La Creuse en Camping-Car: rentals, tips, areas, itineraries

La Creuse en camping-car sur une semaine

Visiting the Massif Central? Here’s how to travel in and around Creuse by motorhome!

Wondering why you should travel to the Creuse by motorhome? Considered a department of the Massif Central, the Creuse has many prejudices to dispel. With its medieval castles, wide-open spaces, protected natural sites and typical Limousin villages, this département has a lot to offer.

Are you taking a road trip through the Massif Central as a natural stopover on your way to the South of France or the Atlantic Ocean? Admittedly, it’s not the Cévennes National Park, Corsica or the Vercors. But here’s a guide to traveling in the Creuse by motorhome, with the advantage of exploring a destination shunned by visitors, yet endowed with a remarkable historical and cultural heritage.

Route ideas in the Creuse by motorhome

The Creuse département stretches between Corrèze, Haute-Vienne, Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cher andIndre. The second least populated département in France, it is a predominantly rural destination.

Part of the area lies within the Millevaches en Limousin regional nature park, bordered by lakes and vast forests. Not sure where to go when you visit the Creuse by motorhome? Here’s a map of itineraries to do in the Creuse, over a weekend or a week.

A weekend in the Creuse by motorhome

Visiter la Creuse en camping-car sur un weekend

Photo credit: Wikipedia – BiacheB

There are several possible starting points for a motorhome trip to the Creuse, giving you a good overview of the destination. For example, you can rent your motorhome in Clermont-Ferrand and head north-west to explore the Châteaux of the Loire. Or set off from Limoges, for example, and explore the Massif Central via the Creuse.

  • Day 1: Limoges, La Souterraine, Guéret (95km, 1h10) ;
  • Day 2: Aubusson, Felletin, Lac de Vassivière (100km, 1h40);
  • Day 3: Bourganeuf, Bénévent-l’Abbaye, Crozant (90km, 1h30).

This looping route from Limoges to the west of the Creuse provides a comprehensive overview of the department. It passes through towns, typical Limousin villages and vast wilderness areas.

These stages will logically vary according to your desires. For example, visiting the cities (Limoges, Guéret, Montluçon, Clermont-Ferrand), or on the contrary, scouring the small rural villages of the Creuse.

A week in the Creuse by motorhome

La Creuse en camping-car sur une semaine

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alexandre Valade

Here are a few ideas of where to go in seven days, starting from Clermont-Ferrand:

  • Day 1: Clermont-Ferrand, Boudes (the Auvergne Colorado and the Valley of the Saints) (50km, 40 minutes);
  • Day 2: Cliersou caves, Panorama du Méandre de Queuille (100km, 2h);
  • Day 3: Crocq, Le Monteil-au-Vicomte castle (100km, 1h45) ;
  • Day 4: Old fortress of Crozant, Rochers de la Fileuse (Indre side) (75km, 1h10);
  • Day 5: Crozant, Augerolles waterfalls (72km, 1h10);
  • Day 6: Les Trois Cornes, Creuse gorges, Le Bourg-d’Hem (25km, 45 minutes);
  • Day 7: Gouzon, Montluçon (80km, 1h10).

This itinerary involves driving many kilometers through the Creuse in a motorhome, as well as in neighboring departments. Visiting the Creuse’s remarkable sites and monuments can mean staying longer or longer in one place, depending on your mood. Several days in the Creuse gorges, for example, or at Lac de Vassivière.

On the other hand, you could choose to leave the department to visit nearby must-see sites: Oradour-sur-Glane (110km from Guéret), the Pans de Travassac (150km from Guéret) or Mont-Dore and the Puy de Sancy (150km from Guéret).

What’s the right budget for motorhome travel in the Creuse?


Photo credit: Flickr – Tourisme Creuse

Taking a vacation always comes at a cost, even if traveling by motorhome means saving money, in theory, on hotels. To prepare for your trip to south-central France, you’ll need to anticipate the cost of motorhome rental and fuel expenses.

Here’s an average budget for a stay in the Creuse by motorhome, calculated over three or seven days. We mean the average price of motorhome rental, departing from Clermont-Ferrand.

Average budget for 1 weekend :

  • Motorhome rental + insurance: €103 per day on average, i.e. €309 ;
  • Fuel: 30€ ;
  • Parking: up to €10 per day;
  • Total: approx. 370€.

Average budget for 1 week :

  • Motorhome rental + insurance: €103 per day on average, i.e. €721 ;
  • Fuel: 50€ ;
  • Parking: up to €10 per day;
  • Total: about €840.

This estimate takes into account a total of €10 of parking per day. It is impossible to calculate the exact cost of parking. Parking prices depend on the municipalities or private companies that own and manage them.

10€ per day is therefore a very broad flat rate, since Creuse has many rural areas where parking is free. Conversely, the daily price of parking in a commune can exceed €10.

RV parks and driving in Creuse

Aires et conduite Creuse

Photo credit: Caramaps

You’ll certainly need to find out about traffic conditions in the Massif Central before you leave. Here’s what you need to know about driving in the Creuse by motorhome.

What documents should I carry?

  • Driving license (B) if the motorhome’s GVW does not exceed 3.5 tonnes;
  • Motorhome registration ;
  • Motorhome insurance certificate ;
  • The rental agreement signed by both parties;
  • A copy of the departure inventory of fixtures.

