When to avoid peak times in France?

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robing
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When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby robing » 9 Jan 2016, 2:52pm

Last year I cycled all the way around Spain. I was going to continue up through France, but I decided to call it a day at Biarritz as I had timed it badly and had hit their peak holiday season at the end of July. Accommodation, even camping was scarce. So I want to do this bit again - from Biarritz to Calais later on this summer - Aug/September. So my question is, when does the peak holiday season finish in France, particularly for camping as I'll most likely be camping all/most of the way.

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al_yrpal
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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby al_yrpal » 9 Jan 2016, 3:40pm

End of August I think. This calendar illustrates it. http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/fi ... 296175.pdf

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robing
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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby robing » 9 Jan 2016, 3:53pm

Cheers, thanks for that.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby andrew_s » 9 Jan 2016, 10:52pm

If there's just you on a bike, even mid August isn't unavailably busy, provided that you stay away from the prime holiday spots. If you are in the Landes, it's OK if you are more than 10 or 15 km from the coast.
(OK means no problem booking in on spec, rather than quiet)

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby welsh trekker » 10 Jan 2016, 9:06am

no where is busy in France. Especially on a bike. No need to book, just turn up.
Many more camp sites than in Spain. Most towns and villages have a campsite nearby.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby MrsHJ » 10 Jan 2016, 9:26am

There is a public holiday on 15 August and it starts to calm after that I think. I agree that away from the coast it's rarely a major issue finding camping. Once you hit the last week of August/first week of September there's plenty of space everywhere and usually nice weather. Conversely some campsites in Spain begin to close in September and I know my husband and kids go to a full service campsite near benodet that has its last week in the first week of September. For municipal sites a regular camp sites you should be fine in September.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby jk49 » 10 Jan 2016, 9:59am

As above. I think the main french summer holiday ends on the weekend that has the religious festival of " the assumption of Mary into heaven." This seems to be , as MrsHj says around the 15th. Having been tied to school holiday camping trips for a few years, I found the camp sites to be fairly empty after this time. That is, away from hot spots.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby welsh trekker » 10 Jan 2016, 11:04pm

You will be on a bike, with a small tent. You will not have a problem anywhere.
It is not like a family turning up with an estate car, 3 kids and a trailer. But even they will be welcome at most sites. And most sites are not on the south coast of Brittany or the Vendee.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby robing » 11 Jan 2016, 12:02am

welsh trekker wrote:no where is busy in France. Especially on a bike. No need to book, just turn up.
Many more camp sites than in Spain. Most towns and villages have a campsite nearby.

Not true. When I entered southwest France from Spain at the end of July this year everywhere was full. Hotels were 4 to 5 times what they were in Spain. Every single campsite was full up until about the 5th one I tried which had one pitch left. For which I had to pay €33, more than most hotels in Spain and wi Fi and electricity extra - these were always Included in spain.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby 4wils » 11 Jan 2016, 8:23am

It depends so much on the area. The Vendee coast in early August forced a change of route for us when we found all the campsites fully booked. We were on bikes with small tents and had to ride ten miles inland to find a pitch.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby jk49 » 11 Jan 2016, 8:37am

On one of the trips mentioned above, we thought a week on the beach in Les Landes area in the SW would be good. We only lasted one night. It was incredibly busy, we were only able to find somewhere on our 3rd attempt.
So the next day, we carried on south to the Pyrrenees, where we where able to find places in emptyish municipal style camp sites. That has been my experience since, certainly away from the coast and with the odd exception, like one in a small village, close to one of the 'bigger' chateaux on the Loire cycle route.
Perhaps this part of France is particularly busy in July and August. I'm sure you will be fine everywhere else after about the 15/8.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby pwa » 11 Jan 2016, 12:10pm

The main holiday season ends at the end of August and things do become quieter almost overnight. The downside is that some facilities also begin shutting down. Last summer I found myself on a campsite where the proprietor decided that as things were going quiet he would close the female toilet / shower block and send all clients to the male block. But that is a small price to pay if you want it quieter.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby robing » 11 Jan 2016, 8:11pm

pwa wrote:The main holiday season ends at the end of August and things do become quieter almost overnight. The downside is that some facilities also begin shutting down. Last summer I found myself on a campsite where the proprietor decided that as things were going quiet he would close the female toilet / shower block and send all clients to the male block. But that is a small price to pay if you want it quieter.

When exactly was that? I'm thinking about taking the bike bus to Bayonne at the end of Aug.

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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby welsh trekker » 12 Jan 2016, 12:11am

robing wrote:
welsh trekker wrote:no where is busy in France. Especially on a bike. No need to book, just turn up.
Many more camp sites than in Spain. Most towns and villages have a campsite nearby.

Not true. When I entered southwest France from Spain at the end of July this year everywhere was full. Hotels were 4 to 5 times what they were in Spain. Every single campsite was full up until about the 5th one I tried which had one pitch left. For which I had to pay €33, more than most hotels in Spain and wi Fi and electricity extra - these were always Included in spain.

ok add the Biarritz area to places that may be busy, but they are a tiny fraction of the country, and not at all the best places to visit.So avoid Biarritz, Vendee, Benodet....

robing
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Re: When to avoid peak times in France?

Postby robing » 12 Jan 2016, 6:13pm

welsh trekker wrote:
robing wrote:
welsh trekker wrote:no where is busy in France. Especially on a bike. No need to book, just turn up.
Many more camp sites than in Spain. Most towns and villages have a campsite nearby.

Not true. When I entered southwest France from Spain at the end of July this year everywhere was full. Hotels were 4 to 5 times what they were in Spain. Every single campsite was full up until about the 5th one I tried which had one pitch left. For which I had to pay €33, more than most hotels in Spain and wi Fi and electricity extra - these were always Included in spain.

ok add the Biarritz area to places that may be busy, but they are a tiny fraction of the country, and not at all the best places to visit.So avoid Biarritz, Vendee, Benodet....


It's a bit difficult to avoid Biarritz when you are crossing the border from Irun, which was kind of my point :wink:
I really want to do a French E2E or 'diagonale' starting at the southwest and heading to one of the channel ports, as this was the but I didn't do after Spain last year. I'm going to head out in late August. I think I should be ok then, if not I'll hop back across the border to Spain to enjoy some cheap food and accommodation until the French holiday season is over :wink: