We’d just had two weeks in the Netherlands and it’s fair to say that the weather while we were here was pretty lousy. It was cold and wet, and so disappointing after our amazingly hot Easter. We still had a few weeks left on our trip and on sudden impulse we decided to head south into France to try and find some sun.
In all our travels we’ve never been down the western side of France, and for years Carol’s been desperate to visit Mont Saint Michel, so we decided to head down into Brittany and Normandy.
Now normally most of our travelling is set at a slow meandering pace, but once we’d made up our minds to seek out the sun, for the first time ever we turned off “No-Tolls” and “no-motorways” on the sat-nav, and headed down to Normandy as quickly as we could.
People often ask about the sort of places we stay when we’re travelling. The places Motorhomers are allowed to stay, vary from country to country, but France has to be one of the best and easiest places in Europe for Motorhomers. As well as the normal private and municipal campsites, they have hundreds of “Aires” all over the country, purpose built for motorhomers to park up, sleep, fill up their water tanks and empty their waste. Some have showers, electric and toilets, some just provide basic services, with nightly charges up to about 10€ for the best, but many are free of charge. Aires are usually situated just on the edges of towns. Even the smallest villages often have an Aire dedicated to motorhomers.
On our journey down from the Netherlands, we stopped in four Aires. We thought we’d describe these as examples, for those who are travelling, or those just starting to think about travelling and wondering about Aires, and what they are.
- Le Tréport – is a small coastal town in Northern Normandy. The Aire in Treport is high on the cliffs overlooking the town and looking out over the English Channel. Fabulous to take a cup of tea and sit on the clifftop watching the sea and the birds flying across the clifftops. There’s two parts to this Aire, a free area, rough ground, with no services, and a paid tarmac area which had electric and costs 6€ a night. To get down into the town there’s a fantastic free funicular railway that operates 24 hours a day. Fabulous stop. (Map co-ordinates 50.05878, 1.36584)
(Click on images to see larger sizes)
- Dieppe – another coastal town in Nomandy, where ferries cross to Jersey, Geurnsey and the UK. The Aire in Dieppe is right next to the beach and the harbour estuary . There’s about 150 spaces in this Aire, costs about 8€ a night, but there’s only about six places that have electric. The great value of this Aire is its proximity to the beach, town centre and the ferry terminals. (49.93221, 1.08368)
- Mont Saint-Michel, Aire de Camping de Beavoir, also in Normandy. We’d booked into a campsite at Mont Saint-Michel, but came across this Aire quite by chance when we took a wrong turn! One of the nicest Aires we’ve ever stayed at, each pitch had so much space, and its own electric point. No toilets, but full motorhome service points for filling and emptying. It was a fantastic walk from this Aire along the side of the canal to the amazing town of Mont Saint Michel. (48.59335, -1.51238)
- La Chèze, As a contrast to the three Aires mentioned above, this was a small village in the middle of Brittany, which had built an Aire immediately between a small reservoir and a river, on the outskirts of the village, and just a short walk into the boulangerie and bars. Electric was available and at 5€ a night parked right next to the pretty river and weir, we thought it was a bargain. (48.13338, -2.65727)
It would be easy to write pages and pages about Aires, but that’s for another time maybe. If anybody wants advice about staying at, or using Aires we’d be more than happy to help.
We’ve also kept a Google Map of every Stopover we’ve ever made on our travels, so if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, you might find something that tickles your fancy HERE. The more recent stopovers we’ve added some commentary describing the stop.
Ha ha, and as usual, what was going to be a post about one subject has turned into something completely different. Mont Saint-Michel will have to wait for the next blog post!