Year after year, France ranks among the most popular countries to visit in the world. But while famous spots like Paris or the sunny south coast draw the majority of the crowds, the northern regions often go overlooked. As a result, the north of France can be much less crowded – a huge draw in itself for travellers looking to get off the beaten path. Better still, easy access via the Eurotunnel and numerous ferry crossings puts the north of the country within easy driving distance of the UK, making camping holidays easy. You can even take a shuttle bus from the airport in Paris for an easy, budget travel option.
With plenty of awesome campsites available across the north coast, it’s easy to plan a camping holiday in northern France. Here are a few of my top picks for the best spots to explore while you’re there…
Baie du Somme, Picardie
Nearest Campsite: Camping Le Ridin, Le Crotoy.
My older sister first put me on to the campsite at Le Crotoy, after she took her family there last summer. This is the perfect spot for an active but relaxing camping holiday, with lots of cycleways around the area making it easy to explore by bike. The pretty town of Le Crotoy has a twice-weekly market and plenty of nice restaurants, while on the other side of the bay sits medieval St Valerie sur Somme.
D-Day Beaches, Normandy
Nearest Campsite: Camping Les Vikings, Barneville-Carteret.
History enthusiasts may want to consider a visit to the coast of Normandy. Here, you’ll find the five D-Day Landing Beaches, still known by their WWII code names of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Also in the area is the American WWII cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mer, and there are several German bunkers and gun batteries still standing. Not far away is the 15th-century Courboyer Manor, a stunning house set in large grounds and surrounded by cycle paths.
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St Malo, Brittany
Nearest Campsite: Camping Le P’tit Bois, Saint-Malo
Possibly the most famous town on France’s northern coast, St Malo is a beautiful city and my personal favourite on this list. Architecture buffs will love the Romanesque and Gothic cathedral in the centre of town, with its stunning stained glass windows depicting the town’s history.
Tucked behind heavy granite walls, I love the picturesque Old Town, all cobbled streets and quaint shops. Check out my guide to shopping in France if you plan on making the most of these! Sniff out a bakery or two, enjoy the street performers, and don’t miss a trip to nearby La Demeure de Corsaire – the 18th century home of a privateer.
Middle Loire Wine Region, Centre-Val de Loire
Nearest Campsite: Camping Parc du Val de Loire, Chaumont sur Loire
Moving further inland, the area known as the Middle Loire is one of France’s most picturesque wine regions. Fans of sparkling wines in particular will love the Samur region, while the Touraine region around the city of Tours truly embodies the spirit of Loire wine. The most famous wine produced here is the Carbernet Franc, but there are loads more to discover – and with the vineyards set among truly breathtaking landscapes, a tour of the Loire Valley vineyards is a wine lover’s dream.
Read More: Find out more about the Middle Loire wine region in this detailed guide.
Where’s your favourite spot in the north of France? Scroll down to share your top tips in the comments!