Campervan Hire France

Campervan Hire France

When hiring a campervan from France you can enjoy superb rates and availability with some of the most popular fleet of campervans & motorhome rentals from over 25 locations in France.

Touring France by Campervan

Located in Western Europe, France is home to nearly 65 million people and has a landmass of 640,427 square kilometres, and is often referred to as the "Gateway to Western Europe".

More about France

Known for its stunning scenery and delicious cuisine, France has a longstanding reputation for being one of the most idyllic countries to visit in Europe. Blessed with an abundance of nature and rolling countryside, France is the perfect destination for a campervan holiday. One of the main advantages of campervan hire in France is that you can enjoy the freedom of exploring the off beaten tracks. Spend your days discovering historic villages, hidden beaches and breathtaking vineyards.

Due to its rich history, colourful culture and fine cuisine – France is a country that everyone should visit at least once in their life. With so much to do and see, a motorhome is undoubtedly the best way to explore the diverse and fascinating country. Before booking your motorhome with Compare and Choose, there are a few factors you will need to consider. Such as time of year, the rules of the road and camping locations.

Hidden Treasures of France

Situated in the centre of France, Loire Valley, also known as the "cradle of the French", is the perfect destination to get lost in the countries stunning countryside. A trip here can be spent strolling through picturesque fruit orchards, discovering majestic castles or exploring the stunning vineyards. The central part of the valley has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts a plethora of welcoming campsites. Nestled along the Loire, there’s plenty of places to park your campervan overnight.

Nestled in between the south of France and Italy, Provence spans over the Mediterranean Sea coast up to the lower Rhône River in the west. Once inhabited by Ligures, Celts, Romans, and later the French kings. This historic region boasts an unforgettable backdrop of breath-taking lavender fields which stretch across the horizon.

Drive to the west of the country, where the Atlantic coast will welcome you with golden beaches. Days here can be sent soaking up the sun or riding the waves. This stretch of coast is surfer’s paradise with its maritime climate controlled by warm summers and mild winters. The plethora of campsites on the western coast make it even easier to travel at your own pace.

Public Holidays in France

Travelling over public holidays is a great way to experience a different culture. Whilst the UK and France share many holidays, such as Christmas and New Year, the way they are celebrated will differ. You will need to plan your itinerary around any national holidays that are due to occur on your French road trip, as they may affect attraction opening hours and transportation schedules.

New Year's Day – January 1st

Much like the UK, celebrations begin with a party on New Year's Eve, where it's traditional to kiss under the mistletoe at the stroke of midnight. Many cities and communities will organise parades and firework displays on the 31st, to welcome the New Year with a bang! New Year’s Day is typically more relaxed, where the French will enjoy a family feast together to recover from the night before.

If you are travelling in France over New Year, it's only polite to learn the correct greetings, which include:

  • I wish you a happy new year = "Je te/vous souhaite une joyeuse année".
  • Happy New Year! = "Bonne année".
  • May all your wishes come true in 2019 = "Que tous tes/vos voeux (veu) se réalisent en 2019".
  • Happy New Year and good health for 2019 = "Bonne année et bonne santé pour 2019".

Easter Monday – date varies

The religious holiday, known as Lundi de Pâques, is celebrated as a national holiday in France. You could visit the village of Bessières, in the South West, who commemorate the day by preparing a giant omelette, using 15,000 eggs in a four-meter-wide pan. Or, you could enjoy the colourful atmosphere of the Cargèse parade on the beautiful island of Corsica.

Labour Day – May 1st

May Day, or ‘La Fête du Muguet, La Fête du Travai’ is reserved as a ‘day of action’. The public holiday sees trade unions come together to organise marches and demonstrations to campaign for workers’ rights and social issues. If your travels in France fall on May 1st, you may find that the parades cause disruptions to traffic in city centres, so you’ll need to plan your route accordingly.

Ascension Day – date varies

Ascension Day is another religious holiday that falls 40 days after Easter Monday. It is a quiet holiday in France, with most people taking the day to spend time with their families. Restaurants and small businesses outside of tourist areas may be closed on Ascension Day and public transport schedules will vary depending on your location.

