First overnight in France (arriving after dark)

Feb 24, 2013
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not long enough
Didn't really think this one through too well when I booked the chunnel

Determined to get as many days away as possible, due to a meeting at home on first day off we can't leave till 12:00 in Derbyshire, so booked the crossing for 19:00, hoping to be there by 18:00 and get an earlier crossing, but we go on 21st Oct and by 20:00 it is going to be totally dark when we come off

so, question, where to stop?

1. Citie de Europe, not my first choice never done it, but see others do

2. Drive down peage to Baie de Somme service area just north of Abbeville, we have stopped there many times, in the well lit bit by the main building, free wifi, good for a few hours till daylight, I don't believe all the tales regarding theft / gas etc

3. Try to find an aire in the dark, not been to any so is it realistic to arrive late, are they likely to be full at that time of year can you get in to most after dark

4. anybody else done something different that might suit

David
 
Apr 18, 2012
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We have stayed at Aire de Baie de Somme many times both when we carvanned and with the MH. There is a fairly large aire at Boulogne, it's in All the Aires, that time of year there should be plenty of room
 
Aug 18, 2011
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We drive out of docks and go back into car park where the booking offices are and park near to the police station at Calais,,,never had a problem....BUSBY..
 

mikebeaches

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Feb 22, 2010
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This is on my list of possible options based on other comments, but still an hour from Calais, so arriving in dark after 9:00, is this really acceptable?
Camping St Clare at Neufchâtel-en-Bray is a good 100 miles from Calais, so rather more than 60 minutes. And don't forget the extra hour time difference. However, it is a great spot and the aire there should be OK to arrive late.

Baie de Somme every time for us. But we always overnight in the area signposted 'Caravans', right on the edge of the service area, rather than in the MH-designated parking. Yes, it's unlit, but it's also peaceful and an attractive setting. We've never had any problems and periodically see the police patrol around in the evening. Plenty of MHs there, but we've always managed to get in. It is out of range for the free wi-fi, but we often park by the service centre for a while when we first arrive, so we can use the internet if we want to. Oh and it's about 60 miles from Calais, so about an hour from the tunnel - but at least you can turn up any time. We stayed there both ways on our most recent trip earlier in the month.

We've also used Cite Europe in the past without problem, but at the moment we felt it was best avoided for peace of mind.

Have a great trip, whatever you decide.

Mike
 
OP
DavidG58
Feb 24, 2013
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Bolsover, Derbyshire
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not long enough
Baie de Somme every time for us. But we always overnight in the area signposted 'Caravans', right on the edge of the service area, rather than in the MH-designated parking. Yes, it's unlit, but it's also peaceful and an attractive setting. We've never had any problems and periodically see the police patrol around in the evening. Plenty of MHs there, but we've always managed to get in.

Thanks Mike

I know just where you mean, did use it with caravan some years ago, now slightly more cautious, it really is dark down there, walked Lola (our dog!) down the wooden platform last time there, nearly fell in water it was so dark :)

It will probably be Baie de Somme again for convenience, easy drive etc, hadn't checked mileage to Neufchatel, will maybe save that for way home (y)
 
Apr 19, 2008
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Overnight from Calais sand dunes on D940 just pass vvf holiday camp and base nautique sangatte. unmade road and usually a few vans present and safe. from the tunnel come 0f jnc 42 and pass Auchan supermarket heading towards the sea, roundabout turn left, few hundred yards dune oh r/side you will see radar. great spot.
 

Scout

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Apr 4, 2009
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We arrived late and stayed at Neufchâtel-en-Bray in June.. Nice aire
I can echo this, arrived 11pm in Auguest pleanty of space, only 30mins or so further on than Baye sde Somme and much much safer. good for fuel next morning, easy to find off of motorway.

Its more than an hour more like 1 hour 30mins to 1hour 45mins
 
Jun 30, 2013
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If you have the All the Aires book ( and you should have) look at Wissant or Tardinghen Farm. Less than 30 minutes from Calais and easy to get back to the A16.
We tried to get into the aire at Wissant on Monday night around midnight and it was full. It seems very popular but later this month it might have spaces. We we there towards the end of last October and it was almost empty. The aire at Tardinghen Farm ( ignore the picture in the aires guide, its a lovely place with terraced grass parking, EHU if you need it too) is easy to find and a lovely spot and there are always spaces. Bonus is a great view of the channel when you wake up.
Allan
 
Feb 16, 2013
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don't know how experienced you are at driving on the wrong side but this is another plus for gravelines, there's no crossing over or anything you are on the right side of the road all the way to the turn off then just a quiet road in to the port
 
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DavidG58
Feb 24, 2013
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don't know how experienced you are at driving on the wrong side but this is another plus for gravelines, there's no crossing over or anything you are on the right side of the road all the way to the turn off then just a quiet road in to the port

Been to France a few times, prefer not to drive in the dark, but no issues with wrong side of road, but will look this one up as an option, it seems to get plenty of mentions

My real worry is messing around at an aire late at night, if it full when I get there disturbing those on site then still needing to find somewhere else etc. All part of getting used to using aires I guess

We are coming off the chunnel at about 20:00 looking to stop for first night, on way home I have booked a more sensible crossing time :)
 
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Brisey

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If heading south from Calais we have often spent the night on the car park of the Auchan Hypermarket at Boulogne St. Martin.
 

tonka

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Jul 2, 2008
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Cite Europe.. It's easy and close, ideal for a quick bed down...
We have stayed many many times with no issues...
I drove trucks on nights for a few years but I always prefer not to drive at night in France unless I really have to.. Poor lighting. no cat's eyes and you never know the state of other drivers who have just either come off a ferry/train and racing around..
 
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