May 31, 2023

Planning to go to France with a motorhome or campervan? Need to keep in free or low-cost in a single day stopovers as an alternative of high-priced campsites? Then Aires is likely to be for you! In case you’re questioning what’s a French Aire, right here’s every little thing you want to find out about how you can discover low-cost or free in a single day stopovers as you journey– with out reserving something upfront.

Don’t neglect to seize your FREE France journey guidelines beneath to assist hold you organised.

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Discover France by motorhome utilizing French Aires

We love touring France in our motorhome. It’s a good looking nation and having the ability to discover in our personal automobile permits us to discover as many chateaux, vineyards and seashores as we like!

We hardly ever have a route or itinerary deliberate out other than the tunnel or ferry, so having the ability to discover French aires as we go is ideal for us- it provides us the flexibleness to cease in an space for some time or drive someplace totally different if it takes our fancy. 

However HOW can we do that? How can we journey to a different nation with out reserving any in a single day motorhome parking stopovers upfront? Reply- we use a beautiful system referred to as French Aires.

Confused already? No thought what I’m speaking about? Don’t worry- we didn’t know aires existed till we purchased our first camper, so that you’re not alone! On this put up, I’m going to share all about how you can discover, use and luxuriate in French aires along with your motorhome or campervan- and open up a complete new world of freedom for you.

NOTE: it is a giant, in-depth information. If you wish to download it for FREE, click here

What’s an aire in France?

There are literally a number of kinds of ‘aire’ in France.

Aire de service which means

An ‘aire de service’ is an ‘space of service’ or a service space, usually discovered on French motorways and infrequently have waste services and accepted parking bays for motorhomes.

They’re the identical as a service station within the UK and supply gasoline, bathrooms, eating places, a store and many others and many others. You’ll be able to usually purchase refillable gasoline from an aire de service too, though not all the time. There’ll usually be a merchandising machine for warm drinks and typically a microwave for public use too.

In an aire de service, you’ll usually discover motorhome disposal factors, the place you possibly can pay a few euro to empty your waste tank and bathroom, and refill with recent water. It’s not all the time clear if the water is appropriate for ingesting or not; if doubtful, don’t put it in your recent water tank or use chemical substances like this to make it secure for ingesting.

In a single day Tenting Automotive parking French motorway

Are you able to keep in a single day in an ‘aire de service’ on a French motorway? Sure, usually it’s allowed. They usually have particular motorhome parking areas and there will probably be an allowed time you might be allowed to remain for. This will probably be displayed clearly on an indication someplace close by. If doubtful, ask.

Simply keep in mind, it’s a motorway service station, so it’s not the nicest of locations to cease. Lorries will come and go in any respect hours too, so we solely use these once we’re determined.

To confuse you even additional, different kinds of aire (that are those you’re most likely on the lookout for) are additionally sometimes called ‘aires de service’… so while you’re on the lookout for good locations to cease, search for any which aren’t proper on a motorway- extra on this later!

Aire de repos

‘Aire de repos’ are additionally discovered on the sides of roads, and once more are accepted relaxation stops. You’ll usually discover campers and lorries parked up in these however there are hardly ever any services, aside from a few picnic tables.

Once more, you possibly can keep in these aires in a single day, usually as much as 24 hours if you want, however once more, lorries will make noise all night time and also you’re fairly uncovered. We’ve stayed in these a few instances when actually drained, however it’s positively not our most well-liked possibility. 

There are additionally aires de jeu (playgrounds), aire de loisirs (rec space) and a number of other others. We all know, it will get complicated. We attempt to discover the aires BEFORE worrying in regards to the signs- extra on how to try this beneath!

French Aires- guide to motorhome overnight parking and free aires in France
One of many first aires in France we ever stayed in. It was beautiful- and so peaceable!

French aires- Tenting automotive park in France

These are the kind of aire in France you’re most likely on the lookout for. These are accepted motorhome (or tenting automotive) parking areas that are offered ALL OVER France, usually very near villages and cities.

They’re usually a carpark or giant gravel space, the place motorhomes are allowed to park in a single day, and even for a number of nights. Some are correctly marked out into bays, others are a free-for-all and you may park wherever and nonetheless you want!

Usually, these are run by the native council and are designed to encourage folks to go to the world. They’re almost all the time effectively stored and welcoming, with indicators in French and infrequently English. If the indicators aren’t in English, the data will probably be displayed in a method that’s pretty simple to know.

Most aires in France could have a store/ bar/ cafe inside simple strolling distance. Strolling to get recent French bread within the morning is one in every of our favorite issues about motorhoming round France.

