CL,s versus Aires

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Humsafer, May 28, 2016.

  1. Humsafer

    Humsafer Funster

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    At the beginning of 2015 I made the decision to only use Cl,s as the Caravan Club sites were getting too expensive for an OAP on a fixed income. Try booking a site in the New Forest for two weeks in summer, it is like paying for a *** hotel. I was surprised at just what was available, Beautiful idyllic spots, run by very nice people who were a delight to meet. Prices ranged from just £8-00 up to £15 in some popular holiday spots. But most of those we have used have had facilities as good as (if not better on one occasion) as the Caravan Club itself. Others are available with limited facilities for only £6. All of these Cl,s were at a roadside with easy access and not at all difficult to find.
    So far this year I have been to France twice for a total of six weeks and in keeping with fixed income OAP status decided on a policy of using Aires. What a disappointment. Dusty gravelly places often overcrowded, in some strange places Most of the facility posts had been vandalised or even turned off on my early visit which was in feb/march, because of frost damage I assume. Also the prices are not exactly for nothing, averaging 6/8 euros for those I stayed at. The last straw came in Normandy where I stayed on a municipal aire for 7euros. It was advertised as a site for 70 vans, and in the afternoon on arrival the police were there checking tickets and payments. Not so, later in the evening when a total of 168 vans squeezed themselves onto the site. Yes I counted and photographed them, I was so horrified. Some people could barely open their doors. I shudder to think of what would happen in the event of fire if 168 vans tried to exit. Now France is a very large country and aires in transit can be very convenient on the way to and from your holiday. But what I cant understand is the persistent bellyaching about why we in the UK don't have them . Before you pre judge the cl,s do what I was forced to do and use them for a season. Perhaps the only area of the Caravan Club that hasn't been commercialised, and although I have a lot of time for the club, its site prices are really getting too much. I guess they are responding to market forces driven by the incredible upsurge in motorhome sales.
     
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  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Aires vary enormously.. some are nice and worth visiting.. others are as you describe.. best avoided .. some are as expensive as camp sites ..

    We love CLs.. and there are still many that are very basic and charging under a tenner..

    not 5 mins from the M4 ... £5 per night.. DSCF1945.jpg
     
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  3. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    There are that many Aires that if you don't like one , move to the next, you can gauantee there's another one within ten miles , get searchforsites up on your phone and it will tell you where they all are around you, in fifteen different Aires we stay at , we only paid for two , one at gravelines that we do gladly because it's my favourite, 6 euros, and one at sete on the med coast that was 8 euros, and we used this one because it was exactly where we wanted to be right on the sea.
    All the others were free but most had a two euro water thingy but as we only have to fill up every three or four days , managed to find enough free water.
     
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  4. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    It's a bad comparison really. You're missing the most crucial point about aires.

    They are NOT campsites. You are NOT camping when you are on an aire. You are parking, nothing more. If there happens to be some facilities then that's a bonus.

    Of course a lot of them are literally car parks with marked bays close together. That's the point, that's all they need to be.

    You wouldn't worry about the stupid 9 metre rule if you parked in Tesco to do your shopping so why would you worry about it when parked anywhere else?

    Some of our favourite places to visit in France have aires that are "dusty gravelly places, often overcrowded." It's only somewhere to park up for a night or two. I don't see the problem.
     
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  5. Cat53

    Cat53 Funster

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    CLs are brilliant. We used them most of the time when the children were small, and our first 2 trips in Winnie were on CLs. ( the only 2 trips in Winnie to date)! :ROFLMAO:
     
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  6. Baggers53

    Baggers53 Funster

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    We are not in the CC but are members of C&CC and use their CS sites and THS ( Temporary Holiday Sites ). Some are very basic, but others are very good.
    This year we will be using THS`s in Dorset and Cornwall along with CS sites for shorter breaks.
    In September we are going to France for the month. Here we will use a mixture of Aires,Municipal sites and Camp sites. Some of the Aires we use are in idyllic locations like next to rivers, directly on the beach or just convenient when passing through. We use the ASCI card in Sept, this can save us quite a bit on campsite costs.
    We are trying the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry this year for a change from the usual Dover to Calais.
    By using the type of sites I have listed above we tend to keep costs down and still enjoy our MH experience to the full.
    .
     
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  7. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    I agree with NickNic on this. Aires are to park in, NOT holiday in! They provide a safe and convenient place to stop over night whilst TOURING around France.

