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Details of Aires in South west France?


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Ok Chums -


Just returned from 12 days chugging around the middle/top of Spain again. Loverly. The Sparkle only(!) bought TWO more pairs of shoes throughout the tour.


The Sparkle has now informed me that we are to chug North from our Costa Blanca home for a little tour jobbie for a couple of weeks next month. But this time up the East coast of Spain past Barcelona and then into France.......yes, we're going international!


We know all about sites/wild camping spots etc in Spain, having lived here for 8 years now.

But we know utterly buggerall about sites/aires in France.


We've got the 2010 ACSI discount card/site guidebook which of course applies to lots of sites in France (and which, incidentally, we find to be brilliant value for money for ACSI-participating sites in Spain and Portugal).


Apparently we are going to chug around the bottom left quarter of France, including Carcasson.

I'm told we have to go there because it's got a castle. As if there ain't enough castles here in Spain. (I suspect this official reason is merely a smokescreen and that in fact it's probably because there are shoe shops in the town).









Can any of you good people recommend some Aires in that South west region of France please; or does anyone have any links to lists of Aires (with their Sat Nav co-ordinates) in that region please.

Pretty please........... :-D




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Guest JudgeMental

Carrcassone is well worth a visit, during the day for a look around and in the evening for a meal and sometimes they have festivities on...


I dont bother with the Aires book to be honest anymore, as I have all the Aires of Europe on Auto route 2010 for looking at, and planning in advance...and the same sets on my sat nav


maybe someone who knows how to send them on, can be prompted to let you have them :-D They are a good set as they have information? so you right click on red button and up pops the info, how many places, elec or not, dump or not fresh.....you get the drift.


Never been much impressed by area around Argles, dont know the coast around from there at all, but we love the cote de azure and around cavalire sur mere is lovely, and probably nice out of main holiday season.


I am sure someone will have some advice soon:-D but there are loads around the coast, you cant go wrong..and if you dont like one, another will never be that far away

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Not sure how far into France you are going to venture but Mimizan Plage is a popular aire in a great beachside location. Mimizan is between Bayonne and Bordeaux.


Location details including GPS and Google Maps, and a review can be seen on our website here if it may be of interest to you.


We've stayed there quite a few times and will again in a week or so. There are also many other aires along that bit of the Atlantic coast.

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For all info on French aires, including reviews, GPS, and pictures, I find www.campingcar-infos.com the most useful website.


Helps if you understand a little French, but still quite intuitive once past the first page (or two).


From the above link, follow "cliquex pour entrez", then "cherchez/ajouter une aire" on the left side of the next page.


Can then search by department, and get all the details you would need.


(Following "telechargement GPS" just below the above also allows a full download of GPS coordinates for All Aires on this site, for various GPS devices.)

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Glad to hear you two are emerging from your long exile in Spain Bruce, but is France ready for a "Nomad?" Remember, they're not that keen on the Roma!


Get signed up with France Passion. Not only free overnight stops, but tastings of (and opportunities to buy) excellent produce. This includes wines, cheeses, honey, olive oil, you name it.

Oh - sorry Kathy, as far as I know none of the FP host sites make shoes!


Enjoy yourselves!

Tony & Liz

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Leucate plage has an aire right by the sea, 8 euros a night. Nr Carcassone is Fanjeaux, hill top village with free aire, I think also Mirepoix has one, it's a super little place, very picturesque ,not to be missed.


At Les Barcares you can stay overnight in the big car park on the sea front out of season. A bit bleak for my liking but free. That's all off the top of my head. Have a lovely time.

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Hi Bruce


Not sure if these are any good, but we recently stayed at:


Montignac - the aire is located right next to the sports pavilion NOT by the river which is where we thought it was (very muddy) - Chris found it whilst walking the dogs after tea so we moved. Nice quiet night. The village is very pretty and there was a flower festival on when we arrived with lots of streamers all over the place.


Domme - the aire is on the road approaching the village which is up on a rocky outcrop/mound.


Cahors - there are only 3 official places in their own little private 'bays' here which were obviously taken, but it is possible to park next to them on the little bit of road, failing that there is a bit of a layby further along the river where quite a few motorhomers spent the night. if you go here, walk along the footpath, under the river bridge and have a shuftie at all the fruit trees just begging to be picked, and the fig trees at the side of the aire itself!


