Aires France: What you need to know about taking your Motorhome or Campervan to France

Are you planning a road trip through France in your motorhome or campervan? Do you dream of swapping costly campsites for free or budget-friendly overnight stays? Then staying at a French Aire is your new best friend when it comes to motorhome stopovers.

What is a French Aire?

If you’re puzzled by the term ‘French Aire’, don’t worry. It’s simply an “area” where you can park your motorhome or campervan, a lot of the time for free!  Also commonly referred to as Aire de Camping or Aires De Camping Cars! We are going to share with you the secret to finding affordable stopovers as you explore the wonderful scenery that France has to offer – no advance bookings necessary.

aires france

Why You Should Choose Aires De Camping Car in France for Your Motorhome Journey

Touring France in a motorhome offers an experience unlike any other. You have the freedom of the open road, and with so many glorious stop overs (at time of writing there are over 3,800 Aires De Camping Car in France!) you will not be short on places to explore. 

Picture yourself roaming freely through vineyards, chateaux, and sun-kissed beaches at your own pace. Whether you like to plan out an exact route and have a limited time, to no set route with months of exploring, the world becomes your oyster, and French Aires offer the perfect mix of flexibility and convenience.

Understanding the Different Types of Motorhome Aires in France

In France, ‘aire’ refers to various types of stopover areas:

Aire de Service: These are like the UK’s service stations. These service areas are typically found on French motorways. They have amenities like fuel, toilets, and sometimes motorhome waste disposal services. Not the most scenic for overnight stays, but they’re essential for a quick stop.

Aire de Repos: These roadside rest stops are simpler, offering a place to park, maybe with a picnic table or two. Ideal for a short break, but be prepared for some noise from fellow travellers.

French Aires – Aires De Camping Car France: An ideal stopover for motorhomes and campervans. These are designated parking areas which are scattered across France.  They are often near towns and villages, managed by local councils. These spots are typically well-maintained and conveniently located. Facilities can be wide ranging, and are perfect for diving into local life, with shops and cafes usually a short walk away.

What Facilities Can You Expect at French Aires?

The facilities vary, but many Aires De Camping Car offer:

  • Waste water disposal
  • Toilet emptying
  • Fresh water refill (sometimes for a small fee)
  • Electric connectors (availability varies)

Navigating to and Using French Aires

Finding perfect Aires are part of the adventure. Apps like are invaluable for discovering Aires along your route. Reviews and photos help you choose spots that suit your needs, whether it’s a quiet night’s sleep or essential facilities. (more apps below!)

Tips for Using French Aires

Whether you are taking your motorhome, campervan or RV on road trip through France, these tips will help you plan your journey and get the most out of it.

  • Research Before You Set Off

Utilize the power of online resources. Apps like Campercontact and French Aires App can be your best pals, offering real-time information on locations, facilities, and reviews.

  • Plan According to Your Style

Whether you’re a planner or a winger, French Aires cater to all. For those who love to have a plan, map out a few Aires along your route using Google Maps or motorhome-specific GPS systems. For the spontaneous amongst us, let the road guide you to your next stop.

Always have a plan B too, as depending on the time of the year, or popularity of the spot, it may be full.  We’ve sometimes found ourselves needing a plan C, but that doesn’t phase us as usually there is another Aire just around the corner.

  • Respect the Rules

Each Aire has its own set of rules. Some might limit your stay to 24-48 hours, while others may allow longer. Always check for signs detailing the dos and don’ts. Remember, these spaces are shared with the local community, so keep them clean and respect noise levels.

  • Safety First

Although Aires are generally safe, basic safety measures apply. Lock your doors at night and when leaving your motorhome unattended. If an Aire feels uncomfortable, trust your instincts, and move to another location.

  • Pet-Friendly Options

Traveling with furry friends? Many Aires are pet-friendly, offering loads of  space for walkies. Make sure you keep your pets on a lead though, and always clear up the mess.

  • Embrace Local Life

Aires are often nestled in charming locations. Take advantage of this by exploring local markets, restaurants, and attractions. This is your chance to immerse yourself in the French way of life!

Aires France – Normandy

normandy france
Why Use Aires In France?

French Aires are super easy to find and mega cheap. Compare that to campsites in France which can be notoriously pricey, especially during high season.

Aires, on the other hand, are either free or charge a small amount typically to use extra services like water, electricity, and waste.

This can significantly reduce your travel expenses, allowing you to allocate more of your budget to experiences, dining, and souvenirs.

