The motorhome, big winner of the health crisis

The motorhome, big winner of the health crisis

A guarantee of security and a promise of freedom, converted vans and trucks have seen their price explode with deconfinement

Illustration of a camper van parked near a beach in Brittany.

© Superstock / SIPA
Illustration of a camper van parked near a beach in Brittany.

TOURISM – A pledge of security and a promise of freedom, converted vans and trucks have seen their price explode with deconfinement A charming Combi Volkswagen wearing a surfboard. A comfortable white motorhome with two folding chairs, on which two gray heads are lounging with crosswords. Two images for one and the same tourism. In France, as in most European countries, roaming has become an increasingly popular form of vacation. The health crisis has further accelerated this trend. The fear of being contaminated or reconfigured gave the French people the desire to get away from it all, who flocked to the converted vans and motorhomes this summer. As the All Saints’ Day holidays arrive, the trend seems to be confirmed, still carried by the fear of Covid-19.

Often seen as the favorite toy of well-off retirees, the motorhome has given itself a makeover over the course of this strange year. “With deconfinement, the requests exploded, it was crazy, so unpredictable”, recognizes Benoit Panel. The founder of Yescapa has had a busy summer. Her reservation platform between individuals, a sort of motorhome Airbnb, has sorely lacked offers to cope with the explosion in demand. “In June, we recorded twice as many requests in one month than in the first three years combined”. Eight out of ten clients were novices. “The motorhome is seen as a moving house. People feel protected. The old-fashioned image fades. It is seen more as a tool of freedom that allows you to go where you want, ”continues Benoit Panel.

Maëlle can confirm it. From the top of her 36 years, this inhabitant of the south of Nantes traveled through France with a motorhome this summer. A first for this young mother, who has already traveled in a converted van across the vast Australia. “We hesitated a bit. My partner told me that it was an old man’s vacation. But with a child, we could not see ourselves leaving in a van ”. After two weeks of traveling holidays between Bordeaux, the Lot and the Corbières massif, the young woman says it clearly. She loved it, her daughter and her partner too. “It’s a feeling of freedom. And then, we found it reassuring to be between us, not to have to use common areas. It was reassuring in the health context ”.

Brittany at the top of All Saints’ Day destinations

Like Maëlle, many French people rented a house on wheels. In this game, it is the most touristic regions such as Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Nouvelle-Aquitaine which have attracted the greatest number of motorhomes. But for All Saints’ Day, it’s Brittany which wins, according to trends provided by the company Camping-Car Park. “Brittany is a magical theater which offers a great diversity of landscapes in a small territory. It’s easily accessible and all four lanes are free. It’s not surprising that it attracts, ”says Laurent Morice, founder of this company offering paid areas.

If its system harms a little the image of freedom of the motorhome, it responds on the other hand to a need to supervise the practice. With more than 500,000 vehicles in circulation in France, a figure which is constantly increasing, several very tourist towns have declared war on large tourist vehicles. “Creating areas allows municipalities to attract tourists who have not come to their homes. These are visitors who overwhelm the local riches. They help maintain businesses, ”assures Laurent Morice.

Freedom is priceless

Roaming offers another major advantage to the territories: it is practiced all year round. “Motorhomes, I see more and more on the roads. But above all, I see them all year round, ”testifies Pascal, Rennais, who has been traveling like this for eighteen years. “Before, in winter, there were two or three of us on the areas. Now there is all the time in the world ”. This summer this seasoned traveler met a lot of “newbies”. “Often, they told me that they were rediscovering their region and that it made them want to come back for the weekends”. He changes his vehicle every two years, in order to be always at the top of modernity. His last motorhome cost him 64,000 euros. “It’s an investment at the start but we only pay 10 euros per night”. With his wife and son, he leaves the Breton capital every two weeks for trips to the West. ” It’s freedom “. And that is priceless.


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