French Aires

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by darklord, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. darklord

    darklord Read Only Funster

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    Ive never used an Aire, always used campsites. I recently bought "All the Aires France 3rd edition and was reading through it, are they easy to use, are there any problems, anything to watch out for? Will be using them on 1 mar i=on our way down to Marjal.
     
  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    never used them myself but from what i have read you need to be early (3pm>4pm) to get a pitch in busy times....and god help you if you take too much room.

    caravan club spacing rules do not apply :Laughing:
     
  3. rob kinnear

    rob kinnear Read Only Funster

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    We are new to Europe and find Aire;s easy and safe to use. On our first journey we went to Spain and just stopped at Aire's when we needed a stop last year a tour of Normandy only using Aire's.
    Possible problem if you want one is they are mainly car parks so all van's are close together. Just follow basic security and your instincts and move on if you are not sure, More experienced users will be along with more info.

    Rob
     
  4. peter marshall

    peter marshall

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    Hi
    We used them a few times last year, On a round trip in France on the way back from Switzerland we did a big loop through France back to Dunkirk, no probs on any of them,dont use the ones on the motorways they seem to be the ones that have troubles, we found some good ones in the villages some with facilities with a charge and others free with no water etc, rule of thumb if it feels wrong move on theres always another one close. Pete
     
  5. jaygee

    jaygee Funster

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    you should be Ok at this time of year with regards to space, we used to get there about 4pm in August and most of the time it was OK. Make sure you have some Euro coins as you'll need them for the water and possibly the parking fee machine.
    Space wise there is usually enough room to put your table and chairs outside but not realistically your awning, although this time of year I would expect you'll mostly be inside.
    We also found lots of Aires that were not listed in the book.
     
  6. callumwa

    callumwa Read Only Funster

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    Plenty of room here at La Mailleraye....

    This was at the end of August. I have seen up to 40 vans on this aire at times, though still not too crowded.

    We used a lot of Aires this year without any problems at all, everyone was very friendly wherever we went.

    The busiest Aire we were on this year was the one at Gravelines, overlooking the Yachts in the river near the Dunkirk ferry termina,l although we did turn up at 6pm, but a friendly Dutch guy told us he would be leaving at 7pm, so we just parked up behind his van till he left.
    Perfect for the ferry back.

    Callum...:thumb:
     

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  7. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    During the winter months, quite often the water may be turned off. Your drinking water tank may well be full-ish but if you want to empty your cassette, lack of eau can be a prob. However we keep a 2litre empty plastic milk 'bottle' specifically for the purpose of letting off some 'grey' water from the waste tank, for this very purpose. Unfortunately not every van owner with have the forethought or decency to do this, which can leave some of the 'drains' in a fairly 'orrible state. I'll leave that to your imagination ......

    Re fresh water where the aire is 'dry' you can try cemetries, garages, tourist office - if open - and of course if all else fails, a campsite! Even if you don't wish to actually stay there, many of them will allow motorhomes (or camping-cars as they are called in France) to empty/fill up for a few Euros. We also have filled our fresh water tank from a drinking water tap (marked 'eau potable') on a couple of motorway 'Aires de repos' - ie a pleasant parking area usually with grass and trees, with a loo block, or some of them are 100% tarmac just like our motorway service stations with fast food joints, and shops and all sorts as well as fuel. There is often such a tap outside the loo block somewhere, and people will use it eg to give doggy a drink. There is nowt to stop you using it to replenish your tank, given that you have a suitable container to carry the water and get it in the tank - some carry a watering can! We use a small 'collapsible' bucket, plus a funnel with a flexible neck.

    Finally a lot of the 'bornes' on aires are operated by token ( jetons) and there will be a sign telling you where to get em from - the butchers, the bakers, the Bar de Sport or wherever it is.

    Having been advised that there is hardly any room to breathe out on Aires, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised! Go for it. We use em all the time!
     
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  8. spitfire

    spitfire Funster

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    Aires

    By all means use the aires that why they are there :Smile: But can I say please respect the rules ( because there are those who don't , that includes Belgians, Germans and the french themselves !!) In the book it will tell you how long you may stay and if you sit out to enjoy the sun ( if you are lucky enough to find it !!) put away everything at night. They are not camp sites and are meant for touring and visiting the town. Also if you need bread or shopping do use the town which you are stopping at.

    We have stopped on aires where people had even hung washing between trees !!! ( Sorry they were British :Blush: )

    Perhaps if you stop for the day you may see French vans appear at midday then leave at 2 never to return. This is because they also use them as a stop to cook lunch and will then travel to another for the night.

    We have been in the ACCCF ( camping club of France ) for 7 years and i know the members have said to me how sad it is that people don't respect the facility that is provided very often free of charge although I know many are starting to charge. ( That does include french !!!! )

    I hope this does not sound like a rant but I would like my countrymen to be looked upon in a good light ! :thumb:
     
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  9. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    GO FOR IT..
    You have had some good advise already... Be openminded as they are all very different from small quaint village aires with free water and electric to large 100+ van sites.
    Once you have used a few you'll be hooked.. The guide is very good, I just got mine after seeing a friend's. However there are others that are not listed so always keep your eyes open.
    Getting on early is only needed when in high season, weekends and at coastal sites. Go out of season and most are empty or quiet...
     
  10. Munchie

    Munchie Funster Life Member

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    We used Aires extensively in May and June. We never used motorway Aires.
    We would plan to be at our destination by lunchtime.
    Only 3 times were we parked close together.
    We never once felt vulnerable.
    To be fair we used mainly Aires which were "out in the sticks" small villages in the main.
    Wonderful things and we would not hesitate to use them again. :thumb:
     
  11. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Well it has all been said,, the quiet village aires often with free water and electric, yes free electric, I was so annoyed that we never needed it having sufficient solar, (completely forgot about the fridge, hee hee)
     
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  12. iandsm

    iandsm Funster

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    Aires

    Aires are a great way to stay overnight for a small charge, but thy are not campsites. Please remember there are no regulations on distance between units. Don't take up a space large enough for two units and if you have your chairs and table out, (which actually you should not) move them out of the way if someone wants to get into that space next to you and certainly make sure they are not left out when you are away from your motorhome or overnight.

    If you arrive and the only available space is occupied by someones table and chairs, ask them to move, or do it yourself if no one around.

    If an aire is crowded and someone needs a space be prepared to start your engine and move over to accomodate them as long as you all have room to open your door, plus a foot or so that's fine.

    The only things that should be in contact with the ground are your tyres but of course people do use tables and chairs etc, as long as people are considerate of others things are usually fine.

    We have used hundreds of Aires, never had a problem and would recommend them.
     
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  13. mondo

    mondo Read Only Funster

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    The Aires are a great way to see France and French life..Some aires the locals call at them at certain times to sell bread fruit/veg..certainly an inexpensive way to travel...as people have said don't stop overnight on the Motorway aires/service areas as it has been known for motorhomes and caravans to be targetted and stolen from.......Enjoy your touring in France..
     
  14. FIDGET

    FIDGET Funster

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    Hi , Most aires along coastal area's or touristy area's (i.e. Loire etc )there's a small charge, but out in the stick's small village's etc mostly free, they are the ones we prefer as you see the french life style and country side . We have been five times to France and only ever had one minor prob when we were park at an aire which was on the side of Loire river when an irate french m/h owner want us and two other campers to move up closer to each other (closer than in normal car park we would have been about 2 ft apart) so that he could park in between us all. Needless to say we didn't move . Enjoy france as you pass through and don't worry aires are Fab!!!. Terry
     
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