Fancy a traveling holiday? To stop whenever you want? To have nothing to book? The flexibility offered by converted vehicles is attracting more and more people. Since the confinements, sales and rentals have exploded. Some even choose to live year-round in their vans. Meetings and testimonials on the occasion of the 2nd “Breizh Vanlife Festival” in Saint-Malo.
Small, high, elongated… On the heights of Saint-Malo, there were vans and trucks of all colors, all shapes and for all tastes this weekend.
For the 2nd edition of the “Breizh Vanlife Festival”, many converted vehicles have taken up residence – temporarily – in the campsite in the city of Aleth, not far from the Solidor tower in Saint-Malo.
At the wheel: convinced, not to say “fanatics”, like Solène, owner of a van for two or three years already. “I am someone who gets tired very quickly, she says.Whether it’s Paris, Nantes or elsewhere, there is always a certain moment when I saturate, so I have found a way of life that suits me rather well.”
With her “rolling house”, the young woman, who dreamed of going to Australia, found a compromise in the van: she moves when the heart tells her. The comfort in its small interior is minimal but it is enough for it.
Some rent vans for a few days, for a weekend or for holidays. Others buy, sometimes then resell.
Although it has existed for several decades, the converted vehicle market has exploded in recent years. “It is enormous, confirms Philippe Binther, sales representative for Glenan Concept Cars. We are not going to complain about it, but the clientele has moved closer to the leisure vehicle, among others the van, to have more freedom in relation to its height.
Unlike motorhomes, some vans do not exceed two meters in height. Few are able to stand up in it, but the advantage is elsewhere. “Be less than two meters high, it allows you to pass under the bars in many car parks, we go to town.
Arguments that have weighed a lot after months of confinement. The proof in numbers. In France, a third of current van owners bought their vehicle in 2020, the year of the first confinement.
“There was clearly an effect, a reflection of the style, ‘I don’t want to stay at home anymore, I want to see things, I want to enjoy this’. We had a certain deprivation of freedom, and therefore the counterpart, it is to go on the roads because we see things at the minute.
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More than a mode of transport, the converted vehicle has become everyday life for some. This is particularly the case of Loïc and Vincianne who have chosen a nomadic life. “There’s a proverb that goes: ‘if the world you live in doesn’t suit you, it’s up to you to create a new one!’ That’s kind of what we do” says Vincianne.
Not 100% convinced by their life before, the caregiver, the former construction worker and their two children took to the road three years ago. The adults quit. Today they are both youtubeurs, naturopath and school teacher of their children who learn by riding. “When traveling, we are always discovering new mores, new landscapes, new customs, complete Loïc Hugues de Lovicar tribe. It’s a lot of adventure actually!”
To live like this, more or less long in a vehicle, it is better that it is at least fitted out. Some take care of it themselves, like Benoît, who has rolled up his sleeves.
READ : Saint Brieuc. Kits to fit out your van in complete freedom
Cap aimed on the head, the young man acquired his van in 2020. “A stroke of luck, just after the Covid, he says. My brother already had one, I really liked it. When I found one on LeBonCoin, I took the opportunity and prepared everything in my own way so that I could then live in it.”
(With Anaïs Guérard)