France has around 10,000 campsites – and there’s something to suit every taste.
Here I take a look at a tiny selection suitable for certain groups, though there can be some cross-over. All sites mentioned accept tents and touring caravans and most hire out ready-erected tents, mobile homes and cabins, either directly or through UK based companies.
By Camping Expert John Lloyd
Sites for families
Camping Atlantique, near Beg Meil, has a superb waterpark, plus access to one of Brittany’s beautiful sandy beaches. The site has a kids’ club for 4-12-year-olds, plenty of activities for older children, an adult fitness club, and high season evening entertainment.
At Longeville-sur-Mer in southern Vendée, Zagarella Parc is close to sandy beaches and the verdant Marais Poitevin. One of the best campsites in France for families seeking active holidays, the site has sports and play areas, a children’s club, four pools with lagoon, waterchute, Jacuzzi and sauna, plus a gym for adults.
Lac des Trois Vallées, near Lectoure in Gascony, may be inland, but there’s so much going on you won’t want to go elsewhere. Centre of attraction is the lake, with waterslides and pedalos, but there’s also a pool with bar and restaurant, evening entertainments plus lots of activities.
Argelès-sur-Mer, on the Mediterranean coast, has more campsites than any other French resort. Among the best is Camping La Siréne. Outstanding are the palm-fringed tropical pool complex and many sporting activities, while evening entertainments include disco and live shows. Nearby are delightful resorts like Collioure and Banyuls.
Sites for couples
While Camping International, by the Seine at Maisons-Lafitte, isn’t the closest site to Paris’s heart, it makes a tranquil escape. From the nearby RER station, the city is 20 minutes away, Disneyland 30 minutes farther. The palace of Versailles is a 20-minute drive; local attractions include a chateau, racecourse and several restaurants.
Camping du Brévedent enjoys a quiet lakeside setting in the grounds of an 18th-century manor house near Pont-l’Eveque, Normandy. There’s a bar and a la carte restaurant, swimming pool, tennis, boules and bicycle hire. On the coast nearby are fashionable Deauville and Honfleur, birthplace of Impressionism.
Leafy Mondial Camping at Vallon Pont d’Arc accesses the River Ardèche close to spectacular gorges and the Pont d’Arc, a natural bridge spanning the river. The site has a superb pool complex, bar and restaurant, but most people are drawn by local action - canoeing, climbing, canyoning, hiking, biking and caving.
At the Alpine resort of Le Grand-Bornand, Camping L’Escale welcomes visitors summer and winter. The site has a restaurant and pizzeria, indoor and outdoor pools and a clothes drying room. In winter, there’s great snowboarding and skiing locally, while summer offers extensive hiking, via ferrata and paragliding.
Sites for single-parent families
Camping La Bien Assiseat Guines, near Calais, is ideal for short breaks. Spacious pitches separated by trees and shrubs make an attractive site, which features pools (covered in inclement weather), tennis, table tennis and mini golf. A bar serves snacks and take-aways, and there’s an excellent restaurant.
Well-equipped Camping Chateau de Drancourt, south of Calais near St Valéry-sur-Somme, has three pools (one covered) overlooked by a bar and restaurant, and a take-away and kids’ club. A fun way to explore the area is aboard the steam train running round the Somme estuary.
Three hours from Calais at Berny-Rivière, north-east of Paris, La Croix du Vieux Pont has plenty to entertain kids, including four pools. There’s also a lake with gently shelving beach but, best of all, Parc Asterix and Disneyland Paris theme parks are easy drives away.
Le Chateau des Ormes, in extensive parkland near Dol-de-Bretagne in Brittany, has an impressive range of activities. These include golf, a horse-riding school, tennis and a waterpark with wave pool, four-lane waterslide and indoor pools. Highlight off-site is nearby Le Mont St Michel.
Want to go camping in Spain? Read our guide to campsites in Spain.