Finding Sites

Feb 18, 2018
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We are eagerly awaiting our first motorhome in June. We have rented and caravanned before but not for a few years and times have moved on from the thin green Michelin book we used to use .... so, please assume no knowledge in your replies!
How would we start searching for sites? We used to go to municipals, often near rivers or lakes. We like sitting out so maybe sites are more suitable than Aires.
Do we need hardstanding or is grass pitch ok ... we’re buying a PVC Globecar Campscout.
I’m happy with details in French, we don’t have a satnav but can use Google Maps or download another map. We’ll have an iPad with us, and hotspot WiFi from my mobile phone.
Oh, and France in July - can we get away with not booking?
Thanks!
 

EX51SSS

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There's lots of Aires that are by rivers, canals, and lakes. Lots near water. A lit we stay at (Eastern France) are by water and sitting outside is our ideal and never had a problem in over 10 years (we do use smaller ones too as an overnight stay). Of course, there are plenty of municipal sites that aren't near water too. ACSI is virtually no use in July and August. If you definitely want next to water then planning is what you need to do but we've never planned any trip and under no pressure to move on any particular day to go somewhere else.
Btw

welcome animated smiley3.gif
 
Aug 23, 2009
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ACSI is virtually no use in July and August. If you definitely want next to water then planning is what you need to do but we've never planned any trip and under no pressure to move on any particular day to go somewhere else. View attachment 214454

Discounts may not be available but I still find it helpful as a planning aid. You're welcome to my ACSI books from last year if you want them. PM me if you do.

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Lot lover

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In my limited experience most French people holiday in July and August, particularly the month beginning just before July 14. And so do the Dutch and the Belgians and of course the Rosbifs. This means long queues at motorway peages and car parks.

Of course you can get away with not booking but you might have trouble finding somewhere to stay.

As for site prices - cheap ACSI rates cease somewhere between 30/6 and 10/7 and you are then in HIGH season.

First decide which part of France you want to visit then google etc. But remember that hot in France will probably be a lot hotter than home and it is not much fun sleeping in a superheated plastic box.

FWIW we go home for July and August not venturing out in our MH until September.

But don't let me put you off, JFDI.
 

scotjimland

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For holidays in France and beyond , this all we use.. Campercontact, download the free POIs and use on sat nav. Sites, aires, municipals and motorhome service points

phone app is also excellent.. download the country maps and it can be used without data connection , costs £4.50 per annum

we never book.. even during high season you will find places to stay

https://www.campercontact.com/en/default.aspx

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TerryL

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If you keep clear of the most popular places e.g. the coast, it's not too difficult to find somewhere. For aires, we've found the further off the beaten track you go the more likely it is to find space - but plan to be parked up by 3.00 p.m.!

Link for municipals http://www.camping-municipal.org/index.htm

Also the Campercontact app is probably the best of the bunch; get the full paid version.
 

lorger

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Up until recently we always had to holiday during the school holidays and the only place we've booked in advance was Lake Garda, we've been to France several times, Scandinavia, Slovenia, Germany and Switzerland plus a few others and never booked a site in advance. Only once have we struggled and that was in the outskirts of Paris late July, we could've found a site easy but just thought they weren't worth the money, eventually found somewhere a few miles further out.

The joy of Motorhoming is going where you want and staying for as long or as short as you want.

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Feb 9, 2008
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We always leave France before Bastille Day, that's when they get busy. Otherwise never book except for Paris.
 
Jan 22, 2012
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When the kids were little we always went to France in July and August, never booked. Even in the popular places there are an abundance of sites to choose from. If you book you might not like the place and regret booking. We did actually book a site in the Dordogne once when we had another family with us. The site had our money in their pocket and gave us the pitch on the site that no one would ever choose. We had to spend a week on a pitch right next to the noisy water toboggan, it had no shade and it was the hottest summer ever experienced in France, temps 40c+ every day.

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Leftlegger

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A handy site if you want to see whats on offer these days.We'd use the book back in the 80's when the kids were younger.I still use a site found in the book down in catalonia.
https://alanrogers.com/
 
Jan 17, 2014
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Firstly you will be astounded how quiet the roads are in France thus making driving a pleasant experience which can't be said of most of the UK. Do note the change in speed limits on all non motorway 'unlimited' roads without a centre reservation, this has been reduced to 80kph!

In our experience we have never booked and never been disappointed but of course there is always a first time.

As for quiet camping spots where you can relax and enjoy a day or two in the sun don't be put off by the first Aire that you may see, they are all different! It may be the official thought that you cannot put out any items on a Aire but there are so many rural ones that make sitting out almost an unwritten rule!

Here are a few links to Aires and campsite locations...

https://www.aire-service-camping-car-panoramique.fr/
http://en.airecampingcar.com/
http://www.archiescampings.eu/
https://www.campercontact.com/nl/
http://www.campingcar-infos.com/index.php
http://www.camping-municipal.org/
http://www.i-campingcar.fr/accueil.htm
https://www.park4night.com/carte_lieux
https://www.searchforsites.co.uk/

Many Aires have a limit on the number of nights that you can stay (2,3,4 or more, rarely just one) but on the plus side they are either very cheap of even free.
If your holiday time is limited use the above sites some of which have excellent reports and pictures of the locations to find parking spots that look good to you.

We have a list of almost 500 that we have personally visited a majority of which we have stayed on and our penchant is for rural places often alongside canals or other waterways. Our hardest job nowadays is finding new places to stay!

Rod
 
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Feb 18, 2018
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Thanks folks, I’ll make a list of all of these! Sorry for delay replying, took me days to upgrade my account!

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