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Crossing France in winter

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Posted: 5 years ago
We're off to Spain in January and I thought I'd spend the day sorting out stopovers. The problem is that French sites seem to close from October to May and I've had a real hard time finding any.

I've found one just south of Orleans and the next one is south of Perpignan which is a bit of a haul with short winter days, so any suggestions for somewhere closer or a list of French camp sites open in winter?

I should mention I'll probably go the A71 A75 route because I know it, but if the weather looks bad I'll cut down the A10 Bordeaux and Toulouse route as it isn't quite as steep. Driving the middle once in snow was enough.
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Posted: 5 years ago
You might be better off just looking at French council run sites.
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Posted: 5 years ago
Unfortunately, they tend to close in winter as well, in fact they very often have shorter opening times than the private ones. And, they do not like twin axle caravans. We were given a resounding 'Non' by several council ites last summer. Pity really, they can be very good.
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Posted: 5 years ago
the january issue of practical caravan mag has some good stuff on europe sites & i see some say open all year?
Total Posts: 67
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Posted: 5 years ago
Yes I saw that, but none of them are near where I want to be, so I shall cheat.

I was looking for somewhere near Calais to begin with and they were all too small or not the sort of place i want to stay. I won't mention any site names, but reading some reviews put me off.

The Ibis Budget hotel near the Tunnel has a massive car park and that will be stop one. Whether we sleep in the hotel or the caravan remains to be seen.

Night two I was looking for somewhere near Bourges and there is a truck stop just south of Salbris that has a small motel attached.

Hardly in the spirit of the rugged caravanner, but I did all my rugged camping in the days when I was young enough to enjoy it. Now I like my comfort too much.
Total Posts: 3
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Posted: 5 years ago
Try using www.campingcheque.co.uk you can put your dates in and it will tell you which of its sites are open.

If you wanted you could buy some camping cheques to use on the sites or pay at the sites!!
Total Posts: 102
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Posted: 5 years ago
We find that the Caravan Club 'Europe' book which you can buy from their website is invaluable in identifying sites in France that are open all year. We usually travel to Spain with our van in January and come back in March. As Patrick Stoner says, there are very few sites open in the winter in France so its important to identify where they are before you go. For the past two years we have taken the ferry to Santander instead. Although it seems expensive we worked out that with diesel, road tolls and site fees it is no more expensive than going on one of the short sea routes.
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Posted: 5 years ago
Thanks for all your comments, but in the end we didn't go.

Last October I had a new engine fitted in the Transit. I thought the oil consumption was a bit high at 200 miles per litre, but the company that supplied the new engine said it was just 'bedding down.'

This bedding down process got gradually worse and so I bought another engine and started legal proceedings against the first company. Because of the snow, there were delays fitting the second engine and it took three weeks. The day I was going in to pick it up the garage called and said there was a problem. No compression on one cylinder.

I was just firing up the lawyer when the suppliers of engine two produced engine three and agreed to cover all costs, plus a bit extra to cover inconvenience.

I got the van back about ten days ago and as we have now decided to store the caravan permanently in France it was all a bit late for going to Spain,

Moral of this story. Do not buy an ex-RAC Transit with 120,000 on the clock, re-chip it to 135 bhp, and then show off how quickly you can pull two tonnes of caravan up long hills in France when it's hot. Not that I ever would, of course.