Security on French Aires (1 Viewer)

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david1805

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Hi all , we are making a trip from britain to Italy through France , i notice you are mostly talking about Spain ? does overnight stays in service stations still apply as we had intended to stop on route when we get tired , If we have to use sites it will put a big expence on our trip , any advice will be appreciated cheers david



ADMIN...EDIT - this post was moved from an old thread about Spanish Aires.
 

Parcverger

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Advice is NEVER stop overnight on an aire on a free motorway, and try to avoid doing so on any motorway. Get off of the motorway and visit some of the aires in villages - generally you will be OK there.

If you stop for a meal on a motorway aire make sure you take money and passports with you - thieves know that motorhomes and caravans offer rich pickings! During the day it is not so much of a problem, but ALWAYS arm your security system (this applies whenever you leave your motorhome or during any night when you are asleep).

Off the beaten track France is beautiful and generally totally safe, but thieves concentrate on the through routes in all countries, including Spain and Italy.
 
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Hi all , we are making a trip from britain to Italy through France , i notice you are mostly talking about Spain ? does overnight stays in service stations still apply as we had intended to stop on route when we get tired , If we have to use sites it will put a big expence on our trip , any advice will be appreciated cheers david



ADMIN...EDIT - this post was moved from an old thread about Spanish Aires.

Hi David,

Motorway aires are best avoided in France especially in the high season. There are plenty of town/village aires just of the motorways that are a lot safer.

There is a French aires guide available in English see Motorhome Buying Guide,motorhome books,living in a motorhome,motorhoming around Europe,go motor homing questions,motor home holidays enjoy your trip.:thumb:

Don

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Jim

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People get pickpocketed in busy tourist areas in almost every city of the world every single day. This information should just make us more careful about where we keep our wallet and handbags and ensuring we spread our cash between our partners and the motorhome. It shouldn't stop us visiting those cities.

Choose where you park carefully, whilst the pickpocket likes crowds, most crooks don't, so that nice out of the way parking place might look attractive to both you and the crooks. Try to park in such a way that you can drive immediately away from an incident, never drink when wild camping, the effects are akin to gassing!

If just intent on getting somewhere then some people choose to drive at night and then park up in a busy public place to get some sleep in the day, This might be safer than parking up at night, though of course if you are touring this is impractical.

My advice would be, don't worry about your security, but do think about it.

You will be one of tens of thousands all over over Europe, camping without incident. Have a great holiday:thumb:
 

johnsandywhite

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:RollEyes: One again I will mention the fact that for over 11 years we have been traveling through France to Spain including 7 years of Wild Camping. We have stayed on Aires, Truck stops, Motorway service stations and everything in between. Not ONCE have we been attacked or had any attempts at being broken into.
Perhaps WE are lucky? Just take the normal everyday precautions where and when you park. Happy travlling and PARKING. :winky:
 

scotjimland

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Bike theft on French aire

French aires are by and large very safe, we have just returned from an 8 month trip to France where we used aires exclusively (apart from a 7 night stay at Parc Verger) . but... we did have a bike theft at Capbreton Aire. ( the second bike theft in two years) :Sad:
Our three bikes were behind the RV, secured to the fence with a strong wire bike lock and covered with a tarp. The thief had targeted my bike, an expensive Trek mountain bike and left the other two on the grass. The wire had benn 'cropped'.
Capbreton was busy, upwards of a hundred motorhomes, all with at least two bikes, but mine was the only one stolen that night.On reporting to the aire warden she said that it was professional thiefs who target bikes and steal only the best ..

My advice is to put bikes back on the rack at night, (not tied to a fence or rail) secure with the best lock you can afford, cover and (note to oneself) install a loop alarm..

Jim

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yodeli

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Advices from the frenchie froggy!

When stopping on a french area, especially if it's a small one, check first of all if there are cars with man (or men) waiting inside. Then ,have a look at the registration number.The 2 last numbers indicate you if the person is a traveller or a local. You should all have a map of France with all the departments numbers.
Cause if it's a local , you'd rather change of area. Most of the time the robbers take rid of their treasure in the nearest town in order not to be arrested with it. Women/children as well should be carefull the same way especially if toilets doors have wholes. Cause if they are not robbers ,they are depraved!!!! These are not too far away from home(wives are waiting for them most of the time!!)
I try to find a map with the departments numbers and will post it!

