Want to go wild camping in France? Here are the best spots to pitch your tent for a night under the stars!
Do you dream of nature and escape? Preparing for a trek or a multi-day hike is an exciting thing to do. However, finding the best places to go wild camping in France is often challenging. The regulations are cumbersome, and in the end, few places are allowed.
But rest assured, nothing is impossible! You can discover in this article the best places in the country to pitch your tent, which will help you find the perfect spot. But before we fill your eyes, we will tell you more about the legislation.
This article will discuss what you need to know about wild camping in France. Then, explore the best spots for wild camping in France with us. So, let’s dive in.
Here are the most beautiful French parks that allow bivouacs for hikers without further ado!
Table of Contents
Best Places To Go Wild Camping In France
1. The Vercors Regional Natural Park
If you want wild camping in France, consider the Vercors Regional Natural Park. Bivouac is allowed throughout the park from 5 pm to 9 am. On-site, breathtaking landscapes await you. Unfortunately, they often train you at more than 2,000 meters above sea level!
But the richness of the park also lies in its great variety. While in the North, the rigor of the Alps welcomes you. In the South, you will enjoy the Mediterranean climate and vegetation.
During your hikes, you will come across rich biodiversity. Expect to come across wild tulips, ibex, deer, or, with luck, the black grouse, the park’s emblem! The Vercors Regional Natural Park is number one on the list of best places to camp in France.
2. The Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park
Spanning 395,068 hectares, the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park is the largest regional natural park in metropolitan France. It represents a vast playground for hikers!
The silhouettes of the famous Auvergne volcanoes, and legacies of intense volcanic activity in the past, characterize the park. In all, there are more than 80 of them! On your way, you will come across breathtaking panoramas and small rustic corners.
The ideal place to go wild camping in France? The Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park is a fantastic place to go wild camping in France.
Perhaps, but don’t forget that you are only allowed to bivouac in this area. You must first ask the owner of the land for permission. Finally, it is forbidden to make fire and bivouac on volcanoes. The Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park is number two among the best places to camp in France.
3. Mercantour National Park
Located against the Italian border, the Mercantour National Park shares Alpine and Mediterranean influences. Its mild climate, even in winter, makes it an ideal place to experience wild camping in France. But that’s not all! The park holds the national record for the richest diversity of flora.
During your hikes, you will be able to meet no less than 2,000 species of plants. Among them, about thirty are endemic. Wildlife also occupies the land, with no less than 77 species of mammals on the site, including the wolf! This is a dream destination for nature lovers.
What about the bivouac? Between 7 pm and 9 am, it is more than an hour’s walk from within the park boundaries or a road. Mercantour National Park is number three on the list of best places to camp in France.
4. The Armorique Regional Natural Park
The Armorique Regional Natural Park is number four on the list of best places to camp in France. The torn coasts of Brittany are among the most striking landscapes in France. A visit to the Armorique Regional Natural Park is ideal for appreciating it. Cliffs, peat bogs, dunes, and forests are co-ordained on 125,000 hectares.
If you’re looking for a place to camp near the ocean, this is the place to go! However, camping is highly regulated in the park.
You must ask the landowner for permission before pitching your tent. Do not hesitate to get closer to the town halls you will encounter during your hikes. The Armorique Regional Natural Park is a great place to go wild camping in France.
5. The Pyrenees National Park
The Pyrenees National Park is the most visited of all the national parks. And it’s not for nothing!
Stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, it is home to a rich diversity of landscapes. Multiple trails run through the park’s six valleys, offering visitors grandiose natural spectacles.
We can mention the Cirque de Gavarnie, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, and Lake Gaube among the most famous. But, intimately, the desire to sleep under the stars will not be lacking between mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and forests.
This is an activity you will have heard about throughout this article: wild camping in France, between mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and forests. Only the bivouac is allowed here, from 7 pm to 9 am. The Pyrenees National Park is number five on the list of best places to camp in France.
6. Ecrins National Park
You can get as close to the sky as possible in Ecrins National Park. Indeed, it is the highest park in the country. It contains no less than 150 peaks that exceed 3,000 meters above sea level!
The trails will lead you to pretty high-altitude villages, and you can contemplate your reflection in the placid lakes.
And not to spoil anything, you have the opportunity to sleep under the sparkling celestial vault.
You may bivouac from 7 pm to 9 pm in areas that do not exceed an hour’s walk from the road or park boundaries. For example, Ecrins National Park is number six on the list of best places to camp in France.
7. The Cevennes National Park
The Cevennes National Park is number seven on the list of best places to camp in France. Fancy bucolic hikes which navigate between nature and pastoral traditions? The Cévennes National Park is located in the middle of the mountains, and its heights dominate the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea.
Many trails invite you to discover the treasures of the park. Among them, the gorges of the Tarn and Jonte have something to charm hikers.
The translucent streams run through a scenic landscape of rock and forests.
A few centuries-old stone villages can sometimes be seen on the water’s edge. You can stop there, but you can also bivouac in the park between 9 am and 7 pm.
Just be careful not to stray from marked trails. In short, this is a dream spot for wild camping in France!
Having discovered where to enjoy wild camping in France, you are now ready for adventure!
Things to know before going wild camping in France
Is Wild Camping in France Legal?
Yes, wild camping in France is legal as long as you take permission from the land owner before doing it around their property. Besides, be aware of damaging the land or creating massive fires.
Where can you go wild camping in France?
The question should be: where can we NOT go wild camping in France? It is therefore forbidden to do so:
● Areas classified as “wooded areas to be conserved”;
● Nature heritage and site protection zones;
● The seaside;
● Places located within 200 meters of a drinking water point;
● Places less than 500 meters from a monument are classified as a “Historic Monument.”
What is the difference between bivouac and wild camping?
Some structures distinguish between bivouac and wild camping:
● The bivouac is done in a light tent or under the stars, from sunset to sunrise. It is limited to a single night and spots in the middle of nature;
● Wild camping is usually done in a vehicle (motorhome, campervan, car, etc.), closer to civilization. Here, the camper can stay several days in the same place.
National Parks and Regional Parks to do wild camping in France
National parks and regional parks generally allow bivouac, but not wild camping. Keep this in mind! However, each park has different legislation, and bivouac can be allowed only under certain conditions.
A watchword: get informed
But in practice, how does it work? To find out if wild camping is permitted where you plan to go, you should inquire ahead of time. Prepare for your hike!
Find out about the legislation of the parks you wish to discover. For this, you can search on their websites.
But the trip also presents its share of unforeseen events… For example, you can ask a private owner to camp on their land once there. Or, you can go to the town hall to find a place to pitch your tent.