Touring France with your caravan or motorhome is a great way to enjoy the stunning sceneries and bustling markets of the country. And after driving for a while, you might want to pull over to rest or catch some sleep. Can you stop your caravan anywhere in France, or are there designated stopovers?
France provides overnight parking areas for motorhomes called French aires. However, most French aires do not allow caravans. The only places you can park your caravan for the night are the wild or actual camping sites. So, confirm which places allow caravans to park before going out.
In the next part of this article, I’ll explain the differences between a caravan and a motorhome and where to find alternatives to French aires to park your caravan. Let’s get started!
Can Caravans Use Aires in France?
Aires are motorhome overnight parking areas in towns, cities, and villages all over France. Local governments provide these parking areas for fully self-contained motorhomes. Some aires are designated for daytime parking only, but most allow overnight parking, and you can find them anywhere in the country.
Caravans cannot use aires in France. However, self-sufficient motorhomes are allowed. So, if you are going to use a caravan to visit France, you need to find an alternative place to park for the night.
But first, you need to know the differences between a campervan or a motorhome and a caravan.
Is a Caravan the Same as a Motorhome?
A caravan is not the same as a motorhome. The main difference between a campervan and a caravan is that a caravan is towed by a vehicle, while a motorhome is a self-contained vehicle. You can unhitch a caravan from your car, but a motorhome allows you to move with everything wherever you go.
In other words, a caravan has separate living quarters, which you attach to a towing car. A motorhome is a van you drive as a whole.
Both have living spaces, including:
- Sleeping areas
You can watch this YouTube video comparing a motorhome and a caravan
Alternatives to Aires for Caravan Owners in France
Few things compare to the experience of camping in a caravan or a motorhome while touring France. France boasts diverse natural landscapes and a 2000-mile-long (3200 km) coastline with quiet coves and sandy beaches ideal for surfing and swimming. Travelling inland lets you experience spectacular views of the country’s thrilling mountain passes and lush countryside.
Camping in a motorhome or caravan gives you the comfort and flexibility of travelling without having to worry about where to spend the night for a few weeks.
However, since caravans aren’t allowed in most French aires, you’d want to know where else you can park your caravan without getting into trouble with the authorities.
You can park your caravan at some campsites in France that offer pitches for tents, caravans, and large campervans. They include:
- Le Bois Guillaume
- Castel Parc de Fierbois
- Lodges de Blois-Chambord
- Château Camping La Grange Fort
I recommend you check their availability to ensure you can access the pitches, especially for small campsites. There are more campsites than what I listed above, but those four are the best in my opinion. Besides, you can always check which French campsites allow caravan pitches if none of the above suit your needs.
Le Bois Guillaume
Le Bois Guillaume offers 80 camping spaces falling between 150 to 200 square meters (1600 to 2100 square feet). You can find various amenities such as:
- A restaurant
- Children’s playground
- Volleyball pitches
- A heated swimming pool
The camp is open from mid-June to mid-September.
Castel Parc De Fierbois
Castel Parc de Fierbois is a 5-star campsite located in the Loire Valley. The camp offers:
- A heated pool
- Camping pitches
- Tree houses
Lodges De Blois-Chambord
Located in the Loire valley, 10 km (6 miles) from Château de Chambord, Lodges de Blois-Chambord boasts:
- 46 accommodation spaces
- kitchen and sanitary facilities
- countless leisure activities
Château Camping La Grange Fort
Michelin Guide ranks Château Camping La Grange Fort as the best Auvergne campsite. It’s located on a 50-acre (242,000 square yards) land on a hilltop overlooking the valley. It has some of the most beautiful views of the region.