Motorhoming & Campervanning in France- Your Complete Guide

Motorhoming in France

Planning to go touring in France with a motorhome or campervan? There are some essential things you need to know before your trip, including important paperwork and what kit to bring with you. Here’s everything you need to know about motorhoming in France.

Don’t forget to grab your FREE motorhoming in France checklist below to help you stay organised

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Motorhoming in France

If you enjoy motorhome life in the UK or elsewhere, you’re going to LOVE motorhome touring in France. There’s everything you could want from a road trip, including fantastic campsites by the beach, vineyards and local markets full of wine, cheese and other goodies, incredible history and plenty of places to explore.

Even better, the French LOVE motorhomers and campervanners. They are not only welcomed, they are provided for, with copious motorhome parking spots and approved overnight stopovers called Aires (more on that shortly!)

France is often the gateway to Europe for anyone in the UK with a Motorhome. All too often we rush through as quickly as possible, keen to drive to other locations, like Spain or Italy.

But I urge you to take some time to explore. France has some incredible destinations for camper holidays- see below for great itinerary ideas.

If you’re contemplating taking a motorhome to France, this post will help you plan your trip- and tell you what you need to bring and organise before you leave. Don’t forget to grab your FREE Motorhoming in France checklist to help you remember everything.

Motorhoming & Campervannin in France Checklist

Planning a trip to France with your motorhome or camper?

Motorhoming in France free Checklist
Motorhoming in France free Checklist

GUIDE– For a step-by-step guide, with video walkthroughs of aires, motorhome set up, checklists and more, grab our France Road Trip & Motorhome Travel Planner

CHECKLIST– Don’t forget to grab your FREE France motorhome travel checklist HERE

GEAR– And if you need any motorhome gear for touring France or Europe, here’s what we recommend.

Motorhome Touring in France- video

If you’d like to share our experiences of motorhoming in France, watch this video to see our experiences with French tolls, motorhome campsites and driving in France! We also show you around the Menton Lemon Festival and we cross the Millau viaduct in our motorhome.

We hope you found the video useful. If you did, we’d love it if you followed us on Youtube. New videos with tips for motorhoming and campervanning in the UK and Europe are released weekly.

Motorhome route planner for France- where to go

The best thing about planning a motorhome or camper trip is that you can literally go ANYWHERE. But that freedom can also be a bit overwhelming- where do you even start?

Before we tell you about the essential things you need to do whilst motorhome touring in France, let’s chat about some of the places you can visit on your France road trip.

Northern France in a campervan routes

Again, many people drive through northern France as a way of getting somewhere else, but there a lot to discover here if you make time to explore.

Some of our favourite places for motorhome trips in Northern France include:

On a side note, I know Paris is in the north of France and we LOVE Paris… but not with a motorhome or camper. Park up in a campsite nearby and travel in by public transport or taxi. Driving in Paris is a law unto itself! (There are plenty of incredible places to see around the Paris area without going into the city itself and we would always suggest getting the train in, instead of driving!)

New to motorhome or camper travel in Europe? You might find these posts helpful:

Tour Europe in a Motorhome; Motorhome Europe Travel
How to tour Europe in a Motorhome- step-by-step
Beginners RV trip planner
How to plan EPIC motorhome trips
Free motorhome parking and overnight stopovers in Europe for motorhomes and campervans
How to find Free motorhome parking and overnight stopovers in Europe for motorhomes and campervans
10 essential tips for campervan and motorhome life. Whether you're plan a road trip or full-time van living, these hacks and ideas with help.
Essential kit for Motorhoming in Europe (with free checklist)

See all our Europe motorhoming posts here

NEED GEAR? If you need any kit or essentials for motorhoming in Europe, here’s what we recommend and where to find it

Motorhome Route Planner Southern France

We’ve spent a lot of time motorhoming in southern France. Some of our favourite places include:

  • The Gorges du Verdon. One of the most spectacular places we have EVER been with our motorhome
  • The Pyrenees, especially the Cirque du Gavarnie. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful.
  • French Alps. Exploring the Alps with a motorhome is one of our favourite trips. We also love Lake Annecy and you MUST add the cable car up Mont Blanc to your France motorhoming itinerary.
  • Bordeaux and the Dune du Pilat- make sure you allow time to visit some of the incredible vineyards in the area!

