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France is called one of the vital camper-friendly international locations in Europe. However what’s it like RVing in France?
This weblog will share among the prime stuff you’ll must know earlier than you hop in your motorhome.
Watch this video for the total scoop ⤵️
French roads may be slim, particularly in smaller villages, to the purpose the place it’s possible you’ll end up considering, “Is that this actually a two-way street?” The reply might be sure and as you noticed within the video, it may get nerve-racking quick!
However for probably the most half, driving customs in France are much like anyplace in America. You’ll see pace restrict indicators (in kilometers), you’ll cross slower site visitors on the proper, and also you’ll keep inside the traces of your lane whereas driving. You wouldn’t suppose I would wish so as to add that final one, however if you happen to cross into Italy, you’ll instantly discover that the traces on the street imply nothing to Italians. They drive the place they please! You’ll discover automobiles half parked within the lane, half parked on the sidewalk throughout France, however they do at the least keep of their lane whereas driving.
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Most main roads throughout France are toll roads (consider interstates or highways in America—they’re all toll roads in France).
Typically, you’ll seize a toll ticket while you enter the street and can grasp onto it till you exit or till you come throughout a toll plaza. You may simply pay with bank card—typically utilizing faucet to pay—and in case your French is rusty, press the British flag icon to modify the toll machine to English. Extra not often, you’ll come to a toll sales space with a set charge and an individual within the sales space. For instance, the tunnel within the Alps that connects France to Italy is manned and has a flat charge of round $60.
Sure, French tolls are extraordinarily costly!
That was our greatest toll ticket, however on days the place we spent a few hours on toll roads, we often paid $20-$35 in charges. We opted for toll roads once we wanted to cowl a number of hundred miles or when the non-toll-road choice supplied by Google Maps appeared slightly too lengthy.
The toll roads will supply many relaxation stops, generally known as aires, the place you’ll be able to refuel, seize meals, have a picnic, and even let children play on the playground. (If you happen to’re in search of a style of dwelling, you’ll typically see McDonald’s and Starbucks at aires.)
Highway Indicators and Indicators
Generally, street indicators in France are symbols that may be universally understood, versus worded indicators.
For instance, a Do Not Enter Signal within the US will say Do Not Enter with a purple circle with a white line throughout the center. In France, it should simply be a purple circle with a white line throughout the center.
Not all indicators are the identical as their US counterparts, however they’re pretty self-explanatory. A very powerful indicators to search for when RVing can be width, top, and weight restriction indicators. These white and purple round indicators could have black triangles on the prime and backside for top or on the perimeters for width and say “2,3 m” to let of an upcoming restriction. A weight restriction signal will possible say 3,5t. (Test your RV weight earlier than you lease, however you need to be secure with this restriction! 3,5t was the load restrict we noticed most frequently.)
And sure, the place we use intervals for decimals within the States, they use commas!
Site visitors lights in France are similar to the US with inexperienced, yellow, and purple lights. Lights are vertical, with inexperienced on the underside and purple on the prime. Not like different neighboring international locations, you gained’t see any flashing inexperienced or yellow lights. (Until you’re in a development zone—they do arrange yellow flashing lights.)
Mild posts are sometimes posted on the identical aspect of the road as you’re, which may make seeing the sunshine not possible if you happen to pull up too far at an intersection. We needed to again up a number of occasions to see the publish. Nonetheless, you gained’t see purple lights fairly often in your travels. Most intersections throughout the nation are roundabouts, making driving throughout the nation that a lot simpler.
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France is understood for being one of the vital camping-friendly international locations on the planet and it lives as much as its fame. Throughout our month of adventures, we by no means struggled to discover a place to camp in a single day. (Conversely, once we crossed over to Italy for a number of days, it was a lot tougher to search out an open campsite!)
There are a number of methods to camp in a single day in France and through our first few days on the street (seen within the video above) we tried a number of.
