Top things to do when you’re surrounded by nature in France
France is a popular destination for camping in Europe, with its spectacular landscapes of sandy beaches, picturesque countryside and mountain ranges.
Swim, surf and sunbathe
From the glamour of the French Riviera to excellent surf beaches along the Atlantic, France has an extensive coastline with many family-friendly beaches for paddling and playing in the sand. France is also an excellent destination for wild swimming, with clean rivers, lakes, and waterfalls including the Pont d’Arc by the Ardèche River and Lac d’Annecy, which is fed by mountain springs.
Browse local markets
Most French towns and cities have a covered daily market, where local producers sell seasonal fruit and vegetables. Get there early in the morning to stock your camp kitchen with fresh bread, cheese, charcuterie, meat and fish. Some markets also have stalls selling coffee and baked goods for a mid-morning snack, as well as handcrafts and antiques that you could take home as a souvenir.
Take a hike
France is home to 62,137 miles of marked trails for walking and hiking across the country, including the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route and trails through the Pyrenees, the Loire Valley and central Brittany. Whether you’re going for a short ramble with the kids or planning a serious long-distance hike, you will find a stunning landscape of dramatic ranges and lush forests.
The French gastronomic meal has been recognised by UNESCO as a cultural treasure. An essential part of daily life, meals traditionally consist of four courses, including cheese and dessert. Dining is an art form in France, whether you’re sitting at the bar at the local bistro or treating yourself to a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Our French favourites include delicate macarons and classic moules marinières.
Pack some treats and toys and hit the road. Many campsites in France are pet friendly
, so your four-legged companion can explore nature trails and run along the beach with you. Well-socialised dogs are often welcome in restaurants and bars. Be mindful to keep your pet on a leash on the campgrounds and always clean up after them.
Take the time to visit museums and art galleries near your campsite to learn about local history and culture. If you are travelling close to Paris, art lovers won’t want to miss out on seeing masterpieces in the Louvre, Centre Pompidou and Musée d’Orsay. You can also find kid-friendly exhibitions in science and natural history museums, which are great for families.
Iconic landmarks and World Heritage Sites
While Paris is synonymous with the iconic Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, France is home to a host of architectural landmarks and more than 40 World Heritage Sites, including cathedrals and castles, as well as prehistoric caves in the Vézère Valley, the fortified city of Carcassonne and the terroirs of Burgundy.
Get close to nature
Visit some of France’s stunning national parks to explore magnificent landscapes, see local wildlife and immerse yourself in the natural surroundings. Walk, hike or bike through the trails, and find a scenic spot to unpack your picnic lunch. Marvel at the spectacular mountain scenery of Vanoise National Park, take a clifftop walk in the Calanques and see megalithic stones in Armorique Regional Natural Park.
Recharge your batteries on a camping holiday
Camping is a great option for a family break, and nature lovers will love the opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors.
Improve your health
Pitch your tent in a peaceful natural location by the sea or in the mountains and leave the stress behind. The benefits of spending time in nature are countless and can boost energy levels, lower blood pressure, improve sleep and promote feelings of well-being. Take a long walk, meditate, listen to the birdsong and get a good dose of Vitamin D.
Bond with your family
Camping holidays are a wonderful opportunity to spend some uninterrupted time with your family. Camping helps children to develop a sense of adventure, resilience and gives them the freedom to explore. Ride your bikes along local trails and try new activities like fishing or stargazing. Go for a nature walk, try to identify different plants and wildlife, and relish the time together to talk, play and laugh.
Reconnect with nature
Whether you’re looking for a laid-back campsite close to family-friendly beaches, or prefer the wilderness of verdant forests, rivers and mountain streams, a camping trip lets you disconnect from daily life and truly be at one with nature. Take a drive along the coast where you can find private beaches for a picnic and a swim, and enjoy the invigorating fresh air, peaceful landscapes and quiet serenity.
Meet new people
Campsites are a great place to socialise and meet new people from all over the world. Chat to other couples and families at the restaurant or by the pool, exchange stories and learn about different cultures. This is also a great way to get ideas about things to see and do, including local hiking paths, swimming spots and restaurants.
It’s easy to stay active on your holidays when you’re camping in natural surroundings. Go swimming, biking or rollerblading with the kids. Start your day with a trail run through the forest or take your dog for a stroll along the beach. Pack a picnic and hike to the top of the summit for lunch. If you’re near the water, try surfing, kayaking or paddle-boarding to get the endorphins flowing.