, and the tranquility of the medieval towns perched high above the sea are sure to make your trip memorable.
From the serenity of the Mediterranean, we move on to the rugged Atlantic coastline in Brittany, in the northwest of France. A long peninsula stretching towards the ocean, Brittany is home to many beach resorts set in stunning landscapes, more similar to regions in the far north of Europe than the Mediterranean. With its rocky shores, steep cliffs and high breaking waves, The Pink Granite Coast is the main attraction of the region.
As a place where nature is the predominant force, Brittany is an excellent region for camping lovers. Adding that the landscape is dotted with prehistoric ruins and historic Celtic villages, your trip can easily turn into a unique kind of adventure. Considering how different Brittany is from the rest of France, exploring the region is a cultural adventure too.
In our collective imagination, Provence is the realm of impressionist painters and artists seeking the tranquility of the countryside, where they could sip French wine and stroll through lavender fields. The reality is not far from this idealized image. Lying in southern France, between the Mediterranean Sea, the Southern Alps, and the plains of Camargue, Provence is a natural haven dotted with sunflower fields, pine forests, olive groves and vineyards.
There’s no better place for camping in France than Provence if you feel attracted to a mix of serene nature, colourful landscapes, medieval abbeys and sleepy historic towns that seem built to be explored in long summer days on a bicycle. The region has dozens of camping sites set in picturesque locations so you only have to take a single step outside to feel fully immersed in the landscape.
4. Val de Loire
The Loire Valley or Val de Loire is the French region known for being home to a large number of luxurious chateaux that receive millions of visitors yearly. Besides the historic landmarks, the region consists of flat farmland and vineyards, crossed by a large network of cycling paths.
The charming countryside landscapes that characterize Val de Loire attracted France’s kings and nobles to built here palatial residences. The same scenic landscapes attract nature lovers today, many of whom choose to stay in campsites surrounded by vineyards and beautiful forests.
For history fans, there is no better place to explore France’s Roman and medieval heritage than Languedoc-Roussillon, the coastal region extending to the Pyrenees Mountains and the Spanish border. Besides being an important wine-producer, the region is home to cities like Montpellier, with a stunning medieval quarter, and the City of Carcassonne, the best-preserved medieval citadel in Europe.
Filled with ancient Roman ruins and well-preserved medieval towns, Languedoc-Roussillon also benefits from its proximity to the Mediterranean, which means gorgeous seaside scenery, nice weather and diverse landscapes. Whether you want to explore wild rocky gorges and ruined castles or stroll through charming towns, camping in Languedoc-Roussillon cannot disappoint.
Although known as sophisticated people, the French are not pretentious urbanites. They love to stay connected to nature, and camping is highly encouraged in the country. If France is on your bucket list, start packing up now for your adventure.