Les règles du bivouac en France

Camping Sauvage and bivouac in France
How to know ?

Bivouacking is the favourite activity of long-distance hikers. Synonymous with freedom, no need to book refuges, however, to fully enjoy this activity, a little knowledge of the rules of bivouac in France is required.

Difference between bivouac and wilderness camping

Although bivouac is obviously a wilderness activity, there is a big legal difference with the practice called wild camping. 

Bivouac is allowed wherever it is not prohibited. Wild camping is forbidden everywhere it is not! 

It's hard to know where to start, isn't it? 

Bivouac is a temporary camp in an undeveloped area. It is generally practiced while roaming, over several days, in the middle of nature and in a remote area. 

The regulations specify that only one night in the same place is allowed, that the camp must be of minimum size and that this activity must be practised from sunset to sunrise. 

Wilderness camping is generally practised closer to civilisation, often accessible from the road by people with a vehicle and staying several nights in the same place

Where is bivouac allowed?

If there was a universal answer to this question we would have spent less time writing this article and more time camping :) 

Public places 

It is forbidden to bivouac in the following public places 

    In a municipal park 

    Less than 200 m from a drinking water catchment area. 

    Forests, woods and parks classified as "wooded areas to be preserved". Roads and paths. 

Private places 

If shyness is not a problem for you, you can ask the owners of private land directly. 

A farm, a field, a piece of garden, or even a real bed! People can be more generous to each other than we sometimes think. 

The most important thing is of course to ask for permission before settling down. 

The nature and site heritage protection zones. 

There are 16 protected areas in France (biosphere reserve, Nature 2000, Unesco, ecological interest reserve, etc.). 

These areas are part of the places where the fauna, flora or heritage is in danger or to be preserved. 

These areas are obviously forbidden to bivouac. 

Regional and National Parks 

Finally some good news, the parks are the places where nature is at its best and they are also your best chance to find a safe haven for the night. 

Each of these parks is independent and has its own set of rules that the hiker should be aware of before setting out on an adventure. You will find details of the regulations for each of the parks on this site


Hexatrek - The French thru hiking trail

United States has the Pacific Crest Trail, New Zealand has the Te Araroa, it was time to give France a trail that would hike all the beauty and diversity of its landscapes! A team of true enthusiasts are launching the HexaTrek in 2022: 3,000 km of trails through the mountains!


Gas re-supply strategy on the hexatrek

Even if there are petrol or wood burning systems, the majority of hikers use gas stoves for their multi-day hikes. Estimating the amount of fuel needed for a long hike is not always easy and finding the right cartridge for your burner in France can sometimes be murderous!


Cerces Massif

Less well known than its closest neighbours, the Vanoise and the Ecrins, this massif is nevertheless one of the must-sees on the HexaTrek.
The Mont Thabor or the Lac des Cerces are simply sublime and offer an unforgettable experience of nature.


Mont-Blanc Massif

This region, even if it has never had a "Natural Park" label, is one of the most beautiful in France (according to the Savoyards). The Mont Blanc massif is a must-see, the Aiguille du Midi and the surrounding glaciers are a must-see.
Sixt-Fer-A-Cheval with its thousands of waterfalls is also on the route.


Ballon Vosges Regional Park

Also known as the High Vosges, this region is full of emblematic peaks such as the Honeck or the Grand Ballon. Lakes with crystal-clear waters, such as those of Lac Blanc or Schiessrothried, will guide you and villages with typical Alsatian colours, such as Riquewihr, will give you a warm welcome.


Voir plus