In France there is a great infrastructure for Motorhomes, I previously described the France Passion (@francepassion @vicariousbooks) network of agricultural based small sites similar to the UK’s CL/CS network.However there is possibly an even better way to Motorhome in France. This is using the extensive network of “Aires” that exist throughout France. The Aire network (and there are thousands of these) are often free to stay at, they are located in villages and towns throughout France and generally supported by the local Marie/town hall.
To help you locate these Aires, Vicarious Books ( www.vicariousbooks.co.uk ) have an English language guide. Their guide is split into two books, one for the North and one for the South. Each page contains a brief description, address, picture and for me the all important coordinates of the location. There are a lot more Aires than this guide has to offer and there are French language guides available. I have one from the Michelin stable.
These Aires range from the ability to take just a couple of vans to ones that will take in excess of a hundred. Most of them have a service point for your motorhome, some of the service points are free to use and some require a small payment. The service points will allow you to empty your grey tank, empty the loo and fill up with fresh water.
We have stayed on these throughout France and mostly had a great experience. We have stayed on the beach on the Med Coast for as little a 7 Euros a night, and there are many of these superb locations to choose from.
A word of caution. There are Aires located in Motorway services. I would not stay in these as there have been many stories of people being broken in to at these locations.
My advice if you choose to holiday using the Aires is to arrive in the early afternoon when most other people are still travelling. Then spend the afternoon and evening exploring the local area. Remember in France the shopping hours extend into the evening so most places will still be open.