I was talking to my sister in Rugby just now and mentioned I was hoping to hop over the Channel next year for a return visit to France. She told me that friends of theirs with a motorhome had joined “France Passion”, and that this was an informal network of 24hr stop-overs on working farms, vineyards etc where the owners offered hospitality for free.
Google being my friend, it wasn’t long after hanging up that I was on the France Passion Website – and what a find it turns out to be.
Members receive the France Passion Stopover Guide, which offers free overnight parking for motorhome (“camping-car”) owners who can stop-over with hundreds of winegrowers and farmers in all the regions of France.
This private welcome formula allows motorhomers (“camping-caristes”) to park on member’s properties overnight or for up to 24 hours, free of charge and with no commercial obligation.
In the 22nd edition of the handbook, nearly 1800 winegrowers, farmers, craftsmen and motorhome owners invite you to stop-over free on their properties in the most beautiful vineyards and areas of France.
The cost of joining this club is €29, payable by plastic via the Website. If you’re a bit wary of online transactions you can download and fill in a form offline then send it with a cheque.
The main stipulations are that you must have an entirely self-contained rig (though some venues do offer facilities), that you arrive at a decent time and stay for no longer than 24 hours, and that you recognise you are a guest at someone’s home and not in a commercial transaction and act accordingly.
I signed up straight away. It’s an annual membership that runs from March to Easter of the following year, so I’ll be good to go in March 2014 (which I was planning to do anyway) and until 5th April 2015. Looking forward to it immensely.