Caylus - there is a large aire (with water etc) and grassy bits, just on the way out of the village opposite the leisure facilities. We spent a very quite night here with a few other motorhome owners, there's a nice lake to walk round on the opposite side of the road for the mutt too.


St Antonin Noble Val - this is a nice little place with a big aire out of the way with an open green space next to the river. Nice and quiet. When we were there on a Sunday, there was an absolutely massive market with all manner of goodies for sale, down all the little streets, very pretty and a nice surprise.


Castres - The aire is outside of the town, a couple or so km, at the park, nice and quiet and the dogs loved having a romp round - there's a borne if you need it too.


Puilaurens - this is a fairly new, or newly refurbished aire, it was still being finished when we were there. Nice and quiet with a borne with free water.


Saillagouse - a small aire at the rear of a car park next to the sports facilities, but nice and quiet.


Les Cabannes - we didn't stop at this for the night, but checkedi t out whilst we were nearby - it's a few km off the road and is purpose made, nice and quiet, with a toilet block, 4 euros a night.


Durban sur Arize - this was an aire at the side of the road, more a picnic aire, but there was a motorhome there already so we went in - just getting between the large boulders. There's a farmer's cafe next to so ideal if you wanted a meal before retreating to your van. A nice quiet night.


Bagneres de Bigorre - this is at the side of a large parking area near the fire station, nice and quite though and a free borne.


Aire sur l’Adour - this aire is next to the campsite, adjacent to the river, it's very large and has a borne too. 3 euros to stay but it was worth it, nice and quiet.


Bourg - this wasn't an official aire, but parking next to the river Dordogne, just before it merges with the Garonne (south of Blaye). A pretty little place, lots of parking so not a problem, and there's a toilet block of you get desperate!


Niort - We didn’t stop but sussed it out whilst we were there. This is a purpose made aire - in a walled ‘garden’ with individual pitches, next to a large car park. 7 euros a night (including electric & services) but the hook up points are only along one side so unless you get on one of those spots, or the ones just across from them, or have a massively long lead, you won’t be able to take advantage. There was a borne.


La Mans - this is located on the side of the river about 1km from the town centre, with a borne if you need it. The old part of Le Mans has lots of lovely pretty streets and we spent ages wandering around them!


Mers les Bains - the aire is located near to the sports/leisure facilities and was absolutely packed, but there are lots of spaces. It was a little bit noisy but if you go past the aire to the end of the road there's some parking on the left which would be quieter, a few vans stayed there. It's an old style seaside resort with lots of lovely specifically built houses as holiday homes during the late Victorian period from what I can gather - there's a lovely promenade but unfortunately dogs are not allowed on ANY of the beach.


Be aware that the aire at Gueret doesn't exist anymore despite it being in the book - it has been 'absorbed' by the campsite and you can't even use the borne anymore (which is OUTSIDE the campsite). Also the one at la Bastide de Serou doesn't appear to exist at all!


There is an aire at Oissel which is fairly new so no details are given in the aires book but there are only 2 spots and they were taken, and they are very 'strict' about where you park there so we couldn't stop - as it was out of the way, unless you particularly were going nearby, or were desperate for services, I wouldn't make a special detour to it (we were going back up north anyway).



As an aside, if you get the chance to go up to the 'Pont d'Espagne near Cauterets, you can see lots of massive waterfalls and go up to the lake at the top of the 'mountain' - it's well worth it. You can walk up to the old 'little' pont which is at one of the waterfalls, and can even walk right up to the top to the lake if you want (if you're a glutton for punishment!). We took a cable car ride then a chair lift (frightening!) to the top, then a 20m walk to the lake - absolutely beautiful with the clouds coming down. The cable car and chair lift only cost us a total of 16 euros, but parking is 5 euros for 6 hours however, as it's in the middle of nowhere so you don't have much choice but to pay it, but we thought the price for the cable car and chairlift was cheap so that made up for it!


