Using Aires with barriers at entrance

Discussion in 'France' started by DavidG58, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    So we are off again next month, have now used aires throughout France with reasonable success, some lovely locations, some we would not go back to, but a couple of couldn't get in's that I am keen to sort out for the trip in February

    We have so far used about 20 different aires, (quite a few repeats), virtually all with unrestricted access, mostly found from All the aires book, or Kamper Contact app, or suggested on here

    Our failure and therefore concern going forward, some have a barrier to get past at the entrance, we failed at the only one we have tried, a little village near the Somport tunnel (actually the col option nearby) large tarmac area, could probably take 50+ MH's no obvious reason why based on size of town, 2 French registered MH's already in and the place totally deserted. Up to barrier, nothing, so get out to look at it (the machine not the barrier) couldn't make sense of it, so offer it our Caxton card, nothing, try my UK debit card, still nothing. Stand back and have a longer look from further away really hoping that one of the French MHers would return and help, nothing doing

    It is now getting late in the day and we have driven quite a distance already, but prefer to be stopped before it goes dark, so move on, as is often said you will never have to go far to find another, we did find one close by but did not like the location, on this occasion we ended up very nicely in a temporary aire alongside a grape processor, which was also alongside a bakery and pizzeria, :)(y) so good result all round

    The only other pay for aires, one they said it would be called for, but nobody ever came (Niort), there was one other, as close to a CL as you could ever come across, 15 miles from Calais middle of nowhere, run by a lovely lady who wandered over to see us as we arrived and took a bread order for the following morning, heaven only knows where she got it from there wasn't a shop in the village, but it was on our step at 07:00 :), we paid her cash on arrival so nice and easy there

    But I still need to know what do you lot do to get the red and white arm to raise?
     
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  2. Khizzie

    Khizzie Funster

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    Viagra..!!??
     
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  3. DBK

    DBK Funster

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    I suspect it is one of these things which only takes a French card. I had hoped my Brittany Ferries money card would work in them - but it doesn't!
     
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  4. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    Either coins or jetons? Usually bought at Mairie/ Tourism Office or local shop. Should say in Aires book.

    Looking online, looks like you needed jetons at that one.
     
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  5. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    I don't even remember where I was, will try and identify it now :)

    If you need jetons are they universal? if not I guess there is no point arriving when the office would be shut, I don't recall seeing any words to that effect though, it definitely had a slot for a card (y)


    Edit, I reckon it was Laruns
     
  6. TUCANO

    TUCANO Funster

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    I believe you can yet the jetons from local tabacs etc, I have experienced this in the past and being unable to find a jetons outlet I simply moved on [​IMG]
     
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  7. teensvan99

    teensvan99

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    We have used 100s of Aires over the years and never yet seen two barriers the same. Funny one was Dutch couple could not get out of Aire even with help of French. Plan B was unbolt barrier drive through and refit. We did get out ok. I always let Ann sort it out. None of the German stellplatz barriers seem the same either.
     
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  8. Jenben

    Jenben Funster Life Member

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    We have every now and again found that our cards just won't work on some of these barriers. We have a variety of ccards and this hasn't happened often ( once or twice ) despite using a lot of aires. I think they sometimes just havent been ' mapped' to take UK cards. In one I remember a French camping cariste who saw us trying to get in and failing then used his ccard to let us in and we paid him the cash. :)
     
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  9. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    1. I keep a tub of Euro coins handy in the MH.
    2. Failing that I use a Santander Zero Credit Card which is authorised for use in Europe and doesn't charge an exchange fee for it.
    3. If there's not a foreign card or cash option and it doesn't use jetons I'd give up and head for my Plan B aire, but it hasn't happened yet.

    If jetons are needed there's sometimes an automated dispenser on the aire itself, otherwise it's off to the Mairie. I don't see jetons very much these days.

    We occasionally have problems getting out of the Bois Plage en Re aire as it doesn't like our card, but it's attached to a campsite so the reception will sort the barrier out.

