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If you ever decide to ship your RV or rent an RV to visit France, you NEED to sign up for the France Passion program. The inspiration behind Harvest Hosts in the States, France Passion is the best way to see France. Not only did we camp directly on some of the most beautiful properties, but we also tasted some of the best wines and met some truly wonderful people.
But before talking about the France Passion program, I want to quickly introduce Harvest Hosts (if you’re unfamiliar).
Harvest Hosts is a program in the US where you can pay an annual fee (last I checked around $100/year) and get access to over 4,000 farms, wineries, breweries, and golf courses across the country. While were full-time RVing in the US, this was one of our favorite ways to travel.
So when we booked our one-way RV rental from Paris to Barcelona, I knew that I needed to sign up for the France equivalent of Harvest Hosts called France Passion.
What is the France Passion Program?
France Passion was started over 30 years ago. It was actually the original inspiration for the Harvest Hosts program in the US. The founders of Harvest Hosts loved their France experience so much, they decided to bring it back to the US.
As it stands today, the France Passion has over 2,000 sites covering the majority of France. Sites include stopovers like wineries, farms, and vineyards.
To get a better glimpse of what France Passion stopovers are like, watch our video:
How Does France Passion Work?
You must be a member to use France Passion. I’ll cover signing up in a second.
Once signed up, browse their book or their app for great places to stay along your camping route. With over 2,000 locations, you’re always sure to find one near you. Be sure to look at the listing details to see if your motorhome can fit, if kids/pets are welcome, and if they require calling before arrival.
When you show up at your chosen campsite, connect with the owners to know where to park. We always had a grassy area to ourselves. After getting parked, it’s customary to patron the business. This means buying a wine tasting, bottles of wine, produce, or meals. We felt that this was a great way to get truly local foods and enjoyed buying wine, olive oil, and other local treats from each place.
Be respectful during your stay by cleaning up outside your RV and not dumping any of your refuse or tanks. When you leave—there may be preferred “leave by” hours—take a moment to leave a review in the France Passion app. You can also leave a review on Google. Choosing to stay at France Passion sites means you’re supporting local family businesses and every review counts!
How do I join France Passion Program
The France Passion program is pretty old school. To sign up, you have to order a physical book. I was slightly confused at first on whether or not I’d also need to sign up and pay for an app separately, but you don’t. In essence, you just go to their website to purchase a book and then you’re enrolled.
The cost to enroll is currently at $33 (includes the physical book, your membership card, and app access).
Using the France Passion App
Once you’ve purchased your book, you’ll receive login access for the France Passion app.
The app is fairly user-friendly. Most importantly, the coverage as we were driving across France was phenomenal. By coverage, I mean how often we could find host sites along our route. You can search in the app for sites nearby or close to your next destination.
The majority of the Passion sites we stayed at had 10 or more reviews in the app. The reviews will break down both the overall experience at the host site as well as how friendly it was for an RV (or van) to drive to. Also, there’s a built-in translation feature for the reviews so you can read them in your native language.
One item I wish the app would have included is user-generated photos. There are no photos of motorhomes or vans parked at the locations, which would have been really nice. If anyone from France Passion reads this, ajouter des photos générées par l’utilisateur! ⬅️ In English: Add user-generated photos, SVP!
Our Experience Staying at France Passion Sites
I speak zero French. Actually, that’s not true. I can say “je ne parle pas Français” (I don’t speak French). With my vast knowledge of the French language, I was a little concerned about coordinating with hosts.
I imagined calling French hosts and trying to explain in English that we’d like to come and stay in their vineyard. They would probably start asking me about our motorhome length but then I’d get confused and think they were inviting me to a chocolate tasting.
Luckily, that didn’t happen. (Or unluckily, depending on how you look at it. 🍫)
First, the majority of the hosts spoke English. Second, for the ones who didn’t, I was able to bust out Google Translate (my best friend when traveling abroad) and we managed to get enough words like “camping car” into the mix or “France Passion”. Inevitably, once they heard France Passion they gave an enthusiastic yes.
How we used the France Passion app
Our typical process for using France Passion was first to look for stops along or near our destination. We steered towards wineries because we were in France and why not? However, there were a lot of beautiful farm locations listed as well.
I prefer to go with the masses when it comes to picking a place to camp—aka the place with the most reviews and most positive experiences. I’d then click on those host listings in the app and learn more about the property. There’s a direct call button in the app where you can reach out to the hosts. However, several of the host locations say there is no need to call before arriving. We did call ahead for most of them just to make sure it was okay to stay overnight.
The only time we just showed up instead of calling it was totally fine. Many of the hosts we visited preferred guests to arrive around five o’clock. We never had a problem with a host turning us away or the site being too overcrowded.
Why France Passion Sites Were Our Favorite Stopovers
During our monthlong road trip in the RV, we stayed at commercial campgrounds, free campsites, and a lot of Passion sites. Of all the places we stayed, France Passion stops were our favorite.
There are a few reasons why:
1. The people.
Many of the vineyard owners and hosts are legacy farmers. Their great, great, great grandparents planted the initial vines on a property and generations later they are taking the reins. I loved hearing about the legacy of these families and how they are still growing and improving so many years later. One of my favorite parts of experiencing a new place is interacting with the people. France Passion is a great way to meet real locals.
2. The Views
Each of the France Passion stops we stayed at had incredible views and ambiance. In some places, like the one above, we had an entire vineyard and orchard all to ourselves.
3. The wine.
Let’s be clear. This was a primary driver. We were in France, after all. The wine was amazing. Being able to park our motorhome and then walk inside and pick up a couple (delicious) bottles of wine was delightful.
Often when you stay at wineries in the States, the wine is fine. You perhaps buy some just for the free overnight camping. But in France, every bottle we bought was incredible. The champagne really took the cake though.
Is France Passion worth it?
YES! I would absolutely recommend signing up for France Passion. It’s inexpensive and you’ll undoubtedly meet some wonderful people and taste some delicious wine. Oh and as a bonus, it’s an easy way to save money on camping fees. 🙂