Plus, by staying at Camping Car De Aires, you’re supporting local communities, as many are managed by town councils or local businesses.

The Aires Etiquette: A Guide to Responsible Motorhoming

It goes without saying that when using Aire’s you should mind your manners. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Leave Early: If you’re using a free Aire, this is a common courtesy. Make room for new arrivals by leaving in the morning.

Leave No Trace: Keep Aires clean. Dispose of your waste responsibly and use designated facilities for water and waste disposal.

Maintain a friendly atmosphere. Say bonjour to fellow motorhomers and share tips and stories.

Contribute to the Community: If you’re staying near a village, shop locally. Your custom helps sustain the local economy and encourages communities to continue supporting Aires.

How to pay for Aires France

Payment methods at Aires vary. Some are free, others might have a payment machine (often accepting coins or debit/credit cards), and some even work with Apple Pay. Facilities range from basic to well-equipped, with services like electricity, water, waste disposal, and sometimes even Wi-Fi. Always have some change handy and be prepared for varying levels of amenities.

What are the rules for Aires in France?

Each Aire operates under local regulations. Some might restrict the number of nights you can stay, and others may have specific rules about setting up outdoor furniture or BBQs. There are usually signs relaying what is and isn’t allowed. 

What Other Motorhome-Friendly Options are in France

While Aires are fantastic, France offers a lot of other motorhome-friendly options:

Municipal Campsites: Often more affordable than private campsites, offering basic facilities.

Farm Stays: Some farms welcome motorhomes, providing an authentic rural French experience.

Wild Camping: While regulations vary, some regions allow wild camping. Always check local laws and respect the environment.

Holiday style camping:  If you are looking for an extended stay in one spot, can sometimes have great last minute deals for campsite stays.

Aires France: Provence

The French Aire Experience: Our Personal Insights

From our travels across France, we have loads of memories thanks to the Aires we’ve stumbled upon. Each Aire brought a unique experience, from waking up next to the Dune du Pilat, to enjoying local delicacies in quaint village squares.

We skipped France last time as we were on a mad rush to get to Morocco in 5 days or less (you can watch that craziness here).  The boat journey across the Bay of Biscay was horrendous, so we won’t be doing that again.

We also highly recommend visiting neighbouring countries, France isn’t the only one with Aires, we went to Belgium and Luxembourg and even made use of fully serviced free Aires.  Unbelievable!

Ready to find your perfect French Aire?

So you’ve decided to head to France in your motorhome!  Where should you go you ask.  There are just sooooo many cool places in France, we have highlighted a number of beautiful French locations, along with handy links to a number of apps/websites that help you locate the best aires in the area!


Imagine a world painted in purple and gold – that’s Provence for you! Lavender fields stretch out like purple carpets, and vineyards bask under the sunny skies. Park your motorhome here and get ready for a magical adventure. These Aires aren’t just parking spots; they’re your ticket to charming villages and scrumptious food. Picture yourself sipping a chilled glass of rosé as the sun dips behind a sea of lavender. Pure bliss!


Ah, Brittany! Think rugged coastlines, huge mysterious stones (menhirs), and a sprinkle of Celtic magic. The Aires here are a beach lover’s dream, snuggled close to quaint fishing villages and wow-worthy beaches. Dive into the freshest seafood, take a stroll through ancient forests, and soak up stories straight out of a storybook.

The Loire Valley:

Welcome to the ‘Garden of France’ or as I like to call it, the Loire Valley. It’s like stepping into a fairy tale with grand castles and lush vineyards everywhere you look. The Aires are perfectly placed for castle-hopping and wine-tasting. Who wouldn’t love that?


Normandy’s Aires are more than just parking spots; they’re your very own time machine! Step back in time to the poignant WWII beaches, be awed by the majestic Mont Saint-Michel, and of course, don’t miss out on the lip-smacking cheeses and cider. It’s a history lesson and a food fest all in one!


Alsace is where France shakes hands with Germany, creating a unique cultural cocktail. Wander through villages straight out of a fairy tale, explore ancient castles, and treat your taste buds to a fusion feast. The Aires here are your gateway to a one-of-a-kind cultural exploration.

Aires in France: Alace

aires in france

Biscarrosse and the Dune du Pilat:

Hidden between lush forests, serene lakes, and the mighty Atlantic, Biscarrosse is an outdoorsy paradise. The Aires here are your base camp for adventure. And the Dune du Pilat? It’s like a mountain of sand with jaw-dropping ocean views. Perfect for surfing, hiking, or just soaking up a sunset. It’s where the sky kisses the sand, and you can’t help but feel a bit starstruck! That sand dune has no right to be there!

