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Basic campsites in France?


multiplamum

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Planning a trip to northern and western France in the summer and wondered if anyone could recommend some nice basic campsites. We are planning to use Aires for some of the time but also intend to stay on sites. Having done some research, most sites I have found have way more facilities and entertainment than we want and are very pricey. Do the French do simple sites and if so, can anyone recommend any?
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It might help if you could be a bit more specific. For example, northern France suggests to me anywhere north of a roughly east west line through Paris, extending from the Atlantic to the German border, and western France anything west of a north-south line through Poitiers extending from the Channel down to the Spanish border. That is a huge area in which to recommend a site.

 

Then again, what do you mean by basic? One person's basic is another's luxury site, and yet another's stinking tip! :-)

 

When does "summer" happen?

 

If you can hone down the area a bit, say what you consider are the facilities you want, and give an idea of when, actually, you want to go, I think you will get some replies. However, as with anywhere, if by summer you mean the school holidays, all sites will be on peak rates. It is when they expect to make their profit.

 

There are many campsites all over France that have just the basics: somewhere to pitch up, showers, toilets, electric points, and little else. Most are municipal, or ex-municipal, sites. Few will be on, or near, the coasts. Quite a few will have cold water only at laundry sinks. Many have only luke-warm water for washing-up. Many have only warm water to washbasins (i.e. no cold - can be a bit odd cleaning teeth). Some, but not all, will have washing machines, possibly also dryers. That apart, very few will have restaurant, bar, or shop, "animations" for children, swimming pools, etc. etc.

 

You might do worse than buy a copy of the ACSI DVD, which is searchable for a wide range of facilities as, once selected, only those sites that meet your requirements will show, plus you can switch off those departements in which you are not interested.

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Sorry the thread posted twice and I hadn't seen your reply on this one. I realise that the area is large. We are intending to head off for a few weeks and will go where the mood takes us but the route will definitely be coastal rather than inland. Will cross to Calais and first stop likely to be around saint Valery sur Somme which we know well. From there who knows, although unlikely to go far south of the Gironde. I have been pointed in direction of municipal campsite website which has proved very interesting. Regarding 'basic' to us that means a bit of grass to sit on, water, electric and waste disposal - we don't ask a lot!
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Still unclear whether you will be in school hols (meaning European schools, not just UK), but you are heading to where millions head every summer. So, sites tend to be crowded, noisy, and expensive. If you want greater economy, you really need to think where everyone else will be headed (coast, major attractions, historic highlights etc.) and head the other way. It is simple supply and demand. When demand exceeds supply, prices rise. Derek's municipals link should be a great help, but even the municipals near the coasts will get full and pricey once the schools are out - usually beginning of July to around mid August. A lot of Normandy, most of Brittany, and the follow on down the Atlantic coast, is prime French seaside holiday territory. Not trying to put you off, just to forewarn! :-)
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Brian Kirby - 2014-05-27 10:27 PM

 

Still unclear whether you will be in school hols (meaning European schools, not just UK), but you are heading to where millions head every summer. So, sites tend to be crowded, noisy, and expensive. If you want greater economy, you really need to think where everyone else will be headed (coast, major attractions, historic highlights etc.) and head the other way. It is simple supply and demand. When demand exceeds supply, prices rise. Derek's municipals link should be a great help, but even the municipals near the coasts will get full and pricey once the schools are out - usually beginning of July to around mid August. A lot of Normandy, most of Brittany, and the follow on down the Atlantic coast, is prime French seaside holiday territory. Not trying to put you off, just to forewarn! :-)

 

Sorry I wasn't specific on dates. We are leaving UK at beginning of July and don't have to be back until mid-September. We holiday in France every year more recently in rented houses and previously on large camp sites in either fixed tents or caravans so we are aware that we are going at a busy time but don't have a choice on that and given that we want to be by the sea then we will just have to put up with the crowds. I was just struggling to find any link to sites which were not the all singing, all dancing type that we used to go to when the children were with us and wanted pools etc but which we no longer want. Hopefully the municipal site link will help. Thanks for the warning though.

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searchforsites - 2014-05-28 6:07 AM

 

For basic you probably want to look at farm style campsites. Look for the sign "Bienvenue a la Ferme" these are often simple sites without the facilities of full blown campsites. These are the sort of sites we prefer.

You can use this to search for Farm style campsites

searchforsites

Drag the circle on the map to where you want to go. You can filter the results using the panel in the top right.

Eg a search around Riberac

 

Thanks so much for this link. I am definitely not going to get anything done today except search for sites to add to my list!

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Amboise Camping Municipal Ile d'Or €12.80 per night. A large grass site with lots of pitches. Electric 5amp sometimes plays up but not too much of a problem in the heat. Touristy town a good base for visiting Loire chateau's with some good eating places in Place Michel Debre, Chateau so-so a super building and gardens but not much furniture. Also Clos Luce where Leonardo da Vinci lived, superb place to visit.

Very good modern facilities for the price. Good MVWP. Plenty of sports activities nearby and ideal for cycling. The aire is next door €12 a night! Good luck

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  • 2 years later...

Have you tried "Le Guide officiel Camping, Caravaning"

My copy 2014 has 9857 sites It is in French, but does have Lat/Long , and basic french should be OK

Got mine from Vicarious Books

Worth having as a stand by. We use ACSI, but as you are out of the low season not much help for you.

The Caravan club do guides as well, even for non members.

PJay

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If you go as far as the Lot there is a municipal site on the southern bank of the river on Le Payras in Douelle about 6km from Cahors. It's flat and about as basic as you can get and still be a campsite. It's pastoral and on the site of an old loading wharf for barrel making or wine transport. Douelle is the French for barrel stave. When we stopped there in August 2015 it was less than half full.
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Worth mentioning perhaps that "basic" sites in France, such as many of the municipal sites, offer only grass pitches, which can present problems in wet weather, as we're discovering at the moment in Chateaudun.  Lovely location and a choice between spacious hedged pitches or a nice riverside field, with electricity and good showers - but it's been getting very boggy and the river is rising ominously, so we've moved pitch to get closer to the roadway and on to our grip mats to be sure we'll be able to get off unassisted whe it's time to go.

 

I've never found "basic" private campsites very satisfactory; they tend to have very small pitches and the ground can often be dodgy too.  I was once warned off the water from a particular tap by the owner and directed to the tap near reception.  Goodness knows where the other tap drew from!

 

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Some basic sites can be rough and ready, with poor pitches, dodgy water supplies and shabby ablutions. Still that's camping and they're a lot cheaper than some of the basic sites in UK which are a) as bad if not worse and b) almost expensive as a good site in France in low season.
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Mag&Hal - 2016-06-01 11:46 AM

 

Some basic sites can be rough and ready, with poor pitches, dodgy water supplies and shabby ablutions. Still that's camping and they're a lot cheaper than some of the basic sites in UK which are a) as bad if not worse and b) almost expensive as a good site in France in low season.

At least you don't have to use the facilities , as you have your own. Buy bottled water.

 

We have been to some very basic sites, but will put up with it if close to a village/town for a night or two

PJay

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Agree entirely, we only consume bottled water and use the water tank for washing. BTW my reference to dodgy is not so much water sources but drinking taps near to waste disposals and we have seen sites where the water tap was on the end of a plastic pipe that had bent over so the tap was laying on the ground. Still these places can be just the thing if you don't want to really get away from it all.
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