The Brits are coming! That is the cry of campsite owners in France.
After years of holidaying abroad Britons are heading back to France and some regions are finding their sales up by 36%.
Eurocamp, who have provided family camping holidays for 30 years, have shown that Brittany and the Pyrénées are the most popular destinations. Brittany Ferries are also showing an increase in bookings.
If your memories of camping are with the Scouts or Guides in those green canvas tents, cooking over smokey wood fires and sitting round a camp fire drinking cocoa, think again.
There are a variety of campsites from camping à la ferme which can be basic, cheap and quiet through to companies like Eurocamp that provide camping and mobile home holidays in Europe, with ready erected tents so you don't have to bang in a tent peg, where all the family can find entertainment on site. You can find a site to suit your requirements throughout France on the internet.
Campsites are inspected and have to meet strict regulations regarding facilities to achieve the French government star ratings. Some of the four star sites offer amenities like pools, restaurants and grocery stores; although some more basic sites have a bread delivery.
You can pay a few euros for a basic site for two people and a car, up to 400 euros for a week in a six person bungalow type tent. For an extra few euros you will probably be able to connect to electricity but you may need an adaptor and/or an extension cable.
If you don't want to take your own tent or try camping but not pay the prices of a company like Eurocamp, some campsites rent out furnished tents, refrigerators, cooking equipment and even televisions. The more upmarket campsites, mainly found along the coastal regions have restaurants, nightclubs, internet cafés or wifi, ATM machines and on site doctors.
As with most holiday accommodation the high season (July and August) is the most expensive but also the facilities like grocery, nightlife and on site doctor might only be available then too, so it is best to check ahead.
If you are planning to camp in the high season it is recommended that you reserve and bear in mind that some more rural campsites are only open in the summer season.
Here is some vocabulary which may help
English - French
Do you have a camping pitch/site available? - Avez-vous un emplacement disponsible?
A tent - Une tente
With/without electrify - Avec/sans electricité
With my car - Avec ma voiture
For one/two/three people and a child/baby/dog - Pour une/deux personne/personnes et un enfant/bébé/chien
Are you close to town? - Êtes-vous près de la ville?
Do you have... - Avez-vous...
...a pool? - ...une piscine?
...a restaurant? - ...un restaurant?
...a grocery? - ...une épicerie?
...hot showers? - ...les douches chaudes?
Families are becoming more conscious of the impact long distance travel, flying and carbon emissions are having on the environment, prompting a change of heart; thereby avoiding airports and using ferries instead.
They are also hoping to reduce stress by taking their holidays nearer to home and opting for simpler family holidays in the fresh air enjoying family pursuits together.
- by Coral Luke
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