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Overnight Stops In France


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Hello,

 

New to the forum so excuse my ignorance if this subject has already been covered numerous times !!

 

We will be taking the caravan to the south of france for the first time this summer.

 

Just wanted to discuss the best options for overnight stops during the journey down (Calais) and the journey back.

 

Are there areas near/on motorways where you can just stop for the night once you have had enough driving for the day ?

 

I have found bits of information about 'Routiers' and 'Aires' but not really sure what either of these are, where they are, is there a web site with there locations listed, are they safe, do they cost ??

 

I don't really want to have to pull of the main routes so much - would ideally just like to drop the legs somewhere for the night !!

 

Many Thanks,

 

Luke

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Luke

 

Welcome to the forum. It might be an idea to give us an indication of the route you are taking as there are two main routes south, one via Lyon and the other via Millau on the A75. Although some of here do use various Aires en route many of us prefer Municipal campsites which are quite numerous throughout France. It would depend on how late in the day you intend stopping as some Municipals can get full by early afternoon.

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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Info on the month and type of unit would help. Caravans are somewhat more restricted than motorhomes and after the 14th July things get a lot more crowded.

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Have you thought about turning your trip into a tour and stopping off for two or three days at a couple of locations on the way south and the same idea by a different route on the way north again?

 

There are plenty of sites in France that are within easy reach of the autoroutes. That way you'd get to know something of the different cultures and places in different parts of France, which would make for a much more relaxing and enjoyable holiday in my opinion.

We fight not for glory, nor for wealth nor honours . ..

but only and alone we fight for freedom,

which no good man surrenders but with his life.

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Hi Luke&Kay and :welcome:

Have a look in the caravan holidays abroad section, there is lots of great info over there and it really is a great place to tow.

 

H.

Finding things funny since 1968 :blink:

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All,

 

Right - we have a large twin axle Lunar Lexon. Also - travelling with another family who will also be towing - can't remember what van he has but it's a single axle - but still fairly large.

 

We have booked 3 sites - the first being Just South of Milau (so we will be taking the Milau route South) and the last being just to the East or Marseille.

 

We will arrive in France on the 27th Jul and return on 23rd Aug.

 

We are travelling from Manchester so plan to set off at around 05:00 am, get the ferry about 11:00 - 12:00. Would the like to drive for another 5 hours or so the other side before stopping around 17:00ish - if the kids are OK we will just push on as long as poss.

 

Coming back will set off early ish and just stop a few hrs off Calais.

 

So - If possible we want to be really flexible so we can just press on if everybody is feeling OK.

 

Any ideas greatly received.

 

Thanks,

 

Luke

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Yes, leave earlier.

 

It's a good 5-6 hours drive without delays and if you have kids they will want to stop. That is if you have pre booked the ferry, if you are turning up and boarding then easy driving it is ;)

 

H.

Finding things funny since 1968 :blink:

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Have a look at the municipal campsites websites, and bookmark a few near to the route you're using. We used to put markers on our map of all the nearby sites, but these days you can use your SatNav POI's. Also look at Archie's camping, with more than 30,000 campsite POI's - which can be downloaded on to most SatNavs. That way you can find a site whenever you decide you want to stop.

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I would totally agree with you Val if he had a single axle van but if you Google municipal sites and twin axles you will find lots of threads [including the CC one where you posted about it] where this is discussed and the general concensus seems to be that a lot of sites will only accept twin axles if you have booked.

Kia Sorrento towing a Coachman VIP 575/4

 

Our blog: jennyandjohngocaravanning. wordpress. com

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All - thanks for the responses.

 

So what about just stopping at services ?? Are these the 'Aires' I have read about about. And - I have also read about Les Routiers - are these the truck stops ??

 

I spoke with my parents (who used to take us down to the SofF in the 80's) and my Mum was convinced you could still just stop at the services for the night. Was this just how it was then or is this still possible ??

 

Ta

 

Luke

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Routiers are, or were, the Truckers cafes. .....some good, some brilliant. ..some so-so.

 

Aires de Repos ( and there is another thread on this site at moment) you can stop overnight. .....most of us no longer do so as many are frankly potentially unsafe. ...without any scare stories here just someone moving around outside during night is not the best way to get sleep.

 

Aires De Service are for Motorhomes only.

 

Me, I look for an en-route Municipal site, found by following camping signs at side of road or from Caravan Club Directory.

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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Of course it's possible to overnight at aires or services but noone advises it!

Nissan X-Trail Tekna + Coachman Festival 450

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Another one here who wouldn't stop on an aire overnight. If you use the search engine at the top of the page and put in aires and change the source from this topic to forum you will see lots more information from various posters and can then decide what is right for you.

Kia Sorrento towing a Coachman VIP 575/4

 

Our blog: jennyandjohngocaravanning. wordpress. com

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We are heading to the south, but we are taking a different route to you. We are sailing to Caen and our first overnight stop is just to the east of Tours for 1 night then onto Millau for 3 nights and then onto Perpignan in the South. We are also having 2 stop overs on our return, but we are taking a slightly different route home. We booked all our sites through the CC. I would not fancy an overnight stop at a service station. Although never done it so I can't comment on the safety aspect of things.

PS I was also warned that France is a very big country to cover from the North to the South with only 1 short stop. I was also told why hurry and miss some beautiful areas of France.

I have heard that Husband and Wife teams have done it in 1 go swapping drivers while 1 sleeps, not really sure how safe that method is.

PPS avoid Paris. Me and a friend went around the ring road for over an hour on our motorbikes a few years back before we managed to get off and find a road heading south. I would not have fancied that with a caravan. Enjoy .

