Travel Around the South of France on a Budget
Are you looking to get away on holiday this year, but need to stick to a small budget? Take control of your spending with the flexibility of a motorhome holiday. The south of France has lots to offer every holidaymaker, from walking in beautiful countryside to relaxing in a local Salon de The`.
Here are our three Happy Camper tips that will help you enjoy a French motorhome holiday without breaking the bank.
Affordable parking options
With thousands of motorhome friendly campsites in the south of France, it can be difficult to know where to start. Prices vary widely depending on the time of year and vicinity of popular tourist spots. Many cater to families, with child friendly activities and onsite entertainment. Others hide away from the hustle and bustle, in the corner of a forest or vineyard.
For an overnight stop, it is worth considering the many Aires de Service scattered across the region. The Aires are free or cheap camping sites with limited facilities (sometimes none) offered on a first come, first served basis. The general etiquette is to stay no more than one or two nights.
Some French towns and cities provide municipal parking sites for visiting motorhome travellers. Also aimed at the budget traveller, these council run sites are low cost but often have more facilities than the Aires de Service.
The south of France has a great selection of national and regional parks with rambling paths, woodland to explore and lakes to enjoy. Find out more about what each of the parks has to offer in our previous blog ‘Exploring the French Countryside’
While you are travelling around the countryside, don’t forget to stop off at some of the beautiful villages you will encounter along the way. Keep an eye out for a flea market or junk shop as you stroll through the winding streets and ancient architecture.
Before leaving the local market, buy a fresh baguette and a chunk of locally made cheese. Picnic tables are a common occurrence all over France, in public parks, at tourist sites and even by the side of the road. If the weather isn’t good enough for an al fresco lunch, take advantage of the menu du jour, eating midday usually costs less than evening dining.
Think like a local
If all else fails, ask a local. The ‘Office de Tourisme’ is a great resource for picking up maps and getting recommendations on places to visit. A bit of forward planning will tell you whether there is a volunteer ‘greeter’ in the area. The greeters show tourists around the locality, share tips on the best places to eat and drink, as well as telling you a little history.
Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten track. Wander down narrow streets and winding alleys to find the places where local residents spend their time. Not only will you get a more authentic taste of France, you will find that prices are much lower.