Hoping to have been useful

Amicalement
Frankie
 

sostas

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Hi David,
Like many others we have used French aires for several years without incident. The accepted wisdom (and we abide by this) is to never use aires on motorways. We only use aires in villages/small towns or if one is not available we park sensibly within the village.
To a lesser extent we have used sostas in Italy and areas in Spain.
Not very scientific, but we always go with our instincts - if it does not 'feel' right then we do not stay. :Smile::thumb:
Sostas
 

yodeli

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Hello everybody!

I found a map you can print so according to the numbers you can easily find out who is who!

Have a nice time in France

Amicalement

Frankie:Smile:

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Kon tiki

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Good tip checking on the number plate, as you say unlike the UK in France it is easy to see if the car is from the local area. I assume in France you have to register the car for your area when you buy it unlike our system where the reg. number stays with the vehicle. Local cars on a motorway aire are probably not uncommon but the chances of them being up to no good would be higher than one from a different area.
 

Jim

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Checking the number plate is always a good idea, but locals do "hang out" at some town and village aires and that does not necessarily mean that they are up to no good. Most thieves are opportunists , just don't present them with an opportunity that they can't refuse. That you have noticed the car is the most important thing. This says that you are alert to your surroundings. Most victims of crime are totally surprised because they are totally switched off to what's going on around them. :Smile:
 

yodeli

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Checking the number plate is always a good idea, but locals do "hang out" at some town and village aires and that does not necessarily mean that they are up to no good. Most thieves are opportunists , just don't present them with an opportunity that they can't refuse. That you have noticed the car is the most important thing. This says that you are alert to your surroundings. Most victims of crime are totally surprised because they are totally switched off to what's going on around them. :Smile:

:Doh:I never talked about aires in town or village but only on hightways aires and especially the little ones where there's nothing else to do but rest or go to the toilets, and even so it doesn't mean they are up to no good. But as you said it's a way to get alerted!:winky:

Of course local can be on aires! Sometimes they go on aires for their sunday picnic because they live in a flat and never see the grass colour!:Cool:


amicalement,

Frankie:Smile:

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Yodeli,s advice regarding the department number (last 2) is good advice, unfortunatly the new number plates being issued in France do not have the department number on them.
 

yodeli

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Hi !

Well i was very surprised by what you said about changing the way of registering vehicules.
Toulouse is a big city and i've never seen any new car registered in a different way.
So i had a look on french web just to be sure. New numbers will appear in 2009/01. I don't know wether you can see or not the joined document. It says how it will look like. Up on the left side there will be a small area saying where the owner is from.
I know nothing more.

Amicalement,
Frankie:Smile:
 
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yodeli

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link

LOCOM-FRANCE - © 1999-2003 Sylvain Chardon

I tried to print the map i posted and .... i could hardly see a thing!:Blush:

So i send you a link with a nice and much bigger card with numbers and names of french departments

I'm gonna try again to see if you can have a better print!:winky:


Amicalement
Frankie:Smile:

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theresa

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got robbed on French motor way aires last year . we will never use them again . the small village ones are ok. been doing motor way aries for years before and had no probs but last year relly put the wind up me :Doh:
 

theresa

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went on an aries near narbonne, looked ok 2 other motor homes and a caravan , plus a restaurant open all night , so we thought it looked o,k . in the past we have hid all our goodies away and not gone to bed , just lay on the settees , what did we do but went to bed and ME like a fool put everything in my bag, any way woke at midnight and thought oh we will stay a few more hours , 3 oclock woke to find a man in the van who when i yelled at him crabbed the first thing he got his hands on which was a cushion plus my bag. passports , money the lot. we been doing aries for years . i cant get over the fact the i was so darn stupid to have put every thing in my bag . i guess because its never happened to us before that we just became complacent .the police in narbonne do not work at night so had to wait till 8 o, clock for them to turn up, only to be told OH IT HAPPENS EVERY NIGHT HERE.:Doh:
 

AlanVal

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Theresa how did they get in your van? did you not hear them I would die if I woke and someone was standing beside my bed.Thats why I like to have the dog with us she would go mad if someone tried to get in.

Val
 

iceni

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Good tip checking on the number plate, as you say unlike the UK in France it is easy to see if the car is from the local area. I assume in France you have to register the car for your area when you buy it unlike our system where the reg. number stays with the vehicle. Local cars on a motorway aire are probably not uncommon but the chances of them being up to no good would be higher than one from a different area.


