French Aires

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by FroySton, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. FroySton


    Apr 27, 2014
    Royal Wootton Bassett
    Hi all, can anybody give us advice on using Aires in France, as this will be our first experience this summer. Cheers
  2. MikeD

    MikeD Funster

    Dec 21, 2011
    I have only stayed on a few but they usually are free or cost around six euro's.

    Some are just a car park near to the town/port.

    Some you don't get any facilities, but quite a few offer showers, water dumping and fill up's.

    Calais - we stayed on the one near the town centre was little more than a car park with no facilities.

    Gravelines - again near the town centre, car parking type near the river. Quite pleasant.

    Embry - Out in the country about one hour from Calais. Quiet, peaceful. With showers, toilets and fill and dumping facilities.

    Aires are often mentioned on the forum and a search will probably find a lot more that other people recommend.

    There are literally thousands of them in France.

    Have a look at:

  3. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

    Nov 17, 2008
    Have a look at Camping Car Infos website - link below. It is probably the best reference for aires in France (and most of Europe). We rely on it extensively when abroad. It is in French but quite easy to follow. Once you have clicked in the centre of the welcome page, look to the left where you will see 'chercher / ajouter une aire'. Click that then choose your country. You will find listings, specifications for each aire, often photos and comments (mostly in French but the occasional Brit has commented).
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  4. sticky130


    Sep 30, 2012
    Frampton, West Dorset
    We, in the last couple of days, bought Vicarious Books "All the Aires" for France as we go later this year and we also had no idea. We've had a good read through and it explains everything:thumb:

    Thoroughly recommend.
  5. wiljoy

    wiljoy Funster

    May 23, 2008
    Crook, Durham
    Just download the App for Frence Aires. It is brilliant and of course you have everything at hand including navigation and the closest site to your location.
  6. The Wino

    The Wino Funster

    Mar 23, 2012
    First try last year they're great just be prepared to have a back up plan in case the one you choose is full or you don't like the look of it. Also the flot bleau was a revelation they are post where you can empty your van and fill up with water look on the net for locations found the first one on a motorway service station free!! cc would charge you a tenner. We stayed 9 nights in france cost 10 euros for pitches :thumb: ( nowhere free in le touquet). Also bought the france passion book did't work for us.

  7. DJA

    DJA Funster

    Mar 5, 2011
    The Aires system is an excellent way to travel around seeing the countryside and we would certainly recommend it.

    We would also suggest you get an Aires book from Vacarious Books as these list the thousands of sites with information on each . The first thing is to probably not to arrive to late in the day as the site may then be full although there are likely to be alternative sites not to far away.

    As already suggested sites can vary from free to 10+ euros per night and can provide nothing other than a parking space to full electric, water and waste facilities. Look through the forum for recommendations.

    Do not assume that the free ones are the parking space only, far from it. Take Pomarez near Pau for instance, the first Aire we ever stayed at. This is a car park in the middle of the village surrounded by a small Sports Hall, Primary school, Bull ring and a few shops. Close by are a small Supermarket and Pharmacy. There is space for 12 MH’s with Electric for all, fresh water and waste disposal. Cost FREE. Avoid Mondays (they have the market where you would park) and Bull Fight days.

    The best thing to do is decide the area you wish to cover, study the Aires book and select some possibilities and should you feel uncomfortable about staying at the Aire when you arrive move on to somewhere else.

    I suggest that if you have a list of potential Aires you are thinking of visiting go onto Google Earth and see if you can see what they look like. Look at Pomarez for instance where you can see a couple of MH’s parked up as well as the magnificent Bull Ring.

    Aires are often fairly central to the towns or villages. Take Locronan in France, the Aire is about 5Euros per night and is behind the coach station just west of the village centre and an easy walk to the middle of this beautiful little village. If this was in the UK the parking would be a lot more expensive and miles away. Again have a look on Google Earth. If Aires like these don’t tempt you nothing will.

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  8. wingman

    wingman Funster

    Feb 10, 2013
    Romford, Essex
    Aires? Now THERE’S a wide subject! There’s enough to fill (and does) fill book after book. Much has been written on this forum about them – particularly where to stay but before you look that far, if you haven’t already, the best place to start is by buying All the Aires in France by Vicarious Books There are other books too.

    Before starting on looking at maps, I recommend that you do a bit of ‘armchair planning’ and read the ‘Introduction’ section. It’s full of tips and advice on what to look out for. It’s well illustrated with pictures of the various fresh water dispensers, how to obtain payment tokens (called Jetons in French) which you get from some shops or the town hall (Marie) and translations into English of some French Aire signage. The book also highlights aire etiquette and the disposal of grey and black waste.

    I have found that aires range from the fantastic to bloody awful! Some are vast sites, some are merely two parking bays at a roadside.
    I’m sure that you know that the word ‘Aire’ means ‘Area’ and in French, Motorhomes are referred to as ‘Camping-Cars’. Hence an Aire de Service does not always refer to a motorhome stopping place. There are Aires de Service on motorways that are simply fuel stations, so look out for Aires de Service de Camping-Cars. or Stationnement Réservé au Camping-Cars There will be a sign with a MH dumping water.

    Please forgive me if you know some of this already.

    There are a few practical tips that I find useful….

    · Take a pair of Marrigold or disposable gloves with you. On some Aires, you will have to lift up a manhole cover to empty your black waste. It’s unhygienic to use bare hands!
    · You can’t always get close to the fresh water service points, so take a cheap flat reel hose with you for ‘social’ water and buy a 5litre flagon from a supermarché for drinking/making drinks etc.
    · Also consider carrying a plastic ‘jerry can’ to collect smaller amounts of fresh water.
    · When filling with fresh water, to save you pushing down the tap for ages, make up a Velcro (or similar) strap to fit over the tap plunger to keep it depressed whilst you run back to the ‘van to stop the hose from shooting out of your filler!!!

    Don’t worry, once you’ve visited a few Aires, you’ll soon know the drill. There’s likely to be an English MoHomer already there anyway and contrary to belief, the French are mostly helpful. As long as you remember that Gris=Grey, Noir = Black and Fresh Water = Eau Portable, you’ll be fine!

    Happy travelling.
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  9. motorhome42

    motorhome42 Funster

    Feb 12, 2010
    North Tyneside

    As already stated buy 'All the Aires' book from Vicarious books. Another good book can be purchased from a French newsagents / magazine seller. It is similar to the first book mentioned but has different / extra aires included. It is all in French but the symbols are easy to use.

    When you are in France, visit the local tourist office and ask for a map of the area which shows the aires and stopping places. Not all the Offices have one but most do and we have found some excellent (and newly built) aires by doing this. If you haven't already got some buy some net curtains if you like some privacy as on some aires the parking is 'tight' to say the least!!!

    Have a great time over there.:thumb::thumb:
  10. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

    Jan 28, 2008
    walthamstow east london
    weve stayed on loads our way of thinking is if the are in or close to large cities they tend to be large car parks which give you somewhere to sleep ,fill, and dump en route.The treasures tend to to be out in the country where you will find riversides and small village parking spaces
    Motorway aires are much the same as our services or they will be at picnic stops on the A roads
    France is vast and no where near as heavily populated as uk using the aires is a close to the gypsy lifestyle
  11. Wildbill

    Wildbill Funster

    Nov 18, 2011
    cowdenbeth fife
    that's grate thanks even Ireland has 200 England 0
  12. Microchip


    Apr 8, 2012
    Now that is what I call dam good reply...well done that man..:thumb:


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