READ MORE: 11 Unmissable France road trip itineraries and ideas

Motorhoming in France near Mont Blanc motorhome aire Europe France Chamonix Mont Blanc FREE overnight stopover camper
Motorhome touring in France- Mont Blanc in the Alps

Campervan in France Advice- when to go

The best time to visit France with a motorhome, campervan, caravan or any other vehicle is whenever you have time to explore! Some people pop over on the Eurotunnel for a weekend break. Others take a month to explore one corner.

The beauty of France being so large is that usually there will be at least one area with decent weather. And the beauty of exploring with a home on wheels is that you can drive to wherever the weather is best for you!

Generally, the best weather in France is between April- October. You may still get decent temperatures into November on the French Riviera (that’s the coast on the Med, not the Atlantic coast.) If you’re planning to go motorhome skiing in France, then December- March are your best times, but be aware that a new French law was passed in November 2021 about winter tyres/ snow chains.

RELATED: If you are planning a winter motorhome trip, read this first.

It can get VERY hot in summer, especially down south. It can also be amazingly windy- you’ll find many cafes and restaurants near the Mediterranean or Atlantic bolt down their outdoor furniture.

Our favourite times are Spring and Autumn. It’s usually warm, especially in the south, but there aren’t huge crowds and it’s easy to get access to popular tourist places.

Driving from the UK to France camper routes

If you’re taking your motorhome from the UK to France, there are a couple of options on how to get over there- ferry or Eurotunnel.

Getting to France by Ferry from the UK

Ferry routes go from all along the south coast and occasionally up the East Coast too. The main operators are:

We enjoy taking the ferry because it cuts down on driving time- we’re travelling whilst we’re sleeping. Also, we’re often driving from South-West England to the west coast of France- so ferry cuts off a lot of that journey.

We were reluctant to take the ferry with our dog, as we didn’t want to leave him in the vehicle, but there are now pet-friendly cabins available on the Portsmouth-Caen route with Brittany Ferries which we use all the time.

The downside of taking the ferry, especially with a motorhome or campervan, is that it’s MUCH more expensive and there are less frequent crossings. Also, in bad weather, it can be miserable.

Taking a Motorhome on the Channel Tunnel

The “Chunnel” is fast, effective and probably the cheapest way to get a motorhome or caravan to France, even in school holidays. There are very few downsides, but the biggest is the delays in summer. Sometimes the queues can be HOURS long- and that was before BREXIT.

The other big downside is how far you have to drive to get there if it’s out of your way- that’s the main reason we don’t use it as often as the ferry, although if we’re going straight through France to go motorhoming in Germany, the Netherlands or anywhere further east, it makes sense.

Also, if you use LPG in your camper for movement (ie, in place of diesel or unleaded) then you are NOT allowed to use the tunnel. (Having gas bottles for cooking/ heating is fine.)

Don’t forget, you can use your Tesco vouchers to reduce the cost even further and some motorhome clubs also offer discounts.

Read More: Driving in Europe after BREXIT? Find the changes HERE 

Best Motorhome Route to Italy Through France

If you’re planning a route through France for an Italy road trip, we’ve put together some of the best driving routes for motorhomes, campers, caravans and cars (complete with estimated toll charges)

Motorhoming in France- Complete Guide Planning to go touring in France with a motorhome or campervan? There are some essential things you need to know before your trip, including important paperwork and kit to bring with you. Here's everything you need to know about motorhome travel in France.
Motorhoming in France- Verdon Gorge

Motorhome/ camper Hire in France

Of course, if you don’t own or have access to your own motorhome, camper, car or caravan, you’ll need to rent a vehicle.

There are some important questions you need to consider when renting a motorhome– including making sure you can get to the vehicle and exactly what gear will be on the vehicle when you collect it.

Don’t forget, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure the vehicle has the required safety equipment. The on-the-spot fines apply to you as the driver, not the company. Check in advance with the company what kit they will provide with the vehicle and what you will need to bring.

Take a list of what is legally required with you and check it off one by one as you are given the handover. Do not drive until you are happy you comply with the local laws.

Make sure you have proof that you can take the vehicle across a border into another country if that’s what you’re planning to do.

Motorhoming in France- what do you need?

In France, as with all countries in Europe, there are certain things you MUST carry with you in your motorhome or campervan.

Don’t forget, if you are driving through France to get to another country, you need all the kit required by France as well as the kit for that country.

Grab your FREE France travel checklist so you remember it all!

