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REC
15-01-2013, 19:02
Hi
I have been researching places to stay in france when we travel back from Portugal this june. Looking at the Vicarious book on French Aires recommended by several people. I was concerned to see that there is a warning that "converted panelvans" are not allowed to stay at aires unless they have waste water supply & disposal, toilet, and fixed beds. Mentions mattress in van not acceptable. I wonder if any other stealth campers have had experience of this. We have a pullout bed base, our own water supply and a compost loo but are not sure how strictly these rules are enforced.We had planned on stopping at least a couple of them, but dont fancy being moved on or seen as unacceptable:(

monkeysurfrider
15-01-2013, 19:21
I haven't had any personal experience of french aires, but a friend of mine stayed in a aire du camping somewher near mimizan plage SW france in his basic conversion panel van and did not have any problems. I'd imagine it's enforced, if enforced at all, during peak holiday times when space in demand and 'le ros bif' will be told to clear off if infringing on any rules!

shortcircuit
15-01-2013, 19:25
I will probably get shot down but you must remember that this book is compiled by amateurs who sometimes let their imagination run wild. I have seen some weird and wonderful self builds on aires and nobody takes the slightest interest. There are no wardens patrolling aires and they are very laid back. The only restriction I have seen was a rather awkward policeman advising the next door MH that awning legs are not allowed to touch the ground and that is why there are brackets on the side of the MH. Next door put legs in brackets and Mr Plod was quite happy. Have also seen police, very infrequently, tour round when awnings were out along with recliners etc just like a camp site and they had absolutely no interest. I would not let these stories worry you and just go and enjoy

ian81
15-01-2013, 19:29
Living in France and using the aires I can' see any problems especially if it looks like a panel van motorhome from outside (windows fridge grills etc.) You might get the odd Frenchman looking down his Gallic nose but if you behave you should be OK. Generally things especially away from the main tourist spots are pretty relaxed. You could even stay in town / village car-parks overnight without problem.

Ironjaws
15-01-2013, 19:34
I've never heard of this one. Very much more relaxed here than the UK, someone might check to see that you've paid (if necessary at that aire) but no-one will ask you to prove that you have all the facilities you mention. Think How many converters vans don't have fixed beds! Plenty of van conversions around too. Don't worry just do it!
Also try looking at the site : CAMPINGCAR-INFOS (http://www.campingcar-Infos.com). It's in French but loads of aires in all of Europe but around 4000 in France alone. Enjoy your holiday.

mikel
15-01-2013, 19:38
I would think converted panel vans are ok as long as you are a self-contained unit.Aires are not for camping as such therefore toilet tents,awnings etc are not permitted. As long as the bed is part of the conversion it does not have to be fixed in the sense that it is always assembled. At the end of the day if you inconvenience no-one and take everything with you when you go there won't be a problem especially if you travel out of season.If you're van is unrecognisable as a camper then why not park up surrepticiously anywhere, eg. town squares or church parking area.The French are far more flexible if you behave.

John H
15-01-2013, 19:46
Like others, I have never heard of this one. In all the years I have been using aires the only thing I can remember being ordered off was a caravan at the aire in Caceres, Spain. I have never heard of anyone being turned off a French aire. That doesn't, of course, mean it hasn't happened but I wouldn't lose any sleep over it!

shortcircuit
15-01-2013, 19:47
Just to add a bit colour. I have seen two "real" conversions. One was a caravan attached to a lorry chassis and looked absolutely amazing with a set of steps to get in and out. The other again had a caravan integrated on to a transit van in a very rough and ready way. I could image if these vehicle attempt to come into this country the police would have a fit Now were these MH or caravans? Enjoy

REC
16-01-2013, 12:27
Thanks everyone! These were generally my thoughts but was a bit disconcerted when I read it! We will take a pair of frilly curtains to put up at the window for when we stop at an aire. Rest of the time, carparks etc, will be just in normal "stealth mode":ninja:

rugbyken
16-01-2013, 13:31
I was told early in my usage that
A/ you must be able to get from driving to sleeping without exiting van
B/ nothing on ground but tyres

These were as much to allow police to move on caravan's & restrict stay of vehicles, as said earlier depends on time of year how rigorously the regulations are enforced

snowbirds
16-01-2013, 14:00
Hi REC,

I have seen no problems on my travels around Europe with panel van campers and found all the people I parked up with on Aires were all friendly and help full with how Aires work and I have returned the favour were I could even with the language barrier, and only saw one attendant that only came to clean the aires station it's self, in the last three years and 14,000 miles.I find travelling in Europe a breath of fresh air compared with the problems we have in the UK with the anti Motorhome Councils.Just get out there and enjoy it you will have no problems at all.

Regards Snowbirds.






Hi
I have been researching places to stay in france when we travel back from Portugal this june. Looking at the Vicarious book on French Aires recommended by several people. I was concerned to see that there is a warning that "converted panelvans" are not allowed to stay at aires unless they have waste water supply & disposal, toilet, and fixed beds. Mentions mattress in van not acceptable. I wonder if any other stealth campers have had experience of this. We have a pullout bed base, our own water supply and a compost loo but are not sure how strictly these rules are enforced.We had planned on stopping at least a couple of them, but dont fancy being moved on or seen as unacceptable:(


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