Nearly lost in France....

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Roamin1329, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Roamin1329

    Roamin1329 Read Only Funster

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    No not lost at all really, but a little concerned.
    As complete newbies to motorhoming we set off on the 5th of October in search of warmer climes... all good so far as the weather as been great as we wound our way down from Calais, through the Champagne region ( first night we wild camped on the outskirts of a quiet little village..).and then came the first dip into our ACSi book....ooh er. Three closed campsites later!!!!....and we are feeling a little out on a limb.
    We are currently down in Frejus on the south coast and safely ensconced in an open ACSI registerd site. But, we have now been told that the majority of French campsites will close tomorrow????
    We have been told to grab an Aires book, which we will do, and infact there is one just down the road here, but! From what I have seen they are a bit car parky.... No offence intended.
    We are more than capable of muddling on for now, but some experienced advise / thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks and best regards .
     
  2. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    Before you write off the idea of staying om aires I would suggest you give it a go. The thing with aires is that, like anything there are many variations.

    Yes, there are aires that are like car parks, but there are many more that are in lovely locations and are very pleasant places to stay. When we first went across the channel Jean was very apprehensive about the idea of aires but once we had stayed on a few she realised that there was nothing to worry about any more so than staying anywhere else.

    In practice you would use them as you would a carpark i.e. you cannot book up, just turn up. If you don't like what you see go to another (we've onle done so once).

    As a motorhomer they have the facilities you need - water, dumping facilities etc. but many are in beatiful locations and nearly always very close to places of interest - town, village, lake etc. Many we have stayed on are alongside marinas. It is not unusual for the local police to patrol and check that all is well and also the local boulanger may visit in the morning with fresh baguettes etc.

    You may find that they are a lot better than you imagine so don't write off the idea.

    Wyn
     
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  3. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    That is very true Wyn....don't knock what you don't know........ I have read the thread several times:Doh:??... Mmmm...was your trip planed or just hit and miss with no research before you set off .....:Eek!:
    Frejus on the south coast is a nice place to be:thumb:
    It should have said in your Acsi book that most campsites would be closed........
    "Aires they are a bit car parky.... No offence intended".....Well that rules me out for help...as the dragons say I'm out:Wink::Wink:....
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  4. joner8888

    joner8888 Read Only Funster

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    Look at it as a adventure--
    We headed off over the channel with a phone internet and a aires book.
    Not booked in anywhere so no commitments and time struggle.
    Chill out,you got all you need on your van and supermarkets are everywhere.
    Did you load in POI in your sat nav for camp sites ect?--they will guide you to all sites within a certain area of where you are.
    Park up ,get the beer out --chill out.:thumb:
     
  5. flatpackchicken

    flatpackchicken Funster Life Member

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    Aires vary from anything from a small piece of waste ground to a massive supermarket car park or a very pretty town hall car park right in the middle of town, the french are super accommodating towards motorhomes, most have water and toilet dump facilities and about 60/70% have ehu, some included in over night price (anything from 5/10 euros,) which can be collected by official that wanders around or by ticket machine on site on aire. If you are stuck and near a supermarket, you should nearly always be able too park up overnight in their car park. Suggest you get "All The Aires France" book straight away to help you, give this site a hit and get them to send you a book to your nearest campsite https://www.vicarious-shop.com
    Can't think what else to put but we've been on lots of french Aires and found them to be great, please post back with any questions - will be only too pleased to help.
    Regards Garry Flatpackchicken and Linda.
     
  6. magsinfrance

    magsinfrance Read Only Funster

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    Hi there

    know Frejus well, we have x French neighbors who live in Ramatuelle (near St Tropez) luckily for us with lots of land so Brilliant for holidays (out of season though, impossible in July and August)

    We use Aire de Service most of the time alongside France Passion when needed. Very seldom do we use sites as we love "wild camping" with some of the nice bits as well.
    Please don't dismiss the Aires as some are far better than car parks and often better than campsites.
    You have to join France Passion every year (about 23 quid I think)but loads of places to stay and contrary to popular belief you don't have to spend anything if you don't want :RollEyes:Mind you when you are in the middle of an olive grove and see how they make olive oil it is very difficult to resist:thumb:And don't even go to when you are parked in the middle of a Vignoble:Blush:
    Hope you soon find your way and if you are driving up through the Limousin private message me and we will always make anyone welcome here. Leccy and water, but sorry no toilet emptying but Aire with all facilities 10 mins away.:Smile:

    Maggie
     
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  7. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    IN the asci book you will find some sites that are open all year, not very many i agree, In Soumaris in charante marietime there is a site called twin lakes open all year english owned,
    http://twinlakesfrance.com/

    Also Parc Verger in Limousin, site owner is a member on here.
    http://www.parcverger.com/index.htm

    Have also just found this site that you could check
    http://www.eutouring.com/french_campsites_open_all_year/campsites_open_all_year.html

    and Heyupluv knows some belting aires, not all are like a carpark, some are by rivers, canals, lakes etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  8. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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  9. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    An increasing number of French campsites have introduced Motorhome-specific parking areas and charge a mid-way price between Aire price and campsite pitch price, but if the campsites are closing soon then that tends to rule that option out.

    Swallow your pride and get yourself onto some aires - they're not all car parky, and those that are are still OK for an overnight stop if there's nothing else. Personally I'm not too bothered where I'm parked as long as the sun's shining when I open the side door. Aires are often quieter than campsites too.

