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Aires in France
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TOPIC: Aires in France
#134
Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
I just read the item on Aires in Europe in "Beginners' Tips for Motorhome Touring in Europe" in the "Nice to Know" section.

I really must take issue with your assertion that staying overnight at these places is dangerous. It is likely to put off many people unjustifiably, because it is wrong.

I live in France and regularly stay at the free Aires all over France - along with thousands of French Camping Car owners. They are (with a possible few exceptions near big cities) safe places to stop and are often in very convenient locations. The motorway service station car parks in France and Spain are very good places to spend the night, in company with heavy lorries and commercial travellers. The car parks are well-lit and the shops are always open 24 hours meaning that there are always people around.

I have never experienced or witnessed any problems. There are many mythical scare stories, of course, that are passed around on the 'net.

Go to this site: www.campingcar-infos.com/index1.htm to find the Aires in France. If you don't speak French, use the browser translation tools to translate it into your language.

One of the best things about travelling in France is how welcome Camping Cars are. It is usually OK to spend the night anywhere that there is not a sign prohibiting it and where you are not likely to cause nuisance or an obstruction. You would be amazed where we see campers parked up for the night! And you won't find lots of NIMBYs moaning at you!

The big resorts (such as Vannes, in Morbihan) are very busy and do discourage camping cars - if not there would be chaos - from parking in general car parks. But outside the big towns it is much more relaxed.
David Olley
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Last Edit: 2010/08/02 11:09 By Wintonian.
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#135
Re: Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
Hi David

Its good to hear your opinion on it.

The article in question was contributed from another site. Having re-read it, I decided to remove the offending paragraph as I'd rather people's conclusions (good or bad) be drawn from the opinions and real experiences of people like yourself. Obviously this is best done here on the forum and I would hate for people to be put off by what is probably a sweeping generalisation in an article.

Shortly I am going to be adding a "discuss" feature to the articles throughout the site which will link into the forum - this sort of thing demonstrates exactly how that would add some value to the content.

Thanks for your input.

Cheers,

Mark.
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#151
Re: Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
Glad to hear someone singing the praises of French Aires!! I must admit after seeing on some other forums the "Oh no I must stay on a site" brigade on my first trip over to France I was a pensive to say the least but panic over we have done loads of them now..In fact we used them on the way down to Spain and back again a couple of years ago and they were great...yes Im a definate Aires Fan!!
Ray Stewart
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Last Edit: 2010/08/06 16:24 By mondo.
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#155
Re:Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
Would other forum posters like to list their favourite French Aires..Here's my Top 3 in no particular order just that they are memorable ones

1 Bouchmaine smashing former municipal campsite right on the river near to Angers

2 Mery sur Cher near to Vierzon a 5 van aire very cosy belting patisserie 100metres down the road well worth it for fresh baguettes

3 Forge les Eaux about 40 kms North west of Rouen large 50 van aire good shopping in the town there is even an Irish Bar there honestly!! and the bread van calls in a morning

Those are ours (me and Dawn) obviously my tastes are'nt yours
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#156
Re:Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
One that we recently went to is at Bretignolles-sur-Mer, just north of les Sables d'Olonne (famous for being the base of the Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race).

That photo was taken at Easter weekend, but we went again in June.

You can download the small Google Earth file here: Google Earth link. If you haven't used a .kmz file before, just download it and then open the file. That will open Google Earth (assuming you have it installed!) and show the location.
Zoom right in and you can see the Camping Cars parked up opposite a lovely man-made lake (Plan d'eau). It is filled with sea water which is pumped in and out of the sea to keep it fresh. It is great to swim in because the water is warmer than the sea! The French communes certainly spend their money to keep the population happy! The parking is free, of course.

The village is a short bike ride away.

Keep that one on file.
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#157
Re:Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
That one seems to ring a bell David...well Les Sablonne d'Olonne from a couple of years ago we were round the Vendee coast as we'd heard such good things about it from other Motorhomers.. and we were really impressed with the area.. from there we did The Il de Oleron.. and all the aires were busy so it was sites for us unfortunately..Then last year we did St jean de Monts.. a fabulous aire smack on the beach great for the sunset photos.. then went to meet my sister at St Croix de Ville and then went and stayed at the racing Circuit at Val de Vien about 40/50 kms from Poitiers.. all absolutely free and all the facilities and even got to see loads of Renault cars from the 50s up tp the 90s and a few F1 cars too all free to view..Then the Il de Re even better there..Like I say Tenerife is great but the lure of touring is beckoning again!!!
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#166
Re:Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
Hi everyone

We have stayed at Mortagne sur Mer on the west coast of France a few times as we have friends who live nearby. Its a stunning setting right by the water's edge and the facilities are great as well.

Cheers

Ian
Ian Swift
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#167
Re:Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
I can't find anywhere in France called Mortagne sur Mer. I think you mean Mortagne sur Gironde, in department 17 - Charente Maritime?
www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Cartes?layers=...howHRT=&showHRT=

It is rather essential to state the exact name of the town/village AND the name of the department because there are so many places that share the same name!

Here is a screen shot from viamichelin.co.uk showing the Aire on the south side of the marina (marked with a yellow highlighter, on the Quai des pecheurs). It looks as though it is well worth a visit and we will add it to our records.


Imagine trying to spend a night at a marina in the UK !!! I don't think it would happen. Things are so restrictive in the UK, with rules determining almost every aspect of life. The French have a reputation for being bureaucratic and unfriendly. Those of us who live here permanently now, know that it is untrue. There are rules, certainly, and they are enforced properly. But so many other aspects of life are left to the discretion of the people. Fortunately the rural French are very polite. The behaviour of children and teenagers is so much better than that of the British. It is always easy to spot British holidaymakers by the unruly behaviour of their kids in public places - such as supermarkets. After August and before July everything is so different. We will be able to go to our favourite Aires and find a space with ease. And not have to worry about being bothered by the noise of British kids kicking footballs at every opportunity.

Of course, in Paris and the suburbs and in other major cities, the behaviour mirrors all other big towns around the world. But north west and south west France seems to have maintained a better life balance.
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David
 
#170
Re:Aires in France 7 Years, 3 Months ago  
Hi David

Yep thats the one. Sorry, not sure why but we have always known it as Mortagne sur Mer, even our friends call it that (although admittedly they are not locals originally). Either way, its a great spot and I would definitely recommend it. And like you say, can you imagine having something like that in the UK!

Cheers

Ian
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