Welcome, Guest
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid!

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 3 weeks ago #472591

  • Harby
  • Harby's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 83
  • Thank you received: 19
We're just back from a mostly enjoyable three weeks in France... except for one hour which we'll never forget..

Between Orleans and Clermont-Ferrand on the A71, south-bound, and needing a fuel stop. Pulled into services - aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne and, as always, checked which way caravans were being directed and followed the signs. We're pretty sure we'd been to this one before and it was OK. Around the fuel pumps it was, as often is, a bit tight but we navigated out without any hiccups. Also watched a few caravans go ahead of us and were confident we'd be fine.

Just to add to the story, we have a 7.9m twin axle, towed by a LR Discovery. So we're a pretty long outfit.

Heading out of the services is where the fun began. It was hot (30/32 degrees) and rammed (lunchtime on a July Friday)....

We were heading towards the services exit sliproad, where the car and lorry lanes converge, and realised it was far too tight to turn, with high concrete (scuffed) barriers either side of the lane. We got out to have a look. Definitely too tight - not enough swing to make the turn without taking the back end off the caravan.

The hooters started and the French began getting tetchy.

We scratched our heads and looked again. "I don't know what to do", I said. "There's only one thing we can do," my husband said, "we're going to have to unhitch and stick it on the mover".

"Oh. My. Goodness" I thought (or at least something along those lines.)

So we spent the next 20 minutes doing exactly that. My husband calmly and carefully going through the process. Me trying to fend off the frustrated French. It's helpful that we both speak fluent French, as one rather cross lady came over all shouty and arrogant, we politely explained what was happening and politely asked for her help in explaining to other travellers what was happening, expressing our apologies, and saying that the best way of helping was leaving us to calmly sort it out. At one point we had at least 25 people around the caravan, watching. In fairness, once they understood, most were supportive and friendly, only one twit was upping the stress levels by honking his horn, tapping his watch and saying we were making him late for work.

Hitching was the 'fun' part - as we had to block not only the car exit, but the lorry exit too as the lanes converged. We didn't actually count them, but reckon about 100 vehicles must have been held up by us :(

After hitching we set off on our way.... and at every service station found ourselves asking why, with all the land surrounding the French aires, do they make all the turns so very tight (even on caravan and lorry lanes) and use the concrete barriers (which, if you look, are all scuffed)?

Oh - the icing on the cake - our 8 year old daughter complaining that the delay meant her ipad battery had gone dangerously low.... a comment which fell on deaf ears!!!

We're happy to say the rest of our travels went well (except my husband then leaving his mobile phone in the toilets at the next aire, but we got it back thanks to a very kind French man who answered it when we called it and brought to the next services for us).

We won't be stopping at aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne again. But we will be back in France ASAP :)
Bailey Pegasus Palermo
The administrator has disabled public write access.

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 3 weeks ago #472593

  • Craigyoung
  • Craigyoung's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Happy Touring
  • Posts: 3027
  • Thank you received: 686
Whilst in France at the minute i to have noticed it is tight when refuelling at stations and always pay attention to detail off the surroundings as to how to get out once done !!
Ford Kuga 2.o Tdi & a Sprite Major 6TD

Sir Crying -
Will possibly get to
the round table some day !!
Sorry !!
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by Craigyoung.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 3 weeks ago #472595

  • EH52ARH
  • EH52ARH's Avatar
  • Online
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Hutch.
  • Posts: 5096
  • Thank you received: 1102
I can sympathise, done the same on the A10, with one french car blocking the way and after a frustrating 20 minutes , the chap who was watching us finished his baguette, got into the blocking car and drove off. .
Hutch,
Woosie King 2019 , Sir Were-Rabbit look at The Woosie Thread.
Sante Fe 2014,
Coachman 560 VIP. 2013.
Rural Milton Keynes
The administrator has disabled public write access.

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 3 weeks ago #472596

  • Craigyoung
  • Craigyoung's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Happy Touring
  • Posts: 3027
  • Thank you received: 686
EH52ARH wrote:
I can sympathise, done the same on the A10, with one french car blocking the way and after a frustrating 20 minutes , the chap who was watching us finished his baguette, got into the blocking car and drove off. .