    The only other one that proved problematic a while ago was at Lacanau-Ocean, where it was OK getting in but it didn't accept the numeric pass code on the way out. Sticky keypad? Don't know. Someone else typed their code in to raise the barrier for us. Otherwise I'd have cycled down to the Mairie.

    The worst obstacle I've encountered to entering an aire is when they dispense time sensitive tickets that don't expire when the MH owner departs the pitch. You get a 48 hour ticket and that's it, your pitch is booked for the full 48 hours regardless of when you depart. The entry barrier won't operate until the next ticket expires, even if the aire has loads of empty pitches. I was once caught in a ridiculous queue on a hot day at La Palmyre, all waiting for the tickets to expire on the numerous empty pitches. I've got a feeling the barrier may have been reprogrammed since - I bloody well hope so.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
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  10. denisejoe

    denisejoe Funster Life Member

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    Seeing as you put a credit card in I can't see it being a jeton. Also was you close enough to the barrier as I know that on a few you need to be very close to the barrier in order to pay for it.

    Joe
     
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  11. Manic

    Manic Funster

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    I have used the barrier type on Ile du Noirmoutier and I think I remember you had to get a ticket which had a number on it, this number let you in and then you had to pay to leave ( this maybe be b......ks but I think that's how it worked). Even had to help some French who couldn't work it out.
     
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  12. BobtheBass

    BobtheBass Funster

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    I was told that no UK cards will work anywhere in Brittany as there is a problem with the central softwear that controls the barriers. The Tourist Office in one town told me to ask a local to pay for me with his card, so I tried this at the next aire we visited and was told curtly by one guy drinking wine with his mates to get lost and go to the Tourist Office and pay!! I went there and told them what had happened and they were surprised and said French men were usually kind and good mannered! Doesn't quite fit with a shopkeeper in a very posh patisserie in Deauville where I foolishly asked her if she spoke English. Without realising I could speak a bit of French so understood most of what she said she replied "no, but I speak f***ing good French......."!

    The Brittany problem may possibly exist elsewhere in France?
     
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  13. denisejoe

    denisejoe Funster Life Member

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    Never had a problem paying at any barrier, or anywhere else, with our English credit card - we carry both Visa and MasterCard and even if one won't work the other will.

    Denise
     
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  14. davanne

    davanne Funster

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    Yes we had that somewhere near Mimizan we tried for ages to work it out until a French leafy came over and told us we had to put our vehicle registration into the machine and then be given a ticket that had to be put in the exit machine before putting in the debit or credit card to pay ...and yes it worked and it let us out the following day once w had paid.
    Not sure if it was a new system but even the French were having problems and "madame" was kept busy walking backwards and forwards to show everyone how to use it.
     
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  15. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    and I thought I was worried about getting in :)(y)
     
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  16. Larby

    Larby Funster

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    Perhaps barrier needed a Credit card as Caxton and debit cards are sometimes refused.
    Some French had trouble getting into Gaste last year. Nice French guy used his card and let us in, including me.
     
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  17. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    No. There are 3 or 4 main types that will cover you for most places. I usually buy 2 or 3 whenever I come across them so I've go ta bit of a stock in the van.

    I thought they were mainly for water and electric though rather than barriers.
     
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  18. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Thanks, that was my thought as well, we might be sticking with our current plan and only using the free aires :)
     
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  19. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    We wanted to stay 2 nights at Gaste - but the card thing was broken and we literally only had cash for 1 night having thought we'd spot a hole in the wall on the way, but hadn't. And the cash one didn't accept notes. And most of the aire was flooded - but apart from that it was lovely! LOL
     
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  20. Jenben

    Jenben Funster Life Member

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    @DavidG58 , don't let it put you off or limit where you stay, often stories of things that have gone " less than perfectly" give you an amusing story to share with others.... :) clearly much much later.......... Enjoy your trip to France.
     
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