Stretching south west from the centre of France and the Massif Central, Limousin is perfect camping country. This rural region offers a blend of farmland, woodland, lakes and rivers with plenty of camping and glamping sites tucked among them. With the Loire Valley to the north and the Dordogne to the south west, it’s all too easy to overlook Limousin but it’s a fantastic place to base yourself – away from the crowds, in one of the least densely populated parts of the country. During a stay here you can easily visit the famous sites of neighbouring regions or discover Limousin’s own lesser-known treasures. Among them you’ll find turreted châteaux, fortified towns, pretty villages and protected natural parks, not to mention some of our favourite French campsites.
Situated between the beautiful Loire Valley and the Dordogne region, Limousin owes a little something to both. This rural region is crossed by three rivers and counts turreted châteaux and gardens among its treasures. Less visited and less populated than its big-hitting neighbours and destinations further south, Limousin is a great place for a holiday if you want to get away from it all. But there’s still plenty to do here should you want to explore. You can swim in its lakes, take to the waterways by kayak or canoe, walk or cycle in its sprawling natural parks, get lost in the mazes of its formal gardens and discover the rustic villages and towns that cluster on the riverbanks. Like the rest of country, this region at the top of south-west France is well set-up for camping and we’ve selected some of the best campsites in Limousin to feature in the Hipcamp collection. Like Limousin itself, the campsites we choose are not the biggest, showiest or loudest shouting; they are places with quiet charm and individuality. Some are simply stunning places to pitch a tent and some are incredible glamping sites with accommodation that’s the crème de la crème. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to stay for a day or two on your way south or you want a week in rural France, choose camping or glamping in Limousin and you won’t be disappointed.
France is a magnet for campers from all over Europe and is truly well set-up for people with their own tents, campervans, motorhomes and caravans. There are plenty of places to pitch up – even in the lesser-visited areas like Limousin. Here at Hipcamp, we steer clear of the big, branded campsites which tend to pack ‘em in and instead we look for classic camping sites which offer a little more space, a fantastic location or a great atmosphere. The best sites, of course, have a combination of all three! In France you’ll find that most campsites have a few extra touches that give the place a specifically French feel: a bread and croissant delivery service for your petit dejeuner, a gravelly petanque court and often the chance to play table tennis. Having a little taste of life on the Continent is reason enough to head over the Channel but France is also the easiest place for us Brits to get to on a camping holiday abroad. We can pack the car up, hop on the ferry or the Channel Tunnel and drive straight to our destination. And what a destination it is with great food, great wine and a wealth of great destinations – Limousin among them. Just over halfway down the country, it usually offers a reliably longer, warmer summer than the UK and is greener and more easily reached than the sunny south. It’s the perfect place to pitch a tent for a spring, summer or autumn holiday where you can immerse yourself in rural French scenery.
These days you can still enjoy the thrill of camping even if you don’t have your own camping kit. The glamping scene offers the chance for everyone to dip a toe in to the world of camping without the hassle of packing and pitching your own tent. And with some cosy glamping options featuring insulation and log-burning stoves, it extends the camping season in to the winter months too. Limousin has a wealth of glamping options from campsites where chalets, cabins, and safari tents sit among pitches for people with their own tents, to places which are exclusively for glampers only. If you like the sociable side of camping, you might prefer to be on a bigger site with facilities to suit but if you are looking for peace and privacy, choose somewhere with fewer tents or cabins. In the summer, you’ll find lots of sites with pre-pitched tents for nights under canvas. Choose from bell tents, yurts, tipis and safari tents. Some are simply set up for you to customise and make your own while others have been luxuriously decked out for hotel-style stays. Chalets and cabins are fairly common on French campsites and might be considered one of the original glamping options but more recent additions are luxury treehouses and roulottes (French-style gypsy caravans or shepherd’s huts) and ultra-modern geodesic domes. We’ve taken as much care in hand-picking the glamping sites that we recommend as we do for regular campsites so you can expect to find the best glamping sites in Limousin listed in our collection.
It’s not hard to find family camping in Limousin. In fact, it’s not hard to find family camping anywhere in France. Campsites tend to be set up with kids in mind and often have a children’s play area, a table tennis table and, even on smaller sites, a swimming pool too. But even without these child-friendly attractions, camping is one big adventure that kids tend to love. Add in the excitement of heading to France for your hols and you’ll soon be making memories that your kids will treasure forever. The ferry, tunnel or plane journey to France, the driving on the other side of the road, the croissants for breakfast, the new friends and the sleeping under canvas are all part of the fun. Then there’s toasting marshmallows on the campfire, exploring new places and endless outdoor games in the long summer evenings. The shorter driving distance to Limousin might make it more attractive to families with younger children for whom a long car journey south might seem especially endless. The region has plenty of family-friendly attractions which make for great days out. The lakes and rivers provide fun for all ages with the opportunity to swim from lakeside beaches, try watersports or hire kayaks and canoes. There are mazes and labyrinths to get lost in, activity centres to explore and animal parks to visit. Your camping and glamping hosts will be able to point you in the direction of the hidden local gems around your site.
