Do i need to book ahead in France?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by parthianshot, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. parthianshot

    parthianshot Read Only Funster

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    Hello, we are the new to motorhoming, just acquired our first, a Chausson Allegro and have already had a week in Netherlands. Just back and planning the next trip(s).
    We are going to the Dordogne region in July, just at the start of school holidays and were wondering if we need to book ahead? (the plan is a week static in between touring)
    We don't want to book and pay up front then find we are not happy there
    Looking at sites there are lots and all have availbility but will that change as we get closer?
    Also, will we be expected to pay up front or just a deposit/booking?

    Related question, where should we look for listings? I have found www.eurocampings.eu quite good but are there others?

    Sorry if this is granny sucking eggs stuff but as excited newbies we get the feeling it's a warm, helpful community.

    Ta

    Philip and Cath
     
  2. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Hello and Welcome!

    Wherever you will stay in France , I would think you will find it busy and probably over booked. Holidays in France especially in summer means little room in camps sites .I am sure someone will come along to give you a proper list of aires and places where you won't have to book and pay ahead . If you have , it will always be a deposit only .... never give more , it is forbidden by the law!:Wink:
    I don't know much about aires as I don't have a motorhome ... I am much more looking like a tortoise ,(funny for a frog!) with my house on my back ..in my rucksack ...

    Amicalement

    Frankie:BigGrin:
     
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  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    If you plan on stopping on one or two sites for a week or more then I would say yes.. booking is advisable.. however, if touring, Aires are cheaper and as they can't be booked you will generally get a place if you turn up mid afternoon ..

    plenty of info on aires if your search 'Aires', also Funs own map ,
    here is link http://www.frenchaires.com/

    best on line site for aires is http://www.campingcar-infos.com/index1.htm

    also buy Aires books on line or when you arrive in France
     
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  4. wiljoy

    wiljoy Funster

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    France isn't like the UK you don't have to give a month's notice to sample the French hospitality. We spent 4 weeks touring France last year in July / August as far down as Le Mans and didn't book any sites. We mainly stayed on the Aires which are plentiful. This year we are to have nearly 9 weeks starting at the end of April and have not, and won't be, booking in advance.
    Good luck and no matter what you will enjoy France.
     
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  5. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    Hi when we had the caravan we would always book our main sites as not to easy to pack up and go every 2 days. Since we have had the MH (4years) we have never booked a site in France and we always go school holidays. We did the Dordonge area last year and stayed on a couple of campsite without booking we then headed to Royan and La Rochelle area where we stayed 2 nights and 5 nights without booking.
    We have even been to Annecy in August when its really busy and the girls had made a wish lost of 3 campsites to try first got into the first one for 4 nights no problem.
    So my advice would be to just go for it then if you dont like somewhere you dont need to stay.

    Gerry
     
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  6. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Nice and balanced, so PC, two for and two against.

    As the saying goes "Are you feeling lucky, punk ?".

    I'd say book the full week in advance.
     
  7. callumwa

    callumwa Read Only Funster

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    We have been in France in July and August for the last few years. Never have a "fixed" itinerary...

    We have never booked. We use a mixture of Aires, and campsites.
    We have two boys, 8 and 3, who like campsites with pools, play areas etc so we mix up our stops.
    Even on "family" sites, where we may just stop 2 or 3 nights, we have always found a pitch.

    Sometimes we may ring up the night before to confirm, so as not to drive out of the way unnecessarily. Never ever been told, a site was full....:thumb:
     
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  8. spongy

    spongy Read Only Funster

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    We last went to France 2 years ago in August although it was quite busy we did,nt have any problem with just turning up. We only found 1 aire that was full, usually even it looks full you can normally squeeze in, we had 2 occasions when a french owner and an italian owner moved thier van so we could get in. Having to book in the UK is purely the policies of the C.C. & C.C.C if you pull into a club site and you have,nt booked you are not very popular.
    Enjoy your trip

    spongy
     
  9. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    When we toured by RV and motorhome we never booked.. but then again we had endless time to move on and weren't fussy where we stopped.. be it aire or site

    When we went by caravan for a three week annual holiday we usually booked a site for two weeks, giving ourselves time at both ends to see a bit of France.. booking secured the holiday with no disappointments ..

    I recall the very first trip in July 1972, open top MG and two man tent.. drove all day and reached Marseille about 6pm .. exhausted.. turned left along the coast road toward Cannes looking for a site.. every one had signs up COMPLET .. full, by darkness I gave up and slept in the car..