Greater than anything, we used France Ardour to search out free campsites throughout France. France Ardour is a membership (about $35) that permits you to camp at no cost at wineries and farms throughout France. (France Ardour was the inspiration behind Harvest Hosts, the place you’ll be able to camp at no cost on wineries in North America.) And it was extremely straightforward to search out lovely locations to spend the evening! In actual fact, after driving throughout the nation, I’m fairly positive 99% of the French countryside is vineyards. Miles and miles of gorgeous vines.
(Now we have an upcoming video exhibiting off extra of what tenting at France Ardour websites is like, however you too can see our very first one on this video!)
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House Camper is the place you’ll be able to keep in your motorhome at individuals’s properties/on their property—similar to a HipCamp or Boondockers Welcome. You’ll want a self-contained RV (AKA your personal rest room) and also you’ll in all probability need to know slightly French, because you’ll be conversing with locals.
We used House Camper on our second evening within the RV to remain within the yard of a champagne home in Epernay. (Pictured above) This web site supplied electrical energy, loos, showers, and playgrounds, however facilities range by web site.
Boondocking is sometimes called wild tenting or freedom tenting overseas. In France, we used the Park4Night app to search out boondocking spots throughout the nation. Within the video, we camped in a forest at no cost and began our day climbing one of many many trails that began from our free in a single day spot. Even higher, it was quarter-hour away from a citadel and a brief drive to a close-by village for morning pastries and occasional.
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The very first thing that involves thoughts when RVing in France is likely to be staying in conventional campgrounds. Much like an RV park or campground within the States, right here you’ll discover electrical energy, water, and sewer hookups in addition to facilities like a bathhouse, playground, and laundry. RVing with a child and a toddler, we spent much more nights than we thought we’d in campgrounds doing laundry whereas the children performed.
We have been shocked at how kid-friendly many campgrounds have been. At one specifically, there was a big out of doors tent stuffed with toys for youths. Blocks, dolls, a kitchen, bikes, a trampoline—Europe actually is extremely kid-friendly!
Campsites in campgrounds various. We stayed at one with stage, poured concrete websites (above). At one other, we had an unlevel grassy space with towering bushes on both aspect. One other, a grassy space with vines separating websites. Really, a variety of campgrounds used grapevines to separate websites! I informed you, 99% of the nation is rising grapes for wine.
Usually, your campsite may be very easy in comparison with States, so don’t count on an excessive amount of. However what the websites lack in niceness, the campground makes up for with contemporary baked items. Oh sure, you’ll be able to odor the croissants and pan au chocolat out of your campsite. Heath swears one of the best pastries of the month have been at a small campground in Lourdes, France simply exterior Pyrenees Nationwide Park. We stayed there for 3 nights for “the proximity to the nationwide park” however Heath isn’t fooling anybody. It was the croissants.
And lastly, aires. Sure, these relaxation stops that I discussed discovering off the toll roads? Lots of them supply in a single day tenting. We didn’t really keep in a single day at any aires throughout our journey, however we spent many afternoons dumping tanks, letting the children play, and grabbing meals. Which brings me to at least one different key a part of RVing in France…
Within the States, tenting at no cost creates a number of issues. The place are you going to refill your water? The place are you going to dump your black and gray tanks? The place are you going to throw out your rubbish?!
For a lot of campers, the reply is to seize a campground for an evening and care for the RV.
However in France, no want. You could find potable water, RV service stations, and plentiful public trash cans in most cities. Heck, yow will discover sorted recycling bins in nearly each city too! France lives as much as the hype and it was shockingly straightforward to search out the providers we’d like for the RV.
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That is additionally the place aires actually grow to be essential. They’re one of the best, best place to service your tanks, refuel (on gasoline, diesel, and propane), and even take out the trash when you’re driving down the freeway.
RV Tenting in France
Have you ever heard about tenting in France earlier than? It’s rising in recognition for worldwide vacationers like us and it blew us away!
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