Since 2016 when France redrew regional boundaries, Limousin has been joined up with Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine to form the larger region of Nouvelle Aquitaine which covers all of France’s south-west down to the Pyrenees. It is, in fact, the largest of the 13 administrative regions, but Limousin lives on as a part of the country that is distinct from its neighbours. Entirely landlocked and with no high mountains, it is rural countryside as far as the eye can see: rolling hills, woodland and waterways characterise this area and it’s telling that a farm animal, Limousin cattle, is one of its best-known things about the region. The other is probably its biggest city, Limoges, the biggest population centre in the region. This former Roman city is the capital of the Haute-Vienne department (or county) in the west of Limousin, one of three that make up the region, along with Corrèze in the north-east and Creuse to the south, bordering the Dordogne.
France’s regional natural parks are places that have been recognised as having outstanding natural beauty. The designation, similar to our national parks, gives the landscape a protected status. Limousin has not one but two regional natural parks – both of which are great places to camp in or near. The Regional Natural Park of Millevaches, which translated from an old local dialect means “a thousand springs”, is in the foothills of the Massif Central. It’s a landscape of farmland, ancient forests, and the granite Millevaches Plateau, an upland area of the park which includes the region’s highest peak, Mount Bessou. At 976 metres, it’s worth hiking up for the panoramic views over Limousin and in to neighbouring Auvergne. In fact, the whole park is a great place for hiking and exploring on foot, by bike or on horseback. The plateau also has many lakes and waterways, hence the name, including the region’s biggest lake, Vassivière where you can enjoy water-based activities too. It’s also an important habitat for wildlife and plants so a great spot for nature lovers and birdwatchers. The Perigord-Limousin Regional Natural Park is in the west of the region and stretches in to the Dordogne, or Perigord, as the French know it. It is a lower-lying part of the country and is heavily forested with oak and chestnut. It is also criss-crossed by waterways and has lots of châteaux, interesting towns and villages within its boundaries as well as a reputation for great food. It’s no surprise then that this area is a popular holiday destination with lots of great camping and glamping sites.
For a bit of city sightseeing during a camping or glamping holiday in Limousin, head for Limoges. Situated on the Vienne river, after which the department is named, it is strategically located on the main route between Toulouse and Paris and has a long history. Visit here and you’ll be whipping the camera out at every turn to snap away at the medieval half-timbered buildings in the historic centre. In the 19th century Limoges became an important centre for porcelain and, if you spend a day in the city, you can visit the Musée National Adrien Dubouché, to see examples of it. The second largest city of the region is Brive la Galliarde, the capital of the Corrèze department and in the south of Limousin. It has a very different feel to to Limoges with buildings made of the honey-hued stone that’s usually associated with the nearby Dordogne region. Like its neighbour, it is also well-known for great produce with truffles, walnuts and paté among the regional specialities on sale in the food market that takes place three times a week. Uzerche, also in Corrèze, is another popular place to visit for its Friday market, ancient turreted buildings and pretty location on the Vézère River. Guéret is the administrative capital of Limousin’s third department, Creuse. It is a relatively quiet town on the edge of the Chabrières Forest with an interesting Museum of Art and Archaeology. The nearby Loups de Chabrieres is a wolf park where you can see more than 40 of these animals and learn about their habits and behaviour. Kids will also love the Mont de Gueret’s Giant Labyrinth – said to be the world’s biggest hedge labyrinth and part of a larger activity park with games and farm animals. There are plenty of smaller villages that are worth exploring on days trips from your camping or glamping site in Limousin. Treignac, within the Millevaches Regional Natural Park, is worth a look for its medieval buildings and Coussac Bonneval for its 14th-century chateau. A whole string of towns and villages across Limousin are linked by the Richard the Lionheart route, a 180-km route which takes in fortified towns and castles with a connection to the crusading king. Away from the urban centres, the Regional Parks of Millevaches in the foothills of the Massif Central and Perigord-Limousin, are a big draw. If you’re not camping in the regions, take the time to explore their protected landscape on foot or by bike. The many lakes and waterways also provide great days out – especially in the height of summer. Lac de Saint Pardoux in Haute-Vienne, Lac de Bournazel in Correze and, the biggest of them all, Lac de Vassivière, all have beaches to swim from and places to hire kayaks and canoes too.
Find the best campsites in the Limousin region with this collection from the authors of the best-selling Hipcamp France guidebook, including riverside campsites, dog-friendly campsites, family campsites, tent-only campsites and campsites where your campervan is welcome too. Read reviews, browse image galleries and book online at the best price.