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Informations about bivouac

All about the bivouac in the Combrailles

In search of autonomy and adventure, for the amateurs of excursions or activities in full nature the bivouac is the ideal, however it is necessary to respect some rules for the well-being of all and of nature.

What is the bivouac? Regulation? Where to bivouac concretely? 5 little tips.

Source :
The bivouac is a temporary camp in a place with little or no landscaping, generally practiced in the countryside by people doing outdoor activities (hiking, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, etc.) over several days. A bivouac takes place from sunset to sunrise, a single night in the same place and with a light and summary camp (tent or not).
Wild camping is often practiced in a place with little or no landscaping, a little closer to civilization, by people having a vehicle and staying several nights in the same place.

Regulations on bivouacs and wild camping in France

Bivouacs and wild camping in France are allowed wherever they are not prohibited.
Awesome ? No, not that much because there are a lot of forbidden places. There seems to be no distinction at this level of legislation between bivouac and wild camping. Good news for hikers however, bivouacing is often tolerated or permitted in national parks and regional natural parks - under certain conditions.

General regulations

Here are the regulations that are applied throughout France.

Public places

It is forbidden to camp in the following public places:
  • Forests, woods and parks classified as "wooded areas to be conserved".
  • Roads and paths.
  • Seaside.
  • Less than 200 m from a drinking water collection point.
  • Sites classified in "natural heritage and site protection zones".
  • Less than 500 m from a monument classified as "historical".
Prefectures or municipalities may also ban public places temporarily or permanently. These prohibitions are generally displayed in town halls or indicated by signs near prohibited areas.

Private places


It is obviously forbidden to camp in a private place without authorization. The rules stated above for public places are also valid for private places.


How to know concretely where it is possible to bivouac or camp legally?

The easiest way is to ask the permission of the owners of private land or to check with the town halls to know the authorized places.
Here are 5 tips recommended by Trek Magazine for a successful bivouac:
1. Take the essential equipment (tent, mattress, sleeping bag, stove, headlamp, multifunction knife and why not water filter / tablets).

2. Choose your bivouac site: bivouac authorizations depend on the legislation in force on the chosen area. It is not allowed to bivouac wherever we want. If this is a private domain, permission from the owners of the premises is required. For the rest, it suffices to comply with the regulations in force ... and pay any taxes. And even in the event of authorization, it will be necessary to comply with certain rules (regulatory distance from roads or trails, authorized or unauthorized traffic light, etc.). Do not pitch your tent near a refuge, except with the permission of the warden.
3. Set up your tent well (Do not wait until night falls to set up the bivouac).

4. Make a fire (If the regulations in force allow it).

5. Do not leave traces (Bring back your waste and rubbish, do not disturb the flora and fauna, etc.).