Another place to visit nearby, is Grottes de Betharram near Lourdes. It was absolutely stunningly brilliant with lots of large chambers with stalagmites and stalactites, the tour guide spoke French, Spanish and English too. It included a coach ride to the entrance, a 'dragon boat' ride on the river in the cave, and a proper miniature train ride on rails through 1km of 'tunnel' back to the exit - it was like an Indiana Jones movie but all in a totally natural cave! Only cost 12,50 euros each and worth every single cent. There was a fair bit of walking and steps to go mainly downwards, but the paths are all very good so it was quite easy.


But, if you want to scare yourself silly go to the Grottes de Lombrives near [/u]Tarascon sur Arlege[/u], which you access high up on the side of the ridge - you get a mini-train ride up a very winding and bumpy road - absolutely hilarious!!! Then a little bit more of a climb, before you go in. This couldn't be more different to the Betharram one - British Health and Safety officials would have an absolute fit!!! Not properly laid paths, just the bumpy dirt floor, and some of the steps etc were extremely 'interesting'!. We took the dogs in with us as it was a very hot day but it is not something I'd recommend as there are lots of places for them to literally drop off, certainly NOT one for anyone with mobility problem, or for the elderly/kids, or of a nervous disposition!





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Hi Mel thanks for a very informative post. We are going across to spain via france and i am sure the details of the aires will come in very handy. Will print it off and put in my map book. Thanks again for taking the time to give us some of your resouceful knowledge. :$
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First thanks to Mel for sharing details of aires she has visited; others who are reluctant to do same take note.

Second re original request then aires on coast towards Carrcassonne that we have stayed on are:

Port Vendres. 10 min walk to centre, nice town with harbour. Aire in nice setting near waterfront. 7.5 Euros/night, services 2 Euros.

Collioure. Aire well out and only rec when free P and R bus runs from outside aire (May to end Sept). 10 Euros/ night inc electric hook-up. Colliure is well worth visit; the gem on this coast. If not on aire then take bus from Port Vendres (1 Euro).

Banuyls sur Mer. Not an aire but a camp site! (Yes you all know we do not like camp sites) We stay here for the wine fest, week-end around 15 Oct as is a really great event with BBQ on beach etc etc.

Peyriac de Mer Free out of season, 5 Euros/night in season. Old camp site, pleasant walk to village, nice walks around salt lakes; a relaxing place to spend a few days.

Grussian 3 aires here but we like Aire de 4 Vents best as is nearest to marina and town. Always enjoy our stay but try to catch wine fest around week-end 22/23 Oct. 7 Euros/night inc services but no electric.


Re Lucuate-plage then to be honest adjioning camp municipal is better value as for a few Euros more get electric hook-up.


Rr Carrcassonne then can stay overnight on car park P1 for around10 Euros. Need levelling blocks but quite at night and can wander round old city after dark which is magical.


Hope this helps

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BGD - 2010-09-24 10:54 PM


You guys are just fantastic!


Many thanks for all the info....just the sort of stuff that I and the Boss were looking for.




Mel, you're a star.......take a sweet from the jar and sit at the front of the class babe! :-D


I shall go and 'twinkle' in the sky then Bruce! :-D


I was thinking of you today Bruce ... :$ Whilst wandering around the Lincoln motorhome show there was a stall selling Bailey's flavoured fudge!!!!! :-> Unfortunately I don't like Bailey's so I didn't try it I'm afraid ... but I did like the samples on the stall selling hot coated nuts! :D

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Many thanks to you all for these hints...... much appreciated.

After much research on the shoe shops in the area I think we'll do a loop, up the Spanish coast to Barcelona for His Nibs birthday, then up again to Croissant Country, taking in Carcassonne.... amongst others, and looping around to include some tips from Mel, and back maybe via Zaragoza...


My new bedtime reading is the Rough Guide....( Of France and Spain of course....!)

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Guest JudgeMental
Sparkle - 2010-09-29 1:24 PM


JudgeMental - 2010-09-29 2:12 PM


Worlds largest ladything shoe store is now in London! at Selfridges.....That will teach you to leave us! :-S




OMG...... do they have online shopping??? ....wheres Bruces credit card?



Mrs M was there at the weekend ...thankfully no shoes:-S But £600 on a Mulberry bag and £200 on matching Mulberry purse *-)


You can stay on our drive and Mrs M will happily take you up there!...I will administer first aid to Bruce in the form of copious amounts of Baileys:D



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