Camping in 2008: Yes we can!

In 2008, France had just under 8,700 listed campsites with almost 935,000 pitches*. The Vendée was still the leading department in numbers of campsites (364) in front of Charente Maritime and Finistère. Let's see how camping in France had changed in 2008.

In 10 years, the number of campsites open all year round had fallen significantly (around 850).

As regards accommodation, the situation had fundamentally changed since 1998. The English brands and their indestructible models had practically disappeared from the new market, to the benefit of the French manufacturers. IRM applied the "indoors-outdoors" concept with kitchens opening wide onto the terrace. Breton manufacturer Louisiane presented a prototype of the Taos from which would emerge the "3rd generation mobile homes" that all the manufacturers went on to add to their range through the seasons: Key West at O’Hara, New Valley at Rapidhome, Lagoa at Trigano, Atlantis at Samibois, etc. This would be accompanied in the years to follow by the development of hotel services.

A real move upmarket for the campsites

Since 1998, as reflected by the development in accommodation, campsites had become outdoor hotels. In the space of ten years, the campsites had substantially moved upmarket. Clear proof of this was the swimming pool which had turned into an aquatic area at the centre of campsite life. Interviewed in Le Caravanier, which became Camping Caravaning, a site manager summed up this transformation very well. "A simple swimming pool isn't enough. To attract families you need to offer water slides and water play areas, and even an indoor swimming pool".

Services benefited from this move upmarket. In 2008, growing numbers of campsites had an actual restaurant often supplemented by a take-away service as well as a grocery store, a cash machine, a laundrette, bicycle hire (some even had car hire) and a bakery (bread vending machine or more).

By the same token, the wash blocks with "hot water you pay for and shower tokens" had practically disappeared. Managers had no hesitation in investing hundreds of thousands of euros to turn them into living areas with baby areas, family shower cubicles, etc. Finally in 2008, discussions began on the new classification and the future 5th star.

Caravans: the surge in the "camper van layout"

In January 2008, the Camping Caravaning magazine highlighted one of the key trends at the time, the growing success of the "Camper van layout" (permanent longitudinal bed, a dinette at the front and a bathroom with a separate shower) and the "French-style layout" with a transverse bed at the rear. Four brands, offering models with both layouts, were involved in this: Caravelair, Sterkeman, Hobby and Bürstner. Furthermore, to attract families, the brands offered models with a storage hold. Also, although economical models still occupied a sizeable share of the market, there was a real demand for high-end stylishly designed models which were very well equipped.

Cars: long live France!

The towing vehicle stars in 2008 were French. In the columns of the January edition of Camping-Caravaning, they wrote "The force is with it" referring to the brand new 150hp Renault Laguna 2.0 dCi. The following autumn, for the testing of the Citroën C5, the magazine headline was "It makes the Germans scared". Furthermore, alongside the MPVs such as the Citroën C8, there was a surge in SUVs like the Renault Koléos, Audi Q5, Ford Kuga and VW Tiguan.

Current events in 2008

- January: Hike in the price of oil with a barrel more than 150 dollars. In view of terrorist threats, the Paris-Dakar Rally was cancelled. Death of the singer Carlos.

- February: Marion Cotillard received an Oscar for 'La Vie en Rose'.

- March: Riots in Tibet put down by Beijing with bloodshed.

- June: Death of Yves Saint Laurent.

- July: Ingrid Bétancourt was freed and PPDA presented his final news broadcast

- August: Olympic Games in Beijing. Ten French soldiers were killed in an ambush in Afghanistan.

- Global stock market crash. Large banks failed, including Lehman Brothers.

- Jean-Marie Le Clezio received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Death of Sister Emmanuelle.

- November: "Yes we did". Barak Obama was elected President of the United States of America.


See also:

- Camping France is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

- Camping in 1998: one, two...

- Camping in 2018: Twenty years on…



*Source Officiel des Terrains de camping


See all my campsites consulted