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Caravanning In France


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Between 1990 and 2005 we had many excellent holidays with the caravan in France. Having come back to caravanning in the past five years we have kept to the UK, while we are keen to venture abroad our experience of French sites and small, poor quality pitches gives us some concern. Even though our van in those days was not massive there were still some pitches which were far too small for us to fit on, including one with a tree stump in the middle of it!

We now tow a twin axle Barcelona at almost 8m in length. If anyone can give any advice about touring in France / Europe or recommend any sites I would be very greatful. Especially if it convinces my wife that we do not need to sell the van and buy a motorhome!

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I've been taking 'vans to France for many years and have not noticed much of a problem with pitch sizes but then we don't have a big 'van. From what I've noticed, the continentals don't seem to have so many large 'vans as us. It's hard to predict what pitch sizes are going to be like before you arrive at a site so I suppose you'd have to write or e-mail the site in advance or just trust to luck. Most folk running sites in France are very friendly and go out of their way to help ( even when I speak West Yorkshire French to them! ).

 

John.

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If you are able to travel outside of the main French holiday season then you will have a much better chance of finding what you want. ESPECIALLY if you make use of ACSI

 

http://www. campingcard. co. uk/extra-information/what-is-campingcard-acsi/

 

VERY worthwhile investment !!

 

Andy

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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Take her to Turiscampo in Portugal. Many large pitches,some fully serviced and very clean amenities.

If you decide to do that you will require stick on chevrons for the rear of your caravan due to outfit length as it is a statutory requirement in Spain.

Have lost touch somewhat on sites in France,but I would think there are plenty to suit your taste. Check on t'Internet and e mail sites asking how big pitches are. Some French sites,apparently,are a bit "sniffy" about twin axles but I think they are few and far between.

We have stayed in Delft,Holland too. Large pitches,clean facilities and an easy walk into a lovely town.

I could go on,but I'm sure others will be able to help.

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We towed a Barcelona to France for a couple of holidays and had no problems other than I always e-mailed the sites to check that they took twin axles as a few don't. We do have a motor mover though. The header picture on my blog is the Barcelona pitched in France! Other years we have taken a 7. 5 m van so nearly as big. The sites we have stayed on usually had a variety of sized pitches and as you can choose where you pitch you just choose the largest. We usually use ACSI sites as, apart from good value, you can read the reviews of them on their website so you have a fair idea of what you are getting.

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If you have a mover fitted, that will be helpful, as you can usually site your van wherever you wish on a pitch, unlike CC sites!

 

The CC website specifies pitch sizes available, and its well worth checking these because some are really quite small. My rule of thumb is a minimum of 10x10 metres-anything smaller is a squeeze with vans this size.

 

I agree that very few continentals go in for the large vans common in the UK.

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This morning I left a site in Spain our pitch was number 714 so you can tell how large the place was, the roads were tight but the pitches of a good size, we managed to get in after we had someone move his car, since we were there he left and another pitched on there and stopped right on the kerb, so getting out was a problem, I had to use the movers to go all the way down the road and round the corner.

 

I also could not get down the exit road as it was too tight but came out through the way in, my caravan is 8. 3 metres long, normally I find if you tell them when you arrive they try to accommodate you.

 

The site I left had some seriously large stuff on it.

 

If it stresses you then you may have to pick sites, we do not we go where we want and take pot luck, and yes european sites can be a bit of a squeeze at times.

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En route home stayed at Le Pont Romain near Le Mans last week. It's a lovely ACSI site (14€) for an overnight stop with huge pitches, but they don't allow twin axles. All the pitches are grass and twin axles tear it up when being manoeuvred.

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Our (SA) van is 7. 3m shipping length so would be considered big by many. We've never been unable to site it on a French site but have occasionally been limited in which pitches we could use.

 

As said, it's often the approach roads that are tricky rather than the pitches themselves. We do have a mover fitted and find it almost essential.

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I have a look on the ACSI website under "campsite rules". This will state "twin axle caravans permitted" if they accept them. If it doesn't I don't bother enquiring further about that site, there are plenty of other sites that do.

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Thanks for all the replies and advice. We have a four wheel mover so shifting the beast is not a major issue. I will do further research based on the info provided and look forward to touring the continent in the future.

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In many years of visiting France we have never had to leave a site because of the pitch size ( but we don't have a double axle ). Think Spain is more difficult where they don't seem to realise that caravans and motorhomes have grown a bit recently ! Agree with others that a mover is, if not necessary, very useful.

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We have an 8 metre LOA van and don't have any real issues with pitches in France when travelling there off the "silly month". We have to be selective, just as with the CC not all pitch sizes are equal nor all get the distance I want from others, however, getting that in France I suggest is a lot easier than getting it on CC sites. I expect though we make a point of avoiding "honeypot" sites for various reasons so generally they are not crowded.

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We've never struggled in France with a 9m motorhome, although one site refused it for being twin axle.

 

If you have a large unit, sometimes you have to accept a pitch where you will fit rather than be most comfortable. In Rome recently, we were in the picnic and barbecue area of the campsite, but as the place was deserted, it mattered not.

 

Russ

Online blog and travels, although sometimes there is a lack of travel due to work!

 

It's an uncharted sea, it's an unopened door but you've got to reach out and you've got to explore.

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To the OP, if you can suggest some of the areas/towns/cities that you want to visit and the type of site - basic with facilities up to pool/restaurant/tennis courts etc etc - I'm sure many readers will put you wise.

 

Best time to go is still mid-May to end June.

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Although Italy is not famous for sites with large pitches, we stayed on one at Lake Maggiore last year with HUGE pitches: Camping Conca D'Oro, right on the lakeside. We had our 7. 3m van sideways across the pitch and still had room for the car next to it; the motorhome beside us was 9m long & even he fitted on with no problem. Great site, easy access & quiet out of season.

 

This year we stayed near Le Boulou in S France (not far from Spanish border) at Camping de la Vallée at St Jean Pla de Courts - again, large flat pitches on sand/earth of varying sizes but most plenty big enough for a TA.

 

As others have said, the ACSI guide is a good one as it tells you the size of pitch in the description eg. 100-120m2 so you can make an informed choice.

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