We love France so much we have had three separate trips there since we started on our EU odyssey: a brief five-day visit on our way down from the UK to Greece in October 2016, followed by two longer stays in March and April.
In October we toured the north east corner of France, with a stop over in Strasbourg to visit the European Parliament.
You can see some of our iPhone photographs from our journey on our Instagram feed here.
The March trip took us along the south coast from the Italian border into north-east Spain; in April we drove back from the western side of the border with Spain to Nice, where we stopped for a fabulous week in a villa to catch up with family.
We then drove up through the Rhone Valley and north east to the border with Germany at Mulhouse.
France is probably the most motorhome-friendly country in Europe, at least of all the ones we have visited so far, and we have had (almost) universally good accommodation at a wide range of campsites and aires.
We have enjoyed a wonderful mix of places, from cities such as Marseille and Strasbourg to tiny villages like Illiat, not to mention the wonderful scenery in Provence, the Rhone Valley and elsewhere.
And we have drunk some wonderful wine, and eaten some fabulous food.
Here, we offer some basic information about the places we stayed along the way, as well as a few more subjective opinions, with our usual disclaimers.
The listing represents the order in which we stayed at each place as we travelled, not any sort of ranking.
The prices are the ones we paid (using our ACSI discount where possible), and may not necessarily be available in the future. ‘All services included’ means you don’t have to pay any extra for electricity, wifi or showers – though everywhere charges extra for their washing machines.
Camping La Croix du Bois Sacker, Burtoncourt
€17 per night – all services included.
The site is in a lovely location, surrounded by woods with a lake and with lots of sporting/leisure facilities, but is quite isolated, with no shops or villages close by.
Port de Plaisance, Pont-a-Mousson
N 48.90296, E 6.06088.
A large facility for around 40 motorhomes, €9.50 per night.
A great aire, next to the river and marina, and close to this lovely small town.
Camping Indigo, Strasbourg
€19 per night – all services included.
A lively, well-organised site only 3-4km from the city centre, with excellent modern shower block. There is a bus stop to the city nearby.
Camping Le Fréjus, Fréjus
N 43.463889, E 6.724444.
€15 per night – plus €0.66 per head tourist tax. All services included, excluding wifi.
Mostly grass pitches, with some gravel on top.
The bus stop into town is right by the entrance.
The restaurant and pool were closed when we were there; there is a shop a few hundred metres away.
N 43.24085, E 5.40693.
€12 per night – includes waste services plus a basic toilet. An extra €5 per night for electricity.
The wifi is very good – but only free for one machine (the code isn’t given out to customers).
This is an ideal camperstop for a visit to Marseille, though the site’s rules are rigidly enforced!
It is just a few hundred metres from many local shops, restaurants and other services.
The bus stop into the city is right outside the gate. Two separate buses are needed, with a fairly straightforward change near the city’s main football stadium, the total journey taking around one hour.
Be aware that the approach to the site from one direction is via a narrow and busy street with two-way traffic.
And Marseille is a vibrant city with a beautiful port and a fascinating history, well worth a visit.
Camping Le Neptune, St Mitre-Les-Remparts
N 43.468333, E 5.018333.
€15 per night, plus €0.60 per night tax for 2 – all services included except wifi.
Large grass pitches.
There’s a small shop on the edge of site, as well as a bar/coffee shop across the road on the waters’ edge. It sells food, including pizzas, from mid-April, but there are no other shops or eateries nearby.
This is a well-run place with cheery and welcoming owners.
Camping La Grange Neuve, Sigean
N 43.066667, E 2.941667.
€15 per night – all services included except wifi.
We couldn’t find any shops or places to eat nearby – though I would guess there’s food available in the big wildlife reserve that’s just a few hundred metres away.
Le Vieux Berger, Lourdes
N 43.10451, W 0.0332.
€14.44 per night, including tourist taxes. We thought it would be busy because of Holy Week and the Easter holidays, so we booked online in advance, and had to pay an €8 fee for the privilege. This is a total rip-off, so be warned.
This site is well-located, with a view of the Pyrenees, and is a 25-30 minute walk to the Lourdes grotto and basilica.
The campsite was due to open the week before we arrived, and this is what I thought I had booked online, but instead we were directed into the aire next to the camping area. We were able to use all the toilet/shower facilities, but the pitches are smaller and some manoeuvring is difficult, especially for larger vans.
The showers are heated, but have the meanest push-button flow ever – around 3 seconds!
And finally, the wifi isn’t great at the bottom of the site, where we were.
Lourdes was all you would expect from France’s second biggest tourist destination after Paris. It was an unforgettable experience.
Camping du Lac de la Thesauque, Nailloux
N 43.091944, E 1.648611.
