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Campervan hire France

From the Côte d’Azur to the snow-capped Alps, and from Paris to the Pyrenees, France is filled with stirring romances, wild adventures, fine foods and wines, and a lifetime’s worth of joie de vivre.

 

If there’s a catchy French expression worth living by, it’s joie de vivre. But what does jwah deh veevruh stand for? Let’s look at some examples. It’s when you catch a whiff of braising coq au vin from a kitchen window as you walk along a peaceful rue. Or feel the wind brush through your hair as you drive through a blooming Provence’s campagne. There’s nothing you can say that really captures the momentary happiness that tingles the spirit and filling your body with a quiet laughter. Except there is. Joie de vivre. And then there’s the epitome of the French philosophy of joy of living, and that’s France itself. Hire a campervan in France and explore the many examples of how to enjoy life France has to offer, because the country of baguette and bonheur is a haven for campervanners looking for a good time. From tiny villages, through busy highways, to national parks, you’ll find both people and places all across France welcoming to your home on wheels. Does that make France the world’s greatest motorhome destination? Maybe. Does it mean you’ll have an epic road trip on the wheel of your campervan hire in France? Bien sûr!

 

Getting around France by campervan

 

Fueling up on diesel is pretty expensive in France. Diesel prices drop significantly away from highways. For extended road trips, fueling your campervan in bordering countries is much cheaper (especially in Spain and Andorra).

Speeding limits for your campervan ride on highways are 130 km/h (80mph), while expressways are limited to 110km/h (62mph).

France’s roadways are in optimal condition and connect well between national and regional roads. The majority of roads are well equipped for RVs. Note that during a few days in high season, vehicles heading in and out of major tourist areas cause some highways to be jammed. Paris, too, can get congested during peak hours.

France’s ‘autoroutes’ or motorways are almost always paid. Tolls can be paid with cash and card.

France is very open to campervans, providing plenty of free motorhome stops in popular areas and national parks. For amenities like electricity and showers, spend the night with your rental campervan at one of France’s many camping sites.

 

Travel costs in France are average for Europe, though higher than in its southern neighbours. Average costs for a three-course meal for two are €50. Tips are included in the bill (service compris), but bills can be rounded up. For outstanding service, tip 5-10%, depending on the occasion.

France has roughly 3 climates. Its western regions are oceanic, with a small temperature range of cool summers, mild winters, and ample rainfall. Central and eastern France have a continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters, ample rain and heavy snowfall. Southern France is Mediterranean, with hot summers, cool winters, and limited rainfall.

The French are gracious (and chivalrous), polite, and appreciate some formality (though South France is more laid back). Addressing people you don’t know with titulage (Monsieur, Madame, Mademoiselle) is a must. Raising your voice in conversation is considered rude. Finally, (air) kissing both cheeks as a greeting is usually reserved for friends and family, but don’t be surprised if you do get kissed.

French is spoken throughout France, while Alsatian (a German dialect), Breton (Celtic), and some Gallo-Romance languages (such as Catalan) are spoken in their respective regions. The French appreciate you speaking a few words French, and usually don’t speak English. Try saying ‘bonjour’ and ‘merci’ at the very least!

The French cuisine is renowned for its finesse and rich cooking traditions. It prefers the use of herbs of spices. Try ‘Coq au Vin’ (rooster in wine) or ‘Ratatouille’ (vegetable stew) for a taste of classic French cuisine, both born in the peasant kitchen.

 

About France

The French are proud people––which is no wonder, considering their national history. The country was the stage to history’s most famous revolution, one that spelled the end of the French monarchy and had thousands guillotined, the ‘National Razor’ having been invented during the French Revolution to have despots and aristocrats (and pretty much anyone who got on the wrong side of the revolutionaries) executed in an ‘enlightened’ fashion. And while the bloodshed is nothing to be proud of, the French revolution did bring the idea of universal rights, and spark a remarkable series of change in societies throughout the West. But it’s not just grand history that makes France a proud nation. It’s the refined French kitchen, the very essence of haute cuisine; it’s their rich culture of art literature, ranging from Monet to Molière; it’s Paris and the Belle Epoque; and just France, really, for being such a wonderful country.    

From the capital to the captivating countryside, France will have you at bonjour. Each region and city exudes a unique allure: from the northern French cliffs and sand dunes in Lille, through Normandy’s historical D-day beaches on the coast, down to the world famous surf breaks of Biarritz and the endless lavender fields in Provence. A campervan hire in France will not be complete without visiting Cote D’Azur’s coastline, which features some of the finest beaches and glamorous resorts in Europe. Cannes, Nice, Saint Tropez and Marseille along the French Riviera make for a chic getaway. In the West of the country lays the region of Bordeaux, known for its lush vineyards and iconic wines. For a bubbly treat, head off to the birthplace of the authentic Champagne, in the eponymous region, and be sure not to miss Mont St. Michel, the famous castle nearby. Saving the best for last, Paris will sweep you off your feet with its sparkling Eiffel Tower, spectacular Louvre museum, and cinematic Cathedrale de Notre Dame.