    If you're down South, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (Camargue, south of Arles) has three different Aires and Aigues Mortes just down the road has two. Aigues-Mortes (despite the grim name) is lovely - like Carcassonne for beginners.
     
  10. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    I wholeheartedly concur on Aigues Mortes, and with a bit of luck you'll hit it in fiesta week. Fantastic fun, if not fiesta well it's an ancient walled city and really really interesting to wander round anyway, esp if you is fond of nougat, LOL

    You ain't seen nougat till you've been round about there!

    River, canal, boat trips, fishing, huge camargue horses, ditto bulls ....

    The coast and the salines (salt lakes) back of the Camargue coast, are excellent at this time of year for flamingo spotting opportunities. Superb.
     
  11. Parcverger

    Parcverger Funster - Campsite Owner

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    As Chatter has mentioned us above, I thought I'd just confirm that Parc Verger is open all year, and welcomes all Funsters. We're too small for ACSI (who only register campsites with 40+ touring pitches), but our prices are not that dissimilar to theirs when you take the Funster discount into account. And our price includes 16A electricity and some decent showers, washing-up area with hot water, and so on. We also have no charge for pets.

    Bob
    www.parcverger.com
     
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  12. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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  13. Roamin1329

    Roamin1329 Read Only Funster

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    Sorry to the person that I did offend.

    Yes the trip was planned in as much as we had a rough route worked out on the proviso that if we saw or heard of anywhere special then we would be flexible as we did not want to be tied into a itinery and it has been marvellous.
    Clearly, my post appeared to be dismissive!? Certainly not my intention and I do not wish to alienate potential new friends in our new life as we currently have no plans to return to the uk for the foreseeable......Spain and maybe Morrocco for the winter.
    Still, thanks all for your advice including my Dragon:BigGrin:

    Ta
     
  14. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    Rely on your instincts and you will be fine. If you arrive and don't feel comfortable with a particular aire - then go to another. I have found them to be trouble-free.

    I recall stopping on a 'lay-by' in France (somehwere! lol!) that was the only time I felt 'on guard' as it was busy with truckers as so on. They did no harm, just had a few looking about to begin with and they settled down to their game of cards.

    You can understand you being wary with all the stories that go on, and indeed we can only go on each others true experiences - which to date have been good. Only spots we were warned against stopping were service areas, as they are/can be hot spots apparently.
     
  15. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Keep going, you'll find better weather and loads of open sites in Spain.
     
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  16. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    If you're still in France in the Winter (not recommended unless you're in to skiing) many aires will have the water turned off to avoid freezing. Best to go somewhere a bit warmer, central France gets really cold.
     
  17. pepper386

    pepper386 Funster

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    Hi Nigel and Pamala - I have been following this thread as we are about to head over to france for a while - had a look at this site but can't find an English version - any ideas many thanks pepper386
     
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  18. Roamin1329

    Roamin1329 Read Only Funster

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    Still going....

    Ok, left Frejus to day...it is indeed a lovely place. We had a lovely couple of days there. The Roc D,Azur cycle event was on.
    Moved further down south to Hyeres and a lovely site out on the peninsula. Friendly welcome and service.
    Incidentally, before we left Frejus we parked in the Aires next to the newish looking shopping centre to pick up the Aires book from the supermarket....and this will further fan someone's flame, but sorry!!! And there was a lovely pile of discarded white goods, fridges etc dumped in the middle of the parking area. However, before I get my head bit off for dissing the Aires we did have lunch at a beauty on route, but the name of the village evades me but it was on the D559 somewhere around Cavalliere.
    Thank you for all your thoughts and help.
    Best regards.
    Incidentally, was unable to get the Aires book, so will order it online...as I do intend to use them where possible to keep the costs down.
     
  19. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    :Wink::Wink:When I said like the Dragons in Dragons den..."I'm out"...it is because we only do aires in France..I could not help you... but others could and would.....we live in France... and we do NOT do campsites,...We have everything on board our motorhome that we want...so why do I need a campsite...some of the most beautiful places in France there is normally and Aire....not a campsite...as they want you to stay put, so the campsite, have the extras.. pools ,slides , bars. etc ..and they hide you away...behind trees.:Eeek:...now if you have children I understand...or you are not self sufficient then I also understand...horses for courses:Wink::Wink::thumb

    :


    If you are heading west....near Narbonne....there is a place a nice aire at Gruissan Port at the Marina..on the coast...it is a large area, there is drinking water,drop off point for cassette and grey...they is two showers in the middle of the parking area(make sure the door is locked) ..because if it comes open everybody will see you:Eeek::Doh::BigGrin::Rofl1:...it will be busy as lots of Germans with big motorhomes, Brits, Belgium motorhomers use it as a stopping point....But have a look around, its a nice clean town, a nice Marina....have a walk around , cycle, and see beyond the car park image you have:Wink::Wink:...good luck....Mel...the Dragon...if you decide to call ask for coordination's for the aire :Rofl1::Rofl1:

    Look out for this Aires book in France ...it is a French one..Called

    Le Guide National des AIRES DE SERVICES camping-cars

    It is a good one for you ....
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
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  20. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Copy and paste the CCI user reviews into Google Translate? I plan all our French trips on that basis, and it's a good way to boost your knowledge of French at the same time.

    Whether you understand the site or not, their free SatNav POI file that distinguishes between service points only and overnight stops is invaluable - follow links for 'Telechargement GPS'.
     
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