How Safe Are French Aires?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Charlie, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    Talking to an old pal who used to have a MH today and was picking his brains about travelling in France.. He was not at all keen on Aires. He said he felt they were not the safest places to stay and felt a bit like a sitting target...

    Now obviously an Aire in a rough area or perhaps in a supermarket car park may be best avoided ? This was his words not mine as We haven't crossed the water yet.

    So rather than listen to his alarmist opinions I thought I would ask the MF massive .

    Our plan is to use camp sites most of the time and Aires if we are struggling.
     
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  2. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Take a look at my aire galleries for a better feel of some varied examples.

    Naturally anywhere remote and on your own is not too sensible but usually they are very busy

    EDIT alarmists usually have no experience and talk hearsay (bo**ox)
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    Aires are fine, we use them most of the time in France. If it looks, not so good, move on to another, but we have never had to do that.:)
     
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  4. mickyc

    mickyc Read Only Funster

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    Use you're common sense. (y)

    The vast majority are superb and perfectly safe, some are obviously neither. If it doesn't feel right, then move on.

    Our plan is always to use aires and then campsites if we were struggling. ;)

    Edit - the only "sitting target" we were here is from the sheep scratching their backs on the van.

    image.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
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  5. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    In 5 years we have only used 2 campsites in France and we go twice a year.
     
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  6. mariner

    mariner Funster Life Member

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    Depends which kind of Aire he was referring to!

    I've never had a problem with an Aire de Camping Car, but I have on an Aire de Service, and never did use an Aire de Jeu to overnight!

    :cooler:
     
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  7. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Some Aires we have stayed on have been next to the Gendarme station. I you don't feel comfortable don't stay but we never have.

    Motorway Aires are a different thing and possibly what your friend was thinking of.

    Martin
     
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  8. Bill_OR

    Bill_OR Funster

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    We have never used anything other than aires in France but I seem to recall that there was one occasion when we didn't like the look of the aire so just drove on to the next one!
    Buy a copy of the Vicarious Books 'All the Aires' and you won't go wrong.
     
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  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    We have toured France (several times) Italy and Belgium (twice) Holland and, Germany (once each) and have used camperstops (aires / sostas / stellplatz) most of the time. We occasionally stay on a campsite for a few days, but aires are our normal stopping points. Many aires are in delightful locations; some are just a corner of a car park - take your pick as there are loads of them. One advantage is that they are often in towns if you want to explore one - unlike the UK where it is rare to find any form of motorhome stop or campsite within a few miles of a town.
    The golden rule with aires is if you feel uncomfortable about a location, move on to the next one. Don't use motorway aires and when you find a stop you like, exchange a few words with other motorhomers (camping caristes in France) so they know you belong to your motorhome - in case some random happens by. You can have a great holiday and not spend loads on campsite fees (if that matters to you). As an example, a couple of years back, we spent six weeks going down through France and along the line of the Pyrenees. I think our nightly pitch cost averaged over the whole holiday, was about €0.80.
     
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  10. Zepp

    Zepp Funster

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    We have been staying on aires for the last six years and never had any problems.

    Only ever moved once it was a town centre aire and the only reason we left was all the French motorhomes left at 6 and we kept thinking why have they left ......what do they know that we don't lol
     
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  11. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    Same here all aires or France passion , only use campsites for washing clothes and stocking up. Don't think campsites are better or worse than aires for safety.
     
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  12. DBK

    DBK Funster

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    An unattended vehicle might be broken into but that could and has happened in supermarket car parks.

    I think if you are in the country or near or in a small town you will be very safe, probably safer than here in the UK. In big cities there will be few thieves about but you probably won't be alone on that sort of aire so take comfort in numbers.

    Western Europe is a safe and friendly place and you really don't need to be worried. The only place I've been robbed on was a campsite.
     
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  13. Armytwowheels

    Armytwowheels Funster Life Member

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    Aires vary so much it is really hard to give a definitive answer.

    We have stayed on Aires that have been so peaceful and relaxing (sometimes being the only van there) that we haven't wanted to leave, other times we have been crowded out by other vans and couldn't wait to leave. Only once have we moved on as we didn't feel safe/comfortable. In big towns we will only stay if there are other motorhomes there, which there usually is.
     
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  14. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    Don't like the last bit but you know what I mean(y):)
     
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  15. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    Our plan is to use camp sites most of the time and Aires if we are struggling.


    I would definitely do the opposite , cost , peace and quite , friendly locals nice bars , just a few things to think about.
     
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  16. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    I am sure if you just post your rough itinerary on here you will be inundated with suggestions for safe aires(y):)
     
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  17. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    My advise to people is not to judge any aires until you have been on a few.
    First impressions may come from those near ports or coast where it's often busier.
    There are some scenic one's, quiet ones, small / big etc etc.. You need to try before you judge.
    I am off to Spain next week with 2 small grandkids, we use aires all the way and have done for years. They will be playing on parks, outdoor swimming pools, inland lakes and up mountains. Nearly all free as well :)

    Also as Mariner says make sure they are one's for camping car and not the aire de service as used by all..
     
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  18. Flamenca

    Flamenca Funster Life Member

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    I have used many aires in France and would agree that the above statement sums it up. I have only felt the need to move on rather than stay the night on a couple of occassions.
     
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  19. FIDGET

    FIDGET Funster

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    We've been over to France about 8 times and alway's used aires most of the time ( my wife is quite nervous) but only twice has she had a problem with stopping at an aire, once at gournay en bray aire & that was because the circus /fairground people were there , we stopped and had no problem , And the other aire was way out in the sticks next to a cemetery & wifey suggested we move on to the next aire which we did. As said before just use common sense if you have any reservations on the aire move on to the next one or go to a municipal c/site.
     
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  20. Finvarra

    Finvarra Read Only Funster

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    We just spent 3 months in France, first time, see our post in Touring. We moatly stayed on aires. Must admit to trepidation at first, seeemed like sleeping in a car park, but we soon got used to it. No problems at all. We had our windows open when it was hot, unlike most vans that stayed shut up. Safety in numbers after all. Oneor two aires we didn't like the look of, so drove on.
    Wish we had aires in the UK, what a great system.

    Lesley and
    Savid
     
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