Planning a trip to France with your motorhome or camper?

Motorhoming in France free Checklist
Motorhoming in France free Checklist

GUIDE– For a step-by-step guide, with video walkthroughs of aires, motorhome set up, checklists and more, grab our France Road Trip & Motorhome Travel Planner

CHECKLIST– Don’t forget to grab your FREE France motorhome travel checklist HERE

GEAR– And if you need any motorhome gear for touring France or Europe, here’s what we recommend.

Things you need to drive in France- safety gear

Unlike in the UK, there are some things you legally MUST carry in your vehicle when Motorhoming in France. These are:

TOP TIP: Buy these essentials for driving in France BEFORE you get to the border- prices at Eurotunnel or on the ferry can be two or three times as much. Here’s what you need from Amazon., which is cheaper than Halfords or the high street.

Do I need a breathalyser to drive in France?

No. Repeat after me- you do NOT need a breathalyser to drive in France.

It was a law France passed a few years ago… and then quietly removed for whatever reason. Many posts ranking highly in Google still list a breathalyser in their essential Europe driving accessories list, but I promise you you don’t need one.

BLIND SPOT Warning STICKERS for vehicle over 3.5 tonnes in France

As of the 01 January 2021, France have decided all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes must have ‘blind-spot’ stickers, even visiting foreign vehicles.

Here’s everything you need to know about motorhome blind spot warning stickers and if you need them.

Clean Air Sticker

Some of the bigger French cities require you to have a sticker before you can drive in. Personally, I recommend NOT driving into any cities and staying outside the zone, but here’s what you need to know about Crit’Air.

Get a full list of the essential kit and paperwork needed for motorhome touring in France and Europe

Road trip accessories you MIGHT need when campervanning in France

The following kit are things you might need to carry in your car, motorhome, caravan or campervan, depending on when you are planning your road trip in France.

If you are travelling between 15 October and 15 April, you will need to have snow chains able to be fitted as conditions dictate on many roads in the mountains..

  • Snow chains/ winter tyres– If you’re going to one of these regions in winter (Nov- March) you’ll need either snow chains or winter tyres fitted. Snow socks are allowed but not as good.
  • Red/ white warning board sign – for bike racks or anything overhanging the end of the motorhome or campervan. These are not currently compulsory in France, but they ARE compulsory if you’re motorhoming in Spain and Italy. Get the more expensive aluminium one, the cheaper versions are not legal in Italy.
  • Spare bulbs for all lights in the vehicle
  • Torch
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Water and snacks- just in case you run into traffic or breakdown somewhere remote.

What documents do you need to drive in France?

If you’re driving in France, you need to carry the following documents:

  • Passport (or identity card)
  • Driving licence (check it is in date!)
  • Motorhome Insurance documents- check you are covered for driving in Europe
  • Breakdown cover
  • Vehicle V5 logbook (which must show your correct address)
  • Vehicle must be legally taxed and MOT’d
  • Trailer certification
  • Green card (get from your vehicle insurer)
  • International Driving Permit if required
  • Personal travel insurance

Do I need an international driving permit to drive in France?

Most UK citizens do not need an IDP to drive in France, as long as you have a card driving licence issued in the UK (in date, of course!)

You might need one if you have:

  • a paper driving licence only
  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

(If you do need an IDP, here’s an in-depth guide on how to get an International Driving Permit and which one(s) you need from a UK post office.

Motorhome touring in France- Other useful things you might need

We’ve been touring Europe in our motorhome for several years. We’ve tried all sorts of kit- some useful, some not so much.

Here is a list of things we highly recommend when motorhoming in France, but which are NOT essential:

Motorhome Travel in France- where to stay

Once you’ve got a vehicle to tour around France in, the next thing to consider is what sort of motorhoming holiday you want to have and where are you going to camp/ park up overnight?

  • Do you want to stay at a luxury campsite with pitches for motorhomes, campervans and caravans which has a pool, restaurants and activities for the kids to do?
  • Do you want to use aires/ free overnight parking spots in Europe and stay 2/3 nights in a place before moving on?
  • Would you prefer to wild camp in your motorhome and stay at a new place each night, far from crowds and cities? 

Deciding the type of holiday you want to have will make planning your motorhome trip a lot easier. Here’s a bit more information about the types of motorhome parking available in France to help you decide.