What services do aires in France have?

They usually (however not all the time!) have services similar to:

  • emptying waste water (usually a drive-over grill)- can usually be used without spending a dime
  • Empty bathroom
  • refill with recent water. Consuming water is ‘eau potable’ in French

Usually this comes at an extra cost and you’ll need change to make use of these facilities- we feature a pot within the motorhome and put all our spare Euros in there for moments identical to this!

Some aires have restrictions on what you possibly can empty into them, particularly in the event that they’re on the fosse system. This implies you need to watch out which chemical you employ in your bathroom and gray waste. We use a product referred to as Solbio organic toilet fluid, which is pure and doesn’t include dangerous chemical substances. It’s additionally secure to be disposed of in septic tanks or fosse, which means now we have extra choices to eliminate our bathroom responsibly.

Water is often 1€ for 50 litres or one thing related.

france motorhome travel planner
Travelling to France? Plan your journey the straightforward method. Click on to study extra about our full France highway journey journey planner

Do aires in France have loos or bathrooms?

Sometimes you’ll discover an aire in France with bathrooms, however not usually. Most aires count on you to be self-contained. In fact, there will probably be bathrooms within the close by village or city, however hardly ever on the aire itself.

There may be not all the time a spot to enter the woods and ‘relieve your self’ either- many aires are like large automotive parks, so in the event you want bathrooms, choose your aires fastidiously!

Electrical connectors

Some aires in France have electrical factors you possibly can connect with, others don’t and you want to be self-sufficient in the course of your keep. Many of the aires we’ve utilized in France use the identical electrical connectors as we use within the UK.

Some aires require tokens to be able to use the electrical. Usually, these must be bought from an accepted location (just like the native bar!), which is okay… until you arrive when that location is closed.

There’s no method round it- if it’s shut, you’re not getting electrical that night time. In case you’re determined, search for an aire which doesn’t want tokens, however ideally you’ll need your motorhome to have the ability to survive an evening (or two!) with out the necessity for electrical.

Discover ways to arrange your motorhome for off-grid parking (wild tenting) right here.

How lengthy are you able to keep at a French Aire?

That is determined by the Aire and is set by the native council. Many are 24 hours max, however some will let you keep for 3/4 days if you want. All the data will probably be on the signal within the aire.

French aires can either be big gravel unmarked parking areas, or tightly packed into bays. We prefer aires in France like this- easier to park with our trailer.
French aires can both be large gravel unmarked parking areas, or tightly packed into bays. We choose aires in France like this- simpler to park with our trailer.

Tenting Automotive park France

You’ll often see an Aire known as a ‘tenting automotive park’. This doesn’t imply you may get out the pup tent- tenting automotive is the French phrase(s) for motorhome/ RV. A tenting automotive park is just about the identical as an aire, though often there are higher services and typically even a restaurant/ meals automotive.

How do you discover French Aires?

Ah- right here’s the magic of travelling with out a plan. There are a few methods to search out aires in France, particularly as you’re travelling. We by no means have them deliberate in advance- we all the time discover them en-route.

Are you able to ebook Aires upfront?

No- or not less than very very hardly ever. (Sometimes, it’s potential to ebook on-line, particularly within the mountains in winter in the event you’re going motorhome snowboarding.) The entire level of aires is flexibility and freedom.

The excellent news is that its first come, first served. The unhealthy information is that well-liked locations grow to be full VERY rapidly. So don’t wait too late to start out discovering someplace to cease, in case your first alternative is full and you want to discover some place else to go.

NOTE: There’s a new France winter tyre law- learn extra right here

Map of Aires in France & PDF obtain

On the lookout for a map of French aires or a PDF to obtain? Seize our wild tenting database, which incorporates 250+ in a single day stopovers across the UK and Europe (together with LOTS in France) the place we’ve stayed in our motorhome. Contains wild tenting spots and aires in France and round Europe. Seize it right here.

wild camping database
Click on to seize the wild tenting & aire database

Watch the video explaining about French Aires

Favor listening/ watching video? I share our suggestions, plus some pictures/ movies of aires in France we’ve stayed in with our motorhome.

We hope you discovered the video helpful. In case you did, we’d like it if you followed us on Youtube. New movies with suggestions for motorhoming and campervanning within the UK and Europe are launched weekly.

Aires tenting automotive France apps

We usually use the app to search out aires or accepted in a single day motorhome locations. We resolve whether or not we wish to wild camp for the night time or whether or not we’d like services/ wish to cost motorhome batteries and many others.

