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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 16-07-2021, 16:58 Thread Starter
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Memories

We were here on this date six years ago -

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 16-07-2021, 19:47
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Aye! All seems a distant memory now (as my sig has been saying for a while).

I have enjoyed our time in Flamborough but we are ready for a change now but sadly it wont be Brittany, the Alps or the Pyrenees but Im not complaining. We are lucky to get away for as long as we like anywhere.

I was thinking today though that I really want to get the bike (or the big bike) over to France again. Its been too long.

Lovely looking Aire that Keith. Can you imagine anything like that here let alone within the view of those houses?


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 17-07-2021, 09:47 Thread Starter
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Opposite the Aire was a large flat car park and there was a Regional Boules tournament on the second day of our stay and the village was absolutely packed with cars and people.

Burger vans and local produce being sold and everyone 'Bon Jouring' each other - so French - and so missed ......
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For Videos of the Aires we've used, Eurotunnel journeys and many other more obscure Videos have a look at - www.youtube.com/user/KeithChesterfield

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 17-07-2021, 09:54
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Originally Posted by KeithChesterfield View Post
Opposite the Aire was a large flat car park and there was a Regional Boules tournament on the second day of our stay and the village was absolutely packed with cars and people.

Burger vans and local produce being sold and everyone 'Bon Jouring' each other - so French - and so missed ......
Absolutely. I love the way you are just made welcome in France.

Best one I remember was wilding at the foot of the Cirque de Troumouse in the Pyrenees. Just us parked up on some grassy land then all of a sudden a fleet of cars arrived (locals) and just down by the stream below us they set up tables and chairs and drinks and food etc. It was a massive family reunion. After a while they knocked on the van door and asked if we would take photos of the group and of course join them for a drink and some food.

I love the Aire culture in France and that the French are so welcoming in their towns and villages. Never seen any real evidence of them being territorial or NIMBYISM.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 17-07-2021, 10:29
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Could it be to do with this, they just think sod it lets be nice to them.


France has been invaded on numerous occasions, by foreign powers or rival French governments; there have also been unimplemented invasion plans.

the 1746 War of the Austrian Succession, Austria-Italian forces supported by the British navy attempted to invade southern France
the French Revolutionary Wars invasion attempts to defeat the French Revolution
the 1794 Flanders Campaign, led by Britain and Austria
the 1795 Battle of Quiberon, led by a British-backed force of French Emigres
the 1813 War of the Sixth Coalition, a British-led coalition invaded Napoleon's France to the south while a multi-national coalition attacked from the north
the 1815 Hundred Days, the Seventh Coalition invaded France following the Battle of Waterloo
the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, Prussian forces invaded France due to tensions regarding Prussia's growing influence in central Europe
the 1905 Schlieffen Plan, the German Empire's strategic plan for victory in a two-front war against France and Russia
the 1914 Battle of the Marne, the actual implementation of the previous plan at the outset of World War I
the World War II invasions
the May 1940 Battle of France, started by Nazi Germany's invasion of the Ardennes and the Low countries
the June 1944 Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy
the August 1944 Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of the south of France
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 17-07-2021, 10:29
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Thanks Keith, Have enjoyed looking at your aires videos over the years. I look forward to being able to go over there and enjoy just turning up!
Unfortunately at the moment my Tunnel booking will have to be rolled forward again.


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 17-07-2021, 11:21 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by barryd View Post
Absolutely. I love the way you are just made welcome in France.

I love the Aire culture in France and that the French are so welcoming in their towns and villages. Never seen any real evidence of them being territorial or NIMBYISM.

This was the only time I've had any worries when parked up on Aires – we never use Motorway Aires overnight.
About four years ago we were parked on a free Aire a few hundred yards from a village.
We were at the side of the wide river L'Isle and were the only ones stopping there overnight.
Very peaceful, rabbits, birds and other wild life on site but as quiet as the grave after dark.
After a few drinks we retired to bed about midnight and soon dropped off to sleep.
I was disturbed around four in the morning by a car door being shut quite close to the Motorhome.
Then another door shut, possibly a car boot as well, and quiet voices whispering nearby.
Then another car door being shut and more voices.
Someone started laughing and I heard the sound of people moving around.
I got out of bed and tried to see through the windows but it was misty outside and I couldn't see anything or anyone outside in the gloomy half light.
I knew the van was locked so laid back in bed with my ears tuned for any movement outside that would spell danger.
Over the next hour or so more car doors were shut or slammed and more and more voices, laughing and joking in French, as the group seemed to grow.
Daylight started to illuminate outside and gradually I could make out people moving about.
Was I brave enough to venture out ?
Then I could smell food being cooked and that made up my mind for me – I must go outside and see what was happening.
As I opened the habitation door a large burly bearded man approached.

This was it !

He stuck out his hand and shook mine with a great degree of vigour.
“Bonjour, Monsieur” he said.
He then explained that I was parked on an Aire car park that they were all using to park their cars and vans for an all-day fishing match.

Yes, a Fishing match !

“Would you like some food ?” he said (in French)
I realised we were in the middle of dozens of vehicles and if I didn't move the Motorhome soon we would be stuck there all day.
I politely declined his offer of food and explained that I thought I should move to the edge of the Aire to avoid being trapped.
Margaret and I were both relieved that there wasn't a direct threat to us and I manoeuvred the Motorhome out of the way to the edge of the Aire..
And that is the biggest worry we have had in numerous visits to rural Aires, many remote and only us on them overnight, and long may we get the opportunity to go to France and sample the stopovers the French authorities provide.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 17-07-2021, 13:04
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Keith

As soon as your story got to '4 in the morning' I was thinking 'fishermen'. Glad it was only they.

Our 'scariest' was not exactly an aire, just a wide-open bit of grass beside a big lake in Slowakia early in the year. At about 0300 there were banging noises, I looked out of all windows, nobody in sight. Unexplained till later - when we have since discovered that the Truma boiler sometimes does that when firing up, so have ignored it ever since.

Never had a problem or even been nervous on an aire/stellplatz etc. Worst thing to disturb one could be the 'authorities', particularly in UK.

Happy MHoming - particularly off-grid.

I feel sorry for those of you more or less trapped in UK at present, particularly with the new restrictions coming back from France just announced.

Geoff
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 17-07-2021, 17:06
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Funniest one was wilding on the coast at Gatteville Phare (tallest or second tallest lighthouse in Europe) in Normandy. About midnight all these lights started moving in the rocks in front of the van in the dark. I thought I was hallucinating or maybe had a funny bottle of Leffe but they got closer so I went out to investigate. Bloody locals with headtorches foraging for Muscles or whatever it is they spend hours poking around in the sea and beaches for.


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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 19-07-2021, 07:02
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Lovely stories about things that go bump in the night. We, too, have had similar encounters on French aires. One was in a village square that was an unofficial aire for the vet. We were awakened at silly o clock in the morning by the arrival of the weekly market stalls. A quick scramble to remove ourselves to a safe spot and all was fine. They were not so full of bon homie but I expect it happened to them lots of times.

A little word of warning though. We have had a first hand account from a chap sprucing up his motorhome, in preparation for selling it, at a body repair shop. He told us that he awakened one night to find someone standing over him with a knife to his throat. It was somewhere in South East France. He parted with his wallet and vowed to sell his motorhome the minute he got home.
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