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  #1  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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Roadside car parks in France and Spain

Hi all

I am driving down to Morocco through France and Spain in a car and intend on sleeping in the car for free

I have looked online for a list of roadside car parks but have not really found anything that helpful apart from truck stops

I have driven through most European countries and always founds a roadside carpark to stay in so I'm guessing South of France and Spain are the same

Any info /links much appreciated

cheers

Kurtis
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  #2  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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For France, you are referring to the Aires, which are widespread on the autoroutes.

Unfortunately, it is often emphasised that the criminal gangs are also widespread in these areas, at night.
I hope you are fully aware of these reports; some random searches:-

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ga...ient=firefox-a

An old report, but there are more recent versions if you look:-
Beware sleeping gas gang, caravanners told - Telegraph

Personally, I book into campsites (usually with a tent!) for a few Euros per night - even some of these have been targetted by the "gassing gangs" according to many folks I have talked with in those same camp sites in France.
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  #3  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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Oup's....France is not so...dangerous !!!
ok near big cities....and south France....ofen in summer
but if you travel in "massif central ".. for exemple...you can sleep every where ...in total sécurity !!!....
and you can meet nice people !!!....and good eats !!!
enjoy...
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  #4  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
For France, you are referring to the Aires, which are widespread on the autoroutes.

Unfortunately, it is often emphasised that the criminal gangs are also widespread in these areas, at night.
I hope you are fully aware of these reports; some random searches:-

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ga...ient=firefox-a

An old report, but there are more recent versions if you look:-
Beware sleeping gas gang, caravanners told - Telegraph

Personally, I book into campsites (usually with a tent!) for a few Euros per night - even some of these have been targetted by the "gassing gangs" according to many folks I have talked with in those same camp sites in France.
The last thing I will be worried about is 'criminal gangs' in France or Spain, I have driven across Ukraine, Russia, Kazakstan Mongolia and many, many much more hazardous countries and always been ok sleeping in cars, common sense has always prevailed

Thanks for the links but I wont be checking them out.
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  #5  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lidanae View Post
Oup's....France is not so...dangerous !!!
ok near big cities....and south France....ofen in summer
but if you travel in "massif central ".. for exemple...you can sleep every where ...in total sécurity !!!....
and you can meet nice people !!!....and good eats !!!
enjoy...
Massif central is the area of France I wont be going through seeing that I am driving to Morocco but I might come back that way if its worth seeing

Cheers
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  #6  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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Originally Posted by kingkurt View Post
The last thing I will be worried about is 'criminal gangs' in France or Spain, I have driven across Ukraine, Russia, Kazakstan Mongolia and many, many much more hazardous countries and always been ok sleeping in cars, common sense has always prevailed

Thanks for the links but I wont be checking them out.
You don't say where you are from, but I would also prefer to "wild-sleep" in a vehicle in those countries than in, for this example, France - even the hotel managers in "high-incidence areas" tend to close and lock their gates at night.
(Actually, I wouldn't sleep in the car anyway - just lock it up and sleep more discreetly, nearby).

Nor do I say that France is dangerous to life and limb, but there are plenty of examples of folks who have been robbed in their sleep - deep sleep induced by gases.
These gangs used to operate on the overnight sleeper trains in France - not so much is heard/said about that nowadays; as ever, the criminals are one step, or more, ahead of the authorities.

As lidanae says:-
"near big cities....and south France....ofen in summer"

By the way, in many parts of the south of Spain (and perhaps the major autoroutes) you will be pestered by "the ladies of the night" - ask any long distance truck driver who goes in that direction. Many of them have adopted the tactic of parking close up against each other so that the bad guys/girls cannot get to their doors, and even, if they do, the doors cannot be fully opened.
It is a "pack animal" reaction to the packs of gangs.

Anyway, whatever - bon nuit.
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  #7  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
You don't say where you are from, but I would also prefer to "wild-sleep" in a vehicle in those countries than in, for this example, France - even the hotel managers in "high-incidence areas" tend to close and lock their gates at night.
(Actually, I wouldn't sleep in the car anyway - just lock it up and sleep more discreetly, nearby).

Nor do I say that France is dangerous to life and limb, but there are plenty of examples of folks who have been robbed in their sleep - deep sleep induced by gases.
These gangs used to operate on the overnight sleeper trains in France - not so much is heard/said about that nowadays; as ever, the criminals are one step, or more, ahead of the authorities.

As lidanae says:-
"near big cities....and south France....ofen in summer"

By the way, in many parts of the south of Spain (and perhaps the major autoroutes) you will be pestered by "the ladies of the night" - ask any long distance truck driver who goes in that direction. Many of them have adopted the tactic of parking close up against each other so that the bad guys/girls cannot get to their doors, and even, if they do, the doors cannot be fully opened.
It is a "pack animal" reaction to the packs of gangs.

Anyway, whatever - bon nuit.
Hahahahaaaa, so you would rather 'wild-sleep' in Dagestan or Chechnya than in France and you would get out of the car and sleep outside??? - I wouldn't even get out of the car to take a leak

If I was in any way interested in the safety aspect of sleeping in cars in France and Spain then that is the question I would have asked but it wasnt so i'm really not sure why you are banging on about criminals and prostitutes I just wanted info on car parks

I lived in Paris for 2 years and have a holiday home in Alicante so am fully aware of the actual safety situation in both these countries

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  #8  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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The "gassing gangs" thing is incredibly light on evidence. I'd suggest actually reading the first result on that google search before spreading rumours further.

