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  #1  
Old 6 Mar 2013
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Wild france

Hi all ,
This is my first ever post and like most newbies information and advice is why i joined this forum .
But hopefully i will also be able to help people in return . I am planning a trip for me and my nine year old son camping in northern france , i have always wanted to go wild camping but never have , due to always being Involved with a woman who likes to spend her holidays sitting by a pool.recently divorced freedom ! I am about to embark on an adventure with my son and would appreciate the members advice and knowledge.
In the summer holidays i am planning to drive to france , then on to belgium to visit ypres , the trenches and the menin gate, i will spend the first two nights in b+b 's. but after that i will drive back in to france and wish to spend two nights wild camping. Then a few nights in a proper campsite , before returning to blighty.
My questions are , can anyone help me with good locations for wild camping , and also some good registered campsites with clubhouse and fun for kids ?



Thanks for your replies
Steve
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Old 6 Mar 2013
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My 2 penny worth

Hi,
Your questions reminded me of this recent thread:-
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...le-hotel-69070

IMO, it will be difficult to wild camp in the north of France because it is very developed, especially compared with the rest of the country - but not impossible. The common advice is to do it at around sunset, be inconspicuous, away from habitation, roads and general view of others + move along early in the morning. An alternative is to ask a friendly farmer for permission to camp on the land; so learn a few phrases or maybe you are fluent?

Anyway, French campsites are of an excellent standard compared with the UK and you can get a pitch for about 14 euro per night - for that you get excellent washrooms, toilet facilities etc., including some entertainment for the kids depending on the season.
There are many databases of camp sites available, including GPS lists.

ps Have a skim read of this thread:- http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...0-2#post414442
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Old 6 Mar 2013
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Firstly Steve

I've camped in France quite a bit mainly going somewhere else passing through. To be honest I was going to "Wild" camp but found once you're off the main routes you can find nice little camp-sites all over run by some lovely people and very cheap with enough facilities to make it more "comfy" I once stayed in a lady's fruit orchard / garden where she had set up a camp-site in a small village with a hand painted sign 2miles down her road which drew me in. No idea where it was now ! It cost 2.5Euro night, hot shower in a shed ( inc. lizards on the wall- real ones ) communal fridge ( in the shed) loo etc...( in the shed) and all the fruit I wanted straight from the tree! She even offered to cook me dinner ! I remember fondly that camp-site, I 've stayed in bigger, but don't remember those ones. Some bigger ones are run by the local authority and are usually very good but can get busy, but are not expensive. You will not find it hard to find camp sites in France I found it harder to find a suitable wild camp site in Northern France - too many fields of wheat. I never book anything and have always found a spot at the first place I stop at even in August.

You will have great fun with your son - enjoy
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Old 6 Mar 2013
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+1 walkabout
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Old 6 Mar 2013
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Thanks all for your replies ,
I cant wait for the summer and this trip , i am thinking that seeing as i am new to camping one of the smaller more rural campsites may well feel like wild camping , especially as my boy is used to all the home comforts !
But we both would love just a slice of the bear grylls experience .
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Old 7 Mar 2013
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I would agree, Wild camping in France is not a good idea.
There are some beaches on the Mediterranean I occasionally wild camp.
This site is worth a check out:
Campings municipaux en France! Retrouvez les campings municipaux sur cartes interactives et comparer
Most are cheap, some are very basic,

Dog
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Old 7 Mar 2013
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I've wild camped in northern France quite a few times over the years but usually out of desperation (no money, no fuel, can't find a hotel or a campsite etc) rather than desire and always prepared to move on if someone approaches.

I'm not sure how young your son is but it wouldn't be my first choice of wild camping destination with a young child - too populated and too developed. There are plenty of "semi run down" municipal campsites around that are only a step removed from wild camping though. At the other end of the scale, for an upmarket campsite you might like to google the Castels camping group. It doesn't get much better than their sites and there's two of them in Nord / Pas de Calais
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Old 8 Mar 2013
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O.K. here's a chance to practice a little French. There are rules and regulations about ''Camping Sauvage'' ( wild camping) and ''bivouac''. The main difference being that wild camping is usually done by those with some form of transport , like bike or car, and a bivvy is done by walkers or those on foot.

