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France - Wild Camping and Aires?

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Old 08-11-2007, 09:34   #1 (permalink)
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Smile France - Wild Camping and Aires?

Can anyone please give us some advice re wild camping and aires in France. We have just bought a motorhome and hope to spend the spring in France and all points south!.

We have heard some conflicting information about Aires, some people think they are great whilst others wont use them, and we are unsure what to do.

Also, what is the best/cheapest/most flexible way of crossing the channel? We want to specify the day we leave, but come back when we feel like it - ie 2 or 3 months later. Has anyone any information on which ferry company would be the most flexible, or do we have to book two separate tickets.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Ginny and Mike
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:10   #2 (permalink)
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Default Aires in France

I would suggest you get "All the Aires" it's the only aires guide in English. That will give you the info you need on the subject.

http://www.vicarious-shop.co.uk/view...sc_id=&p_id=39

I can't help with the ferries as we live in East Yorks and use P & O North Sea Ferries.

Safe travelling

Don
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Old 08-11-2007, 13:28   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Teasy, looking just a little while ago it was SeaFrance who were coming out best (cheapest) and with them you can specify different ticket types for each leg of your journey, So if you are sure what date you are leaving then buy the cheapest ticket, but if you want to be able to adjust your return then buy the "Freedom" ticket just for the return, that way you can change your mind as often as you like with no charge.
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Old 08-11-2007, 17:11   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Teasy
We have only been twice ,both this year but have used a few aires,dont use the motorway aires there are plenty in the villages,as Don says get yourself an aires book ,we went for a week in sept to the Champagne region and used the vicarious book alongside a french book and stopped on aires every night all free and one in Joinville on the canal with free electric
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Old 08-11-2007, 17:13   #5 (permalink)
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Default France - Are Aires safe?

Thanks for that information Jim, I will look at See France first.

Don and Madge, we bought the All the Aires book at the York show, but am still a bit concerned because we heard that the Aires were 'not safe' and one couple went into graffic detail of how they were robbed! That's why I wondered what experiences any other motorhomers out there had, just to give us a clearer idea of what we might be getting into.
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Old 08-11-2007, 21:24   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Madge View Post
I would suggest you get "All the Aires" it's the only aires guide in English. That will give you the info you need on the subject.

http://www.vicarious-shop.co.uk/view...sc_id=&p_id=39

I can't help with the ferries as we live in East Yorks and use P & O North Sea Ferries.

Safe travelling

Don

Sorry Don
I have to disagree with you. I looked at the Vicarious book this year. I was not very impressed with it, fortunately, I didn't buy it.
The only thing in its favour is that it is in English. It is very bad on locating Aires: There was one place we were in that has 5, yes 5! Aires and Vicarious only showed 1 and that one was in the process of being run down.

The best thing I have seen for Aires is this CD
http://www.campingcar-infos.com/index1.htm
They do take PayPal and the new 2008 version is out in the middle of this month. It also has down-loadable pushpins for TomTom and Microsoft Autoroute.

Failing that, there is this website - Eurocampingcars
http://eurocampingcar.com/index2.php3?lg=uk&cat_id=0
Again, this is a bit sparse on detail and there a few Aires missing.

I wouldn't use Motorway Aires at all. I think that most if not all, seasoned travellers would say the same.

Have a great holiday! I managed 3 weeks at a cost of 500 including fuel so that may give you an idea of what can be achieved.
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Old 08-11-2007, 21:27   #7 (permalink)
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Hi we have stayed in m/way aires and the village ones, never had any trouble. On the m/way we normally only stay at the ones with service stations, the general advice from other posters is don't stay in any m/way ones near Lyon or the spanish border. The village ones never seem to have any trouble.

We stayed at the Gace aire this year and apart from some local wildlife making a row on their scooters till about midnight it was fine. Woke up in the morning to the smell of bread, boulangerie just behind. yummy

Also wild camped overnight at St Jean de Luz in a car park along with some others, again no problems. don't get put of, thousands of motorhomers stay in aires and a very small percentage have any trouble. Don't know where you keep you m/h but how safe is it? Probably not as safe as it would be with you in it, on a French aire.

Olley

PS we did use "All the Aires" along with campinginfos and another couple.

Last edited by olley; 08-11-2007 at 21:30.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:02   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teasy2007 View Post
Thanks for that information Jim, I will look at See France first.

Don and Madge, we bought the All the Aires book at the York show, but am still a bit concerned because we heard that the Aires were 'not safe' and one couple went into graffic detail of how they were robbed! That's why I wondered what experiences any other motorhomers out there had, just to give us a clearer idea of what we might be getting into.

Hi Teasy,

I've been travelling on mainland Europe for 55 years and never had a problem. The UK motorhoming fraternity thrives on rumour and speculation. Yes a few people have been robbed but thousands haven't.

Personally I don't use motorway aires (service stations) in France simply because there are plenty of other aires in the towns/villages just of the motorway and I'm a very light sleeper.

A few years ago we free camped along the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, had a fantastic time. If I'd listen to all the rumours we would not have gone. Felt far safer there than we ever did on the Costa's in Spain.

Once you have travelled around a bit you get a "feel" for a place, it's like this country, there's many place where you would not park your van just by the feel alone. It comes with experience.

Go for it, use your aires guide, try out the smaller towns/villages first and once you feel more confident broaden your horizons.

France is a great place to tour, the scenery is so varied and the "D" are a real pleasure to meander along.

Safe travelling

Don
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