French Riviera Secrets

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French Riviera Camping

French Riviera camping comes in a variety of possible styles, but one thing is common and guaranteed: plenty of sunshine! I enjoy camping, and have done so on various occasions, mostly together with my children. Work frequently comes in the way of a camping trip, unfortunately.

Nothing beats the experience of total tranquility, in a green, sun-drenched setting, with the day-time heat subsiding just enough to be able to sleep comfortably at night.. walking around bare-foot, nothing else to do but enjoy the surroundings, walk to a nearby beach and , if you're energetic enough, buy some basics for a lovely Provençal lunch and dinner...no noise, no rain, no cold... just pleasant warm sunshine, every day...it's not a dream around here, it's routine reality!


Regular Camping

One of our camping trips One of our camping trips

There's a near endless list of camping sites in the region, ranging from large entertainment focused sites to smaller and more tranquil camping sites.
Camping sites within walking distance to the beach are unsurprisingly the  most popular, and early reservations are recommended (although you can try your luck and try to book last-minute, as I have done on some occasions).
If you can avoid the peak season, which is July and August, try to go early (April-June) or late summer (September, even October); the sun will be there (although you may encounter the odd rainy day), and temperatures are very pleasant.
There's many web sites giving a good overview of most camping sites on the French Riviera, for example:

An example of a bigger, and luxurious camping site is "Esterel Caravaning", Agay (near Frejus and St. Raphael).
This is a 5 star camping offering caravan, motor home and mobile home rentals. A beautiful setting, right in the Esterel Massif; 3km from the beach at St. Raphael, 40 minutes from Cannes, 1 hour from St.-Tropez.


Rurual camping

rural camping rural camping

If you're looking for something a bit more authentic, without the noise of loud music and entertainment blighting the tranquility of the surroundings, try this: rural camping.


Wild camping

wild camping my most recent wild camping trip, just for a night, but quite an experience!

Wild camping (camping sauvage in French) is allowed in France, with certain restrictions to note: you obviously can't camp on private land without the owner's permission; on public land, you can't camp where it is expressly disallowed, and neither can you camp in conservation areas, near roads, on the beach, and less than 200m away from a drinking water collection point.
Fires are always forbidden, for obvious reasons.
Typically camping (sleeping) out in the wild is allowed from 7pm until 9am.
Any specific locally applicable rules are set by, and can be checked with the local town council (mairie).

My most recent wild camping trip was early September.
It's quite an experience.. total silence and solitude, the sound of the stream nearby.. and then when it gets dark, it gets really dark, allowing for a perfect view of the night sky.
Waking up in the morning is equally beautiful.. sun has just risen, a brand new day after a pitch-black night..everything is cast in the beautiful warm glow of the sun... very peaceful.
Leave your worries at home and give it a try, recommended!

places to swim Plenty of places to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Loup river
Perfect view of the night sky Perfect view of the night sky
Another recent camping trip, on the Cheiron Mountain, near Greolières Another recent camping trip, on the Cheiron Mountain, near Greolières
Daylight fading on the Cheiron Mountain Daylight fading on the Cheiron Mountain

Glamping

Traditional Yurt Traditional Yurt (photo: Camping Airotel la Sorguette)

Sitting right at the opposite end of the camping spectrum, you may have heard of the so-called "glamping" (glamourous camping) style of camping; it's not just about more luxury, which you can also find in a 5 star rated caravan or mobile home; it may also mean an alternative style of accommodation, such as a yurt or a tipi. In all cases it should mean you don't have to worry about bed linen, cooking utensils, setting up a tent, etc.
For example, check out this open air hotel: La Sorguette Airotel  (note: strictly speaking this location is not the Cote d'Azur anymore). 

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