Cheap overnight stops in France…
France is at the forefront of cheap overnight stops for campervans, with potentially more opportunities to stay ‘off site’ per square mile than any other country in Europe. You’ll find most French campervan owners using the vast network of Aires de Service, specific campervans stopovers, in preference to campsites. These aires can be found in thousands of towns and cities across France, many with stunning locations and spectacular views on riversides, lakesides, in mountains or parks.
Open to all campervans, many aires are free to use though there may be a small charge involved (typically between €5 and €8 for 24 hours). Most provide essential facilities for emptying waste water and cassette toilets, filling up with fresh water and dumping rubbish; some of the facilities are operated using a token, available from a nearby shop or tourist office. If you are likely to use aires significantly, it’s worth keeping hold of a supply of tokens so you’ve always got access to the facilities even when offices are closed.
Most sites are safe and secure, although it is not recommended to stay overnight at aires within motorway service stations. In addition, it is always worth having a back-up option if you arrive and don’t like the look – or feel – of the aire. The official listings guide of French aires is the annual Le Guide Officiel Aires de Services Camping Car. It’s written in French so if you’d prefer a very good English alternative, All The Aires France is a must for regular users of this type of overnight accommodation.
For those who prefer the security of a designated campsite, you’ll find municipal-run sites in many towns. With limited facilities, these are often some of the best-value campsites in the country.