How to plan a road trip- mistakes to avoid
France road trip in the Pyrenees

Motorhome campsites in France

Like in the UK, campsites in France vary in quality and price. Some campsites have great facilities, like swimming pools or a beach on a lake, watersports, play area, restaurants, fresh bread delivery, shop etc.

Others are more rustic and aren’t much more than an aire with an attendant. Expect the facilities at cheaper campsites to be much lower in hygiene standards than you might be used to!

There are some gorgeous motorhome campsites in France, right by beaches and lakes, with swimming pools, evening entertainment and kids clubs. If you want a relaxing holiday whilst staying in your own van and enjoying the sunshine, this might be the best option for you.

They work much like in the UK- you arrive, check in (and will usually need to show a passport), are given or can select a pitch with or without electric (depending on what you booked) and that’s it.

Expect some campsites to keep your passport for the duration of your stay with them. This is often at the places where you haven’t paid in advance- I always try to pay in advance and keep my passport where I know it’s safe!

Dogs are normally always welcome on campsites, but there isn’t always a dog walk/ run where they are allowed off lead.

The best motorhome campsites in France

We do occasionally use campsites in France. This is normally when we want to ride our motorbikes and don’t want to leave the van unattended all day in an aire or wild camping spot.

Because we rarely plan a route through France, and therefore we never know where we’re going to be, we book campsites at the last minute- or just turn up. This doesn’t always work, (especially in  August or between October-March when many campsites shut) but there always seems to be something around which works out.

If you’re more organised, you can find some of the best motorhome campsites in France here.

France motorhome travel in the school holidays- or not?

If you’re travelling in the school holidays, you’ll want to book up the campsite (if you’re using one) asap- the best ones get booked up months in advance.

If you’re NOT travelling during the school holidays, you might want to consider getting an ACSI camping card– you’ll save a lot of money on campsite charges.

Motorhome Security Door lock- fitting a Milenco 4718 door lock to our moot
Motorhoming in France- Pyrenees Aire

Overnight Motorhome stopovers in France – Aires

For us, we prefer to travel around France and explore different places during our motorhome trips instead of staying in one area. We generally stay only one night in a place (unless we’re planning to ride the motorbikes, in which case we find somewhere for a few nights.) 

There are two types of motorhome overnight parking options instead of campsites. The first are approved Motorhome parking places, which are called Aires in France.

Aires are approved overnight motorhome parking places, often provided and maintained by the local commune. They are designed for motorhomes or campervans (not caravans sadly). You can’t book an aire in advance, and they all have different services available.

Some have electric hookup and waste disposal, others are literally an approved motorhome parking place for the evening. You can often stay in an aire for 2 or 3 days. Some are paid and will have a sign somewhere telling you what to do to pay; some are free.

How to find and use Motorhome Aires in France

You can find aires using a motorhome app like Park4Night or campercontact, or you can get a book before you go (see below).

READ MORE: Step by step instructions on how to find and use French Aires for motorhomes

To use an aire, you turn up in your motorhome or campervan and see if there’s an available space. It’s that simple! Most aires cater for motorhomes up to about 8m, so if you’re towing with your motorhome (like we often do), you need to be very careful which ones you choose.

Aires have no set arrival or departure times, so there’s a lot more freedom, but they often have a 24h or 48h max duration- and that is checked, so don’t overstay your welcome.

Bear in mind that there is often no security or personnel at these places (you often pay at a machine like a car park) so we try not to leave the motorhome unattended for long periods.

Books to help your find motorhome aires in France

We don’t use books to find campsites or aires on France (we prefer apps), but I know many people prefer having something which doesn’t rely on motorhome wifi or internet!

Here are some excellent France motorhome guides to help you plan your travels and overnight stopover. They also make excellent gift ideas for motorhome owners!

Planning a trip to France with your motorhome or camper?

Motorhoming in France free Checklist
Motorhoming in France free Checklist

GUIDE– For a step-by-step guide, with video walkthroughs of aires, motorhome set up, checklists and more, grab our France Road Trip & Motorhome Travel Planner

CHECKLIST– Don’t forget to grab your FREE France motorhome travel checklist HERE

GEAR– And if you need any motorhome gear for touring France or Europe, here’s what we recommend.

Motorhome Parking Tips for Aires in France

You cannot pre-book Aires- they operate on a first-come basis. We found people tended to move on about 10-11am and most were parked up by 4pm, so try and move within that window for the best chance of finding a space.

