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Vive la France! Touring in your caravan in France

If you are considering a French touring holiday in your caravan, you may be wondering which of the regions of France you would like to explore.

Space doesn't permit a full overview of this vast country and all of its regions; however, you may find the following points to be helpful in your choice of direction.

Normandy (Normandie)
This is a vast region running from just north west of Paris, right along the north coast, heading westwards towards Brittany.

A traditional firm favourite with UK caravanners, it is an area encompassing rural traditions with great historic centres such as Rouen, Alencon, Cherbourg, Mont St Michel, Dieppe and Caen.

It has some great beaches, a marvellous cuisine and benefits from being relatively easy driving from just about any of the channel ports – though the western ports may save you a lot of driving over landing somewhere to the east such as Calais.

On the downside, the weather may not be totally reliable even in summer and you may need to assume that it will be close to southern English norms.

Brittany (Bretagne)
This is another large region running from the north western bulge of France into the Atlantic down to south of Nantes.
In terms of modern administrative areas, Nantes and its surrounding departement is now technically part of another region but historically and culturally this area was part of Brittany until 20th-century reorganisations.
Many Bretons continue to consider Nantes and the surrounding area as part of their region.

This is the Celtic part of France and largely independent until the 16th century. For centuries the Breton language has been under siege (once intentionally, then more recently by modern technology) and in terms of a spoken native tongue, is now restricted to parts of the far west.

Famous for its coastline, superb beaches and rugged inland countryside, Brittany continues to be very popular with UK visitors.

There are numerous historic cities to visit (Nantes, Rennes, Fougeres, Brest, Quimper, St Malo etc) and some fascinating ancient sites such as Concarneau and the famous standing megaliths at Carnac.
The most convenient ports are St. Malo and Roscoff.

Once again though, the weather may not be entirely reliable even in the height of summer and may be subject to Atlantic squalls.

Pays de la Loire
Sitting about two or three hours’ drive south of Normandy and Brittany is the region that is famous for being the home of what is arguably France’s most famous river.

Heading southwards, this is perhaps the first French region you will hit where you should be able to be relatively sure of getting continually sunny and warm weather during the summer holiday period.
The countryside is famous for its valleys, chateaux and vineyards and as just about everywhere in France, there are numerous beautiful historic towns and cities to visit.

The slight downside is that this region is a slightly longer drive from the channel ports. On the other hand, it might be more convenient for those who would like to get some warm weather but who would prefer to avoid what may be the much longer and tiring drive down to the Mediterranean coast.

Remember that if you are touring anywhere in France, random stops and checks by the Gendarmes may be rather more commonplace then you are used to.
Make sure that your caravan and towing vehicle are both in excellent legal condition and that your caravan insurance is also suitable for the journey you are undertaking.

Published: 04/05/2012

The information in this article was correct at the time of publication and contains time sensitive data and links, it may not be accurate at the time of reading.