French Aires- every little thing you might want to learn about free motorhome stopovers in France

Planning to go to France with a motorhome or campervan? Wish to keep in free or low cost in a single day stopovers as an alternative of pricy campsites? Then Aires may be for you! In the event you’re questioning what’s a French Aire, right here’s every little thing you might want to learn about the way to discover low cost or free in a single day stopovers as you journey– with out reserving something prematurely.

Don’t neglect to seize your FREE France journey guidelines under to assist maintain you organised.

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Discover France by motorhome utilizing French Aires

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

We not often have a route or itinerary deliberate out aside from the tunnel or ferry, so having the ability to discover French aires as we go is ideal for us- it provides us the pliability to cease in an space for some time or drive someplace totally different if it takes our fancy. 

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

Confused already? No concept 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 submit, I’m going to share all about the way to discover, use and luxuriate in French aires along with your motorhome or campervan- and open up an entire new world of freedom for you.

NOTE: this can be 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 forms of ‘aire’ in France.

Aire de service that means

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

They’re the identical as a service station within the UK and supply gasoline, bogs, eating places, a store and so on and so on. You may usually purchase refillable gasoline from an aire de service too, though not at all times. 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 at all times clear if the water is appropriate for consuming or not; if doubtful, don’t put it in your recent water tank or use chemical substances like this to make it protected for consuming.

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 can be an allowed time you might be allowed to remain for. This can be displayed clearly on an indication someplace close by. If doubtful, ask.

Simply bear 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 after we’re determined.

To confuse you even additional, different forms of aire (that are those you’re in all probability searching for) are additionally sometimes called ‘aires de service’… so once you’re searching 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 permitted relaxation stops. You’ll usually discover campers and lorries parked up in these however there are not often any amenities, 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 do this under!

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 automobile park in France

These are the kind of aire in France you’re in all probability searching for. These are permitted motorhome (or tenting automobile) parking areas that are supplied ALL OVER France, usually very near villages and cities.

They’re usually a parking lot 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’ll park wherever and nonetheless you want!

Usually, these are run by the native council and are designed to encourage individuals to go to the realm. They’re almost at all times nicely saved and welcoming, with indicators in French and infrequently English. If the indicators aren’t in English, the information can be displayed in a approach that’s pretty straightforward to grasp.

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

What amenities do aires in France have?

They usually (however not at all times!) have amenities akin to:

  • emptying waste water (usually a drive-over grill)- can usually be used without cost
  • Empty rest room
  • refill with recent water. Ingesting water is ‘eau potable’ in French

Usually this comes at an extra cost and you have to change to make use of these facilities- we feature a pot within the motorhome and put all our spare Euros in there for moments similar 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 it’s important to watch out which chemical you employ in your rest room 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 protected to be disposed of in septic tanks or fosse, that means we have now extra choices to eliminate our rest room responsibly.

Water is generally 1€ for 50 litres or one thing comparable.

france motorhome travel planner
Travelling to France? Plan your journey the simple approach. Click on to be taught extra about our full France street journey journey planner

Do aires in France have bogs or bogs?

Often you’ll discover an aire in France with bogs, however not usually. Most aires count on you to be self-contained. In fact, there can be bogs within the close by village or city, however not often on the aire itself.

There may be not at all times a spot to enter the woods and ‘relieve your self’ either- many aires are like huge automobile parks, so in case you want bogs, decide your aires fastidiously!

Electrical connectors

Some aires in France have electrical factors you possibly can hook up with, others don’t and you might want to be self-sufficient during 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 as a way to use the electrical. Usually, these should be bought from an permitted location (just like the native bar!), which is ok… until you arrive when that location is closed.

There’s no approach round it- if it’s shut, you’re not getting electrical that night time. In the event 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 dependent upon the Aire and is determined by the native council. Many are 24 hours max, however some assist you to keep for 3/4 days if you want. All the information can 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 huge gravel unmarked parking areas, or tightly packed into bays. We favor 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 automobile park’. This doesn’t imply you will get out the pup tent- tenting automobile is the French phrase(s) for motorhome/ RV. A tenting automobile park is just about the identical as an aire, though often there are higher amenities and typically even a restaurant/ meals automobile.

How do you discover French Aires?

Ah- right here’s the magic of travelling and not using a plan. There are a few methods to seek out aires in France, particularly as you’re travelling. We by no means have them deliberate in advance- we at all times discover them en-route.

Are you able to ebook Aires prematurely?

No- or at the very least very very not often. (Often, it’s doable to ebook on-line, particularly within the mountains in winter in case 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 fashionable locations change into full VERY rapidly. So don’t wait too late to start out discovering someplace to cease, in case your first selection is full and you might want to discover someplace else to go.

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

Map of Aires in France & PDF obtain

Searching 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. Consists of 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

Want listening/ watching video? I share our ideas, plus some photographs/ movies of aires in France we’ve stayed in with our motorhome.

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

Aires tenting automobile France apps

We usually use the app to seek out aires or permitted 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 amenities/ wish to cost motorhome batteries and so on.