We like aires, as we feel happier leaving our motorhome if we want to go off an explore, and don’t want to deal with the noise or expense of a European campsite. We tow motorbikes behind our motorhome and love being able to use them without worrying if the van is ok.

RELATED: How to find and use aires and motorhome stopovers around Europe

Wild camping in France for Motorhomes

We love wild camping in a motorhome in France – and there are some INCREDIBLE places to stop for a night.

Motorhome wild camping offers a lot of freedom- you can turn up and leave as you like, although we only ever advise using a wild camping spot for one night; otherwise, the locals might think you’re moving in!

motorhome wild camping checklist

Want to stay off-grid with your motorhome?

Grab our FREE wild parking checklist and make it easy for yourself. Everything you need to do, bring or remember when you stay off-grid.

You need to be very respectful when wild camping- it’s not a right, it’s a privilege, so take away all of your waste, don’t play loud music and don’t park too close to someone’s house. If a sign says it’s private land, either ask the owner for permission or move on.

Don’t park anywhere with a sign saying no overnight parking. Don’t forget many farmers and landowners carry guns in France- you don’t want to get on the wrong side of that!

READ MORE: Step-by-step guide to motorhome wild camping in France

France Passion- approved overnight motorhome parking scheme in France

If you’d like to avoid campsites and sostas, but don’t want to risk staying off-grid, there is another option which offer places to stay with a motorhome or campervan- France Passion.

France Passion is a collection of businesses and locations across France which allow motorhomes and campervans to stay overnight on their land.

In return, you are expected to eat a meal at the restaurant, or buy some wine or produce from their shop. If you enjoy visiting vineyards, chateaux or local markets, this might be a good scheme for you.

Motorhome and campervan service points in France

In addition to the aires, France has a system of motorhome service places. We find these using the app Park4Night, and each place allows you to empty waste (both grey and black) into safe and hygienic locations. If you’re lucky, there will also be fresh water available.

TOP TIP: Use your own water hose when filling your fresh water tanks- many public hoses have been there for years and have all sorts of disgusting bacteria lurking inside!

france motorhome travel planner
France motorhome travel planner

Getting LPG in France

LPG (GPL) is fairly plentiful and can be found at selected petrol stations and at autogas stations. If buying from a petrol station, you may need to wait for an attendant to turn the system on for you. You can find places which sell LPG using

If you don’t have refillable gas bottles in your motorhome, you will need a different attachment in order to be able to connect to a French gas bottle.

READ MORE: Learn how we find LPG in Europe for our motorhome without refillable bottles

Getting Fuel in France

Many people worry whether they should fill up in UK or France.

In our experience, France is often a little cheaper, BUT there are often has fuel strikes. We ALWAYS fill up in the UK before we go… just in case.

Driving tips for France motorhome travels

France is generally not too bad for drivers (at least, not compared to motorhoming in Italy!) The scariest thing about driver in France are the… ummm… older generation who don’t realise that priorite a droite is no longer a thing (more on that below!)

Some quick tips for driving in France:

  • France drives on the right, like much of Europe
  • You DON’T need a left-hand drive vehicle although it might help if you’re travelling on your own.
  • The road system is set up for you driving on the right. Signs are on that side, roundabouts have helpful arrows and slip roads are pointed the right way. It’s not as hard as it sounds
  • Avoid driving in Paris. At all times. In any vehicle.
  • The maximum speed for private vehicles under 3.5t is 130kph (81mph) on motorways but speed limits are lower for cars towing caravans and for motorhomes over 3.5t in weight. You might need to display motorhome or caravan speed stickers
  • If driving through towns and villages, only use the horn in an emergency.
  • Helmets are compulsory if you are motorcycling in France
  • Buses and trams have right of way.
  • Seatbelts are compulsory
  • In-car speed camera detectors and motorhome sat-nav systems warning of the presence of radars are illegal (whether they’re in use or not!)
  • Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal, but you can use a hands-free unit without earbuds.
  • Minor traffic offences can result in on-the-spot fines.
  • UK driving licences are perfectly acceptable to use and you probably won’t need an IDP (find out the changes made to driving in Europe after BREXIT)
  • You will need a green card to prove you have motorhome insurance cover when travelling in France.
Wild Camping in France for Motorhomes and Campervans
Motorhome touring in South of France

Priorite a droite in France

France no longer has the stupid ‘prioritie a droite’ rule, (which meant you had to stop ON the roundabout for anyone coming onto it…!) HOWEVER, expect the occasional older French resident to merrily sail onto the roundabout and expect you to stop for them. It’s fun. Also, I believe it still exists in some places in France- like the Arc de Triomphe. Again- avoid Paris.