Freeway tolls in the Creuse: what price for your category of motorhome?

The Creuse is not crossed by a single freeway. And yes, the département lies in what geographers call « the diagonal of emptiness »! So you won’t have to pay any freeway tolls to travel the Creuse by motorhome.

Yet the department is surrounded by several stretches of motorway: the A71 (the Arverne), the A20 (the Occitane) and the A89 (the Transeuropean). The A71 links Orléans to Clermont-Ferrand, providing a gateway to Creuse from the town of Montluçon. The A89 divides France in two, linking Bordeaux to Lyon and passing to the south of Creuse. Finally, the A20, one of France’s sunshine freeways (along with the A7 and A75), links Vierzon to Montauban via Limoges. It’s a major route between Paris and Toulouse. From the north or south, you can use it to reach La Souterraine and Guéret.

Here are some ideas of the prices to be paid for motorhomes (class 2) on these freeways :

  • Paris-Guéret (A10, A20): €30.10,
  • Orléans-Guéret (A20): €9.20,
  • Toulouse-Guéret (A20): €26.10,
  • Clermont-Ferrand-Guéret (A71): €15.10,
  • Lyon-Guéret (A89, A71): €40.30.

Crossing France by motorhome to come to Creuse is therefore quite expensive on the freeway: on average, around €0.12 per kilometer travelled at the toll booth!

Further information about driving in Creuse

The Creuse has a road network of just 11,252 kilometers, with 4,395 kilometers of departmental roads. The majority of the road network is made up of small communal roads (6,764 kilometers, or 60%). We therefore recommend that you drive with caution on the smaller roads of the secondary network: crossings can sometimes be difficult in a motorhome.

This is all the more true given that the south of the département has a fairly pronounced relief: average altitudes range from 200 to 900 meters, particularly on the Millevaches plateau (highest point, at Mont Bessou, 976 meters above sea level).

Creuse is also frequently covered in a thick blanket of white snow. The department’s topography means that the snow stays on the ground, and sometimes falls heavily on higher ground. Take care when driving in winter, and equip yourself with snow tires or snow chains.

RV parks in the Creuse: where to park?

Are you looking for a place to park for the night or to visit a village in Creuse by motorhome? Finding places to sleep or settle down can quickly become a nightmare when you’re on the road.

Wild camping is strictly forbidden, especially in the Millevaches Regional Nature Park. But since nature is vast enough, you can always try to defy the law by setting up in isolated spots. Just make sure you stay out of sight and away from dwellings. The Park4night app can help you find where to park your motorhome in Creuse.

However, if you prefer to stay in comfort and in the proper way, you’d be better off visiting the motorhome service areas. Use the interactive map on the Caramaps platform to see where to go. You’ll notice that there are more service areas in the north of the département than in the south.

To the south lies the Millevaches plateau, protected as a nature park. Logically, there are fewer towns and therefore fewer service areas. But you’ll easily find them in the must-see towns and villages of the Creuse: Guéret, Bénévent-l’Abbaye, Bourganeuf, Aubusson, etc.

The good news is that most of the motorhome service areas listed on the platform are virtually free of charge. You’ll often have to pay extra foraccess to water orelectricity. But you’ll be able to benefit fromgood-quality infrastructure and services, such as waste water emptying, a flat parking area where you can sleep, and sanitary facilities.

Sometimes you’ll have access to Wi-Fi, or a children’s playground, and overall, the service areas are rated pretty highly by the community of travelers who have posted on Caramaps.

How and where to rent a motorhome in France?

Today, it’s very easy to rent these vehicles between private individuals in France. So there’s no need to own your own vehicle before you arrive in the Creuse. Numerous online platforms, such as Yescapa, make this type of rental possible.

How does it work?

  • First, you need to choose the motorhome in your city (e.g. Bordeaux, Nantes, Toulouse, Paris, Montpellier or Marseille).
  • Make sure you choose unlimited mileage, check the number of berths available and whether international travel is possible.
  • Make your rental request online and share your travel information (dates, rental options, mileage, etc.) with the owner.
  • If your request is accepted and after payment, you will have access to the owner’s contact details to arrange a first meeting.
  • On the day, present your driver’s license and pay the deposit.
  • An inventory of fixtures is drawn up and a rental contract signed by both parties. All you have to do is sign it when you return from Creuse to settle everything.

When is the best time to travel by motorhome in the Creuse?

Vallée de la Creuse

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Floppy36

Creuse has an oceanic climate, marked by heavy rainfall from the Atlantic seaboard. The Millevaches plateau to the south, however, brings a number of climatic influences. What’s more, Creuse straddles the border between the Loire basin and the Massif Central plateau.

Temperatures drop as altitude increases. Average maximum values range from 10°C in December-January to 28°C in July-August. Winter in the Creuse can be harsh in the upper part of the département: frosts are frequent and snow sticks to the ground and can fall in abundance.

In addition, the climate is very wet throughout spring: although average maximum temperatures gradually rise after a long, cold winter, it’s not until May that the weather turns favorable.

In June, average highs reach 21°C, rising to 25°C in August. Summer is therefore the best season to travel in the Creuse by motorhome.

September sees the arrival of « Indian summer », with Canadian colors and the return of cool weather in early October. The weather remains favorable until mid-October, before deteriorating sharply and the cold returns in November.