The Loiret by motorhome: tips, areas, itineraries

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How to visit the Loiret in a motorhome or van? GV tells you how to discover the department!

Would you like to visit the Loiret region in a motorhome, van or camper van? Just an hour from Paris, the Loiret is a key stop-off point on your vacation route. Most visitors would rather go to Paris, the Auvergne, Brittany or the South of France.

Yet the Loiret has a wealth of historic monuments and natural regions to visit: the Loire Valley, Gâtinais, Orléanais, Berry and Sologne. The Loiret is mainly visited for Orléans, the Loire castles and the Orléans forest. The Loiret also attracts visitors for its remarkable historical and cultural heritage. In 2015, nearly 818,000 visitors came to visit department number 45.

By motorhome, you’ll have the opportunity to explore an area often overlooked by tourist guides. Here’s our mini-guide to visiting the Loiret region by motorhome, van or camper van.

Route ideas in the Loiret by motorhome

Loire Orléans

Photo credit: Shutterstock – RossHelen

The Loiret département covers 6,775 km², an area equivalent to that of Île-et-Vilaine or Drôme. So you won’t be able to visit it all in a weekend: you’ll need several weeks to get the most out of your motorhome tour of Loiret, its towns, historic sites and monuments. Restrict your itineraries if your motorhome touring trip is of short duration.

Conversely, it’s by staying longer that you can really explore the Loiret’s riches. From the north, the gateway to the Loiret is via Essonne and Seine-et-Marne, through the Gâtinais Français nature park. From the south, you’ll arrive in the Loiret via the Châteaux de la Loire, the vast plains of the Cher, the Auvergne or Burgundy.

Not sure where to go to visit the Loiret region in your motorhome? Here are a few ideas for must-see stops:

  • Loiret in 5 to 7 days: Orléans, Orléans forest (Caillettes lookout, GR3 and GR32 hiking trails, Ravoir observatory), Pithiviers (André Eve’s Secret Garden), the Rose Route, Yèvre-le-Châtel (medieval village), Montargis ;
  • Visit the Loiret in a motorhome in 15 days: same stages, plus Artenay, Beaugency, Ferrières-en-Gâtinais, Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, Gien, Briare (the old lateral canal to the Loire, Trousse-Bois nature park), Chenevières amphitheater (Montbouy), Sceaux-du-Gâtinais, Dordives (Château de Mez le Maréchal), N7 from Dordives to Briare;
  • Visit the Loiret in one month: same stages, plus Chamerolles castle, Grignon, Malesherbes, Îles de Bonny (Bonny-sur-Loire), Grand’Rue pond (Breteau), Châlette lake, Grand Rozeau (Chalette-Sur-Loing).

Still have some time left on your vacation? Now’s the time to get out of the département and visit some of the must-see sites in the Centre-Val-de-Loire or Bourgogne-Franche-Comté regions. For example, the Château de Guédelon, a medieval construction site built using the techniques of the time (since 1997).

To the south, the Morvan nature park, Bourges and the Auvergne volcanoes. To the west, visit the Châteaux of the Loire(Chenonceaux, Chambord, Cheverny, Saumur, Blois, Angers, etc.) and the Atlantic coast! The Loiret offers a very central location for touring the whole of France.

Rent a motorhome for the Loiret

Driving a motorhome in the Loiret: traffic rules you need to know

Château de Chenonceau

The Loiret road network is well meshed, and roads are of good quality. The length of the département’s roads is 11,440 kilometers, with 266 kilometers of freeways, 3,638 kilometers of departmental roads and 7,536 kilometers of communal roads.

Take care, therefore, when passing other vehicles on small local and departmental roads. The lanes can be narrow at times. We advise you to keep to the right. Always bear in mind that the motorhome’s size is imposing. Given the dimensions of your vehicle, take into account the center of gravity when cornering. Take the bends more gently than you would with a sedan.

Also, because of the weight, you need to pay attention to the longer braking distance, and adapt your speed to different situations. Remember, too, that motorhomes are sensitive to wind because of their height: take this into account when overtaking, passing under bridges or in traffic circles.

Here’s an advantage for motorhome driving in the Loiret: the département’s terrain is very flat. In theory, you’ll have no trouble getting around on the roads. The small departmental roads in the countryside, forests and plains are sometimes narrow. For a civil and courteous driving style, try to park on the side of the road to let other oncoming vehicles pass.

Likewise, it’s best to park a little to the right to let cars pass you: the long straights and flat terrain invite some motorists and bikers to drive as if on a racetrack.