There is an excellent article explaining Priorite a droite, with all the corresponding road signs, right here

Speed limits in France

Speed Limits are as follows (unless otherwise signed!)

  • 130 km/h (80 mph) on motorways
  • 110km/hr (68mph) on major roads
  • 90 km/h (50 mph) on minor roads (out of town)
  • 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas
  • In rain or snow conditions, the limit is lowered to 110 k/h on motorways and 90 k/h on trunk roads- this WILL NOT be signposted- you’re expected to know it

Motorhomes with trailers or caravans:

  • motorways 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • major out-of-town roads 70 km/h (44 mph)
  • minor out-of-town roads 70 km/h (44 mph)
  • built-up areas- 50 km/h (31 mph)

Motorhomes and Campervans weighing over 3.5 tonnes and under 12 tonnes:

  • motorways 100 km/h (62 mph)
  • major out-of-town roads 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • minor out-of-town roads 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • urban areas- 50 km/h (31 mph)

Beware of parked cars on the sides of fast roads

Entrapment is allowed in France and police will regularly park an old car at the side of the road with a hidden camera in it, and then they’ll pull you over further down and give you a speeding ticket.

Speed camera warnings in France

If you see a sign for a speed camera, there’s nearly always a camera within a mile for sure.

road trip journal logbook

Tolls in France

France, like nearly all countries in Europe which don’t have a vignette system, has tolls on its major roads. You collect a ticket at the machine as you enter the road system and pay (either a person or machine) at the end in cash or on a card. Tolls in France are one of the most expensive in Europe (just be grateful you’re not motorhoming in Norway!)

Depending on your route and size (height!) of your motorhome, a trip from Northern France to southern will cost around 50€. If your motorhome is over 3m, you will be charged as a Class 4 vehicle, not class 2, so it could be as much as 90€.

Most motorhomes are calculated for class B, regardless of the number of axles. You can calculate the toll cost of your intended route here

You can use a tollpass/ telepass (like e-Movis) or you can pay-as-you-go by cash or card (we always recommend carrying some cash- just in case!) Signs indicate the means of payment accepted on each lane.

Driving in France- what to do in the event of a road traffic accident

You should have a European Claim Form provided by your insurer before you leave. In the event of an accident, all parties complete and sign the form at the scene and then send a copy to your insurer for assessment.

What to do at the scene:

  • Stop your vehicle immediately but safely- out of the flow of traffic if possible.
  • If a vehicle is blocking the road, use hazard lights and put the red warning triangle 30 metres from the scene to warn approaching traffic
  • Exchange your details with the other involved parties. Be sure to get:
    • Name and address of all the people involved in the accident
    • Vehicle registration numbers of all parties
    • Insurance company details of all parties
    • Take photos of damage using a camera, GoPro or phone

For more details, read our step-by-step guide on dealing with a road traffic accident in Europe

Campervanning in France- security

We highly recommend paying extra attention to your motorhome security when travelling in France. You might even wish to fit an extra camper habitation door lock and never leave your vehicle unattended in an unsecured area.

Planning a trip to France with your motorhome or camper?

Motorhoming in France free Checklist
Motorhoming in France free Checklist

GUIDE– For a step-by-step guide, with video walkthroughs of aires, motorhome set up, checklists and more, grab our France Road Trip & Motorhome Travel Planner

CHECKLIST– Don’t forget to grab your FREE France motorhome travel checklist HERE

GEAR– And if you need any motorhome gear for touring France or Europe, here’s what we recommend.

More useful things to know when motorhoming in France

Emergency Numbers:
 112 will get you everything you need.

Language– French. English usually spoken in campsites and in tourist areas, but not often elsewhere.

Currency– Euro

Cards– most major credit and debit cards are accepted. American Express is only taken in large stores (not at tolls and often not at fuel stations)

Timezone– GMT+1 (or one hour ahead in BST) France is always one hour ahead of the UK, no matter what. Their clocks go forward and back whenever ours does.