    Next morning I felt like heading home , but persevered but every site we came to was full.. by lunch time we were near St Topaz.. and found a site with a queue of cars and vans waiting for vacancies.. we waited, and by 6pm they let us in..

    We were escorted to the front of the site.. right on the beach .. no grass, just sand.. but what a view..

    Back to the OP.. if you know where you want to go and what site, most have reviews.. try Googling the site name or look on UK Campsite .. (they have overseas site reviews) you would be very unlucky to book then not like it.. but if that happened you can leave early and only pay for the nights stayed.. nowt to lose..
     
  10. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Looks very much like what I always have experimented around the Mediterranean, but once more ... I have never had a motorhome. I was going with my 2 children camping with tents , full car, and for 2 or 3 weeks . So of course never tried to do it without booking at least 3 months in advance as I have always chosen the best campsites (these were "complet" very quickly) for my kids to enjoy themselves without me being obliged to drive the car every day... so , with pools and games and dancing and evening entertainments etc... But had I had a motorhome i don't think I would have booked for only one or 2 nights (to me having a motorhome means you don't stay static, this is why I edit this post with the reason why "one or 2 nights only") .
    The thing is the more you go near the sea side , the busiest...+ you want to stop a whole week .....
    If you stay in Central France or Northern France , I don't think you will find all booked. The busiest places are around all the beaches whether they are on the Ocean or on the Mediterranean.

    You could try to e-mail a few campsites in the areas you plan to go and ask them whether they are usually very quickly over booked in summer . At least you would have some professionnal reply .
    If you need any help to write such an e-mail , just ask away I'll do it for you.

    Amicalement

    Frankie:Smile:
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  11. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Been travelling to France with Kids for 15 years, Always school holidays, Always the busiest times.

    Only time we ever had a problem booking a site was on the Med, and TBH didn't like it anway, was more like a chav city and that was before the Haganaps even got there.

    You will always find something, even as we did in the Med.

    Your more likely to find problems with aires being busy (again location dependent) than camp sites.

    Just my experience,

    Brian, whats that 2-2? 3-3? or is mine a bit of both.:thumb:
     
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  12. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Run out of fingers now. The other hand is busy.
     
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  13. Milo

    Milo Read Only Funster

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    We, two adults in a campervan, have camped all over France for two or three weeks two or three times a year for ten years plus, and never ever booked. Very occasionally generally mid afternoon I'll make a phone call to check a site is really open when nearing end of season.

    To find sites we use sat nav occasionally, but generally our ACSI guide, or by preference our thoroughly outdated Caravan Club, or Alan Rogers, guide.

    You can't at all even pretend to be a free spirit while committed to keeping appointments on campsites you might not even like, can you. Can you?
     
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  14. GeraldandAnnie

    GeraldandAnnie Read Only Funster

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    Before we discovered aires, we would always use the Caravan Club Europe books. It has reviews, and covers private and municipale sites.

    Gerald
     
  15. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I have been going to France since I got the motorhome in 2005. Never booked. The only time I had a problem was when I stayed in Il de re.
    I got there in early june and paid for a week. I then extended my stay by a week and another etc. Until it was July. The owner asked me to move on because she was fully booked. It had gone from empty to full in 2 days:BigGrin:

    I use Aires except where there aren't any...
     
  16. Parcverger

    Parcverger Funster - Campsite Owner

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    We are in the beautiful Haute Vienne, and on the edge of the Dordogne (it starts about 10 minutes down the road) and you would be welcome to visit us on your travels. Full info is on our website www.parcverger.com, and there is a 10% Funsters discount:BigGrin:.

    As to whether you should book, we are open all year, and to date we have never turned anyone away, though we have squeezed one or two in at busy times. To guarantee a particular pitch or type of pitch then you are better off booking - 20 Euros for a week's stay, and this is deducted from your bill which is normally payable on the day before departure.

    If you want to know something of the area, click on "blogs" at the top of the page and look at ksebruce's blog of their four months stay here over the last winter - they loved it so much they are moving here!!!:thumb:

    Bob
     
  17. novawight

    novawight Read Only Funster

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    So good to hear your views, on pre-booking, as I haven,t,
    I have booked my Ferry to Le Havre for June, from then on it,s just me and Lumpy. p.s Lumpy is my van not my wife:BigGrin:...........Del
     
  18. joner8888

    joner8888 Read Only Funster

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