The motorhome stopovers in France are some of the best in the whole of Europe and are as plentiful as baguettes and berets. France has long been one of the most popular destinations for motorhome stopovers. With its breath-taking scenery and rich history, it’s not hard to see why! No matter the season, you will find somewhere to stay in your motorhome or campervan.
From the glamour of the Côte d’Azur to the rugged beauty of Corsica, motorhome stopovers in France are as diverse as they are stunning! With so many options available, planning your perfect French motorhome stopover can be tricky.
They’re also generally free — although some have small charges, Thankfully, they’re almost universally green spaces with lots of trees and grass, so you don’t have to worry about being stuck in the middle of an industrial or residential area, and a lot of them come with services such as water and somewhere to empty your toilet.
Of all the countries we have been to in our motorhome in the UK and Europe, France is one of the very best for free motorhome stopovers and that’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide on everything you need to know about staying in France with your campervan or motorhome. Read on and get ready to explore France from behind the wheel of your favourite home on wheels!
What is an Aire in France?
An aire (pronounced ‘air’) is a regulated stopping area for campervans and motorhomes in France. There are over 2000 aires in the country, of which 10% are free. If they’re not free, they generally come only at a small cost. They are certainly not as expensive as campsites. An Aire is a large parking lot with a range of facilities designed to accommodate motorhome owners and campervan drivers on French road trips.
These include things like waste disposal, water (for both drinking and washing), and electric hook-up points.
Aires are operated and funded by the French government, with the key objective of keeping the country’s roadways free of parked vans.
You’ll often find an aire signposted from the nearby motorway or on the edge of towns and cities — especially during peak season.
We found all of the Aires that we stayed at in France on the Park4night app, as we do with pretty much every single place that we stay in everywhere we go all over the UK and Europe.
The Basics: Travelling with a Campervan or Motorhome in France
When travelling in France by campervan or motorhome, it’s important to remember a few key things. Firstly, you’ll need an international driver’s license (a UK driving license is classed as an international license) to drive your motorhome in France. Secondly, an insurance policy is also required.
You may be able to cover this with your car insurance but be sure to check in advance. Campervan or motorhome rental companies will usually provide you with a rulebook so you can check off the important points. For example, you’ll need to find a safe place to park and store your van overnight whenever you’re not driving.
This can be in a car park, a field, or even in a supermarket car park if there are no other options available.
What facilities do French Aires have?
Aires usually have a few key facilities, including drinking water, waste and water disposal points, toilets, and power points. Some Aires will also have a shop that sells basic food items, as well as a laundry service.
Most Aires will have water taps that you can use both to fill up your clean water tank and to wash your hands and dishes.
Finding the Best Motorhome Stopovers in France
There are a few different things to consider when choosing the best places to stay in France. The first thing to decide is which region of France you would like to visit. France is huge, so this can be a tough choice. Once you’ve decided on a region, you can start to look for the best motorhome stopovers in France.
When looking for the best places to stay in France, you’ll want to first decide what kind of experience you’re after. Do you want to be close to a major city? Or is the countryside more your thing? How close do you want to be to the coast?
Do you prefer the warm climate of the south, or the colder climes of the north? The choice is yours, but it’s important to decide early on so you can tailor your trip to fit your exact needs and desires.
Our France Aire recommendations
- Mont Saint Michel – , Beauvoir, Le Bourg, Manche, France (park4night.com)
- Bordeaux – On the farm (Farm, vineyard …), Saint-Loubès, 39 Chemin de Bernes, , France (park4night.com)
- Calais – Aire CC stat. payant, Marck, Rue des Tourterelles, Pas-de-Calais, France (park4night.com)
- Cauterets – Area CC stat. paying, Cauterets, Avenue Charles Thierry, Hautes-Pyrénées, France (park4night.com)
Which regions are best for motorhomes?
France is a huge country, so there is no single region that is best for motorhomes. Instead, you’ll want to choose a region based on your personal preferences and desires.
The key thing to remember when choosing the best regions for motorhomes is the climate. France has four distinct seasons, so you’ll need to decide which season(s) you want to visit.
It also depends what you are hoping to do on your trip so it’s worth doing planning exactly what you want to see and do in France so that you know which region is best for you.
How long can you stay at a French Aire?
The maximum length of time you can stay will be depending on the rules of the Aire. Some Aires will have a noticeboard that specifies the maximum stay length.
If you break this rule, you could be fined or even have your vehicle towed away, so be sure to check!
Are Aires in France open all year?
The majority of Aires are open all year, but you should always check before you make your trip. There are a few seasonal Aires that are only open during the warmer months of the year.
The best way to check which Aires are open is online. You can use websites and apps like Campermate and Exit France to find information on nearby Aires.
If you’d like to know more about van life in France, you can check out some of our other France blog posts to find out more – France – Three As A Bird – Van Life Travels
Smart Techniques for Finding Great Stops
We find all of our French Aires on the Park4Night app. This app is a life saver when it comes to finding motorhome stopovers in France and also all over Europe and the UK.
Park4night locations are reviewed by users so you can check whether the stopover is good or not based on others reviews who have been there. You can also filter your search results by their rating score, so if you only want to see results that have a rating of 3 or above out of 5, then you can filter by this.
Motorhome Aires are usually signposted on motorways too.
France has long been one of the most popular destinations for motorhome stopovers, and for good reason. The country has so much to offer, from quaint villages, large cities, mountains, lakes, beaches and of course, even Disneyland. You name it, France has it.
By following this guide, you’ll be able to make the most of your motorhome stopovers in France.
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I have always wanted to travel and luckily I always got to travel to some amazing countries while I was growing up with my family and this really encouraged me to continue this and get out into the world on my own when I was older.
My goal growing up was really to see as much of the world as I could, but then I started going to work and really concentrating on my career and travel took a back seat. I still tried to get away a few times a year but I always knew there was an end goal which was to travel as much as possible.
So I got my head down and worked as hard as I could as an e-commerce manager. I have always been techy, I love computers and websites, so that’s where it gave me the idea to start this blog and also have my own web design agency. If you want to check it out or need any help then please take a look rrwebdesign.co.uk (shameless plug there)
But after covid, we both knew this was now the right time to take the leap and go and see the world after being trapped inside our house and working from home for a couple of years. We realised more than ever that you only get one life and you really need to make the most of it and do what you love!
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