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Hello, After our weekend to Scotland and back we have found that we are better off travelling after 7pm as our 14 month old son goes to sleep happily in the car seat. We are off to Italy in June and aim to stay at an Aire in Lumbres and Metz before Switzerland. Is it ok to arrive at an Aire at 11pm or is this anti-social and a risk of not being able to get a spot.

We have never stayed at an Aire before!

Spence
 

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I don't know these aires, but I think you may risk finding the aires full. Many start to fill up from mid afternoon as the summer nears. In fact I couldn't get on to one in Biarritz at 5.00pm in March.
 

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Hi!

spence said:
Is it ok to arrive at an Aire at 11pm or is this anti-social and a risk of not being able to get a spot.
One of the most important differences between an Aire and a regular camp site is that at an Aire you can come and go as you please. So no, it is not anti-social to arrive late, or leave early, as long as you keep nuisance for the other users to a minimum. (And anyway, not too many French would consider 11pm as "late" :wink: )

You might however find aires, at least the more popular ones, to be full at that time, as others have already said. Having said that, to my experience, regarding aires the term "popular" rhymes with "having EHU". So aires not having electric hookup points are far less likely to be full.

Best Regards,
Gerhard
 

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I've arrived late 1am - 5am before... so don't worry.

It's not ideal but sometimes it unavoidable.
I'd echo get there early if you want to best spots & EHU, but when you are tired you tend not to mind where you park!

w
 

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Several times we have arrived at Aires late in the evening after a long drive, then away early before the traffic builds up, if we are driving a great distance.
The golden rules surely are:
Make as little noise/dsisturbance as possible,
Don't drive around trying to find a slot to park in.
Just be as close to the entrance/exit as you can and get your head down.

You might want to dump grey & black water, but leave it until the morning when you depart.
 

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Hi,

At a busy aire it is quite usual for vans to turn up late in the evening in our experience but on a few where we have been on our own it's a bit unnerving to have another vehicle driving close to us once we've settled down to bed :( We relax once we've checked out that it's another motorhome and to follow from another thread why do late arrivers then park so close in an empty parking area :?

Perhaps some late arrivers/early leavers do it to avoid paying if the fee is collected by a local official usually in the early evening 8O

Steve
 

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It is unnerving when another vehicle arrives late at night.

We generally only use Aires as overnight stops on long drives. These are usually in fairly remote villages and small towns and we rarely find they are full. We usually arrive between 8pm and midnight and are conscious of disturbing others and try to be as quiet as possible.

Sometimes we leave early and sometimes not - avoiding the fee has no bearing on when we arrive and leave.
 

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Hi!

tikki said:
It is unnerving when another vehicle arrives late at night.
Yes, it is. But that's part of life when staying on aires. BTW, it is also unnerving if on a camp site around midnight a baby in a neighbouring caravan is crying loud for almost half an hour, and the parents have nothing better to do than shouting at each other meanwhile. (Got that t-shirt, and they only stopped shouting and started caring for the baby after I walked over and complained.)

tikki said:
... and we rarely find they are full.
So you haven't been at the Charmes aire yet. :wink:

About the fee: If the fee is collected by a warden, then in many cases there is an honesty box provided for those who arrive late and/or leave early. For such cases I have a bunch of envelopes (standard letter size) in my MH. I write reg. no. and date on one of them, put the fee in the envelope and the envelope in the honesty box.

Best Regards,
Gerhard
 

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The more popular aires like those near seaside towns and such like become very full sometimes and so the later you arrive the more likelyhood there is that there wont be space. The french are not fussy about parking wherever you can as long as you dont block access though i found.

Trouble is if you find you cant park you then have to drive to the neaxt one and so your getting later and later.

Personally we arrive at lunch, look round the towm or walk on the beach etc then move on to the next earlyish next day
 

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tikki said:
... and we rarely find they are full
So you haven't been at the Charmes aire yet. :wink: .
You must be a mind reader!
Charmes is exactly where we intended stopping on the way to Genoa in June!!
Had expected to arrive there about 11pm so, we need to re-think!

