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

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