Escape to France on a camping holiday
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Holidaymakers interested in exploring the country this year have the option of booking ferries to France and visiting one of its many campsites, an option that provides plenty of benefits. Families will have the peace of mind that they can take as much luggage and equipment as they can squeeze into the car, without worrying about the fees and limits imposed by many airlines. Travelling by ferry with your own vehicle also offers freedom and independence, meaning adventurous visitors can explore far beyond the area in which they are staying.
France is home to several diverse and fascinating regions offering countless campsites, each of which has its own unique appeal.
Travelling by ferry with your own vehicle also offers freedom and independence, meaning adventurous visitors can explore far beyond the area in which they are staying.
Occupying the north-western trip of France, Brittany is a scenic region full of culture and history, where visitors can see bustling port towns and cities one day before exploring isolated stretches of coastline and forest the next.
Experiences on offer to holidaymakers in this part of the country include soaking up the lively atmosphere of the harbour in St Malo, seeing the grand Place de la Republique in Rennes and visiting Carnac, which is popular among tourists owing to its collection of Neolithic stones and beaches.
There are hundreds of campsites to choose from in Brittany, such as Yelloh! Village Le Domaine d'Inly near Penestin, which offers amenities including an indoor swimming pool, a restaurant and entertainment venues, as well as facilities to play football, volleyball, tennis and other sports.
Accommodation options in other parts of Brittany include Le Letty in Benodet, which offers easy access to the Finistere coast; Bel Air in Cancale, where guests can make use of a swimming pool and are welcome to bring pets; and Port la Chaine in Pleubian, which provides a useful base for people interested in exploring the region's north coast or visiting the peaceful island of Ile-de-Brehat.
Brittany Ferries is one of the leading providers of sea crossings to north-west France from the UK and Ireland, with regular ferries from Portsmouth to St Malo, Caen and Cherbourg. People travelling from England's south coast can also take ferries from Plymouth to Roscoff, while those departing from Ireland can reach the same French port from Cork.
Channel Islands-based travellers can reach Brittany with Condor Ferries, which also provides crossings to northern France from the ports of Poole, Weymouth and Portsmouth.
Pays de la Loire
There are many experiences that visitors should try not to miss on a trip to the Pays de la Loire region, which shares a border with Brittany in north-west France. At the top of the list is a tour of the area's spectacular chateaux, many of which look like they have been plucked straight from a fairytale. Castles such as Chenonceau, Chambord and Cheverny are worth seeing simply for their architectural splendour, but also offer a fascinating insight into French culture and history.
Also worth a visit is Nantes, the capital of Pays de la Loire, where visitors can see the impressive cathedral of Saint Pierre, explore the Talensac market and sample some of the cuisine on offer in Place du Bouffay.
The region is a good option for people who enjoy sports and outdoor activities, with plenty of opportunities to play golf, go fishing or set sail on riverboat trips.
Holidaymakers hoping to stick to a budget during French camping holidays this year can choose from sites in Pays de la Loire that combine affordability with good facilities, like Le Petit Rocher in Longeville sur Mer, Camp de la Baie in Asserac and Les Varennes in Murs Erigne, all of which have a two-star rating.
There are just as many options for travellers willing to pay extra for a bit of luxury, such as the four-star Lac de Ribou in Cholet, which boasts amenities including a swimming pool and a bar and restaurant called Le Catapla. La Boutinarderie, a three-star campsite in Pornic, offers easy access to the beach and plenty of amenities for families, including a kids' club and water park.
As far as travel options are concerned, LD Lines offers regular ferries from Portsmouth to Le Havre which provide easy access to northern France, as well as ferries from Newhaven to Dieppe.
Holidaymakers planning a trip to France from Ireland can travel with Celtic Link Ferries, which sails from Rosslare to Cherbourg.
Situated on France's eastern border with Germany, on the west bank of the Rhine river, Alsace is one of the country's smallest regions but also one of its most densely populated.
Alsace has long been a popular tourism destination, owing to its collection of picturesque villages and cities such as Strasbourg and Colmar, as well as churches, castles and the Vosges mountains. The chateaux of Haut-Koenigsbourg, Fleckenstein and Pflixbourg are all certainly worth a visit, as is the old town of Selestat.
Owing to its geographical location, Alsace was of great strategic importance during World War II. Visitors can learn more about this chapter in the region's history by visiting Ouvrage Schoenenbourg, a fortification on the Maginot Line, and a memorial in Schirmeck.
Families can enjoy some fun and memorable experiences at Europa-Park, an amusement park located about 50km outside Strasbourg, while wine enthusiasts can follow routes stopping off at vineyards growing recognised grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.
Alsace may be small, but it still offers plenty of choices for campers, such as the two-star Beau Rivage in Gunsbach, the three-star Les Lupins in Seppois le Bas and the four-star Les Sources in Wattwiller, all of which are located in the Haut-Rhin area.
In Bas-Rhin, guests can enjoy access to a swimming pool at the Campeole le Giessen and Le Ried sites in Bassemberg and Boofzheim. Saint Martin in Barr and Le Champ du Feu in Belmont are among the other accommodation options in the area.
One of the most direct and convenient links between south-east England and northern France is the Dover to Calais ferry route, however, there are plenty of other options. For all routes, see our England to France ferry page.
Travellers can also take ferries from Dover to Dunkerque with Norfolkline/DFDS Seaways and head south-east to get to Alsace.
An endless choice of destinations
The towns, cities and regions mentioned above are just a few of the choices on offer to holidaymakers planning a camping trip in France. This rich and varied country offers countless other destinations and experiences, such as the picture-postcard villages and valleys of the Dordogne; the wild landscapes and fascinating cities of Provence; and the mountainous terrain of Rhone-Alpes.