Wherever we’ve been to in France, our favourite campervan country, there’s never been much in the way of disappointment . France is a country 3 times bigger than the UK, so it’s no surprise that there is plenty to keep pulling us back year after year.
In fact, we’ve been visiting now for over 20 years and just never seem to tire of the variations of climate and landscapes. There’s always somewhere in France that fits the bill, whatever the mood takes. As a result, we’d go as far as to say that it’s probably our favourite campervan country and here’s why!
1. France is just super campervan friendly mainly because, it’s the big French pastime next to Vin Blanc and Fromage. Le Camping Car, the French term for a Camper/Motorhome is king! Authorities know to have the utter most respect for those that take to the road in a motorhome.
2. Speaking of Le Camping Car, next has to big the envy of us British Campervan fanatics, the Aire de Camping Car or Aire for short. Because it’s simply, an incredibly big draw for us to cross that Channel every year.
For those in wonder of what an Aire entails, it’s basically the Mayor and those in authority in local council and government. Giving us in our campervans and motorhomes, somewhere welcoming and convenient to park up for a couple of nights.
Visiting a town or village, we gratefully empty our waste and fill up with fresh water! Hopefully, having spent a few Euro in the town too, all good for their local economy!!
3. The Departments, there are 95 of them in total, 96 if we were to include Corsica. Each one has an appeal all of its own and represents an image of what landscape, produce or landmark they represent.
Don’t ask us to name them all! This would prove a little too difficult, but they include well known favourites such as The Dordogne, Haute-Savoie, Calvados and Var. We have tried to get to see as many as possible and have come close to visiting all except Corsica, of course, we love them all!
4. An easy, efficient and generally gridlock free road network. We may need to pay tolls on motorways but they are such a delight. Being well maintained, quiet, offering good services and lovely artistic signage, often displaying sketches of the approaching town. All to tempt us drivers to take a detour to explore more. It’s almost a treat waiting for the next sign to see what the next sketch is about.
5. The D roads are just as good! These long, quiet, often tree-lined sleepy minor roads that wind through villages and towns are delightful. Where locals are more content on staying behind closed doors, than making much of an appearance roadside. We always wonder where everyone is!
6. It’s a country of epic proportions, often underestimated in size and totally diverse in it’s landscapes, history and produce on offer, it’s equal to any on the world wide stage.
There’s the Northern Normandy beaches with historical WW2 sites, the trenches of the Somme and Chateaux of The Loire. Also, the unusual Troglodyte Cave dwellings around the Dordogne and remarkable Roman structures further South, such the Pont Du Gard Aqueduct. Not forgetting the simply awe inspiring and the incredibly intact Amphitheatre’s at Nimes and Arles.
That’s without the superb natural environment, Mont Blanc, glaciers, skiing in the Alps and the Pyrenees. Those immense gorges of turquoise blue lakes and the glistening Mediterranean or the big surf beaches of the Atlantic coast.
7. Canals. We could stop there, however, we’re not wanting to miss out those fabulous Canals. Such as the Canal du Midi, running just South of Bordeaux all the way down to Beziers at The Mediterranean.
Then there’s engineering with the totally impressive expanse of the Millau viaduct, before we even mention the vineyards that cover vast swathes of the country. Coupled with the food such as cheese, cold meats and incredible patisserie or olives. The lavender and fields of full bloom sunflowers, it’s just a complete contagious and endless mix of everything that we love about life.
8. Just when we think we’ve covered the lot (pardon the pun!), we realise we can’t not mention just the sheer rustic, crumbly, rawness of the place. It’s so homely, with nothing more simplistic and welcoming than the buildings. Beautiful and effortlessly inviting, oozing charm from every angle and rarely a boundary fence in sight!
9. It’s the language and the people, those chic French fold who are loyal to their country and no doubt full of character! Entranced by the dialect for some time, we’ve attended French classes back in Britain attempting, often, unsuccessfully, to engage in polite conversation. Un vin rouge s’il vous plait!!
10. Remembering why we went to France in the first place. It’s so easy to get to, accessible in just over 30 minutes on the Eurotunnel and we’re free to explore an incredible array of regions with just the one question to ask…..Which direction?
Never ones to plan, feeling a complete mix of seeing how we feel, knowing that France just lends itself to this kind of campervan freedom. It’s no wonder that we still find each trip a revelation. Somehow we don’t think we’ll ever tire of visiting it!