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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My partner and I have been going round in circles as to the best way for us to live a 2 centre lifestyle in France.

Summers by the sea and winters in the mountains.

With property rentals you're generally looking at being tied into a 3 year contract - not enabling this lifestyle.

That is until we decided that perhaps we buy a mobile home on a nice campsite by the beach. We have found one, but we're both a little unsure of actually living in one for 7 months a year (although whilst travelling around New Zealand a few years back we lived in a tiny campervan for a year, so we know it's doable and the mobile home would be much bigger with 2 bedrooms etc, so not quite the same cramped space. But this time we would be living and working in it - both of us work online).

So my question is to anyone who has or is living in a mobile home on a French campsite for a number of months each year. How is it? What are the pros and cons?

Thanks again in advance - this forum is invaluable to me.
Sarah
 

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We have mobilhomes/chalets on sites in Corsica. I tend to go down there out of the holiday season for 6-8 weeks at a time 'cos I don't like all the grockles & their kids, & with all my animals (12 cats, 2 dogs) we cause less interference with everyone else as well.

My daughter, however, lived in one of them throughout a summer season, and is currently in one of the others for however long she chooses. I think the downside, through the summer, was trying to lead a "normal" life - going to work, etc - while surrounded by transient holidaymakers, but if you can cope with that ....

One thing you might need to investigate if it applies, is that we aren't allowed to have fixed phone lines on either of the sites, so we have to use mobiles and 3G keys for internet access, which don't come cheap in France. The other thing you need to factor in is the expense of the annual charges which can be arbitrarily decided by whatever administration is running the site & you don't have much say, although, on the other hand, you don't have taxe fonciere or taxe d'habitation to pay. You also need to check out how water and electricity are charged - whether individual meters or daily forfaits, and also what you might or might not be allowed to install - on one of our sites we're currently having a dispute about whether we can have a washing machine, for example.

As with all things, you have to do your homework, but bear in mind that a mobilhome is not entirely under your domain and your lifestyle will be subject to other people applying local rules and regs. It's not the same as having your own front door and being able to do pretty much whatever you want behind it.

There are pros and cons. With hindsight, I wouldn't have bought on one of the sites, but would have bought a second chalet on the other - for letting, but perhaps I'm neither as flexible nor as tolerant as some people.

Good luck.

H
 

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Can't add much to hils' contribution other than the fact that I have lived in a caravan for a few summers in the Biarritz area.
One of the many cons is temperature. Even if you have a sheltered pitch it can still get uncomfortably hot, unless you have a swish motorhome with air conditioning but then that gets expensive.

Regarding internet access, a number of campsites are starting to realise that a wifi network is very easy to set up and a nice money maker. Over the last few years I have noticed a large increase in the number of places offering wifi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi H,

Thanks for your response. With regards wifi we're making sure the campsite does have wifi since it's necessary for our work and we don't want to use 3G keys for a number of reasons!

I appreciate we won't 'own' the land, just the mobile home and we're at the mercy of the campground and what they may or may not do. It's actually proving quite tricky to find a campground we're happy with as we absolutely do not want one of the huge kiddy ones with aqua parks and the like!

Thanks again for your insights though - it's all helpful info.

Sarah
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can't add much to hils' contribution other than the fact that I have lived in a caravan for a few summers in the Biarritz area.
One of the many cons is temperature. Even if you have a sheltered pitch it can still get uncomfortably hot, unless you have a swish motorhome with air conditioning but then that gets expensive.

Regarding internet access, a number of campsites are starting to realise that a wifi network is very easy to set up and a nice money maker. Over the last few years I have noticed a large increase in the number of places offering wifi.
Thanks James!

The heat thing was something we were worried about, but were hoping that the pros of campsite living would outweigh that! We're still trying to find somewhere they provides a good wifi coverage and it being unlimited, so for now we're still in limbo trying to find a new abode with limited time left in our winter let!

Something will come up though i'm sure.

Thanks again,
Sarah
 

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OK I just read again. It's not necessarily true that you don't "own" the land. I'll try to explain, but if you have queries, please contact me directly.

On one of our sites, we are leaseholders of the land (99 years) and owners of the chalet/mobilhome with "jouissance" of the whole Camping. The land is owned by an SCI to whom we - the owners - pay nominal rent; the activity of the Camping is owned by an SARL, administered by someone we - the owners - elect to the post, and is managed by an individual or team appointed by and answerable to the administrator. This, for us, has led to a court case because we are in dispute about the autonomous role assumed by the Directrice and by unilateral decisions made by the administrator incurring non-justified costs to the owners. It's further complicated by the administrator and the avocat being Italian, whilst the SCI and the SARL are subject to French law.

On the other site, we are shareholders in perpetuity, or until sale. We own the chalet outright and we have right to occupy a 160m2 plot on the land, which, for the sake of convenience, is demarked and "happens to be" the plot where our chalet is situated. We are stakeholders in development of the site to accept transient holidaymakers - something we have to do to meet the demands of the local Commune - & potentially, eventually, we'll see some kind of return on our shares, and we also have shareholder stake in the "common" ground.

The second site, to be honest, is a better investment because of the way it's set up, and the way it's run is far more "user-friendly".

You really do need to do your homework to avoid pitfalls and ASK THE OBVIOUS. It may be obvious to you, but my advice really is to ask, ask, ask and then get it in writing.

Please do contact me directly if you want to, but, in the meantime "buyer beware".

Hils
 
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