West coast France

Les Sables-d’Olonne

Les Sables-d’Olonne Campsites

Camping Roses (Municipal campsite)

Rue des Roses
A lovely leafy quite campsite 400m from the beach.  About €20 for 2 people in September. Expensive.

Camping Dune des Sables

Just by the sea at La Paracou
Tel: 0251 323121
Open April to September.

There are many other campsites in the Pironniere district, 3km south of town on the D949.

Parking in Les Sables-d’Olonne

Parking is easy in Les Sables-d’Olonne, there are numerous free car parks, and many streets away from the beachfront where it is easy to find a space.  If you have a motorhome your choices are more limited.  There are larger car parks further from the town centre and beachfront.  Many car parks do not allow ‘camper-cars’.

Surfing in Les Sables-d’Olonne

The long beach offers good surfing, with plenty of breaks to try.  There seems to be a lack of surf shops though.

Wifi in Les Sables-d’Olonne

There are many apartment blocks with parking outside where it may be possible to get a signal. There are lots of nice beaches on the relaxing drive from Les Sables-d’Olonne north to Saint Giles Croix De Vie.

Saint Giles Croix De Vie

Saint Giles Croix De Vie is a small, pretty, but rather modern town.  The main attraction is the main beach (Grande Plage), which is very big.  Nearer the town the beach has a large selection of cafes and restaurants. There are also smaller beaches, and a harbour.  The town centre is small with various shops.

Camping in Saint Giles Croix De Vie

There are 2 campsites in Camping in Saint Giles Croix De Vie, and many further out.  The Bahamas Beach, and the other 2 campsites right next to it, have access to the beach via a small road, about a 600 meter walk, or you can drive and park down the road.  It brings you out on the beach further from the town, which is quieter. Head towards Les Sables-d’Olonne on the coast road to find these campsites.
Try the tourist information office for the a free map of the region.  There is a motorhome rest area also.

Bahamas Beach

Rue des Sables
Tel: 0251-546916
2km from town, 600m from the beach. Open April to end September. Moderately Priced.

Free camping in Saint Giles Croix de Vie

There is a motorhome rest area. Ask at the tourist information office for a map with directions.

Parking in Saint Giles Croix De Vie

There are several free car parks in Saint Giles Croix De Vie.  There is one behind the large hotel at the northern end of the beachfront.  Street parking is generally free and easy to find.

Wifi in Saint Giles Croix De Vie

I was able to get a signal whilst parked in the car park of the tourist information office.  There is a nearby internet café.

La Rochelle

Parking in La Rochelle

The best place to park is in the Esplanade car park, which is free, and a designated motorhome rest area. See Free Camping below.

Free camping in La Rochelle

The Esplanade car park, at Place de Verdun, off Chemin Du Rampart is free to park in.  It is on the edge of a leafy park.  It is actually a designated motorhome rest area. There is a fresh water tap and a waste water drain.  There are public toilets in the car park, but on my visit they where out of service, or closed for the evening . The local boy races love to race around the car park at night, sounding their horns.

Campsites in La Rochelle

Municipal Camping Port-Neuf

Boulevard Artistide Rondeau, Port-Neuf
Tel: 0546 438120. Open all year.

Royan to Verdon ferry

If you are travelling south along the coastal roads you will need to cross the River Gironde. If you are travelling to Lacanau-Ocean via the coast it is generally better to take the ferry, rather than drive inland, for 200km, and cross the river at the bridge. The ferry operates year round and takes 20 mins. It is expensive, coasting €35 for a van, and €3 for each passenger. Queues are generally big in summer. There is an alternative ferry (Playe-Lamarque), see below.

Blaye-Lamarque ferry

Drive two thirds of the way down the River Gironde, from the coast. This ferry takes 20 mins, and coasts €19.50 for a van, and €3 for each passenger.

South of Verdon

Once you leave the ferry, or rejoin the coast if you have driven inland, the scenery changes dramatically. There are endless beaches, pine forest and dunes. Surfers will be in heaven with endless sandbanks. Surfers be sure to stop at Lacanau-Ocean.

