This web page is one of a series posted at this website, which reports on a tent-camping trips conducted by an American couple in France. For this trip, the tent camping in France took place during roughly three weeks in June 2003.
It had been more than year since the last trip to France and this was the first time encountering the Euro money in France. The trip was conducted a little earlier than desired, but the concern of it being possibly too cold in northern France was greatly unfounded. In fact, Europe's 2003 Summer opened with a heat wave. This dictated a change in plans -- cancelling the itinerary to go to St. Paul de Vence and Grasse in southeastern France and spending more time in the French Alpes -- and argues well for camping and the flexibility it affords the tourist. Campgrounds used were one just southeast of Paris, and two at different locations used as 'hubs' to make day excursions to places in Burgundy and in the French Alps.
As with the other trips, this couple took their tent and other camping equipment with them on the air flight to Paris. While it cannot be guaranteed that all the circumstances can be repeated, the experiences were very similar to the couple's earlier tent camping trips in Western Europe over a 30-year period. Past viewers of this page might note that this 2003 trip resulted in some changes in the 'General Remarks' found on the main webpage, the link to which is at the bottom of this page.

It is suggested that you visited the main page and read the General Remarks before reading this report. Go Main Page for Tent Camping in France.


Much was done as for the earlier 1995 through 2001 trips. Tent, camping equipment and clothes were placed in four canvas flight bags, checked as luggaged and flown to France. Travel in France (and to and from Austria) was by rented car.
Before departing the States, car rental reservations were made and an International Driver's License was obtained. Also acquired was an International Camping Carnet (ICC). Another useful card was the VISA credit card. The advantages of these pre-departure actions are explained under General Remarks on the main page.
For this trip we requested another diesel economy size car, but had to accept an 'upgrade' in the form of a Volkswagon Passat diesel, 4 door compact (stick-shift, of course). It had room enough for the camping gear and provided excellent economic road travel. Actually the solidness of the car and driving responsivness were impressive for an old Porsche owner. Again we found Europcar to be very good to work with. However, we did learn the value of being more forceful when approaching the car pick up counter at the airport. If you clearly ordered a diesel, be prepared to make a scene if you are told one is not available and will you accept any gasoline upgrade. It seems that there are many [usually not American] tourists who know the value of driving a diesel in France -- in Europe in general. During a three-way hassel, it was luckly that we had our request for a diesel clearly stated in our reservation order.
Food preparation followed the practices of previous trips: mainly picnic lunches and dinners, with occasional dinning out. Groceries and snack items were purchased small stores at or near the campgrounds, with especially good buys at the supermarkets. For heating food and water, we used the Gaz 470 series system. See comments for 1998 trip.

This was our first time using the Internet to book a flight and to make car rental reservations. It was all accomplish with amazing efficiency and ease through 1-800 Fly Europe. Thier website is Telephone is 1-800-359.3876. Experienced great service with electronic confirmations of flights [and seat numbers] as well as car arrangements with Europcar. Especially appreciated was the easy and prompt contact via telephone to discuss specifics and options. Total charge for two round trip tickets British Airways, via a stop at Heathrow in the UK, to Paris Charles de Gaulle was $994.02. Electronic airline ticket receipts were received in the mail in a week.


CHAMPINGY (Val-de-Marne - 94 ILE-DE-FRANCE).
16 JUNE, MONDAY (day 1). Arrived at Charles de Gaulle, picked up rental car and drove south toward the campsite that we had used previously in the Parc du Tremblay, northwest Champingy, a southeast suburb of Paris. This campground, is close to the Marne River, and is discussed in more detail on another webpage that covers 'Tent Camping In and Near Paris'. Over time it has proven the best for both comuting to the airport as well as visiting Paris. Again we made use of the multi-day 'Paris Visit' card that provided savings in using the RER, the METRO, and the buses in Paris as well as a free ride on the bus that went between the RER station [which went in to Paris] and the campsite.

Boulevard des Alli�s

T�l:; Fax:
[Calling from the US, replace the first '01' with '0033.1']
Camping du Tremblay website:
Expenses: Camping site cost for 4 nights was 74.2 � ($88.45 at the time) for one tent, two persons and a car.

20 JUNE, FRIDAY (day 5). Traveled from campsite at Champingy to Beaune, Camping Municipal �Les Cent Vignes' is easy to find when entering via National route N74 [possibly having exited from autoroute A6] from the north. The campground is located at north end of town. Heading south on N74, one turns west at the first traffic light, on to the street �Auguste Dubois'. The street's name is not well displayed, but there are some camping directional signs. Proceed along Auguste Dubois for two blocks. The campground is to the right [north] just as Auguste Dubois ends at a �T'.

If arriving from the south [or any direction other than the north], it is necessary to drive counter clockwise around the boulevard that encircles the town. The name of this boulevard changes, so primarily follow the signs pointing in the direction of Dijon, until reaching the north end of the town. Again, following signs toward Dijon, turn north off the boulevard on to rue de Faubourg St. Nicolas; continue until traffic light, where Auguste Dubois intersects. Turn west and proceed as described above.
�Les Cent Vignes' campgrounds are particularly private with individual camping sites surrounded by hedges, and plenty of large trees for shade. Wash facilities are very clean and modern. There is a nice small restaurant on grounds. The walk into Beaune's central shopping area is about 20 minutes. Beaune is full of good tourist shopping, wine stores, general food stores and attractive restaurants.
Not surprisingly, the campground is usually �full' by late afternoon. Campers should plan their arrival for late morning or early afternoon.