Victory Day – May 8th

Another fairly quiet public holiday in France is Victory Day (la fête de la victoire, le jour de la liberation), the anniversary of when Charles de Gaulle announced the end of World War 2. Cities are decorated with the French flag to honour war veterans. Many people will attend dedicated parades and church services in memory of those who were lost. The day does not tend to cause disruption to transportation, although smaller businesses may be closed in rural areas.

Whit Sunday & Monday – date varies

Whit Sunday and Monday are religious holidays in France, which see most businesses close-down. Villages and small towns often host sporting and cultural events that may interrupt traffic, however city roads will remain open.

Bastille Day – July 14th

Bastille Day

Locally known as "la fête du 14-Juillet", this national French holiday commemorates the French revolution and subsequent storming of the Bastille fortress. If you find yourself in Paris, you can enjoy the lively atmosphere at the annual Bastille Day parade, where thousands of people gather to watch the troops march through the city and the military aircraft's fly overhead.

As night falls, you can watch the spectacular firework display that illuminates the Eiffel Tower at the Champ de Mars. Each year has a different theme and the display is accompanied by a classical music performance from France’s National Orchestra and the Radio France Choir. If you’re in the South, then head to Marseille, where over 10,000 rockets light up the sky at the Old Port on the Mediterranean Sea.

Assumption Day – August 15th

This religious public holiday marks the end of France's long summer holiday. Whilst most people will simply take this as a day off to spend with family, others may choose to attend dedicated church services. Generally, administration businesses will be closed, but most restaurants and shops will remain open and there is little disruption to traffic.

All Saints Day – November 1st

Celebrations for All Saints Day begin on the evening of the 31st October – Halloween. It is an annual holiday that French natives use to commemorate their dead. Whilst it's not traditionally French, a trip to Disneyland Paris is a must during this time, especially if you are travelling with children. The Park comes alive with spooky Mickey shaped Jack-o-lanterns, Disney villain encounters and dedicated performances and parades.

Armistice Day – November 11th

Tomb of the unknow soldier

Similarly to Victory Day in May, Armistice Day is a public holiday used as a tribute to those who died in World War 1. History buffs may be interested to visit Paris to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the body of an unrecognised soldier was buried at the base of the Arc de Triomphe.

Christmas Day – December 25th

Like most Christian countries, France pretty much comes to a standstill on Christmas day as families gather to exchange gifts and spend some quality time together. If you're in France between November 24th and December 30th, then a trip to Strasbourg, in the North East, is essential. Here, you will find "Christkindelsmarik", one of Europe’s biggest Christmas markets.

With over 300 unique stalls, you can enjoy everything from traditional bredele cakes to a moreish cup of hot wine, flavoured with festive cinnamon. The huge Christmas Tree, breathtaking illuminations and classic wooden chalets bring festive cheer throughout the city every year.

French Road Trip Itineraries

Cross France off your bucket list and explore some of the world's most renowned architecture, lavish cultures and beautiful scenery using our itinerary samples to guide your route.

1. The Ultimate Wine Tour

Travel the six Bordeaux Wine routes and enjoy the beautiful scenery deep within the French countryside. Cycle between the vines and experience some of the best wines in the world on this sought-after itinerary.

Arrive in Bordeaux (30-minute drive)

After picking up your campervan from Bordeaux airport, you'll want to head straight to the town centre. As a world heritage site, the city is decorated with a unique combination of classical and neo-classical architecture and urban developments. Immerse yourself in "wine culture" with a visit to the Cite du Vin, which explores the history of world wines through a variety of innovative instillations.

Whilst Bordeaux has a selection of decedent galleries and museums to explore, the real appeal is in the city itself which is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Bordeaux to Sauternes (51-minute drive)

Less than an hour drive from Bordeaux you'll stumble upon Sauternes, a sleepy village surrounded by enchanting vineyards and famous for its sweet white wines. A visit to La Maison Du Vigneron is essential. As sixth generation wine producers, the owners pioneer the wine tourism industry and offer a second-to-none tasting experience.

Sauternes to Entre-Deux-Mers (43-minute drive)

Translating to “between two seas”, the aptly named Entre-deux-Mers is nestled between the river Garonne and the river Dordogne. Stretching far from the West of the city all the way across to the Eastern region of Bergerac, Entre-deux-Mers dominates the Bordeaux wine route. Rolling hills, small valleys and picturesque meadows make up the landscape and vineyards grow as far as the eye can see.