€13.88 per night (including tourist tax) – all services included, except wifi.
A terraced site next to the lake, in a lovely setting. We dealt with a very helpful reception person who spoke much better English than our school French.
There is a café on site (not open every day outside high season), and many leisure/sport options around the lake.
The toilet/shower block is heated, but comes with very limited time on the push-button shower.
We were there just a few days before Easter, and much of the site either wasn’t ready or was still being prepared – not the ideal atmosphere.
The paid wifi was poor in the evening when more people were using it.
N 43.5298, E 3.86584.
€10 per night: payment is made at a booth outside the gate by card, and is not possible with cash.
The services are good quality, and electricity is included in the price. The pitches are big, and it is easy to manoeuvre within the aire.
The town and shops are within a few hundred metres.
Camping de la Vallee de Taradeau, Taradeau
N 43.441389, E 6.425833.
€17 per night, plus €0.80 tourist tax for two people – all services included.
Grass, heavily shaded pitches.
A baker delivers bread every morning, but the site is remote from any village or other shops.
It has a modern, heated toilet/shower block, and a pool and restaurant on site – both open when we visited in mid-April.
Camping L’Oasis du Verdon, Aups
N 43.623889, E 6.228889.
€19 per night, plus €0.80 tourist tax for two people, plus €1.30 per day ‘household waste tax’!
Grey waste disposal is not included, but is available free at the nearby Intermarché supermarket. Wifi is also additional, and fast.
A beautiful, calm, small campsite, just a few hundred metres from the lively and fascinating village of Aups. It is also only a few kilometres from Lac de Sainte Croix and the Verdon Gorge.
Access is via a narrow gravel path.
Aups is famous for its black truffles, and has several great bistros and bars.
Municipal Aire, Pélissanne
N 43.62901, E 5.15329.
The aire has around 20 generously-sized marked spaces set aside for campervans on a large car park on the edge of the village.
There’s a service point on site – the tap isn’t easy to use, but an alternative is available on a building next to it.
It’s not a pretty spot, but access to the aire and manoeuvrability within it are easy, and the village, its shops and bars, as well as an Aldi, are within a few hundred metres.
Parking Bacchus, Gigondas
N 44.1635, E 5.00263.
Three spaces specifically set aside for campervans within a larger car park close to the heart of the village.
There are water and bins on site; also a public toilet a few metres away for €0.20. The service point is 300m away, requiring a €4 jeton from either the local tourist office or other stores.
A nicely set out aire, with good services, albeit nearby and not on site.
The village itself is not just the centre of great wine production, but is in a lovely setting and a great place to visit.
There are two entrances to the car park – note that one has a 3.5t limit.
And yes, we enjoyed a wine tasting and bought some samples (sadly all but one now gone!).
Campsite Iserand, Vion
N 45.1213, E 4.8001.
€19 per night – all services included, though there didn’t seem to be anywhere to drain grey water.
Grass pitches on a stepped site.
A lovely, small site, planted with many different varieties of trees, located just 300m from the Rhone, and around 1km from the small village of Vion.
Snacks and drinks are available on site.
Municipal Aire, Illiat
N 46.1852, E 4.88797.
Four generously-sized parking spaces for campervans on the outskirts of this small village.
The aire is in a quiet rural setting, next to a fishing lake. Ideal!
It has a good service point plus toilets.
There was a bread festival on while we were there, so we were able to enjoy some wonderful tarts fresh from the traditional bread oven.
Camping de l’Ile, Pont-les-Moulins
N 47.32382, E 6.36163.
€11 per night – all services included, except wifi which is not available on the site. The grey water disposal wasn’t in operation when we visited.
A small site, made into an island by two small streams, and surrounded also by wooded hills.
It has very thoughtful owners, with facilities such as a small library and board games on site, though the toilet block is a little ramshackle (reflected in the price).
The small town of Baume les Dames is only a five minute drive from the site, and has everything you could want, from a Lild to an historic centre.
- Marseille has, unfairly, suffered a terrible reputation in the past as a “dangerous” city, but we found it be one the best places we have visited so far. The Vieux-Port (Old Port) area has been extensively refurbished, the people were very friendly, and like the rest of France, the food is first class, whether from a neighbourhood bistro, or Lidl. Find out more here.
- If you love red wine, Gigondas is not be missed. The small village and surrounding area has had an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée since 1956, and produces a fabulous red wine, as well as a very small amount of rosé.
- Whatever your faith, or none, Lourdes is a special place. Every year, millions of people from across the world make a pilgrimage to the site, where in 1858, a young woman Bernadette Soubirous saw a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was canonised in 1933.