If we wish to cost/ empty bathrooms or discover someplace to park for a number of days so we will experience our bikes, we head for a French Aire.

Then, we glance on the app for aires with pictures (so we will see the size of the areas and see if our motorhome and trailer will match!) and we have a look at the opinions. If there are many destructive opinions, we hold on the lookout for one other place.

Ultimately, we discover someplace we just like the look/ really feel of. I usually try to have a backup possibility too, in case our first alternative is full once we arrive.

Then, we pop the co-ordinates into the GPS and head in direction of our chosen spot!

Different apps/ web sites we use to search out aires in France are:

  • Campercontact (web site only- you want to pay for the app, though the app does work offline, so it’s helpful!)

All of the Aires guidebook

There are execs and cons of the ‘All the aires’ guidebook. The largest professional is that you just don’t want entry to the web to be able to discover someplace to remain. That is VERY helpful while you’re within the Alps and may’t get a sign.

The con is that the data goes outdated and it’s potential to show up at an aire which has been shut. Having stated that, it’s potential for this to occur utilizing Park4night too.

In case you’re planning on doing a whole lot of motor homing in France, the All the Aires guidebook positively well worth the funding/ area within the camper.

Don’t fear if a ebook is a 12 months or two outdated. Many of the aires don’t change fairly often. Having stated that, we all the time choose to search out French Aires on-line in order that we will learn latest opinions and study any updates (similar to closing for upkeep or shutting down.)

Are aires in France open all 12 months?

Some are. Some aren’t. It’s good to test fastidiously while you’re on the lookout for an aire to remain at. Many aires within the Alps solely open April-November ish as a result of snow closing roads.

Aires in the French alps are out of this world!! The mountain views are breathtaking, whether it's summer or winter. Travel France in a motorhome and use the French aires to do it cheaply!
Our motorhome close to top-of-the-line French Aires within the Alps.

What to do on arrival at an aire in France

Typically discovering the aire is usually a problem. It’s good to search for an indication of a motorhome over a waste disposal point- usually in black or blue.

Motorhome aire in France sign
Motorhome aire in France signal
  • Once you arrive, drive slowly and get your bearings. Some aires have signed entrances/ exits, others don’t.
  • Earlier than you flip in, see in the event you can see an area to your camper. These locations are sometimes very tough to show round in. If doubtful and also you’re travelling with another person, allow them to out to go take a look earlier than you commit.
  • Anticipate everybody to cease and watch. Motorhomers are nosy/ folks. Don’t be intimidated.
  • Decide your spot and park up. 
  • The very first thing to do, earlier than you place the kettle on, is to go learn the indicators and pay something due. Learn how lengthy you possibly can keep and what the principles are. Verify this towards the data from park4night or a book- guidelines change and the principles on the signal are probably the most up-to-date.

When is the perfect time to reach at an aire?

If you wish to go to a particular location, similar to a city/ metropolis (try these high 10 cities to go to in France), then I like to recommend arriving by lunchtime, earlier than everybody else turns up- particularly in case you are travelling throughout July/ August (peak summer time months in France). Many well-liked aires get loopy busy and by 2pm they are often utterly full.

Free in a single day parking for motorhomes? What do Aires price?

Some are completely free, until you make use of the services. Some price a few Euros and others price as a lot as 15€, which I feel is the utmost we’ve paid thus far. We are inclined to keep away from cities, however I consider aires near well-liked areas price extra and are rather more crowded.

Easy methods to use French Aires- what are the principles?

  • Aires are first come, first served. They can’t be booked or reserved upfront.
  • There will probably be a time restrict you might be allowed to remain for, significantly if the aire is free. This will probably be clearly signposted on the aire and folks DO check- don’t overstay your welcome.
  • Some aires have areas subsequent to them to will let you put out an awning and out of doors chairs. If the signal says it’s allowed and if different persons are doing it, then go forward. Nevertheless, if there isn’t an area, assume that exterior seating/ awnings are prohibited. Aires aren’t campsites- they’re in a single day stopovers.
  • Don’t take up one other motorhome parking place along with your gear- that’s not allowed.
  • When you’ve got a trailer, be very cautious which aires you choose. We glance fastidiously at pictures and opinions to search out areas both lengthy sufficient for our motorhome, or the place there may be area for us to take our trailer off and have it subsequent to the van. Many aires are for campers as much as max 7m lengthy and a few areas are VERY tight- particularly in well-known or constructed up areas.
  • Don’t play loud music or be too rowdy- these are quiet locations for folks to take pleasure in their travels.
  • No tents. Ever.
  • Don’t park within the servicing space any longer than you need to. Positively don’t depart your camper unattended right here and block the providers for different folks while you go to the bar!
  • Don’t depart any garbage or litter. If there aren’t any bins, take it with you!