Entre-Deux-Mers to Medoc (20-minute drive)

North of Bordeaux, the Medoc is home to some of the most prestigious wine villages, producing some of the finest wines in the world, such as Margaux and Chateay Lafite-Rothschild. Medoc has more to explore than vineyards, as it is home to over 100km of sandy beaches, so you can enjoy the vino, followed by a stroll along the seaside.

Medoc to Saint Emilion (56-minute drive)

Arguably even more beautiful than Bordeaux, Saint Emilion offers stunning scenery, fine wines and delicious cuisine. As a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999, the medieval town is full of history. An underground town tour is essential if you want to uncover the ancient secrets of this small town, plus a climb to the top of the Bell Tower will give you panoramic views of the surrounding hills. Saint Emilion is also a short 10-15 minute drive from other wine-growing communes, including Pomerol, Fronsac and Libourne.

Saint Emilion to Blaye (58-minute drive)

Another ancient city with a vast history dating back to the Roman era, Blaye is most famous for its citadel. Burned down by the English in 1352, the citadel has since been restored to its former glory so visitors can take a walk around the fortress walls, whilst enjoying the serene atmosphere and lush landscapes.

Blaye to Bourg (18-minute drive)

A short 20-minute drive from Blaye and you will stumble upon Bourg, a picturesque town settled on the banks of the Dordogne. Here you will find a citadel castle, the infamous horse-drawn carriage museum and formal gardens complete with a terrace, overlooking the town and surrounding landscapes.

Bourg to Bordeaux (49-minute drive)

Just like that you're French vineyard tour is over and its back to Bordeaux for your flight home.

2. The A-Listers Tour

Experience the luxury of Frances South coast with this indulgent travel itinerary.

Arrive in Nice

Unofficially labelled as the capital of the French Riviera, Nice is famous for its beautiful beaches and beaming sunshine. Castel Plague, a private beach, is perhaps the most beautiful, with its soft white sands and clear blue waters, it's a must visit for sun-seekers. For fantastic views of the Nice Bay take a trip to the ruins of Chateau du Nice, followed by a tour of the beautiful gardens that surround the citadel. This picture-perfect viewpoint will be the awe of your holiday snaps!

Work up a sweat and burn off that lavish French cuisine by excursing to Parc du Mont Boron, where you can choose from seven miles of rural hiking trails. Take the strenuous path up to the summit of Mont Bront for yet more spectacular views, or climb Mont Alban to explore the ruins of a military fort.

Nice to Monaco (30-minute drive)

Home to A-list events like the Monaco Grand Prix, this independent city-state on France's Mediterranean coastline oozes opulence and elegance. Ogle the yacht-lined harbor and if you are feeling lucky, take a gamble at one of the many upscale casinos. Visit Monte Carlo and dine at the Café de Paris, an Art-Nouveau brasserie style lunch spot, featuring an informal casino and a terrace lined with slot machines.

Monaco to Villefranche-sur-Mer (33-minute drive)

Dubbed as one of the most beautiful bays in the world, Villefranche is a classic fishing village within the French Riviera. The old town has a unique charm, with a colourful flush of architecture tumbling down the hillside right the way down to the sea front.

Villefranche-sur-Mer to Cannes (1 hour 5 minute drive)

Holiday destination to the stars, Cannes is famed for the iconic Cannes film festival. Taking place each May, the festival attracts world-renowned celebs who flourish in the glitz and glamour of the annual red-carpet event. Behind the wealth and opulence, Cannes is home to winding lanes; ancient buildings and an old harbour filled with both traditional fishing boats and luxury super-yachts.

Cannes to Saint Tropez (1hour 32minute drive)

The final A-list destination is Saint-Tropez; another fishing village turned celeb hot spot. Here, you'll find all the essentials of a millionaire's vacation destination, including beautiful beaches, fancy boutiques, exquisite cuisine and lively nightclubs.