 

What to discover

In and around the country

Les Calanques

Does the name Jacques Cousteau ring a bell? If not, google the guy. Back in the 60s, he gave people their first glimpse of the then-unknown underwater world on national television. Why mention him? Because his fascination for sea life comes from his youth, growing up in the beautiful Calanques.

The coastal limestone-cave systems of les Calanques are home to an abundance of underwater life, and the ideal destination for a water-themed road trip. Bring your snorkelling set, hire a SUP together with your rental campervan, and get exploring!

Mont St.Michel

The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is not just a religious building, it’s a whole commune built around one. And it’s not just a religious town either, because the commune is built on an islet that is only reachable by foot when the tide permits you to cross the marshes. Otherwise, it’s an impenetrable, fortified town on an island nearly impossible to siege!

Nowadays, the island is not nearly as untakeable as it used to be, although it is still not possible to get there on the wheel of your rental campervan. These days, though, there’s a walkway going from the mainland to the magnificent rock island!

Mer de Glace

Road trips are all about adventure, right? Well, here’s adventure you’ve never thought of: visiting a glacier––from the inside out! Park your campervan and take a cable car to the glacier, where you can traverse ice grottos and learn about our planet earth.

Prefer heading up a mountain? Rising from Mont Blanc, Aiguille du Midi has the Chamonix’ (and therefore France’s) best view, reaching all the way into Switzerland and Italy.

 

Top Regions

Travel to Bretagne/Brittany

France’s northwesternmost peninsula is an entirely different world from the rest of France. Featuring cragged coastlines, megalithic monuments, medieval towns, and preferring cider, beer and mead over wine and champagne, Brittany is reminiscent of the Celts more than anything in France. It’s a mystical place, sometimes covered in the salty mist of ocean spray, other times laid bare by the eternal sun, worshipped by Celtic druids in ancient times.

But Brittany isn’t just mystical, its towns and cities prove magical road trip stops too! A campervan hire in France will never be complete until you have visited this region of wonders. Rent your RV in France’s main hub of tourism, Paris, and take the highways that lead to Bretagne’s lively capital Rennes, with its medieval quarter and half-timbered houses. From there, it’s only a two-hour campervan or motorhome drive to the iconic Pink Granite Coastline, dream-hued and strangely shaped. Get a proper feel for medieval life in one of Bretagne’s towns, like the walled Dinan, Carnac with its megaliths, or Locronan, officially one of France’s prettiest towns. If you’re looking for real magic, visit Paimpont and the surrounding forest. Legend has it King Arthur and the wizard Merlin lived here!

Explore Normandy

Northern France’s Normandy carries the burden of history. Not on its shoulders, but on its shores, which were the stage of one of the most crucial turning points of war history: D-Day. If it weren’t for the allied soldiers landing on Omaha Beach, Europe would’ve looked a lot different today. But Normandie’s history of conquerors predates WWII by far, the region lending its name from the Viking Normans who continually raided the coast––until they settled for good.

This French region has the road trip written all over its cities and coast lines. Instead of a campervan hire in Normandy, we suggest you rent your motorhome in closeby Paris and hit the road on the way to this region. Discover Europe’s bloody history along the region’s coast, lined with bunkers, and pay a visit to the WWII memorial museum. Rouen is the capital of Upper Normandy, and its historical center is unlike anything you’ve seen. A buzzing city, this is were Joan of Arc, one of history’s bravest women, played her final part for France (it’s where she was put to the stake). Caen, capital of Lower Normandy, rivals its upper neighbour in beauty, but has a Norman tint to it, due to William the Conqueror building a castle here in 1,060 AD!

 

Campervan hire in the French Alps

France’s northeast Alpine region bordering Switzerland and Italy is now administratively Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes––which means that the region didn’t just get bigger, but it got better too! From the highest points of the French Alps, through rolling valleys and hills, and from skiing in the snow, to hiking in the sun, Rhône-Alpes is the dream destination for any outdoors enthusiast to hire a campervan and follow nature’s lead.

Hire a motorhome in Rhône-Alpes’ capital Lyon, your perfect launchpad to explore a region filled with adventure. Drive the van down to Grenoble, which sits at the foot of snow-capped mountains and has ancient fortifications built along its rocky hills, called ‘Le Bastille’. Or go east and visit Auvergne, a hiker’s delight for its rolling hills and historical architecture, seen in places like Gothic Ambert and Bourbon Moulins. Or go skiing in Savoie, a formerly-independent nation with famous ski resorts. Or reach higher in Haute Savoie and visit Chamonix, the base to Europe’s highest summit, Mont Blanc. After Haute Savoie, it’s an easy passage to Geneva!

 

RV Rental in the French Riviera

Purple fields of lavender and sunflowers bobbing in the wind, pastel-coloured window shutters and orange roof tiles, ancient aqueducts and tucked-away abbeys, South France’s Provence is the country’s most picture-perfect region. It’s no wonder the Provence has inspired painters from van Gogh to Monet, and from Picasso to Matisse. Ranging from the vineyards around Avignon to the famous French Riviera, the region makes for an inspiring road trid destination too!

