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Sleeping In Aires In France


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Is it legal to pullover and sleep in your van in an aire in France?

Going later on in the year and will be arriving late evening will definitely need a rest.

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Yes - it's perfectly legal and no parking charge even if you stay all night - but that's not to say it's safe. Choose a busy service area and try to park with the cash desk and shop within view. The quiet rest areas are a definite no-no after dark

Edited by Jaydug

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They are safe - some of them. We regularly stay overnight at Aire de Baie de Somme, just off the A16, and have probably stopped there twenty times, with absolutely nothing untoward happening. However, there are some, around cities, where I would not choose to stay, and as Jaydug says, I would never at the smaller picnic-type aires without a fuel station.

 

However, for a first trip to France, I would be asking which Aires, rather than trying to pick one myself. We don't stay on Aires that we've not visited in daylight first to assess them!

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Just book a site - don't risk it

If I'd have known I was going to be this thirsty this morning I'd have drunk more last night

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Like ValA we have stopped a at the aire de Baiae Somme, it has it's own security and the Gendarme patrol it as well. On the other hand we have pulled into a small Aire to use the toilet and the Gendarmerie advised us not to stop to long. So we now only stop overnight at aires with fuel and restaurants on. We have been going to France for about 15 years and never had any problems, and have not met anyone who has.

 

 

 

 

Les

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Sometimes, with an awkward ferry time, it just isn't possible to book a site, and rather than driving tired it's best if people know that there are alternatives and given the names of those where others have stayed and been quite safe.

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Just book a site - don't risk it

Having experienced strangers in the night the only one I would stay at is the Biaie as the caravan areA is large and purpose built. ..

 

Geoff

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

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We do it twice a year without issues, just be sensible stay near forcourts etc, you'll see all nationalites doing it especially the dutch. We estimate how far we will travel then we look on google earth and list possible services in the area with forcourts, but plan on stopping earlier rather than later as there will be more chance of geeting a decent spot.

 

Mark

Volvo XC90 D5 AWD, Lunar Ultima 615,Towing at 62%

 

You have a second chance at life it's called tomorrow!

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We do it twice a year without issues, just be sensible stay near forcourts etc, you'll see all nationalites doing it especially the dutch. We estimate how far we will travel then we look on google earth and list possible services in the area with forcourts, but plan on stopping earlier rather than later as there will be more chance of geeting a decent spot.

 

Mark

For the sake of saving 20 or 30 euros just book a site

If I'd have known I was going to be this thirsty this morning I'd have drunk more last night

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For the sake of saving 20 or 30 euros just book a site

 

Nothing to do with saving 20 or 30 euros, the grand scheme of things it's a drop in the ocean, it's to do with choice we catch a late ferry, we can stop where we want, leave when we want and we have not had any issues in all the years of travelling.

 

Not everythings to do with money!

Volvo XC90 D5 AWD, Lunar Ultima 615,Towing at 62%

 

You have a second chance at life it's called tomorrow!

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Those are different - 'Aires de Service de Camping Car' are motorhome only. Aires on the autoroutes and main roads are for everyone. They can be like our 'Service Areas' with fuel/restaurant/toilets/games area/playground and picnic benches, or just 'Picnic Areas' with perhaps a small (sometimes primitive, sometimes immaculate) toilet block and a few picnic benches.

 

Like Harvomark, our ferry is a late evening one. After setting off from Yorkshire with a (sometimes) seven hour journey, we've two choices - an early start and an overnight in an overpriced site near Dover, or an afternoon start and an overnight at Baie de Somme as we arrive much too late to get a site for the night. Given that Baie de Somme not only has a dedicated caravan area with bays, grass, plenty of bins, and a picnic table approximately every caravan length, but it has a good toilets and shower, lovely breakfasts, and is on the edge of a nature reserve with canals, reed beds, and a bird-watching tower - and it's free. There's absolutely no contest.

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How far is the Baie de Somme from Calais?

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About and hour and ten minutes, towing, so if we arrive at 10. 00 pm we can be in bed at Baie de Somme by 11. 30pm! It's only useful, though, if you're heading west (or south using the Rouen/N154/A75 route which we use).

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I was of the impression that aires were for motor homes only?

They are aires du service. ..what we are discussing are aires du repos which are often just large layby arrangements. .

 

 

Geoff

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

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It seems to be fairly widely believed that Aires are, on the whole, not very good places to spend the night. Has anyone any personal experience of misfortune or is it a case of "I knew a chap who knew a chap . .."

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We have booked sites and used Aires but only the large ones on Autoroutes. We stop early and get in amongst the lorries, we also introduce the dogs to the drivers so they know we are there. Lorry drivers are usually quite safe.

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It seems to be fairly widely believed that Aires are, on the whole, not very good places to spend the night. Has anyone any personal experience of misfortune or is it a case of "I knew a chap who knew a chap . .."

 

Twice we have stopped en route from South of France or Spain,once near Brive, the other outside St. Quentin,and have had 'visitors' who have been around and under the 'van. ....they were chased by lorry drivers and another caravanner, who like us moved off.

 

We also holidayed with a couple who didn't get onto our site that night, as too late arrival following breakdown. ....They parked in an aire just down the road, the French side of Geneva, and were awoken by their awning across inside the door being moved. ........the police were called and they came onto our site three times and confirmed that they were having lots of problems. ..they, as the Spanish do, blamed 'Eastern Europeans'........this lady had to be persuaded to stay as they had a similar experience near Calais the previous year when 'silent' entry had been made and the mans trousers were being checked over when they woke. .........

 

So we don't use them any more, at all, we normally seek a Municipal in advance.

 

Another problem is that often the vehicles you are sharing space with are freezer trucks who keep their motors going non-stop. ..this coupled with the fumes makes the stay not the most pleasant.

 

geoff

Sulyka. ............Dogs are good!

 

geoff

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

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MW,

I know 2 differrent families who have had bad experiences on Aires. One is a very good female friend of the family, she was travelling around the Southern part of France with her teenage son and his girlfriend. One night they decided to sleep in an aire. When she woke up in the morning she found that the caravan had been entered and a lot of their belongings had been stolen. Fortunately, no one had suffered any physical harm, but the incident hit our friend pretty hard. She is an ex cop and has seen quite a bit in her time, but she aint ventured abroad in her caravan since. It has taken her a few years to get her confidence back so that she can think about caravanning in the UK.

 

Personally, I wouldn't stay on aire, but that's me, its down to personal choice.

 

M

Edited by majorraglan
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Back in the 70s & 80s when I caravanned with my parents we used to use them all the time, 3/4 stays each year on our round trip to Spain.

 

We specifically chose the ones away from trucks and service stations as they often seemed more pleasant.

 

I now book and plan my stops at proper sites en-route since I just don't think it's worth the risk.

 

I have a dog now, who will bark if someone is in close proximity to the van, so in an emergency I might give one of the ones with a service station attached a go.

 

Regards,

Stephen

Olympus II 620-6 & Mitsubishi Shogun

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Stephen. ..like you we were regular stoppers in aires in the 70's and never felt anxious at all even with young family on board. ..these days I avoid but would stop at The Baie if pushed. ..does get busy though. .

Geoff

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are going by ferry to Ouistreham (Caen) arriving late in the evening. I was thinking of stopping in the aire on the A158 north of Falaise. It appears to be just a halt no services. The next one appears to be nearer Le Mans.

 

Anybody used it or can give any advice?

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