Despite the culture of wealth, Saint-Tropez still holds its peaceful allure, with narrow streets, family-owned restaurants and the quaint harbour decorated with rustic wooden masts. Make your life easier and book your return flight from La Mole Airport, which is a mere 15km from the centre of Saint Tropez.

3. From Paris with Love

Paris on a sunny day

Explore beautiful Paris and beyond on this Northern self-drive adventure.

Arrive in Paris

There's certainly no shortage of things to see and do in the French capital, spend a couple of days exploring the city before renting a campervan to see you through the rest of your trip. Set some time aside for sightseeing, visit the Arc-de-Triomphe, enjoy the glittering lights on the Eiffel Tower at night, and admire the architecture at the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

If you're travelling with children, or even if you just want to free your inner child, then a trip to Disneyland Paris is essential. Thrill seekers can enjoy the rides, whilst Disney lovers will adore the magic of the late night firework display and parade. For some grown-up entertainment, visit the Moulin Rouge for dinner and a show. This exciting 19th century style cabaret sees dancers perform in elaborate consumes that makes for a vibrant evening with an unforgettable atmosphere.

Paris to Reims (1 hour 49 minute drive)

Located in North East France, Reims is renowned as the champagne capital of the world. Explore one of the many champagne houses, tour the wine cellars and clench your thirst with a glass of the infamous fizz. Later on, explore French history with a visit to the grand Reims cathedral, where 1000 years of French monarchy were crowned.

Reims to Normandy (4 hour 30 minute drive)

Normandy is dotted with lush meadows; farmland and a coast lined with low dunes and chalk cliffs. It's a picturesque location with a dark history and home to a host of fascinating museums and memorials.

Normandy to Palace of Versailles (2 hour 22 minute drive)

Heading back towards Paris, a trip to the Palace of Versailles is a must. This world heritage site is a feat of 17th century architecture. Once home to King Louis X111, the palace is a grand display spread over a massive 63,154m2 and simply must be seen to be believed. Explore the estate with a guided tour of the regal interior and adorning gardens.

Driving in France: Rules and Regulations

Learning the rules of the road is essential when you're driving in France. Failure to do so could not only result in penalties, or legal action, but is extremely unsafe for you, your passengers and other drivers. Here are some of the rules and regulations you should abide by on your French road trip:

Foreign Licences

EU drivers are permitted to use their own driving licence. Other nationalities can use their home licence for one year, providing they have a translation, or international driving permit. All drivers must be at least 18 years old.

Do not use your mobile phone, or hands free system when driving

Mobile phone use, including hands free systems, Bluetooth and wired headsets, is banned in France. If you are caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel you are likely to receive an on-the-spot fine of €135 and suspension of your licence as of 2018. You are permitted to make calls if the vehicle has a voice activated system (entirely hands free) that does not require headphones.

Speeding in France

There are over 150 unmarked police vehicles with on board speed cameras patrolling both motorways and minor roads in France. If you are caught driving over 140 Km/h over a 130 stretch of motorway you are likely to receive a ticket and on-the-spot fine.

Drinking and driving in France

The blood alcohol limit in France is 0.5mg per 100ml (it's 0.8mg per ml in the UK), therefore it is not worth risking one drink if you are the designated driver. You are also required, by law, to carry a breathalyser with you in the car. These are available from most supermarkets, drugstores and petrol stations for about €1.

Driving with Children in France

Children under the age of ten are not allowed to travel in the passenger seat of the car, unless the car does not have backseats. Children should be seated in the back with an appropriate car seat or booster seat. Babies may travel in the front passenger seat, providing they are sat in a rear-facing baby seat and the airbag is deactivated. Seatbelts should be worn by all passengers at all times, regardless of their position in the vehicle.

Speed Limits in France

  • Unless stated otherwise, the speed limit in built up areas is 50 km/h
  • As of 1st July 2018, the speed limit on main roads, outside built up areas is 80 km/h.
  • The speed limit on a dual carriageway is 110 km/h.
  • The speed limit on a motorway is 130 km/h. This falls to 110 km/h in rain, or adverse weather conditions whereby visibility is limited.

Environmental zones

Paris are currently running a scheme to reduce air pollution whereby all vehicles must display a sticker that clarifies its carbon emissions. If you are caught without this sticker you can expect to receive a fine between €68 - €135. Full details on this new regulation can be found here.