If we wish to cost/ empty bogs or discover someplace to park for a couple of days so we are able to journey our bikes, we head for a French Aire.

Then, we glance on the app for aires with photographs (so we are able to see the size of the areas and see if our motorhome and trailer will match!) and we take a look at the opinions. If there are many damaging opinions, we maintain searching 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 selection is full after we arrive.

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

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

  • Campercontact (web site only- you might 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 most important professional is that you simply don’t want entry to the web as a way to discover someplace to remain. That is VERY helpful once you’re within the Alps and may’t get a sign.

The con is that the information goes old-fashioned and it’s doable to show up at an aire which has been shut. Having stated that, it’s doable for this to occur utilizing Park4night too.

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

Don’t fear if a ebook is a yr or two old-fashioned. Many of the aires don’t change fairly often. Having stated that, we at all times favor to seek out French Aires on-line in order that we are able to learn latest opinions and be taught any updates (akin to closing for upkeep or shutting down.)

Are aires in France open all yr?

Some are. Some aren’t. You could verify fastidiously once you’re searching 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 among the finest French Aires within the Alps.

What to do on arrival at an aire in France

Typically discovering the aire is usually a problem. You could 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
  • Whenever you arrive, drive slowly and get your bearings. Some aires have signed entrances/ exits, others don’t.
  • Earlier than you flip in, see in case you can see an area in 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.
  • Count on everybody to cease and watch. Motorhomers are nosy/ individuals. Don’t be intimidated.
  • Decide your spot and park up. 
  • The very first thing to do, earlier than you set the kettle on, is to go learn the indicators and pay something due. Learn the way lengthy you possibly can keep and what the foundations are. Verify this towards the information from park4night or a book- guidelines change and the foundations on the signal are essentially the most up-to-date.

When is the very best time to reach at an aire?

If you wish to go to a selected location, akin to a city/ metropolis (try these prime 10 cities to go to in France), then I like to recommend arriving by lunchtime, earlier than everybody else turns up- particularly if you’re travelling throughout July/ August (peak summer season months in France). Many fashionable aires get loopy busy and by 2pm they are often fully full.

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

Some are completely free, until you make use of the amenities. Some price a few Euros and others price as a lot as 15€, which I feel is the utmost we’ve paid to this point. We are likely to keep away from cities, however I consider aires near fashionable places price extra and are rather more crowded.

The best way to use French Aires- what are the foundations?

  • Aires are first come, first served. They can’t be booked or reserved prematurely.
  • There can be a time restrict you might be allowed to remain for, significantly if the aire is free. This can be clearly signposted on the aire and folks DO check- don’t overstay your welcome.
  • Some aires have areas subsequent to them to assist you to 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. Nonetheless, 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.
  • In case you have a trailer, be very cautious which aires you decide. We glance fastidiously at photographs and opinions to seek out areas both lengthy sufficient for our motorhome, or the place there’s house 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 individuals to get pleasure from their travels.
  • No tents. Ever.
  • Don’t park within the servicing space any longer than it’s important to. Positively don’t go away your camper unattended right here and block the providers for different individuals while you go to the bar!
  • Don’t go away 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 car. Vans with signage on or ‘stealth campers’ are sometimes not allowed and we have now seen them being requested to maneuver on.

Travelling France in a campervan? Right here’s every little thing you might want to learn 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 verify. This is likely one of the largest 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 likely 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. Now we have by no means had a disturbed nights sleep in an aire… aside from with the pet wanting to sit down on my head! 🙁

Are aires in France protected?

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

Put it this fashion, some aires we have now an incredible feeling about and fortunately go away our motorhome for a couple of hours whereas we go and journey our motorbikes. These are the aires the place we spend a day or two to unwind and loosen up between driving (if it’s allowed).

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

Tenting automobile data in English at French Aires

Most aires in France have data for tenting vehicles (Motorhomes) in French and English. If not, there can be indicators making it straightforward to grasp what you might want to know.

How do you pay for aires in France?

The toughest half is commonly determining the way to pay in your keep at a French Aire. Some have parking meters (which regularly solely settle for change-  one more reason for the change tub!) however some require you to go to the native bar/ cafe/ store as a way to pay.

This is usually a bit daunting- particularly if it’s stuffed 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 and not using a clue what’s being happening round us.

Attempt to communicate somewhat French once you enter- it is going to heat the locals to you. Say one thing like “J’ai un tenting automobile dans l’aire. Est-ce que je paie ici?”

Count on 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 simple approach. Click on to be taught extra about our full France street journey journey planner

Are canine allowed on French Aires?

In fact! France loves canine and also you’ll see them all over the place. There aren’t any restrictions in having them on an aire, however, in fact, they should be saved 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 the event you don’t want to use an aire, there are campsites far and wide, with amenities akin 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 may print ALL this data. If you wish to download it for FREE, click here

Completely- so long as you comply with the foundations. Discover out extra about wild tenting with a motorhome in France (and the way to 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! Nonetheless, our favorite aires are those with unbelievable 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 take a look at that view!!

Severely- you’d pay a fortune for a lodge 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 realm higher. This book has some lovely aires to encourage your subsequent journey!!

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

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