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  #1  
Old 9 Jan 2010
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Wild Camping France???

Does anyone know the score with wild camping in France??
A few of us planning an off road trip in July ending up at Mount Jafferau in the Alps.
The plan is to use pukka camp sites along the way, but if we get caught short, what`s the score with stopping and pitching up somewhere off the beaten track?


Thanks
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  #2  
Old 9 Jan 2010
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Its fine - suject to the usual rules of no litter, no damage and not where it says you can't etc. Just make sure you're out of sight (stops unwanted attention from dubious opportunists).Done it loads of time and never had any problems.

Belle
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  #3  
Old 10 Jan 2010
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There has been a number of threads on this topic with good detail.
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  #4  
Old 10 Jan 2010
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Like Belle says......
Stay out of sight, be tidy and be sensible about it. It's an unspoken wild camping "rule" the world over.
Don't bring a bottle of whiskey and have a party either. The whole idea of camping wild is not to be seen or heard.
Make sure you find your location before dark though. Too many people have found "ideal" places in the dark only to wake up the next morning in someone's garden.

Chris
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  #5  
Old 11 Jan 2010
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My rules of camping – no rules (so far in Europe and Marocco + West Sahara):

if raining – find an abandoned house (in Africa this did not work for me so far), some roof, unfinished building in the middle of the city or just ask the locals for a bed. In various cases camped only 0.5 m from the road, no joke, ports, bus stops, military zones Risk is being escorted out with kalashnikov when half drunk and ready to sleep. Military is hard to negotiate, comparing to police. Uff.

before dark rule is good only when the day is long

littering – camping or no camping, no littering anywhere.

Last edited by motango; 11 Jan 2010 at 19:02.
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  #6  
Old 11 Jan 2010
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As posted in above replies, if you use your coconut and don't do anything that you would'nt want someone else to do on YOUR property then you'll have no problem.
My own rule of thumb is look for woodland/forestry where you can get out of sight easily, park up,turn engine off,take off your lid and have a good listen for 5 mins.I prefer a good half-mile track from the road only because i like a small campfire after a day's riding and if there's a stream nearby to wash in then all the better. This has worked for me for years in many countries including Germany,Switzerland and Austria which are thought by some to be impossible to wild-camp.France is a doddle compared.
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Old 11 Jan 2010
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I will add a note to this to clarify. Also if you accept wild camping to be hidden in the countryside there is still 'free camping' to be had on motorways service stations and the like.
When alone, it is best to be out of site from the road and any passing traffic, to eliminate the possibility of a traveling crook seeing you. An alternative option especially out of season is to pitch your tent in full sight of the lorries frequenting an all night cafe/fuel pump in a French 'aire'.
My own tent can be erected and moved whilst erect and does not need pegs or ropes. Using a camp bed I can happily pitch and sleep on any surface.
do not pitch or park in anyones way be it foot or vehicles.

In France there have been a number of thefts and worse from isolated travelers, most attributed to passing Romanians. My French is not that good and the Romanians may well be Romanies, ie. Gypsies. The lorry drivers, along with most of the French dislike them so will keep a wary eye out for them, and each other. so pitch up on the grass in front of but out of the way of lorries in the aires.
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Old 12 Jan 2010
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There are so many campsites in France that I can't believe finding one would be a problem if you are normal road touring - particularly in July. But the original post was about an off road trip which is slightly different and as others have said I don't think it'll be a problem if you're sensible about it and pick your spot carefully.

Leaving it till after dark to find somewhere can cause problems as you lose the ability to see how your chosen spot relates to its surroundings. I ended up camping in someones front garden just outside Nouakchott in Mauretania when the bike lights packed up and I was riding with a torch strapped to the handlebars (the owner wasn't too unhappy and invited me in to the house). I've wild camped in a field in Italy after dark to find the farmer ploughing round the tent in the morning.

