Aires ? No worries, Monsieur ! (1 Viewer)

Oct 16, 2018
Funster No
Long enough
A couple of years ago we were parked on a free Aire a few hundred yards from a village.

We were at the side of the wide river L'Isle and were the only ones stopping there overnight.

Very peaceful, rabbits, birds and other wild life on site but as quiet as the grave after dark.

After a few drinks we retired to bed about midnight and soon dropped off to sleep.

I was disturbed around four in the morning by a car door being shut quite close to the Motorhome.

Then another door shut, possibly a car boot as well, and quiet voices whispering nearby.

Then another car door being shut and more voices.

Someone started laughing and I heard the sound of people moving around.

I got out of bed and tried to see through the windows but it was misty outside and couldn't see anything or anyone outside in the gloomy half light.

I knew the van was locked so laid back in bed with my ears tuned for any movement outside that would spell danger.

Over the next hour or so more car doors were shut or slammed and more and more voices, laughing and joking in French, as the group seemed to grow.

Daylight started to illuminate outside and gradually I could make out people moving about.

Was I brave enough to venture out ?

Then I could smell food being cooked and that made up my mind for me – I must go outside and see what was happening.

As I opened the habitation door a large man approached.

This was it !

He stuck out his hand and shook mine with a great degree of vigour.

“Bonjour, Monsieur” he said.

He then explained that I was parked on an Aire car park that they were all using to park their cars and vans for an all-day fishing match.

Yes, a Fishing match !

“Would you like some food ?” he said (in French)

I realised we were in the middle of dozens of vehicles and if I didn't move the Motorhome soon we would be stuck there all day.

I politely declined his offer of food and explained that I thought I should move to the edge of the Aire to avoid being trapped.

Margaret and I were both relieved that there wasn't a direct threat to us and I manoeuvred the Motorhome out of the way to the edge of the Aire..

And that is the biggest worry we have had in numerous visits to rural Aires, many remote and only us on them overnight, and long may we get the opportunity to go to France and sample the stopovers the French authorities provide.

Worries ? What worries ?


Apr 24, 2011
New Forest.
Funster No
Fishing matches were very popular in the area I lived in in France. They were often part of a village being ‘en fete’.
Jan 17, 2014
Wellington, Telford, Shropshire
Funster No
Van Conversion
Since 1977
During our wanderings last year we visited the aire at Vernosc-lès-Annonay. We were the only camper there and had only been parked a few minutes when a well dressed man approached. It was the local mayor! He welcomed us to his town and informed us of all the facilities that it had to offer. On parting he said that he would be in his office (pointing across the site) the following morning and should there be anything more that he could do for us we were welcome to visit him.
Where in the UK would you get that kind of service and all for free?
Location of this place -- Latitude and Longitude 45.21893,4.71374
Oct 9, 2017
Funster No
2007 Hymer B654
Since 2005
A couple of years ago we were parked on a free aire a couple of miles east of Gennes on the Loire (aire down a ramped road to a grassed area below the main road - used to be a small municipal campsite). A car pulled in and a very smart young lady got out and explained, in perfect English, that there was a storm on it’s way and so beware of falling debris from the trees! She was from the mayors office. I remarked to my wife how lovely it was for them to warn us and that you would never get that service in U.K.
Just booked ferry for a couple of weeks time and could well use this aire as a stopover, or for a couple of days. That’s the beauty of the aires, the freedom of travel.
Oct 12, 2009
SW London, Poland and all Europe
Funster No
A Class N+B Arto 69GL
Since 2009
Keith's OP above is our experience of country Aires.

As I was reading his post and the second car arriving I automatically thought of fishermen, because of river and time in the morning.


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Feb 16, 2013
Funster No
ambulance conversion
50 years
We have been on numerous Aires where fisherman parked in the night also woken up to markets, fetes, car boots, and even a couple of circuses and never a bit of bother from any of them.
One we parked on Italy was a sort of walled square and were welcomed in the shops and bars and found they were having a street party the next day and we was invited, and were going to go but when we got up the next day could see it was the whole village bringing tables and chairs out so thought it wasn't really us and made a discrete exit.
Feb 16, 2013
Funster No
ambulance conversion
50 years
I know all the things we see on here describing the things that can happen to you on Aires but I must say , whether false security or what I don't know but we have never felt any worries at all, seems a different world over there , certainly, the people in other vans are more of a threat than the locals .
Apr 27, 2008
Eastbourne East Sussex
Funster No
Hymer low profile
Since 1972
Once staying on an aire in the vosges region, a local presented us with a carrier bag of the local yellow plum things (les mirabelles). Very nice but nobody else wanted and so I ate too many. Luckily there was a public toilet nearby.

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