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Overnight stay on French Service Station?

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    Overnight stay on French Service Station?

    Does anyone have experience of staying overnight at a French service station? We'll most likely be getting a late ferry crossing from Dover to Calais and so it would be ideal to just role into a nearby service station for the night. Possibly heading towards Normandy.
    Is it safe? Easy to arrange on the night etc?
    If anyone has done similar, I'd be interested in your experience.

    many thanks


    From all I have read these are some of the LEAST safe places in France. If you can get to an Aire away from the motorway, in a village perhaps and arrive quietly, you will be able to park up for the night with only fellow motorhomers around you.


      I agree - DON'T stop for the night in an Autoroute services anywhere near ANY of the ports - even if the locals leave you alone, it would be very noisy with lorries coming and going all night!!

      Find a small village off the Autoroute - lots have aires - if not, you should find a quiet safe spot to relax for the night.

      Have a great holiday.



        Overnjghting on French service stations

        Originally posted by niloc View Post
        From all I have read these are some of the LEAST safe places in France. If you can get to an Aire away from the motorway, in a village perhaps and arrive quietly, you will be able to park up for the night with only fellow motorhomers around you.
        Overnighting on French service stations,DON'T DO IT,this is the LEAST safest place to park up for the night,no experienced motorhomer,myself
        included would ever do this,leave the autoroutes and look for a village square,especially where signposts say "village Etape"at these you will
        usually find aproper motorhome "aire" asthe French actively encourage motorhomers,you are usually always safest at these locations, but you
        should still exercise caution,i.e.avoid aires and other areas with evidence of graffiti,vandalism and always try to park so as you can drive off if
        any problems arise without having to carry out reversing manouvres,also aires already occupied by French motorcaravanners,but be aware the
        French always park up in the afternoon and never leave it tilltoo late otherwise you might find some aires already full even during winter mon-
        -ths,get out there and enjoy, hope this helps............gwyntaxi


          Best advice is don't.

          Drive to Wissant either down the coast road or using the autoroute and coming off at the St Inglevert junction.

          The aire is on the right just as you come into Wissant.

          It is a free parking spot for Motorhomes with a toilet dump. You will find the school buses parked in the centre if you arrive at night.

          We were there on Dec 3rd after a late night tunnel crossing. You can walk into the village in the morning for your bread etc.



            All the advice we have read urges-don't do it.
            derek b and Babs


              I have just reread this thread and I think that perhaps Martin and Chrissy do not understand the differences betweeen Aires de Service de camping cars which are either public or private and are free or available for a charge. They are provided by various private people or local authorities and by and large are safe. There are online or printed directories and I can provide more info, and motorway aires, sometimes just a parking place or a full blown motorway service station, these to me are a no no with the exception of the aire de la baie de la somme.

              If you need any more information or clarification just ask.

              We use a mixture of aires, france passion, acsi campsites and municipal campsites.

              This year though we may be trying camping cheques. We have to go to Holland for 2 weeks in April to stay with friends and we will be going with P and O Hull to Rotterdam. Because of an offer they have it is cheaper to buy the crossing with 7 camping cheques through the Caravan Club than to buy the crossing on its own. we shall save the camping cheques for our holiday later in the year.



                Its best to have plenty of information on places to stay we have All The Aires France we have just bought the new one, and the Bord Atlas we have two one covers all the Stalplatze in Germany and the Europe one has lots in France as well as Belgium and Holland even a couple over here and in Ireland ( I think! off the top of my head) on our way home we have been known to stay on the Aire in Calais watching the ferries come in and out! but it can be noisy with the engines running all night!! my hubby doesnt mind that at all !! as he takes both his hearing aids out!!

                As others have said NEVER stop on an Aire on the main motorways they have dodgy cars coming in all night and if anyone has been robbed its usually in them.


                  there is a large difference between the service stations on the free motorway's and the ones on peage/toll sections for these you are normally ok as they have cctv and because of your ticket there is a degree of control eg if a thief breaks in he has to stay on that same road for some distance to the next toll booth you could almost say you are safer there than some camp sites but even then i have stopped at service areas on normal motorway's reliant on a dog and various other alarm & securing devices i normally avoid any near a large town or city though,
                  to answer the original question our normal proceedure is to finish work take an evening ferry about 9;30 go along the A16 for about 3/4 hr towards abbeville shortly after you enter the peage section at boulogne you come to a services we all call it the duck's [you will see why] it's proper name is something like les baie de somme it has a proper bourne and aire if you follow it round to the left it opens up into 2 x large parking areas with room for about 30 vans there is a grand exercise area for the dog and all the facilities you require there are thick bushes between you and the motorway 100 yds away and i rarely hear any traffic we have used this stop a dozen times in the last 8 years coming and going without a problem ,
                  best advice i ever got is "would you feel safe doing it at home " don't give up on common sense because your on holiday have a look around if you don't feel safe move on that's the advantage of a van afer all!


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