Camping Municipal �Les Cent Vignes'
10 rue Auguste Dubois
21200 BEAUNE
Expenses: campsite for 4 nights was: 44. � [$51.24 at the time].

S�VRIER [south of ANNECY] (Haute-Savoie - 74 RH�NE ALPES).
24 JUNE, TUESDAY (day 9). Traveled from Beaune to the commune of Annecy and setteld in at a remarkable campsite at the 'Le Panoramic' campgrounds, located in S�rvier, a southern suberb of Annecy. The guide books and brochures show a number of campgrounds in the Lake Annecy area. For the most part, many are directly on, or are a very short walk to the lake. One should expect such sites to be crowded in the summer. The couple involved in this trip, wanted a mountain-like quiet, and a scenic view. Direct access to water activities was not important. They were persuaded by the description of 'Le Panoramic' being located at an elevation above the lake. This suggested no crowded beach activity, and an opportunity to enjoy the truly Alpine-like atmosphere.

The campground is aptly named 'Le Panoramic' and offers a number of locations to enjoy the exceptional scenic view of Lake Annecy along with a magnificent background of Alpine mountains. 'Le Panoramic' is located about half way up the Samnose mountain that extends southwest from the picturesque and historic town of Annecy, itself located at the northen point of the lake. From the campground, the view to the east is right out of a promotional brochure: a sapphire, blending with hues of lighter blue, lake shimmers like a jewel, encrusted within towering alpine mountains, with peaks that extend above the tree line. Mountains as far as one can see provide a dramatic backdrop to lake. �Le Panoramic' is a very aptly named campground. Some sites are perfect for a full time, private view. There are two slightly lower tiers on the eastern ledge that are reserved only for small tents. Cars are not even allowed. However, everyone in the camp can move about, set up their chairs where they can enjoy the view.
Bath facilities are very clean, relatively modern, but surprisingly follow some conventions of the earlier French campgrounds. No toilet paper is provided and no distinction is made between men and women facilities. On the other hand, most of the campers at this site are the reserve type, and tend to be older. The �younger set' are more likely to crowd into the many grounds that board the lake. The camp has a swimming pool and restaurant that offer the view of the lake and its backdrop of mountains. A small store offers essential camping items and has croissants in the morning. However, most of the campers take advantage of the 5 minute drive down the a curvy road to the super market to get supplies.
Grounds are large and have buildings for rent. However, some caution is needed in that the grounds are not fenced, in fact a public road runs through the middle of the campgrounds. Unfortunately, there was reported � via the network of fellow campers � of �non campers' prowling among campsites to steal anything left carelessly in a tent or unlocked camper.
�Le Panoramic' is about a 10 to 15 minute drive [traffic can be heavy at certain times of the day] to the town of Annecy. Parking is available in the town. Some parking is free, but one must be early for that or otherwise must circle about awaiting a vacancy. Pay parking is available at more than 3 stations, and there are electronic displays about the town that show the number of vacancies in each of the pay parking facilities.
Another important point to make about this 'Alpine' campground is that it was used, in part, for this 2003 trip to escape the heat that was infliceted on much of Europe during this summer. The campers at �Le Panoramic' were mostly from the Netherlands and Great Britain. Most were staying two weeks to a month, and had been to this campground in prior years.

Le Panoramic Camping', Lac d'Annecy
22 chemin des Bernets
Cessenaz - 74320 S�VRIER
Expenses: 64.8 � plus 1.6 tax [.2 x 4] = 66.4 � [$76.68] for 4 nights.

29 JUNE, SATURDAY (day 14). Traveled from campsite at Sévrier to Beaune. Stayed again at Camping Municipal �Les Cent Vignes' [See description for 20 June above]. This was mainly to ensure a comfortambe 'remian-over-night' so as not to have too long a drive back to Paris.

CHAMPINGY (Val-de-Marne - 94 ILE-DE-FRANCE).
30 JUNE, MONDAY (day 15). Returned to Paris location and the same campground [described above for 16 June] as the first day. Reasons were to finish some personal business in Paris and well as estimating that the location would be convient for driving to Charles de Gaulle to catch the departuer flight.

Folded up the tent at about 0900 hours and arrived at Charles De Gaulle, airport a little after 1100 hours. Road signs from the Champigny campground to the airport were very good, and this proved to be one of the best of all our experiences in navigating from a campground near Paris to the airport though the heavy morning, workday traffic.

Expenses: Camping site cost was the same as for previous stay, except for a small price increase effective 1 July.

27 JULY, THURSDAY (day 17). Departed to Charles de Gaulle airport.

To review contents: Return to top. / Planning for trip. / Itinerary. / Camping at Champingy. / Camping at Beaune. / Camping at Sévrier /

View a Map of the Trip

Return to main page for Tent Camping in France.

Page created 18 July 2003; revised 7 August 2003.