Can campervans use aires in France

Completely. Campervans and even transformed vehicles are welcome at aires, so long as it’s a campervan and never a piece automobile. Vans with signage on or ‘stealth campers’ are sometimes not allowed and now we have seen them being requested to maneuver on.

Travelling France in a campervan? Right here’s every little thing you want to find out about vanlife in Europe

Can caravans use aires in France?

No. Most aires don’t permit caravans. The one locations I do know for caravans to park in a single day are both wild tenting or precise campsites. You may be capable of use aires de repos- I doubt anybody would test. This is among the greatest execs when deciding between motorhomes or caravans for us.

Sleeping in French Aires

We sleep nice in French Aires. They’re usually quiet, and motorhome house owners are inclined to look out for one another. We’ve had full strangers shout at native children who’ve come over to have a look at our motorbikes- warning the children to remain away and never contact. We’ve by no means had a disturbed nights sleep in an aire… aside from with the pet wanting to take a seat on my head! 🙁

Are aires in France secure?

As all the time, there aren’t any absolutes with security. We’ve by no means had an incident at a French aire (contact wooden!) however that’s to not say nothing can occur.

Put it this manner, some aires now we have a fantastic feeling about and fortunately depart our motorhome for a number of hours whereas we go and experience our motorbikes. These are the aires the place we spend a day or two to unwind and calm down between driving (if it’s allowed).

Others, we don’t depart the van unattended in any respect and transfer on the following morning till we discover someplace higher. You HAVE to belief your gut- in the event you’re undecided, transfer on.

Tenting automotive information in English at French Aires

Most aires in France have information for tenting vehicles (Motorhomes) in French and English. If not, there will probably be indicators making it simple to know what you want to know.

How do you pay for aires in France?

The toughest half is usually determining how you can pay to your keep at a French Aire. Some have parking meters (which frequently solely settle for change-  one more reason for the change tub!) however some require you to go to the native bar/ cafe/ store to be able to pay.

This is usually a bit daunting- particularly if it’s filled with locals who all cease to stare as you stroll in. Don’t let that put you off- we’ve had some nice nights at French bars with out a clue what’s being occurring round us.

Try to communicate just a little French while you enter- it would heat the locals to you. Say one thing like “J’ai un tenting automotive dans l’aire. Est-ce que je paie ici?”

Anticipate the proprietor to ask questions like how many individuals (combien des personnes) and what number of nights you wish to keep for (combien des nuits?)

france motorhome travel planner
Travelling to France? Plan your journey the straightforward method. Click on to study extra about our full France highway journey journey planner

Are canines allowed on French Aires?

In fact! France loves canines and also you’ll see them in all places. There aren’t any restrictions in having them on an aire, however, after all, they must be stored on a lead always.

Travelling to France with a Canine? You may discover these posts helpful:

Different Motorhome websites France

There are many locations for motorhomes throughout France. In case you don’t want to use an aire, there are campsites in every single place, with services similar to swimming swimming pools (bliss in the summertime!), outlets, bars or seashores.

There’s additionally a scheme referred to as France Ardour, which is a group of vineyards, farms and different locations the place they provide free or low-cost in a single day motorhome parking. It’s a bit like BritStops within the UK.

You’ll be able to print ALL this information. If you wish to download it for FREE, click here

Completely- so long as you observe the principles. Discover out extra about wild tenting with a motorhome in France (and how you can discover locations to cease.)

Finest aires in France

There are too many aires to make that choice- and we haven’t stayed at all of them! Nevertheless, our favorite aires are those with unimaginable views- like this one within the French Alps or those close to well-known historic locations in France– makes sightseeing even simpler!

Aire in France- love the French Aires in the Alps.
Aire in France within the Alps- simply have a look at that view!!

Critically- you’d pay a fortune for a resort room with a view like that!

We additionally just like the aires the place you possibly can keep for a few nights- it’s good to have a break from driving and possibly get the motorbikes out to discover the world higher. This book has some lovely aires to encourage your subsequent journey!!

So, I hope you at the moment are enthusiastic about attempting out some French aires in your motorhome tour of France! Let me know the place you finish up- I’d like to see photos. Be happy so as to add them onto my Fb web page or be part of our Motorhome Facebook group here.

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