If i arrive at an aire and see anyone suspicious, i get the missus out of the van to stand in the middle of the aire whilst i get the video camera out and take a panned video, taking in the sus car etc. She dances around like a daft tourist, hand on hip etc making out we are taking holiday snaps. This at least lets them think we have probally got them on video. they could of course break in and rob the camera but thats better than nothing.

The other thing i have done is leave a chewed up dog bowl outside the van and a picture of a rotty in the window. Theres lots of small things like that you can do which may seem daft but i dont think they are. Some folks say "if they want to break in they will". To a degree i agree but the idea is to make it difficult for the opportunist.
Other things i do are
use steering lock eg one that bolts throught the wheel
Leave a small radio playing whilst away from the van
Shut the curtains a bit to block out light and stop them seeing inside.
Fit fiamma secuiry lock to the habitation door.
Do a walk round the van as we leave to make sure all the lockers are shut.
As we walk away wave to a ficticious person in the van..we do this at home when we leave too.

This may seem paranoid but its not. The robbing so and sos wont care about your upset when they rob your stuff and these things only take a few extra seconds. You will never know of course how many people you have deterred but we have only been done once in 20 yrs and that was in the uk. The alarm scared them off at carsington water and they got away with nothing.

Hope this helps someone

Phill

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theresa

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they have a special tool according to the police that buggers the lock . so that cost us another 200 pounds to put right . we have two staffies if they were with us no one would get in , but they dont like my babies in france
 
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Mark&Sue

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I know that some people won't want to tackle these guys if they broke in while you were in the vehicle but for me, I keep a Maglight torch in the bedroom which is used as a club, anyone that came in uninvited would absolutely get their heads caved in. I know this sounds agressive but if they come into my home without an invite then they get whats coming to them. This course of action is not recomended to anyone that doesn't have military training! lol.
I do like the idea of taking photo's or video mentioned in an earlier post.
 
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Hi like the idea of the video best one I ever saw was a guy from warwick who we met down by the med, nice quiet guy easy going,he had a tazer which he kept under his pillow
Pete:thumb:

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theresa

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we were asleep in the van and it happened so fast even if i had a gun in my hand i would not have had time to shoot the bugger . course we had the lock across the out side of the side door ,which is o,k but you cant get out that way then . wont use that one again because if the worst had happen we had no escape out of that door . :Doh:
 

iceni

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we were asleep in the van and it happened so fast even if i had a gun in my hand i would not have had time to shoot the bugger . course we had the lock across the out side of the side door ,which is o,k but you cant get out that way then . wont use that one again because if the worst had happen we had no escape out of that door . :Doh:


Absolutely Theresa. Never use that lock whilst in the van...or even travelling..
There is an attachment that you can affix to the inside of a lot of doors which stop the handle being turned from the outside even if they bust the lock.

Phill
 
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Phil

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We go to Italy most years and apart from the motorway from Luxembourg to Strasbourg we do not travel through France. The Belgian, Luxembourg and German motorways are toll free. For Switzerland we buy the vignette for about £20 in December and that lasts the whole of the following year.

Phil.

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OP
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roger loiselle

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:Doh:I never talked about aires in town or village but only on hightways aires and especially the little ones where there's nothing else to do but rest or go to the toilets, and even so it doesn't mean they are up to no good. But as you said it's a way to get alerted!:winky:

Of course local can be on aires! Sometimes they go on aires for their sunday picnic because they live in a flat and never see the grass colour!:Cool:


amicalement,

Frankie:Smile:

Hi Everybody, When teaching qualifications about security I always mention the traffic light system:
Green - Completly laid back, benine to any danger and become a perfect target.

Amber - You are aware of your environment and am able to make instinctive judgement on your safety issues.

Red - Absolute paranoia, Buzzing with anticipation of problems, trust no-one and you will probably end up in trouble.

Stay in the Amber zone and be safe. Roger Loiselle
 

gwyntaxi

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avoid overnighting on motorwayaires atall costs,aires in villages,marinas, are far safer,driving overnight not advised thats when most lowlife,scum,thieves tend to operate,if they try to force u to stop etc,etc, there are very few people around to help or even act as a form of deterrent
 

Rodley

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For info...the French number plate system has recently changed. Previously the last 2 digits indicated the department where the person lived and registered their vehicle. Since April, there is a national registration system that does not require departmental registration - so all new plates across France have the same type of plate. However, many people (like us) like to have the department showing on their plate - the department may be shown at the RH side of the plate, on a blue strip, (just like at LH side where there is a blue strip that shows the country, F for France).

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