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

Orléans

Photo credit: Alexander Demyanenko

The department is crossed by the sunshine freeways, notably theA10 andA71. Other motorway routes are theA19 andA77. The A19 links the A5 to the A10 between Sens and Artenay. The A10, known as the « Aquitaine » freeway, links Paris to Bordeaux. The A71 links Orléans to Clermont-Ferrand, and the A77 connects to the Nièvre and Seine-et-Marne regions between Poligny and Nevers.

Unfortunately, these freeways are privately managed under an affermage contract. This means that freeways in the Loiret region have to be paid for. If you’re travelling in a camper van, you’ll have to pay the class 2 rate, while if you’re visiting the Loiret in a van, you’ll have to pay the class 1 rate.

Here are some indicative prices for certain sections of the department:

  • Visit the Loiret by motorhome :
    • Paris-Orléans: €16. 50 ;
    • Paris-Vierzon: €30.10;
    • Between Paris and Montargis: €13.80;
    • Nantes-Orléans: €49.20;
    • Nevers-Orléans: €5.10;
    • Clermont-Ferrand-Orléans: €41.70.
  • The Loiret in a van :
    • Paris-Orléans: €10.90;
    • Paris-Vierzon: €19.80;
    • Between Paris and Montargis: €8.70;
    • Nantes-Orléans: €32. 70 ;
    • Nevers-Orléans : 7,10€;
    • Clermont-Ferrand-Orléans: €27.20.

    There are considerable price differences between the two types of vehicle. Crossing and visiting the Loiret by freeway in a motorhome can be expensive if you’re coming from far away.

    How and where to rent a motorhome in France?

    Would you like to visit the Loiret region by motorhome, but don’t have your own vehicle? It’s now very easy to rent these vehicles between private individuals, especially in France. 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 is signed by both parties. You’ll need to sign it as soon as you return from the 45, and once you’ve done that, that’s it!

    Rent a motorhome in France

    RV parks in the Loiret: where to park?

    Motorhome parking is often a thorny issue, especially in the run-up to the summer vacations. In urban areas (Orléans, Montargis), parking can be a real mission. Orléans, the department’s prefecture, has a population of over 115,000. In a city center with streetcars, it’s hard to squeeze into the streets in a motorhome!

    You’ll certainly have to use the motorhome service areas. But this constraint, linked to the size of your vehicle, will in fact be a freedom: you’ll be able to explore Orléans city center freely on foot! For parking in other towns, the white and blue lines are yours, just as they are for cars.

    Looking for parking in rural areas? In fact, that’s the whole point of an itinerant trip in Central France: to be able to sleep in the motorhome, peacefully and without having to check hotel availability! Always ensure that parking does not obstruct the visibility of road signs or traffic.

    If you sleep in your motorhome, the law considers that taking out your camping equipment (tables, camping chairs, chocks, etc.) is illegal camping. You risk a fine in the event of an inspection. When camping in a motorhome, it’s best to stay at motorhome service areas and campsites. For bivouacs in public spaces, a converted van is more discreet and less conspicuous.

    What’s more, you can search for your best sleeping spots on the Park4night app. This tool has established itself as the benchmark for wild camping: you’ll find parking lots, service areas, isolated spots and campsites. A system of feedback from the community of travelers gives you an idea of each spot before you go.

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

    Château de Chambord

    Photo credit: Shutterstock – gumbao

    What are the weather conditions for your vacation? The best time to visit the Loiret by motorhome is from late May, or even June , to September. The climate in the Loiret is temperate, of the degraded oceanic type. This means mild, rainy winters and cool, wet summers. This climatic character only applies to the averages: due to the remoteness of the region from the sea, winters can bring heavy morning frosts, and heat waves can be very hot.

    Paradoxically, due to the lack of relief and the humid oceanic climate, snow is rather rare in the Loiret. In Orléans, temperatures can drop to -10°C during winter cold snaps. In summer, temperatures often exceed 30°C. There are also increasingly frequent peaks above 35°C.

    Over the year, average maximum temperatures fluctuate between 6°C and 10°C in winter, and between 21.6°C and 24°C between June and August. Rainfall remains regular, averaging 53 mm per month and 637 mm per year. The driest months are April, June and August, with 45 and 47 mm on average. Rainfall is similar to that recorded in Paris.

    Note that nights can be cool even during the summer season: minimum temperatures can drop to 12°C in July and August.

    Rent a motorhome for the Loiret