It is a type of vacation that is popular in the summer of 2021: rent a campervan and set off on the roads of France at your own pace. Between January and May, the peer-to-peer rental site Wikicampers recorded an increase in requests of 110% compared to the previous year. For the month of July, this increase is 39%. At the wheel of these sometimes vintage vehicles, many vacationers who wish to escape the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions.
In the Perche, between Eure and Orne, Bruno Verscheure explains to Garance and Guillaume the main functions of their comfortable van. “You have a little electrical panel here and each button activates something,” he says. “Right next to it you have two USB sockets so you can charge your phones.” In total, it offers a hundred models, from vintage Volkswagen combis to more modern vans.
>> Motorhomes and converted vans are attracting more and more French people: “We have seen a new clientele arrive”
The two students from the Paris region are impressed by the equipment: storage, kitchenware, water heater and sunroof. “This is the first time that we go together in a van”, slips Guillaume. In the program : “We are leaving for six days and the goal would be to go to Honfleur and then follow the coast”, details Garance.
If the two students decided to rent a campervan, it is above all to avoid the various constraints linked to the pandemic. “It’s more comfortable to travel in pairs rather than having all the crowds at the stations”, justifies Guillaume. In a converted van, “no need to put on a mask”. They made the choice of serenity.
“We need to be less careful when we are both in a van rather than when we are in a station or on a train with a lot of other people around.”Guillaume, rental of a converted van
For a year, this aspect “sanitary bubble” appeals to holidaymakers in need of freedom because of the various confinements. “People mostly want to flee mass campsites and big cities”, says Bruno Verscheure. He also judges that the dynamics of Covid-19 on the Atlantic coast are leading some tourists to change their habits. “Many people go to the Massif Central, to the mountains, to Normandy or to Brittany”, he testifies.
The difficulties in traveling abroad since the start of the pandemic have encouraged many holidaymakers to stay in France, which constitutes an opportunity for territories such as Perche. “I have set up with the Eure department three or four circuits with stages. It’s a bit like a ‘road book'”, says Bruno Verscheure, half of whose park is rented, the rest to follow for last minute rentals. According to him, the territory offers “circuits, things to visit” on “roads that lend themselves” to a campervan vacation. This taste for freedom has a price, however, on the rise at the moment: count up to 70,000 euros for the new model.
The combi vans boom: report by Céline Autin