Campsite Recommendation (1 Viewer)

Strobe

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Hi,
We're new to Motorhoming and collect our first motorhome next week shortly before retiring. We've been ambitious and booked several Uk sites over the Summer to immerse ouselves and a holiday in France in September where we're visiting the Perpignan and Biarritz areas.

We're looking for recommendations for overnight stops in the Bourges area on the way down and Poitiers or Tours on the return. Having joined the csravanning and camping club, we've searched their availability in these areas but there isn't much choice and we don't want to venture too far from the Auto routes.

Any suggestions would be very welcome.
Thanks.
 
Jul 5, 2013
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If you don't venture far from Autoroutes you are probably not going to see the best parts of France. We have not used campsites for many years in France. Instead we use Aires de Camping Car, which are available in or near most cities, towns and villages. Search the campercontact website which contains most of the Aires and Sites in Europe. If that looks interesting then download their paid for app for your smartphone which, once downloaded, will enable you to access all the data without an internet connection.
 

Stealaway

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We use the free POI download to our TomTom sat nav. When are fed up of driving and want to stop for the night, we simply punch the POI for the nearest aire and it takes you straight there. If it seems too far from the autoroute carry on for bit longer.
Simples:clap2:
 
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Strobe

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Thanks Peter for the link. We didn't appreciate that the Aires were so extensive. We've read on some forums that people have had experienced break-ins whilst parked in the Aires. We've got a good alarm and immobiliser and whilst we're not being paranoid, would you say they are safe to stop overnight on?
 
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most of those break ins are on the motorway /autoroutes stop overs ,
camping car aires in towns & villages are very good and inexpensive, we were over there for the last 5 years , twice a year for a month at a time & only cost between 40 euro's 1 time & normally about 50 to 60 , thats for 29 nights over there.
check out Camper contact .

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Jul 5, 2013
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Thanks Peter for the link. We didn't appreciate that the Aires were so extensive. We've read on some forums that people have had experienced break-ins whilst parked in the Aires. We've got a good alarm and immobiliser and whilst we're not being paranoid, would you say they are safe to stop overnight on?
I think you are confusing the term "Aire", which in French just means an "area". When people refer to break in in Aires they usually mean the Aires de Service you find on the motorways. We would never stay on those because they are prone to crime and are very noisy with refrigerated lorries etc. Do not confuse those with the Aire de camping cars, which are areas dedicated solely for motorhomes. They are very popular in France and can be situated in some lovely quiet places. Facilities will vary, some have nothing but a litter bin, but most have water and waste dumps as well, with some also adding EHUs. Some are free, but most you have to pay a few euros for.

Have a look at the Campercontact site Here are some of our favourites on there that are on your way out to or back from where you are going.
  • La Mailleraye sur Seine, parking on the banks of the Seine about a couple of hours from Calais (CC No 3448). Relax and watch the boats go by.
  • Chateau Marquis de Vauban, Blaye on the Gironde estuary (CC No 53173). Park on the wine Chateau's lawn or in amongst the vines. Free including EHU. Get here by lunch time and see if you can get a table at their on site restaurant. 4 courses, each with separate wines all for 23 Euros each and then a tour of the wine making facilities.
  • Vivonne (CC No 3944). Stop for free in the middle of a nice little French town off the N10 just South of Poitiers.
  • Verteuil-sur-Charente (CC No 189). Another lovely quiet free Aire on the outskirts of the village north of Angouleme.
  • Sully sur Loire (CC No 11625). Yet another free Aire, this time on the banks of the Loire. Pretty Chateau and town a 5 minute walk away.
Try some of these and you will be hooked for ever! If you turn up and don't like it there will be several more to look at within a few miles.

And remember motorhoming is about touring around and following your nose, not rushing to get to a destination. We rarely know where we will be stopping next when we start off in the morning.
 
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Stealaway

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We've got a good alarm and immobiliser and whilst we're not being paranoid, would you say they are safe to stop overnight on?

Many are so full of French vans you can be lucky to find room. We've been using only free aires over night for years - never had any problem and we stay in some very remote places. Most aires are in nice towns or villages, perfect for a short stroll around after tea.

We have never ever stayed on a service station aire.
 
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One more piece of advice given to us by an old hand on our first trip to Europe in our first motorhome. Always find somewhere to stay by 4 o'clock. That is enough travelling for one day and it usually means you can get into all but the most popular Aires. We often stop a lot sooner than that if we find somewhere nice!
 

Riverbankannie

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A lot of the aires are in fact ex municipal camp sites. For example the Aire de Camping Car at Brantôme in Aquitaine. A lovely little place well worth a visit. Camper Contact 28771.
 
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Strobe

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Thsnks all for your information and recommendations. I was confusing the motorway stop offs with the aires de camping car. These sound ideal for the odd night.

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138go

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We use the Aires in France but we're careful which ones we use. The best ones tend to be away from big towns and we definitely don't use the motorway ones. There are so many Aires, you'll be spoilt for choice. Enjoy.

Mrs QFour
 

Allanm

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We used ( municipal) campsites in France 30 years ago when there were no aires de camping car.
Now, there are hundreds of aires all over the country and we would never use a campsite.
Keep well away from Autoroutes, save the toll costs and see more of France.
Sometimes, it’s open!
 