Lake Annecy:

Now, Lake Annecy is something out of a dream! Nestled in the French Alps, it boasts crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain views. These Aires offer a tranquil lakeside retreat – ideal for a dip, a cycle, or a lazy picnic. And Annecy’s old town? It’s the ‘Venice of the Alps’, with charming canals and flower-decked bridges. Whether you’re after a chill-out session or an alpine adventure, Lake Annecy has got you covered.

Frequently Asked Questions About French Aires

Q: Can large motorhomes and RVs be accommodated at Aires?

A: Many Aires can accommodate large motorhomes and RVs, but it’s always a good idea to check the size limitations for each Aire in advance, especially in older or more rural areas.

Q: Are all Aires free to park in?

A: It’s a bit of a mix! Loads of Aires are free, but some ask for a few coins to help cover things like water and waste. Handy tip: Keep some spare change ready – a couple of Euros should do the trick!

Q: Can I book an Aire spot before I get there?

A: Oh, the joys of van life spontaneity! Most French Aires are a brilliant “rock up and see” deal – no booking needed. This adds a sprinkle of excitement to your travels, letting you discover your next cosy spot as you meander through France’s beautiful landscapes.

Q: Are Aires in France safe?

A: Yes, they’re generally safe as houses! They’re a big hit in the motorhome community, usually well-kept and watched over. But remember, it’s always smart to play it safe:

Keep up-to-date: Check the latest reviews for Aires you’re eyeing up.
Lock it up: Make sure your motorhome is locked and valuables are stashed away.
Spot check: Choose well-lit areas and be extra careful in secluded spots.
Trust your gut: If a place feels dodgy, move along to somewhere else.
Buddy up: Parking near other travellers is always a good shout – safety in numbers!

Q: What’s on offer at a typical French Aire?

A: French Aires are like little oases for motorhome travellers. What you’ll usually find:

Waste management: Handy for emptying toilets and greywater.
Water supply: Fresh water for drinking and refilling.
Parking spots: A cosy corner to park your home-on-wheels.
Power hookups: Some Aires offer this, but it’s not everywhere.
Chill-out spots: Areas with tables or seats for a nice alfresco meal.
Some might even have Wi-Fi, showers, or laundry services, but these are more like bonus extras and might cost a bit.

Q: Can big motorhomes and RVs fit in Aires?

A: Lot’s of aire’s can cope with larger motorhomes, but, give the Aire a quick check online for size limits, especially if it’s in a quaint or rural spot.

Q: Are there family-friendly Aires?

A: Absolutely! Look out for Aires near beaches, parks, or fun zones. Some have cool extras like playgrounds or safe places to swim.

Q: How do I track down Aires on my French road trip?

A: Easy peasy! Whip out your phone and use apps or websites like park4night, Campercontact, or searchforsites. They’re packed with info, reviews, and even GPS coordinates to guide you.

Q: Do I need to speak French at French Aires?

A: It’s not a must, but a bit of French can go a long way, especially off the beaten track. Most Aires are pretty straightforward, and you’ll often find signs in several languages to help you out.

French PhraseEnglish Translation
BonjourHello / Good day
BonsoirGood evening
MerciThank you
S’il vous plaîtPlease
Où est l’aire de camping-car ?Where is the motorhome area?
Combien ça coûte ?How much does it cost?
Pouvez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît?Can you help me, please?
Où sont les toilettes ?Where are the toilets?
Je cherche un endroit pour stationner.I am looking for a place to park.
Avez-vous de l’électricité ?Do you have electricity?
Où puis-je trouver de l’eau ?Where can I find water?
Je ne parle pas bien français.I do not speak French well.
Pouvez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît?Can you repeat that, please?
Excusez-moiExcuse me
Au revoirGoodbye
Handy French Phrases and their English counterpart

These phrases cover basic greetings, questions about costs and facilities, and other common needs that arise while traveling. Having these at your fingertips can make navigating Aires and interacting with locals in France much easier.

Aires France: Lake Annecy


Get Ready for a Fab French Aires Adventure!

So, you’re about to hit the road in your trusty motorhome, roaming through France. Let the French Aires be your guide to an epic adventure! These spots aren’t just about parking your home-on-wheels; they’re your gateway to nature, local gems, and new friends on wheels. Pack your adventurous spirit, get ready to be charmed by the Aires, and discover France in the most fabulous way. Bon voyage, and here’s to an amazing journey!

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