Anyone stayed at the Aire in Pont a Mousson between Metz & Nancy?
It's a 20 'van aire so we're hoping it won't be full!!
 

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tikki said:
Anyone stayed at the Aire in Pont a Mousson between Metz & Nancy?
It's a 20 'van aire so we're hoping it won't be full!!
Yes, It's a nice aire, I would think you'd be ok there in June, not quite 20 spaces but its a very spacious aire so you could probably squeeze in somewhere. It's in the database...

>Pont A Mousson<

If not then theres a nice aire at Millery a bit further down but probably more popular as its free and not so much room , also in the database...

>Millery<

pete
 

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Hi!

tikki said:
You must be a mind reader!
Charmes is exactly where we intended stopping on the way to Genoa in June!!
Had expected to arrive there about 11pm so, we need to re-think!
Well then. :wink:

I would recommend to start looking for an overnight stop beginning at about Pont-a-Mousson. Should this aire there really be full, then continue towards Millery. Should this also not be an option, then there is a new, not yet too well-known aire at Richardmenil, a bit SE of Nancy. Rue du Lac, coordinates are 48°43' 22'' N / 7°2' 14'' E. (Haven't been there yet, therefore not yet listed in our database.)

Charmes would follow next. I am always a bit reluctant to recommend it, because it is really popular, and as it is squeezed in between the canal and some buildings, there is no overflow area. And, let's be honest, the town does not quite live up to its name.

But keep in mind that you are in France! Which means that if you keep a low profile, nobody will mind if you park up for the night on any public car park.

And should you have passed Nancy on your quest, maybe I can persuade you to a little detour: The little town of Baccarat, a bit east of Charmes, is not only rather charming, but also has a nice aire. And, in contrast to Charmes, directly adjacent to the "official" aire there is a huge car park (Remember: You are in France), which can take any overflow of MHs should the aire be full. (Only nights from Thursdays to Fridays are a bit critical, as then parts of the car park will be turned into a farmer's market.) And there are the famous Baccarat Crystal Works with their showrooms and museum.

So, don't worry, you will certainly find a spot for the night.

Hope that helps!

Best Regards,
Gerhard
 

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hi we usually arrive late, try to make as little disturbance as possible and get our heads down. Not worried about vans parking close as I don't hear them; out like a light when my head hits the pillow. They wouldn't need to GAS me to break in. :lol:

Olley
 

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Thanks for all the info we are going down that way on 22nd May, and have only used aires once before.

We were going to go from Metz to Strasbourg- Mulhouse, which is a toll road, are there any aires there that you can recommend.

Or is it better to go the scenic route to Mullhouse then Basle.

Second question if I may, Our motorhome is 7.0m and we will have a trailer with a motorbike on which is a further 3 m would we fit into the aires okay.

Thanks once again

Pat and Neil
 

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Hi we have used them pulling our car on its trailer, but many are to small, if theirs plenty of spaces we un-couple and park it next to us, or maybe on the grass verge if their is one. If not we move on to another, some like the one at Honfleur are easily big enough.

Olley
 

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Hi!

PATSY4 said:
We were going to go from Metz to Strasbourg- Mulhouse, which is a toll road, are there any aires there that you can recommend.
So you are taking the A4, the northern route via Forbach. Unfortunately, this route is almost completely devoid of any aires, besides the one in Saverne. So if you can afford it I would recommend to take a little more time and go the scenic route. Loads of aires there.

PATSY4 said:
Second question if I may, Our motorhome is 7.0m and we will have a trailer with a motorbike on which is a further 3 m would we fit into the aires okay.
As usual, it depends. If there is plentiful of space, and the trailer does not form an obstruction of some kind, then no problem. On smaller aires, like the one mentioned in Saverne, don't count on being able to park up with the trailer still on hook. You might need to unhook the trailer and park it separately.

Best Regards,
Gerhard
 
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