Hire a campervan in the region’s largest city, Marseille, to start your road trip with an epic exploration of les Calanques, a massive massif inlet along southern end of the Azure Coast and France’s prettiest marine environment. Make your westwards to painter’s dream stops, like van Gogh’s Arles, Cézanne’s Aix-en-Provence, or the fishing town Martigues, painted by many impressionists. Or rent an RV in Côte d’Azur’s lovely Nice and visit the French Riviera’s most lavish destinations, like Antibes and its luxury yachts, Cannes and its grand boulevards, or Saint Tropez and its jetsetters. Wherever you go along the coast, there are beaches abound––and the Italian Riviera is only a short drive by campervan!

 

Discover Alsace

Now part of the bigger region of eastern France’s Grand Est, Alsace really stands on its own. Squeezed between central France and Germany, and between the Vosges and the Rhine, Alsace marries two worlds––creating a world that seems to come straight out of a fairytale. Half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets, castles and taverns, hill slopes and vineyards, tradition is very much alive in Alsace, embedded in a lifestyle of French finesse and German gemütlichkeit.

Alsace has been attracting road trippers for ages: the Alsace Wine Route is one of Europe’s classic driving routes. This gastronomic journey starts by hiring a campervan in Mulhouse in the south, bordering Switzerland and Germany. From there, head up and along the foothills of the Vosges with your van, where over a thousand vineyards occasionally make way for little Grimm-like villages. Midway through your road trip, find the city of Colmar, most likely Alsace’s prettiest, with Petite Venise (Little Venice) and incredibly well-preserved, Old Town. The Wine Route finishes in Strasbourg, another iconic city and your last stop before you hop into Germany, right at the edge of the city!

 

Travel to Aquitaine

Aquitaine (now administratively Nouvelle-Aquitaine) is the southwesternmost part of France. Unlike the serene Mediterranean lending its dreamy character to the Provence, Aquitaine faces the great Atlantic head on. The result is a wildly-enchanting region full of fantastical forests, steep mountains, and some of Europe’s best waves. Think of French Basque Country and the infamous Bay of Biscay; or the mighty Pyrenees, doorway to Iberia; the Dordogne, with chateaux sitting on hilltops in mystical forests; and Gironde, its rivers nurturing the world’s most-cherished wine region of Bordeaux.

Your epic adventure on this famed wine region starts by renting a campervan in Aquitaine’s epicentre, Bordeaux. From there, follow the Dordogne or Garonne River on a quest to find your favourite wines. Or go down and chase waves, driving to Hossegor, official stop of the World Surf League, and make your way to Biarritz, birthplace of France’s surf culture, before heading with your rental motorhome into Spain and conquering waves like Mundaka. Or get historical in Aquitaine, by driving your campervan hire east from Bordeaux to visit Sarlat, an incredibly well-preserved medieval gothic town and the region’s capital of cuisine. Lastly, we highly recommend you head into the Pyrenees, because there’s just nothing like driving your campervan up to an altitude where the air is crisp, the sky is clear, and the world is at your feet!

Explore France - big mountains and beautiful landscape
Explore France - beach full of people and blue sea
Explore France - beautiful french landscape
Explore France - Mont Saint-Michel with lights
Explore France - grapes and french wine
Explore France - night lights and houses with snow
Explore France - vineyards and the sunset
Explore France - colorful houses and blue ocean
Explore France - boats on the river and night lights
Explore France - view to the beach
Explore France - beautiful view to the vineyards
Explore France - reflection of mountains on the sea
Discover Paris - Notre-Dame Cathedral

Campervan hire in Paris

Indie Campers Paris Depot
21 Rue Marc Seguin - 77290 Compans, France

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Discover Bordeaux - Stone Bridge and Pey-Berland Tower at sunset

Campervan hire in Bordeaux

Indie Campers Bordeaux Depot
Allée Peronette, 344 - 33127 Saint Jean D'Illac, France

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Discover Biarritz - View of the beach at sunset

Campervan hire in Biarritz

Indie Campers Biarritz Depot
Biarritz Airport - 7 Espl. de l'Europe, 64600 Anglet

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Discover Marseille - beautiful view of the port

Campervan hire in Marseille

Indie Campers Marseille Depot
1 Avenue de l'Homme À la Fenêtre - 13220 Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, France

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Discover Nice - Negresco Hotel on Promenade des Anglais

Campervan hire in Nice

Indie Campers Nice Depot
Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport - Rue Costes et Bellonte, 06206

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Discover Toulouse - The Saint-Pierre bridge

Campervan hire in Toulouse

Indie Campers Toulouse Depot
Toulouse – Blagnac Airport - 31703 Blagnac

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Discover Lyon - panoramic city view

Campervan hire in Lyon

Indie Campers Lyon Depot
22 Rue de la Haye, 38070 Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France.

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Discover Mulhouse - city centre

Campervan hire in Mulhouse

Indie Campers Mulhouse Depot
EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg - 68304 Saint-Louis

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