French Road signs

Unfortunately, road signs are not universal and France has its own unique symbols that could confuse foreign drivers. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the road signs before your trip, to ensure that your travels are as safe and stress-free as possible. Here are some of the signs you should look out for:

Road SignDescription
French Stop Sign Fortunately, the French “STOP” sign is self-explanatory. Drivers should come to a complete stop upon this sign and should proceed with caution, only when the road ahead is clear.
junction in the road ahead no right of way Junction in the road ahead, meaning you do not have the right of way. In French, this rule is referred to as “priorite a droite”.
junction in the road ahead with right of way Junction in the road ahead, however this sign indicates that it is your right of way.
priority road with right of way Traffic sign indicating that this is a ‘priority road’. You have the right of way, though you should proceed cautiously.
priority road with no right of way The priority road has come to an end and you must now give way to oncoming traffic, applying the “priority to the right” rule.
upcoming roundabout Upcoming roundabout. Entering drivers must give way to the left.
giveway sign “Give way” sign. Usually displayed in advance of a “STOP” sign with distance quoted.
driver turning right has priority The driver turning right has priority.

Driving in France: Toll Roads

Unlike the UK, French motorways have many tollgates. If you're ignorant to this, the cost of travel can quickly stack up. There are routes you can take to avoid the toll's, but this could rack up the mileage, so your best bet is to factor the cost of tolls into your travel budget.

The cost of the toll is dependent upon the auto-route you take, the duration of time you spend on that route and the vehicle you drive. Large vehicles, like campervans are more expensive than cars and towing caravan also incurs an added fee.

Here are the estimated costings for some of the main roads:

RouteFee with carFee with Caravan or Van
Le Havre to Paris €19.70 €33.60
Paris to Strasbourg €38.00 €57.80
Calais to Reims €22.20 €32.60
Reims to Chamonix €55.60 €85.20
Bordeaux to Toulouse €18.30 €29.20
The bridge from La Rochelle to Ile de Re €16.00 €27.00

General Tips for driving in France

Whilst the following rules aren't the law, we recommend following these tips to ensure your French road trip runs smoothly!

  • If you can avoid it, don't drive in Paris. If the traffic isn't enough to put you off, finding and paying for parking will.
  • As well as researching the road signs, it's a good idea to learn some basic French road terms before your trip as this will help ensure you drive safely. E.g. Cadez le passage = give way.
  • If you're driving in the winter months carry snow chains as the weather can be unpredictable.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get from A to B, when you're travelling on foreign roads it's easy to get lost.
  • Take regular breaks from driving, up to one in four motorway accidents happen because of fatigue.

Sports

France is associated with numerous sporting events including, tennis, cycling, rugby union and most famously football.

Football

With over 18,000 registered clubs, football is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports in France. Home to one of the most successful teams in the world “Les Bleus”, has not only won the FIFA World Cup (1998), came second place in the FIFA World Cup (2006) but they have also won two UEFA European Championships (1984 and 2000).

France has also produced many football icons and record holders such as Zinedine Zidane who was awarded the FIFA World Player of the year three times. As well Thierry Henry and Just Fontaine who hold records such as the most goals scored in a national team and goals scored in a world cup.

Whether you've got your sights on Caen, Paris and Lille in the North, or Lyon, Marseille and Nice in the South, France is the perfect destination for football lovers!

Tour de France

Tour de France is one the largest sporting events in the world. The bicycle race has been established since 1993 and is a multi-stage race which changes location each year. However, the course always passes through the Alps and the grand finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

If you're planning to catch some of the action, be sure to research the route to find the piece you'd most like to watch. France motorhome renters and owners are a common sight at the annual event - be sure to get a rental locked in quick.

Rugby

If you love rugby, then France is the place to be. The French also love rugby have participated in every world cup as well as the annual Six Nations Championships. Drive along to Toulouse and gaze in awe at peaking rugby posts that litter the picturesque streets. The south-west of France is rugby's Gallic heart – and yet no one knows how it first started. There are 170 clubs in the South of France and 34,000 registered players meaning you're never too far from a game or two.

Motorhome Rental Pickup Locations in France