Mitsubishi Shogun 3. 2 SG3 197 BHP, 2014, Auto in White . Looking for a 7m German caravan.

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If you are travelling 23rd July you will find most of the roads in north and central France are deserted as the occupants have gone south. When you get to the Med you won't be able to move!

 

If you are going around the west side and not using pay autoroutes consider the municipal Camping St Nicolas at Le Bec-Hellouin SW of Rouen. A good, quiet site with plenty of space.

 

In central France the municipals at Mehun or Bourges are very good and quite close to getting on to the free autoroutes to head south. Mehun is about a mile from the LW radio masts at Allouis which is the geographical centre of France. It is also the home of the world famous Pillivuyt porcelien where they sell seconds (almost indistinguishable from firsts) in the factory shop by weight!

 

As others have said, whilst it is nice to get to the Med quickly you will get much more enjoyment by taking a more casual drive on the Route Nationals and taking two or three days to do it. You should also consider driving to Dover and staying a night on a CL to get an early ferry in the morning - which is usually the cheaper end of the day especially if you are travelling via DFDS to Dunkerque. (I can recommend the CL run by Mrs Broadley at Whitfield off the A2 just north of Dover - she's in the CC handbook.)

 

Coming back, places to stop over near Calais are a bit sparse. Many Brits go to Le Manoir de Senlecques just east of and inland from Boulogne and close to the A16. Basic but quiet site, English spoken, and no problems with outfit sizes.

2018 Passat B8 Estate 150GT TDi150 towing a 2018 Bailey Unicorn S4 Seville

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We are travelling from Manchester so plan to set off at around 05:00 am, get the ferry about 11:00 - 12:00. Would the like to drive for another 5 hours or so the other side before stopping around 17:00ish - if the kids are OK we will just push on as long as poss.

 

 

Thanks,

 

Luke

 

 

We left at about 5 last year from just south of Manchester, had a good run and one stop for breakfast and pulled into Dover at 12. i think you are probably being a bit optamistic or need to leave even earlier.

 

 

Mike

VW Touareg 3. 0L V6 262 R Line with a Unicorn IV Segovia trying to keep up!

 

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Manchester to the ferry 6 hours and then another 5 hours or more in France!

 

Is that safe or even wise?

 

If you were driving a HGV you'd be at the limit of your driving hours.

We fight not for glory, nor for wealth nor honours . ..

but only and alone we fight for freedom,

which no good man surrenders but with his life.

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Take your time and enjoy. ......I once,solo driver, went from Dover to NE Spain ( Bay of Rosas) in 2 1/2 days and spent the next three resting under the caravan. ....came back in four days and needed no extra rest!

 

geoff

 

p. s. I has taken us 90 minutes just to get last three miles into Dover in peak season.

Edited by shipbroker

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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Just take your time and remember that France is twice as big as the UK. That's not always obvious when you look on the map.

 

If you drive the times you are thinking of you will be absolutely shattered and your holiday will turn into a slog instead of a relaxing break !

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When we were planning our trip to the South of France numerous people told us not to rush things due to the size of France. Me and a friend went through France to Spain on Motorbikes which are a lot quicker and more manoverable that a car and caravan and it still took us 2 days to get through France and then we had a stop over in Andora. What's the rush ???

Its not as easy as Manchester to Cornwall !!! Especially if you have kids in tow.

We are lucky our 2 teenagers have decided they don't want to come this year, so our trip should be even less stressfull. Fingers crossed.

Mitsubishi Shogun 3. 2 SG3 197 BHP, 2014, Auto in White . Looking for a 7m German caravan.

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My advice:

 

Set off a day earlier and book into Abbey Wood, East London. It's then a relaxing morning drive of a couple of hours to get to ferry.

 

Stay near Paris - Try Le Beau Village - Let them know you have a large twin axle at booking time and they will make sure they save a bigger pitch for you.

 

The leg down to Millau is do-able in a day, but it is a long journey. I did it in about 8 hours with a decent lunch stop, but I stayed in Millau at Les Rivages, if you are travelling further you may consider splitting that journey in half.

 

Regards,

Stephen Milner

Olympus II 620-6 & Mitsubishi Shogun

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We are stopping just east of Tours for our first night then onto Millau, We are also staying at Les Rivages for 3 nights then onto Perpignan.

Mitsubishi Shogun 3. 2 SG3 197 BHP, 2014, Auto in White . Looking for a 7m German caravan.

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Not saying it can't be done, I have done it regularly as a truck driver ;)

 

I like to allow time for the unforseen on holiday journeys, if no delays the lunch breaks are longer and more relaxed.

 

As for the drive, I went in August. Drove all day Thursday in my truck, home for shower and tea, set off for Dover and had 2 hours kip waiting for ferry, drove 6 hours other side to site. Arrived 3pm Friday ready for a pint.

 

H.

Finding things funny since 1968 :blink:

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If it is your first time,take your time leaving lots of time for breaks for you and kids. It can be a hard drive to dover with delays,M25,m6, waiting time at the ferry port. You need to build in lots of time to make it stress free your on holiday.

France is a lot better to drive in but its a long way to the Med.

We have done Dover over night got an early ferry and stopped on the A16 to rest and then on til midday,but its not good.

We now travel on a Sunday 0900 start, M6 toilet stop, M40 Dinner break, M25 toilet,J10 M20 to top up and a rest if time,on to tunnel 1900hr ot 2000hr train. Over night about an hour south of Calais,

Driving back is harder the Hoilday is over and its back to work.

Sprite Quattro dd Volvo xc60

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