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France Passion: the secret to a perfect holiday!

France Passion: the secret to a perfect holiday!

An Aire de Camping Car at Contis in Western France

If you could define what makes a perfect holiday, what would it be? Where would you go? How would you travel? What would you do when you get there? According to the results of our recent travel survey  46% of you like to take holidays in Europe and 40% of you like to travel independently.

So if you like having the freedom to explore Europe, taking your time getting from one place to another, staying in spectacular locations, meeting passionate locals and trying the very best food and produce – all the elements of enriching independent travel - then we have news for you.

You may have been doing it all wrong.

Why? Probably because you may not have heard of France Passion, a scheme that lets you stay for free on over 1800 sites around rural France. As guests of farmers, producers and wine growers the scheme gives you an invitation to stay on their property, try their very best produce, eat their home cooked food and feel welcomed like part of the family.

Sounds good? It is.

France Passion allows you to immerse yourself in the real France. You’ll meet people who genuinely want to meet you and who want to tell you about their lives, the history of their area and the things they grow. You’ll get to try their produce and find out more about France and its food than you ever could by visiting a tourist restaurant in a busy resort.

Stay for free? What’s the catch?

France Passion is a scheme solely for people who drive self contained motorhomes and camper vans. To join costs just £24.99, which buys you the list of destinations, details about each one and the facilities they offer. Each ‘host’ offers their land – for free - to pitch up overnight on the understanding that you’ll take an interest in what they do and will – at the very least – say hello and be friendly. Sometimes this may mean sampling their wine, eating at their bistro or buying a few bits of their home grown produce. There’s really no hardship in that, is there? It’s a small price to pay for a free overnight. Don’t worry about your French either – over 450 of the hosts speak English!

Motorhoming isn’t what you think it is

You might think that motor homing and camping isn’t for you. But things have changed in recent years. Motorhomes have now become more user friendly than ever and include showers, toilets and wash basins with options for satellite TV, cookers, microwaves, central heating and every single mod con you can think of.  And with a good amount of storage and fixed beds that don’t have to be made every night you really could be in a home from home every night of your trip.

It’s no wonder there are around 250,000 motorhomes registered in the UK. It’s a great way to be an independent traveller!

Motorhomes aren’t cheap, it’s true, but once you have made the investment you’ll be able to take off at a moment’s notice. All you need is an Annual Multi Trip travel insurance policy and France – and the rest of Europe - is your oyster.

Why France is fantastic for campers and motorhomes

France is a favourite country to visit for us Brits, and we are not alone in enjoying Gallic hospitality. France is also the world’s most visited country, with over 83 million visitors landing on French soil in 2013.

Happily, France is a very camping-friendly country too. Almost every town has a municipal camp site where it is possible to stay cheaply with basic facilities. There are also countless other private sites ranging from huge 5 star corporate sites with pools, spas and all kinds of facilities to ‘a la ferme’ campsites with nothing more than a tap and a loo.

As well as the France Passion scheme there is also a network of Aires de Camping Car where motorhomes and camper vans can pitch up overnight. They offer a place to fill up with water, empty tanks and service all the essentials. They cost anything from nothing to around €15 per night and are offered by the local community because they see the benefit of having motorhomes coming to their area. Invariably motorhomers – like any other visitor - will spend money in local shops and restaurants – so benefitting the town as a whole.

Once you’re here you might as well stay!

While we have no figures of the number of Brits heading off to over-winter in their motorhomes, we do know that many thousands of migrant Brits end up in places like southern Spain, Italy or Greece on extended trips to escape the British winter. And why not? Once you’re over the channel and ambling through France you might as well follow the sun south. If you have no responsibilities back home it’s an idyllic option for adventurous travellers.

A World First Single Trip travel insurance policy will cover you for up to six months if you are up to 89 years of age. It can also cover you for medical conditions and over 150 sports and activities.

Fancy a motorhome adventure?

See our travel insurance guide for European long stays.

Here is a useful guide to motorhomes from the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Buy the book! Vicarious Books are the UK publisher for France Passion and also publish a guide to the Aires de Camping Car in France, Spain and Portugal.

Get a quote for a World First travel insurance policy now.

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