Getting into Europe and using aires?

Tourershine

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So i've just spent, or actually my wife has just spent the last 4hrs on the Eurotunnel website trying to book our crossings for August. It's well reported across the internet that Eurotunnel.com is under a huge amount of pressure due to the whole country trying to make bookings after the latest news about dropping the 2 week quarantine for people coming back into the UK.
The website issues were very frustrating, getting through the booking system with the dates and times you want, only for the website to crash at the confirmation stage, over and over again, each time you restart the dates and times you wanted were gone. Until finally we managed to get a date that was a day before we were meant to be going, and a return date 2 days before we were meant to be coming back, both at stupidly unpractical times, but it's done now and we are booked.

My main question is this: I've been touring all over Europe for years, but never actually used a French Aire. Our outbound journey gets us into France around 10pm, which obviously means getting a site that late is near on impossible. So we might have to use an Aire for that one night. Has anyone in here used them? are there other Caravans and Motorhomes using them? Daft questions I know, but in all my touring time, i've never been in one at night.
I'm not concerned too much, but i'd feel a little more comfortable if I knew many other Motorhomes or Caravans, Campers use them and we weren't sat there on our own surrounded by lorries.

By the way, the booking system was only a total nightmare because we use a frequent traveller pass at £480 for 10 crossings. If we were prepared to pay over £400 just for a single return ticket, there would of been far more choices. Frequent traveller passes are cheaper for a reason, but this is the first time we've had issues using this method.
 

Carl1974

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Hi Tourershine, last August we travelled to Italy and on the way there we stayed at an Aire, after reading various reviews some not so good but most being positive.

We made the decision to stay At an Aire that had a 24hr petrol station and a coffee station and a couple more shops. We thought this would be safer as cars and people coming throughout the night, we parked up and stayed for about 6-8 hours then continued on our journey. We had no issues at all and it was quiet, there were other campers and caravans at the location.
 

rod_vw

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No problem in pulling into an Aire late, just be courteous with lights and noise.

A good source of locations is Search for Sites but there are others. I don't know which way you are travelling so can't recommend a stop-over. A word of warning, it's not wise to stop over night on a motorway services these are the most likely places to get broken into. My son will confirm!!

You did mention caravans, they are a no-no on Aires, strictly camping cars (motor homes) only!

PS We've used hundreds of Aires all over France during the past ten years 99% of the time being comfortable with the place we have stopped at,
 

Nigel W

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Most of the sites we use have a parking area just outside the barrier where you can park awaiting the site to open so I guess you could go to your favourite/usual site and see if there are any spaces.
just looked at the Eurotunnel site and wow are they suddenly full, spotted some trains In Aug at over £400 just one way!
We go in September when it is supposedly quiet but most days look to be fully booked other than silly times like yours.
Looks like we will be in same position as you.......
 

Tourershine

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Thanks chaps.
I don't really have much choice but to use an aire because of my arrival time, but to be totally honest, my priority was getting into Europe and actually having a holiday, so i'd of gone for any times.
With the greatest respect to anyone holidaying in the UK this year, the constant pictures and reports of the coastal areas during hot days and the fact that most people will be heading into the beauty spots during August, i'd sooner not bother taxing my Motorhome this year if that was the case.
Europe here we come, and hopefully in the Winter also. Kind of hoping that many sites will extend their seasons into winter.

Oh, all this is unless the government throw a huge net over Leicester and Leicestershire to stop us doing anything:whistle:
 

Nigel W

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Just a quick warning, many people overnight at CitiEurope, just by the terminal, but friends have just told me that this is no longer allowed.
 

Pete C

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There is a book you can buy, that documents all the French Aires. Will see if I can find our copy.

Pete
 

DXX

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There are many rural aires in France with fishing lakes, others on the edge of some nice villages.
No doubt these will be very popular as people start traveling. I’ve always avoided campsites when traveling and used aires instead.
My advice is to purchase the Aires in France books (they also do spain and portugal) and be a bit flexible on the route. If I was going to arrive late I’d almost always have a backup in case It was full.
It’s not always straight forward but that’s part of the fun.
 

Pete C

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Dieseldonkey

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We used an Aire just as an overnight stop outside Chantily. Had a late night evening visit to show the bairn around Paris whilst, en route back from Switzerland. Just like pulling into services on the motorway. Only you dont have to pay for a stay of more than two hours.

We have friends who take their motorhome to France frequently and use nothing other than Aire's now. They refuse to go to campsites. Seems to work well for them.
 
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