Our first municipal camp site
There are around 2,800 cheap and cheerful municipal campsites throughout France, most in or on the edge of towns or villages. They're run by the local authority and promote tourism that benefits local businesses.
You won't generally find swimming pools, snack bars and kids clubs on a municipal site, just basic washing facilities and electrical hookups.
Municipal campsites are well discussed on internet forums and I'm used to seeing campers posting how great this one was and how cheap that one was. Tony suggested one not far from Rouen for our final night. We would spend Saturday doing the bulk of the driving from the south of France, have a leisurely evening sitting in the sun with good food and wine, then have just two and a half hours to drive to the Eurotunnel in the morning.
We stopped at a Super U supermarket five minutes from the motorway to buy our usual boxes of wine and beers to take home and we purchased a large fresh baguette with some pate and goats cheese for our evening meal.
We arrived at Camping Municipal Du Vievre in Saint Georges Du Vievre at 5.20pm. The reception was closed but a sign said if that were the case to choose a pitch and see them in the morning. The site was a little less than half full so there were plenty of pitches to choose from; all had electric hookups and a water tap.
We went off to explore the town which was delightful. On a main square, among the half-timbered Normandy buildings, was a bar, restaurant, bakery, butcher and small supermarket.
My TripAdvisor app welcomed me to the town, sharing that there was one thing to do here and that was to visit the Tourism Office. We went off in search of it down a side street and found it closed. You'd think being the only thing to do in town they'd keep longer hours, if only to tell visitors who enter that they've now done all there is to do.
We walked a different route back to the campsite and passed a large swimming pool, football pitch and tennis courts. Several people were playing petanque on a petanque area adjacent to the campsite.
It became quite chilly when the sun went in just after 9pm, highlighting the difference between here and the south of France where we'd sat out drinking after dark.
In the morning we left the site at 9am. I went back to the campsite reception but it was still closed. I noticed it only opened from 11am to 12pm on a Sunday. Since they didn't display a price list anywhere or have a postbox, we weren't able to leave any money. It was a nice site, in a convenient location for traveling to or from the south and west of France so maybe we can settle up another time.
The typical price for a municipal campsite seems to be about 10 euros for a pitch per night. If you're happy with basic facilities that could be a very cheap family holiday.
More than 9,000 French campsites, including all the municipal sites, are listed at campingfrance.com