Well, we’ve only gone and done it! We’ve finally stayed in an aire. Le Crotoy is a small town just below Boulogne and boasts two aires – one in the dunes and one at the port. We decided if it was wet we’d stay in the town, but it was a nice day so we headed for the dunes.
On arrival there were a few other motorhomes already set up. First dilemma. Where should we park? Being British, we don’t want to park too close for fear of offending someone. We chose to go next to a French motorhome, the owner of which promptly came over and said ‘you can’t park there. We are saving that spot for our friends who haven’t arrived yet’. Well, I think that’s what her French and gesticulation meant! We budged over a bit and no-one else came over and asked us to move.
We chocked up and then went over to the payment machine. 7 euro for 24 hours and the machine only takes coins. Second dilemma. Slaw used his best French and managed to get a note changed at another motorhome. Walking back over to Dora with our ticket, we had a look round at everyone elses’s set-up, as you do. ‘All the Aires France’ book states the French law that winding out awnings and putting tables and chairs is not allowed in aires. However, most units had one or the other or both. The book says ‘French nationals break the rules. Do not follow their example’. Third dilemma. So, when in Rome (okay France) we put our table and chairs out and enjoyed the last of the evening sun. A moonlit stroll along the beach before bed and we slept like babies. The aire was very quiet.
Next morning at bang on 9am a little white van rolled up beeping his horn and selling bread and pastries. Before setting off on the road some motorhomes were using the service point and emptying their loo or grey waste (free) or taking on board water or a boost of electric (2 euro each). We did neither, but if we had that would have bumped the cost of the night up to 11 euro.
At a coffee stop further en route we called in an aire in Lamotte Beuvron. Space for six motorhomes and nothing else. No room to set up tables and chairs there. Free parking, water and waste disposal was available at the service point though. We serviced Dora and headed off again. When we left the aire was full, also two motorhomes had parked on the road to the aire and two had come too late and moved off to try elsewhere. Note to self – arrive early in free aires. They fill up quick.
Next night we stayed on a campsite that cost 17 euro. We had electric hook up and hot showers, but that was the only difference. Would we stay in an aire again? Yes, we probably would now we’ve broken our duck and we weren’t gassed by the ne’er do wells who are out to get Slaw……..