That said, I have had someone try to break into a camper in an Autoroute aire near Monaco while I was sleeping in it. He was using a slightly more low-tech screwdriver, rather than a mysterious anaesthetic gas which leaves no trace and only affects British people, and was repelled by a good bit of anglo-saxon profanity at high volume.

Off the autoroute network, I'd not have any concerns about finding somewhere out of the way and parking up at the side of the road, although to be honest I'd probably just find a municipal campsite for a tenner a night and proper facilities.

No idea where you'd find a list or the sort of places you're after I'm afraid.
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  #9  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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you will find "Aires" on most dual carriage ways and some single tracks. they have never cause me any problems. Park in front of the Lorry area so the lorries see you as they come and go through the night. IE somewhere where their lights shine on you.

going south I would take the road to Rennes rn137 I think, the onto the rn249 to Poitiers then stay on the rn10 to nearly Biarritz where it ceases to be free, at that point take the little roads to St Jean pied de port and over the pyrenees towards Pamplona.. never been farther south than that.
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  #10  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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We slept in our truck in roadside spots (Aires, fuel stations, truck stops), and carrefour carparks, and all sorts of places in France + Spain for about 3 months earlier this year. No hastle at all. And we spotted folks sleeping in cars here and there.

Best I could suggest, snuggle (park) in tidy beside a camper that's all tucked up for the night. Safety in numbers kind of thing as it would look like you travel together.

Merv.
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  #11  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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Dagestan and Chechnya? We ( me and Nadsicles) slept wild across both this summer and had no hassle at all, but then we tucked ourselves away out of sight. But the Aires....well, they are recognised stopping places for travellers and so potential rich pickings for tea leaves. So its a question of choosing a spot where you feel safest, getting some sleep and hoping for the best. Keep your wits about you same as anywhere.
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  #12  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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I've slept at the side of the road, in aires, on rubbish dumps (didn't realise till the next morning!) behind hedges and in quite a few other places in France and Spain between my first trip there in 1970 and a couple of years ago when I spent the night in my broken down car. I've not been gassed, robbed or molested by ladies of the night but most of the cars have been staggeringly uncomfortable and sleep (as opposed to just lying there with eyes shut) has been hard to come by. Taking a tent seems to me to be a good suggestion and even if you're not going to use it in a campsite there's plenty of suitable places on country roads where you can overnight for seven or eight hours without bothering anybody. I'm not sure I'd put a tent up in an aire any more but France/ Spain are big countries with plenty of other suitable places.

A couple of pictures spanning the decades -

Overnighting in France (near Dijon) -





Sleeping in this was one of the most uncomfortable nights I've ever spent -

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  #13  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dash View Post
The "gassing gangs" thing is incredibly light on evidence. I'd suggest actually reading the first result on that google search before spreading rumours further.

Off the autoroute network, I'd not have any concerns about finding somewhere out of the way and parking up at the side of the road, although to be honest I'd probably just find a municipal campsite for a tenner a night and proper facilities.

No idea where you'd find a list or the sort of places you're after I'm afraid.
Coincidentally I did read that particular first link: being the Daily Mail, it can be taken with a large dollop of scepticism, I would say, but it is hardly a case of "spreading rumour".
I also drew attention to another news report as a second link; more reputable perhaps?

As I said it was a quite random search about that topic which I raised only because the OP refers specifically to "roadside".
If the post was more interested in and referenced to, say, "aire de repos" then I probably would not have bothered to raise the spectre of gassing/robbery on the French/Spanish highways. I guess if I spent less time in campsites (with a motorcycle and tent) talking with camper van and motorhome owners and more time among those sleeping for free in the aires then I would be repeating those particular mantra.

While I'm here (I'm off again, soon, on my travels by car this time, but not in France or Spain) It is pretty clear that one can hunker down just about anywhere on the side of the road, but a good night's sleep is not necessarily the outcome. As per recent posts here, I have also done it and been awoken by a range of disturbances, including 2 UK policemen

Now, I'll get back to two wheels and go for a for today while the sun shines.
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  #14  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
Coincidentally I did read that particular first link: being the Daily Mail, it can be taken with a large dollop of scepticism, I would say, but it is hardly a case of "spreading rumour".
I also drew attention to another news report as a second link; more reputable perhaps?
The 'first link' I was referring to was this one, which is the first thing that comes up when I click on the google link.

Mystery gas attacks on lorry drivers [Archive] - UK-Skeptics forum
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  #15  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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Its seems as though it is as I thought with France and Spain then, lots of free parking if you know where to look

I have found information on a few Aires in the 2 spots I plan to sleep at from some other forums and they look clean and safe.

I should have explained more initially what I am actually doing and driving but I had little time when I posted so here is a better explanation:

The little 1.1 Citroen Saxo I am driving down to Morocco, Western Sahara and onto Mauritania has been modded with rear seats removed and the front seats are collapsible so plenty of space for sleeping, also silver tint on all rear glass and covers for the front windscreen and side windows so no one can see in when the car is in 'sleep mode'. It also has a panic button which sets off the lights and a very load siren ( for wild animals ) in case we get any unwanted attention.

Roadside car parks in France and Spain-ready-to-roll-2012.jpg

Thanks for the route suggestions 'Oldbmw' and for the pictures 'backofbeyond' (cant believe you slept in that car lol) and everyone else who commented

cheers





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