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, it is often challenging to go wild camping in France. The regulations are cumbersome, and in the end, few places are allowed.
But rest assured, nothing 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.
Things to know before going wild camping in France
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 situated 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.
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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… Once there, you can ask a private owner to camp on their land. Or, you can go to the town hall to find a place to pitch your tent.
Without further ado, here are the most beautiful French parks that allow bivouacs for hikers!
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The 7 Best Places To Go Wild Camping In France
1. The Vercors Regional Natural Park
If you want to go 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. 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, emblem of the park!
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2. The Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park
Spanning 395,068 hectares, the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park is the largest regional natural park in all of metropolitan France. It represents a huge playground for hikers!
The silhouettes of the famous Auvergne volcanoes, 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 as well as small rustic corners.
The ideal 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.
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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.
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4. The Armorique Regional Natural Park
The torn coasts of Brittany are among the most striking landscapes in France. A visit to the Armorique Regional Natural Park is the ideal way to appreciate it. Cliffs, peat bogs, dunes, and forests are co-ordained on 125,000 hectares of land.
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 that you will come across during your hikes.
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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.
Among the most famous, we can mention the Cirque de Gavarnie, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre or Lake Gaube. In the end, 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 a lot throughout this article, between mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and forests: wild camping in France. Here, only the bivouac is allowed, from 7 pm to 9 am.
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6. Ecrins National Park
You will be able to 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 will be able to 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 where you do not exceed an hour’s walk from the road or park boundaries.
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7. The Cévennes National Park
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!