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Camping Holidays in France

By David Seymour

Cigna International Health Insurance

Summary: If you're thinking about going camping in France, here are a few things to know before you go.

Life in France - Camping Holidays

There are few more avid campers than the French. As is their nature, they really go to town (or should that be country?) with their camping expeditions. In every major location in France, there are superbly well equipped campsites with all the facilities of home. The French, when they go camping, take the whole family, grandparents included. They also take almost everything in the house, apart from the kitchen sink! They don't need that; the washing facilities on every French campsite are excellent. Hot and cold running water and incredibly clean and hygienic toilets. You need never go native in France, or at least unwashed.

Power-sockets line impeccably laid out campsites so the French can watch their favorite TV program. They're creatures of habit! They can also power their fridges and you even see the odd one cutting the grass round their site with electric mowers. Eccentricity is a national trait with the French, but it rubs off, so if you decide to take a French camping holiday, don't be surprised if you start doing strange things likewise.

One can only look in astonishment at what the French bring with them when they go camping. They invariably have car-towed trailers to stow all their household equipment; you'd need one when you see their inventory. Camping stoves, and fully-fledged cookers, all the necessary cutlery and tableware. Their tents are enormous with electric lights and even electric air-bed pumps. All their furniture likewise, it seems. You'll never consider yourself well equipped for camping after you've seen the French. They like to do it in style, as you might expect from the inventors of the concept of chic.

The only problem is when you try and emulate them. Their camping supermarkets are lavishly equipped with every conceivable gadget known to man, things you never conceived of. Go mad with your credit card and buy to your heart's content, but don't forget if you have to return to trans-Atlantic climes, you're going to have to pay hefty excessive extra baggage costs. Better to hire a fully-equipped tent or even better, caravan, from a French family. That way, you don't get wet when it rains and there's more room and the French campsites cater to both campers and caravaners.

For those more inclined to the open road, just plan your itinerary to leap from campsite to campsite. The superb Michelin maps mark them prominently and although virtually every French town and village has a campsite, they're often located in obscure spots. But make sure you don't leave it too late. Have you ever tried putting up a tent in the dark? And don't curse too loudly, the French are very light sleepers. Early to bed and early to rise, that's the motto of French campers, so they're up with the larks, or should that be 'alouette'? Have you ever translated the words to that song? It's all about pulling off various bits of the lark's anatomy and that's what they'll do to you if you don't respect their campsites. Take heed and happy camping.

About the Author

David Seymour is lives in South West France and is the managing director of Adept Marketing SARL, a company specialising in property for sale france

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First Published: Aug 26, 2007

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