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Strobe

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Hi again,
Are the Aires bookable in advance and if so is it worth doing? Also, we have a small dog, I don't want to assume it's always ok to just park up.

I think we'll subscribe to the camping car app but I'm just trialling it now and can't tell whether each pitch/parking slot has a bollard for EHU and if not how does it work? Do we need a longer cable?

Any further advice much appreciated

Thanks in advance
Steve
 
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My advice is to subscribe to this forum. It’s one of the best investments you could make. Apart from buying the motor home of course.
Most of us don’t bite and it’s an invaluable resource for all things to do with motorhoming. And quite a lot that isn’t but we won’t go into that...
 
Jul 5, 2013
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Hi again,
Are the Aires bookable in advance and if so is it worth doing? Also, we have a small dog, I don't want to assume it's always ok to just park up.

I think we'll subscribe to the camping car app but I'm just trialling it now and can't tell whether each pitch/parking slot has a bollard for EHU and if not how does it work? Do we need a longer cable?

Any further advice much appreciated

Thanks in advance
Steve
Very few Aires are bookable. In reality you will not need to book in September. You should be able to get into even the most popular ones as long as you arrive by 4. And if the one you want is full you will be able to find somewhere else nearby.

As I said before only a few Aires have EHUs and most of those will not be close to the place you park. We carry 2 x 25m leads. But better to get a couple of solar panels fitted on the roof and a second habitation battery, that way you will rarely need a EHU. Those that do usually charge for them.

And the best advice I can give is to subscribe to this forum. It is the best £15 I spend each year on motorhoming. Without subscribing you can only make 5 posts, although can keep reading posts.

PS. Dogs are OK. Never found an Aire that didn't allow them. And never seen a charge for them either.
 

Khizzie

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A lot of the aires are in fact ex municipal camp sites. For example the Aire de Camping Car at Brantôme in Aquitaine. A lovely little place well worth a visit. Camper Contact 28771.
Love it there, its only a 20minute drive from my little static àt le camping Thiviers. Which is also a nice stopover in a lovely village.
 

suavecarve

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When people have been saying hundreds of aires, the numbers are in the low thousands.
I have France Passion and aires of all sorts loaded on to my maps,me account and just added up the ones i have and it is 18,500 but this is for Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Benelux and the 40 or 50 in the UK.
This does not include the innumerate amount of wild camping stops.

Perpignan is not a place to aim for. The area around Perpignan is quite nice but the town is best described as "Not very good" Numerous places nearby to it that are well worthy, but if you do decide to go then tuck your wallet up and mind where you step. Marseilles and Brussels would also fit into this category for us.
Dependant upon what you like, I would say trying to do Biarritz and Perpignan area in one hit might be too much. Around Biarritz is quite pleasant but there is nothing more to move onto unless the Pyrenees or Dordogne are on the hit list. I wouldnt spend a fortnight down there unless beaching it up was thing.
A lot more interesting places in France closer to home, in my humble opinion, but what ever you decide it will be great (apart from Perpignan)
 
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You don’t say how long you intend to be in France or if you have toured France before.

France is a big place and Perpignan is a fair old drive from Biarritz and the UK. Don’t try to fit everything in to one trip. If you are retiring you will, hopefully, have many years to explore a lovely country.
Others have told you about the Aires de Camping-Car and there are many all along the coast north of Perpignan, many with great sea views for €9-10 per night. In other parts of France, away from popular tourist areas they might be free.
Have a look at Keith Chesterfields YouTube site for ideas and also mine for Gruissan ( north of Perpignan) and perhaps Sancoins (south east of Bourges).
The link is:-https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC10cpU-dMK4oiXI75pINolA

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Khizzie

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Dordogne, nouvelle Aquitaine, Lot areas would be my choice. Many beautiful villages unspoilt countryside. Got everything going for it.
 

Lenny HB

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If you haven't already sussed it, when viewing Camper Contact website you need to register and log in otherwise it will only show about a third of the Aires.

Anywhere you go in France you will find interesting villages and lovely countryside.

Now days we have a idea of roughly where we fancy going but don't do planning.
The last couple of short 3-4 week trips in June we have followed rivers to there source. Found places we would have nether thought of going too.

Have a look at my trips in the links in my signature, you will see a wide range of Aires from carparks to almost like sites (some are old municipals).
Never found the need to use sites. If you need to do washing plenty of supermarkets have washing machines in the carpark.
 
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If you haven't already sussed it, when viewing Camper Contact website you need to register and log in otherwise it will only show about a third of the Aires.

.
Are you sure about that Lenny? The website reports the same number of Aires in France whether I am logged in or not, and when I zoom in on the map the number of Aires seem the same. I know they limit the numbers on the app unless you have paid and logged in, but I think the website does not do that.
 

Lenny HB

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Are you sure about that Lenny? The website reports the same number of Aires in France whether I am logged in or not, and when I zoom in on the map the number of Aires seem the same. I know they limit the numbers on the app unless you have paid and logged in, but I think the website does not do that.
It varies each time you go onto it,well that's what I've found, worse when looking at Spain
Don't need to pay just register it's free.
 

Lenny HB

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Are you sure about that Lenny? The website reports the same number of Aires in France whether I am logged in or not, and when I zoom in on the map the number of Aires seem the same. I know they limit the numbers on the app unless you have paid and logged in, but I think the website does not do that.
Just checked you are right showes them all now, it never used to.

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