Free camping in Hourtin Port

Aire de Camping, open all year, charges in the months of July and August. Arriving Hourtin situated on the D101 north-west of Bordeaux, turn to west until you reach the “Lac d’Hourtin e de Carcans”. On the large car park there is a signed area for motorhomes with pitches for about 30 vehicles. If these are occupied you may also use any other space on this area. “Flot Bleu” free of charge, toilets and washing facilities present. 200 m to the sandy beach on the lake, 8 km to the Atlantic Ocean. Several restaurants and a bakery 200 m. Children’s playground 300 m. One of the most comfortable aires.

Lacanau-Ocean

Lacanau-Ocean is a small resort town with an outstanding beach, a must stop for surfers or beach lovers.  The beach stretches as far as the eye can see both north and south.  The dunes and pine forest fringe the beach.
The town has many cafes, restaurants and bars.  There is a good selection of shops.
Lacanau-Ocean is very busy during the summer months, but gets quieter in autumn where you can have a whole section of beach to yourself.
The north beach (Plage nord) is away from the town and main beach, and is much quieter in terms of people on the beach and surfers in the water.

Parking in Lacanau-Ocean

Some streets in town are metered, but there are many free places to park.  The north beach has a free parking area.

Campsites in Lacanau-Ocean

Grand Pins – Recommended

Tel: 0556-032077
This is an excellent 4 star campsite, on the Plage nord.  It has more than 500 spaces, an excellent restaurant and bar, a supermarket, swimming pool, gym, tennis court, and many other features.  This is a surfer friendly campsite, surf reports, with its own direct private access to the beach, and a surfboard shower!
Costs €17 in September for a camper van. Closed mid-September. Expensive (but worth it).

Dune de Pyla

Dune de Pyla is Europe’s highest sand dune, and worthy of a visit.  The climb to the top is aided by some steps, but will still get your heart pumping.  The dune is over 100m high.  It is free to visit, but the car park costs about €3 for car, more for a larger vehicle.  You can save the parking charge by parking on the verge outside, near the roundabout.

Biscarrosse-Plage

Biscarrosse-Plage is a small seaside town.  It is quiet and pretty, with the main attraction being the beautiful big beach.  This beach is popular with surfers.

Parking in Biscarrosse-Plage

Parking is free and easy around the beach area and in the small town.

Free camping in Biscarrosse-Plage – Recommended

There is an excellent free camper van and motorhome rest area: Le Vivier Aire de camping, Rud de Tit.  It is free to camp except in July and August when there is a €7 charge.  The area is in a lovely shaded woodland.  It is popular but holds many vehicles.  It is difficult to see and find the spot.  Follow the ‘Camping car’ parking sign, and turn left before the motorhome electric hookup area, before the actual campsite.
There is a free toilet.  There is direct access to the beach, with a beach shower at the end of the ‘Acces plage’ lane towards the beach.  There is public telephone at the top of the lane towards the main road.

There is also free camping at the inland Porte de Navarrosse Aire de Camping.

Campsites in Biscarrosse-Plage

Camping Maguide

Chemin de Maguide
Tel: 0558 098190
Open all year round.

Campeole Plage Sud

Rue Becasses
Tel: 0558 782124
Open Map – September.

Surfing in Biscarrosse-Plage

Biscarrosse-Plage is great place to surf out of season, when the town closes and the crowds disappear. Most travelling surfers head south to Hossegor. At Biscarrosse-Plage you could find great breaks all to yourself. Great free camping here, right by the beach (see above).

Contis Plage

A small resort, popular with surfers as it has good waves.

Free camping in Contis Plage

The beach car park is a popular free camping spot.


– Inland –

Free camping in Lac D’Aydat

Inland from Royan. Open all year, free of charge, max. 48 hrs. The Lac d’Aydat is a small lake of volcanic origin west of Clermont-Ferrand. Coming from the north, pass the village Aydat until you see a motorhome sign on the south side of the lake.

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