Tipping– If you decide to treat yourself to a meal out, most restaurants will include a tip in the bill. Otherwise, 10-15% is standard. Coffee shops and lunchtime eateries often don’t include a tip, so check your bill before paying.

Shops– Many shops close on Sundays. Bigger supermarkets may be open, but will close at lunchtime. If bakeries open on Sundays, they are often closed on Mondays instead. Many shops and businesses also shut for a long lunch (between 12-2pm) and some will not open on Wednesday afternoons.

Doing Laundry in France while motorhome touring

We struggled to get our motorhome anywhere near a proper laundrette (which are often in the centre of towns and cities). We ended up putting it on the back of our motorbikes, or specifically choosing a campsite with laundry facilities.

However, many bigger supermarkets in France have some washing machines outside and it’s very common to pull up, put on a load of laundry and then do your shopping.

Touring France with a dog

France is pretty dog-friendly and they are widely accepted on public transport. Take a muzzle and their pet paperwork, such as the AHC- although we’ve never been asked to show this.

Read more: changes affecting travelling to Europe with a dog after BREXIT

We also found dogs were allowed on the beaches except in high season, which makes sense and they’re often allowed in restaurants if they’re well-behaved and on a short lead.

Planning to tour France with a motorhome or campervan? There are some essential things you need to know before your trip, including important paperwork and kit to bring with you. Here's everything you need to know about campervanning or motorhoming in France.

Last update on 2024-02-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  1. Steve Robinson says:

    Hi Both,
    We have lived in the south of France for fifteen years. In general the French do not tip. They may leave the few coppers of loose change on the plate but will remove everything from a Euro up. I have never tipped in a restaurant in France and never had a waiter hover expecting one. Like the rest of Europe there is a compulsory minimum wage and people are not allowed to work for tips alone. If you get extraordinary service for something then that is up to you but don’t feel compelled to do it.

    1. Wandering Bird says:

      Having been a waitress (many moons ago) I know how nice it was to get a tip, so we always try and leave one. 🙂

  2. Informative post….France is fab. I don’t think you mentioned Critair Stickers for travelling into some cities and areas during heavy pollution. Our moho is too old for one and we manage to get to the Med without encountering any issues but Paris has a permanent zone and many cities now have this in place for temporary polution. Ive read many people end up paying a fortune for one through dodgy websites when they areess than £5 …the AA have a link to the official website. Happy Travelling Michaela-moho PS never taken a breathalyser either ?

    1. Wandering Bird says:

      Hi Michaela. I’ve updated the guide to include Crit Air. 🙂 Thanks for the tips about the AA website. Safe travels.

  3. Hi, thank you for providing such an informative blog!
    Planning on taking our first trip abroad in our motorhome and finding lots of very useful info here.
    I will have lots of questions that I’m sure I will find answers to here but one answer I haven’t found yet is regarding hills/mountains.
    We have a old J reg talbot and I’m a little concern about travelling anywhere near mountains.
    Would you say the roads near mountain ranges are generally ok to take a motorhome such as ours on or should we avoid them?

    I will be back to pick your brains some more and will be sure to purchase necessary items from your page to help you in your work.

    Pretty new to motorhome life but living it since November 2019 and loving it. Can’t wait to get into Europe as it seems so much more motorhome friendly than here in the UK.
    Oh, we are originally from the South West too, maybe we will cross paths one day!

    Thanks again

    Garry, Jess, Jasper (the dog), Kraken (the cat) & Batfink (the kitten)!

    1. Hey guys.
      I think it depends on the vehicle- and you know that better than us. If you struggle getting up a steep-ish hill in the UK, you’ll really struggle in ‘proper’ mountains like the Alps or the Pyrenees. If you’re not sure, steer clear- there’s nowhere to turn around halfway up! Let me know how it goes!

  4. Robert Willson says:

    My only comment would be. You need to be aware of heights, we have a 2007 Knaus su ti on a Renault master chassis if we go over 3500 meters, Andorra is a prime example, the engine is starved of oxygen and really struggles to move. I’ve written to MMM magazine and followed their advice but to no avail. Most vehicles have no problems but I have had two cars with the same problem

  5. Hi,
    Really informative and helpful article. Lots of useful tips and advice. I’m planning on doing an road trip through France , then Spain this summer and followed then a ski season in France ( actually was looking at doing it last year but the virus stopped that ) . I may of missed it but had you got any recommendations for travelling in Spain.

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