    We have stayed on dozens and dozens (100's?) and they are a really useful facility. Quite unlike CL's Aires are plentiful and usually found in most villages, towns and cities. We have rarely paid to stay and indeed if we had we would have spent £100's.....

    CL's are useful in the UK because we don't have an Aire system...... but even £10/night sure adds up on a 3 month tour!
     
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  8. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    We find Aires far more suitable for Motorhome they are always near a village or place of interest, and if you don't like one you move on to the next. We don't do much in the UK and hate the current trend on CL's CS's of putting in EHU and charging for it when you don't need or want it. As for price once you get away from the coast the majority of Aires in France are free.

    A few of the Aires & Stellplatz we have stayed on.

    P1070536.jpg

    P1090283.jpg

    P1040237.jpg

    P1090502.jpg

    P1000225.jpg

    Hols June 09 109.jpg

    Hymer Van 025.jpg
     
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  9. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    In my experience, Stelplatz are generally far better than aires..
     
  10. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    We are in the CC & the C&CC and use both the CLs and CSs and club sites. We also used Aires for the first time in France last year. We had a bad start with the first two we tried but persevered and went on to find some fantastic aires either free or just a few Euros (see this thread). As has been said they are not campsites they are places you can park your motorhome and dump waste and in most instances you can park overnight.

    We plan to use CLs and CSs more in future but the one thing that has often put me off using the small sites is the lack of hardstanding. Especially when we have had a bit of rain I'm worried about our MH sinking into the mud/grass so I often 'chicken out' and end up going for a club site.

    We have stayed on some lovely and peaceful CLs and CSs and I wonder if we are missing out by looking for hard standings all the time.

    Do I need to be worried about getting stuck or am I just being over cautious?

    KH
     
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  11. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    We find Germany just like France, some Stellplatz excellent, some good, some grot.
     
  12. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    The better ones tend to be private operations rather than local council ones though don't they?
     
  13. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    As long as you put bread crates under the wheels not a problem.:)
     
  14. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Nope, in fact two of the worst we have stayed on were private.
     
  15. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Not a bad comparison, it depends on definitions. It may be different on the continent but in the UK habitation of a motorhome is camping not parking. Just one of the differences between us and our continental friends :)
     
  16. Rob Turner

    Rob Turner Funster

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    France Passion if you don't want to pay much!
     
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  17. Welsh girl

    Welsh girl Funster Life Member

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    I feared using grass pitches when we had the Fiat but now we have RWD transit we can get out of places that we would never have driven onto before.
    Cl's usually have grass pitches so we use them more now. And look out for ones that have bus stops near so we can get into town if need be.
    Last week we pulled into a field that was really boggy, I feared getting out but hubby reversed it out as turning would have been impossible. Came out like a dream. Don't think the owner would have been pleased with the ruts we left but they should have warned us before paying and driving in. Couldn't be seen as the grass wasn't cut.
     
  18. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    correct.. it's not a problem.. . if just passing through ..

    however.. if you want to spend a couple of nights, have a BBQ and sit outside, eat and relax it can be a problem.. and on busy aires just not possible.. or not very nice...

    but you will argue that they are not sites.. which is perfectly correct.. so in all fairness cannot be compared to a nice CL ..

    CLs are NOT Aires.. they are sites.. . and Aires are not sites, they are camping car parking..

    but at some point on your trip you will want to relax.. not just pass through
     
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  19. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    It's not really a question of definitions Graham. The OP was comparing apples and bananas.

    A CL/CS is a small campsite. You have a pitch with an amount of space which gives you some distance to the next vehicle and allows you to spread outside your own vehicle.

    An aire is a car park dedicated to motorhomes. You just have a parking space, slightly wider than your vehicle.
     
  20. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    I quite agree, and if I wanted to stay for several nights and sit outside, have a BBQ or whatever I wouldn't generally stay on an aire. That's what campsites are for.

    If we do stay more than one night somewhere on a "car park" type aire, Honfleur or Chamonix for instance, we accept that we won't be sitting outside the van or doing anything else that resembles site camping and that's fine, we have to problem at all with that. We can relax perfectly well without sitting outside the van.

    Of course there are aires that are campsites in all but name, Froncles for example, but they are the exception rather than the rule. IMG_0035 (1).jpg
     
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