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Is It Legal To Pitch Your Van At A Service Station For A Night ( France )

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I do it quite regularly, but, being a motorhome it is quicker to pack up and go if needed.


If it helps. ...


Belgium - service area near Mons, and another at Spy - both been ok.


France - the services at Verdun on the A4


France - new services on the A35


Switzerland - Pratteln services just past Basle


Try to park in a well lit area though where you feel ok.



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And in Northern France, Aire de la Baie de Somme, near Abbeville, and Aire des Deux Caps, near Boulogne. Both have good showers for use in the morning, too!


The Aire near St Hilaire Cottes, on the A26 heading south is also one we've used, but we haven't been that way in several years.

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is it legal to pitch your caravan at a service station in france for a night.


Many thanks.

Hi Robbo


We've been overnighting in French autoroute service stations for about 14 years!!! There are often any other 'vans, motorhomes and lorries overnighting in services too. Although some people worry about the danger of being robbed we've never had any problems.


In fact not only in France but Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, too!!! We have, also, stopped overnight in the Norfolk Line carpark at Dunkerque both after arriving in France and when returning to the UK. That means that outward we can have a good night's sleep and get off to an early start and inward arrive at the port late the night before our morning departure, often get on a ferry earlier than booked too.


We are obviously careful. We avoid aires which are lonely or deserted. Continental service areas usually have, good sized, dedicated parking spaces for caravans. We park with other overnighting caravans and lorries and have a "cheapo" alarm, from Lidl, which sound if the door is opened. If we think that we may stop enroute we travel with the bed made-up, a tiny bit of water in the inboard tank and toilet flush and the caravan floor clear for easy access. We keep our documents, money, passports, etc in bed with us!! Avoid parking next to refrigerated lorries too as the fridge unit cycles on and off, noisily, all night.


We find stopping in aires is ideal if we are travelling long distances as it's just a matter of legs down and no need to hitch/unhitch. It can, also, mean that one can drive until tired/get off to an early start without the need to go off the autoroute and find a campsite. Oh and, unlike the UK motorway services, there's no parking charge.


I must admit as we've got older we do overnight in campsites more - in fact Summer 2011 was the first year when we only used campsites during our 5 week French hols!!!


Happy 'vanning.


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