French Aires are decreasing
A recent survey of French aires has revealed that in 2023 there are fewer aires than in 2022 (which had already recorded a decrease compared to 2021). From 4,000 aires three years ago, aires have actually decreased to 3,800. Does this mean that France is losing interest in welcoming motorhomes? The truth probably is that ‘car park aires’ made by municipalities, are falling into disuse. This is also the observation that is made by Stéphane Boron, manager of the Flot Bleu service points:
“I think a number of communes want to do away with the first generation aires - those old artisanal bornes made with bits of string. And I note that in some communities, the technical teams lack the motivation to maintain their equipment.”
In short, aires in poor condition, degraded or poorly maintained, are not being replaced & the reception of motorhomes in France is becoming more “professional”, dilapidated aires are removed & the municipalities are pooling their efforts to create better aires, the price of which however may be higher. However, the 2023 rates have not increased very much, as average prices detailed below show:
Services + parking : €10.83 (€1 more than in 2022)
Price for filling up with water alone: €2.29 (€0.01 less)
Price for parking only: €8.64 (+€1.16 since 2021)
Flat rate for all services: €3.78
Tariff for electricity only: €3.21 (+€0.20 since 2021)
The total number of aires in France is as follows:
Municipal aires: 2,232
Campsite aires: 724
Private aires: 747
Aires on motorway: 92
However what makes the difference between two aires is not so much knowing whether they were created by a campsite or a town hall, as to their facilities, the figures below show the differences in standards:
425 rest areas (i.e. 11% of them) impose a service + parking package (able to fill up with water and empty waste water on site).
2,423 do not charge for parking
136 aires (3.5%) do not allow overnight parking
1,920 rest aires (i.e. half of the national network) offer an electrical connection
351 of the 3,800 aires are managed by Camping-Car Park
The overall distribution of motorhome areas in France was found to be fairly even.
The department with the most aires is Morbihan, with 116 aires. And if we exclude the Paris region, the Territoire de Belfort and Corsica (all very poorly equipped), we find at the bottom of the survey are 4 departments with 14 aires each:
One fact from this survey is confirmed: Brittany, Vendée and Charente-Maritime are the best equipped departments.