This is a link to a French website which explains all the rules. If your not a French speaker , could be a fun exercise for you and your son to break out the dictionary!

Le-Camping-Sauvage.fr - L�gislation et r�glementation en France, renseignements, bonnes pratiques
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Old 8 Mar 2013
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British couples whom I met in İstanbul a few months ago are back in France after completing RTW trip by bike and just got a message from them that they have started a camp in France next to their home for biker friends..

Here is the link to get in touch with marvellous friends.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/558054954212420/

Wish you all the best.
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Old 8 Mar 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g6snl View Post
Firstly Steve

I've camped in France quite a bit mainly going somewhere else passing through. To be honest I was going to "Wild" camp but found once you're off the main routes you can find nice little camp-sites all over run by some lovely people and very cheap with enough facilities to make it more "comfy"
It's a very good point; by camping "officially" you get some interaction with people.

I've stayed on the site in the link below for just one night and it has an excellent restaurant; as it happens it has a lot of British staff (IIRC it is Brit owned), but they do speak French.
Camping La Bien Assise • Nord-pas-de-Calais • Camping entre France, Belgique et Angleterre • Camping • Locations • Hôtel • Restaurant
(as per post number 7 - the castels group).

Today, I've driven across Northern France as far as the Jura region and I was observing the landscape for potential wild camping; my feeling is that it would be easy - there are masses of places where anyone could pull off just before dark and get on their way again at dawn without much chance of bother.
Nevertheless, for a child I would say go camping in the good sites!!
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Old 8 Mar 2013
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for overnight you could always use the "Aires" which you would call motorway/dual carriageway rest stations. there normally you have a toilet/shower block and in the bigger aires, a cafe and fuel.

I like to look out on google maps, follow the lines of new dual carriage ways. Often there are little bits of older road sections now abandoned. These often make excellent "bivouacs"

check out where the new roads go over the old road via a bridge. often they re route a little bit of the old road to make it cross at 90 degrees. so leaving little orphan bits of the old road near or alongside the embankments to the bridge.
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Old 9 Mar 2013
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I wild camp alot of times in france. The main thing is , do you speak French ?
If so it is easy.

Just ask before, setting up your camp. I never got a no.
Just remeber things takes time in France , you may have to talk for 15-30min before things are settled.

France is a farming country , therefore ask the farmer before you camp. The French people are very nice , and very easy to get along with when you treat them in the right fasion.
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Last edited by 2499; 9 Mar 2013 at 22:36.
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Old 13 Mar 2013
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hi steve
check out:
Campings municipaux en France! Retrouvez les campings ...

just find a small village which has a camping municipal and this is all you need,plus le boulangerie,une boucherie et le super pour le vin.

all the best geri
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Old 13 Mar 2013
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A copy of the Michelin camping France guidebook maybe an idea as it lists most of the municipal and privately run campsites.
Also if the OP is using GPS for navigation, downloading Archie`s Camping`s POIs ARCHIESCAMPINGS and installing them to their device may aid finding sites in nearby towns & communes as the go along
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Old 19 Mar 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peirre O`Bollox View Post
A copy of the Michelin camping France guidebook maybe an idea as it lists most of the municipal and privately run campsites.
Also if the OP is using GPS for navigation, downloading Archie`s Camping`s POIs ARCHIESCAMPINGS and installing them to their device may aid finding sites in nearby towns & communes as the go along
I used a download of Archie's camping last year and it worked just fine: toward the end of a days travel (for which I wasn't using the GPS to find the route for me) I just turned on the garmin and located the camping POIs - they are then all listed by distance from my current location, so I just get to the nearest one available and check in if I like the look of it, and the receptionist staff.
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