Asking the locals for help in finding somewhere to stay overnight in Morocco five or six years ago seemed to cause some problems. The town had no hotel or anywhere where foreigners could legally stay and the request seemed to cause a bit of a moral dilemma. The impression I got was that Islam said yes but police regulations said no. In the end somebody did help but does anybody (Tim Cullis?) know the legal position in Morocco? This was about 50 miles from Marrakesh.
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  #9  
Old 12 Jan 2010
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I think wild-camping in France is illegal. But whatever isn't seen, isn't known.
So stay out of sight. In summertime you wouldn't even need a tent if the weather is allright, just your sleeping bag. Though bring one just in case.
Also if you go to a really small town, they might have a campsite owned by the village itself (camping municipal). On sunday no one will come to collect any money. Sounds like a free shower to me.
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Old 14 Jan 2010
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taken from the website of "Femme Actuel" a mainstream french womens magazine. Their Legal section.
"Qui n’a jamais rêvé de planter sa tente sur la plage, en bord de mer ? Cela donne un goût d’aventure aux vacances, et en plus, c’est gratuit ! En France, le camping sauvage est autorisé, sauf dans certains cas... Il est interdit de le pratiquer sur des routes et voies publiques, dans un site classé, ou à moins de 500 mètres d’un monument historique, ainsi que sur les rivages de la mer. Si vous violez une de ces règles, l’amende peut aller jusqu’à 3 750 euros. Mais la plupart du temps, les autorités vous demanderont de quitter les lieux sur le champ."

translates as (for those that don't read frog) in bold, the relevant bit.
"Who's never dreamed of pitching their tent on the beach, beside the sea? That gives a taste of adventure to the holidays, & what's more, it's free! In France, wild camping is authorised, except in certain cases... It is forbidden to wild campon public roads or paths, on a listed site, within 500m of an historic monument & on the sea shore. If you violate one of these rules, the fine can be as much as 3750€. But most of the time, the authorities will simply ask you to leave."


The french Wikipedia adds "within 200m of a site used for recuperating drinking water" to the list of forbiddens & "in certain zones determined by the local authorities" which basically means "anywhere the local mayor decides..."
The articles goes on to add that a "Bivouac" is usually tolerated, even within a natural parc.

from what I can glean from french treckking forums & the like, a "bivouac" (ie overnight only) is widely tolerated. Le Camping (definition, holiday under canvas, pitch tent & use as holiday home) is NOT.

like the others say, do it intelligently & you'll be ok. If someone should query it then don't use the word "camping" but simply "Bivouac" which has better connotations & less restrictive "reglements".
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  #11  
Old 15 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooN View Post
Il est interdit de le pratiquer sur des routes et voies publiques,
Even that gets ignored at times. A couple of years ago, on a Tour de France mountain stage where spectators line the route days before the bikes arrive, I saw someone setting up a tent actually on the road.

He hammered nails into the tarmac as pegs and parked his car in front to act as a crash barrier. Presumably he was going to take it down before the Tour arrived but the police did move him on the day before.
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Old 30 Dec 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motango View Post
My rules of camping – no rules (so far in Europe and Marocco + West Sahara):

if raining – find an abandoned house (in Africa this did not work for me so far), some roof, unfinished building in the middle of the city or just ask the locals for a bed. In various cases camped only 0.5 m from the road, no joke, ports, bus stops, military zones Risk is being escorted out with kalashnikov when half drunk and ready to sleep. Military is hard to negotiate, comparing to police. Uff.

before dark rule is good only when the day is long

littering – camping or no camping, no littering anywhere.
I agree, do it where you can if you need to
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Old 30 Dec 2010
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by exrm193 View Post
Does anyone know the score with wild camping in France??
A few of us planning an off road trip in July ending up at Mount Jafferau in the Alps.
Wild camping was no problem while i visited Mt Jafferau etc. Realy nice places and people:

http://www.adventure-travel-experien...report=italien

Travel save, Tobi
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Old 30 Dec 2010
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This proved to be one of my better campsites in a very rainy Germany.




Last edited by oldbmw; 3 Jan 2012 at 22:34.
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  #15  
Old 30 Dec 2010
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you dont even have to be out of sight

Mercure hotel wanted €60, so we camped in their garden for free



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