You ain't got time to read the forum the amount off decorating you've gotta do !!! :P crack on !! :silly:
Ford Kuga 2.o Tdi & a Sprite Major 6TD

Sir Crying -
Will possibly get to
the round table some day !!
Sorry !!
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: EH52ARH

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 3 weeks ago #472599

  • otherclive
  • otherclive's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 6352
  • Thank you received: 1480
I got caught out in that area too. We had parked in a Aire parking bay on the left hand side of one of the exit roads. We were parked at the front end of the bay with the car and caravan passenger doors adjacent to a high kerb. It would not have been a problem to exit until monsieur parked their car on the right hand side of the exit road and disappeared off somewhere. I thought I could steer the outfit out with a gentle right hand down. But as I was putting my cars right wing near to Monsieur's drivers side there was a loud bang and the caravan jerked sideways away from the curved kerb at the end of the bay. I got outcto have a look and my nearside Reich mover had smacked and dislodged a kerbstone. Fortunately the mover gap had only closed up a bit. By then Monsieur had come back and driven off, and we did likewise leaving the kerbstone proudly out of line as it was too heavy to lever back and by then I’d got a queue of impatient drivers behind me. I reset the Reich mover gap some three weeks later after arrival home.
Subaru Forester XT 240 bhp, carrying two Springers and towing a Sprite Musketeer TD 2013.
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by otherclive.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 3 weeks ago #472600

  • Craigyoung
  • Craigyoung's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Happy Touring
  • Posts: 3027
  • Thank you received: 686
Ha , long as the damage was minimal , as for dislodged kerbstones , I've done few in my time with the rear tyres on the bus !! ;)
Ford Kuga 2.o Tdi & a Sprite Major 6TD

Sir Crying -
Will possibly get to
the round table some day !!
Sorry !!
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: otherclive

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 3 weeks ago #472602

  • Harby
  • Harby's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 83
  • Thank you received: 19
Thank you... while I wouldn't wish the experience on anybody, I'm kind of pleased we're not the only ones!
Bailey Pegasus Palermo
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Craigyoung

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 2 weeks ago #473213

  • Brian_374234561
  • Brian_374234561's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 148
  • Thank you received: 8
Same here, it happened to us a couple of years ago. I normally research the fuel stops using Google maps but for whatever reason we tried a different one to the 'normal' stop. Never again.... pulled away from the pump and followed the car signs only to come across high kerbs and a mini chicane. I almost got the twin axle through it with millimetres to spare on either side only for the car (which had made it through) facing a further kerb in front (i'd run out of road) so had to turn and caught the lower awning rail that runs along the bottom skirt. The noise was horrendous, but the damage was surprisingly small considering! I was absolutely gutted. So a question for all you folks out there... can you use the lorry diesel pumps? I've heard yes and no. Yes, but it comes out a lot quicker so be careful and no because it contains more silicone than car diesel. Does anyone know the truth? I'd love to know!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 2 weeks ago #473236

  • Craigyoung
  • Craigyoung's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Happy Touring
  • Posts: 3027
  • Thank you received: 686
This was something I was wondering to as my wife asked me and I thought it was slightly different to what went into the cars unsure but another pick at the petrol stations and is in France is that when we were travelling back from Loire valley last week down to Calais and we needed fuel & and the 20 minute break , i must admit i couldnt get round the back to get parked in up to 3 service stations :angry: at the end I used an aire a few miles further down the road which had 4 caravans in with plenty of space , was really peeeee'd off because two cars were taking up caravan bays in service stations !! Bloody car drivers :angry: :P
Ford Kuga 2.o Tdi & a Sprite Major 6TD

Sir Crying -
Will possibly get to
the round table some day !!
Sorry !!
Last Edit: 3 months 2 weeks ago by Craigyoung.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

France: aire de Chaumont s/ Tharonne - avoid! 3 months 2 weeks ago #473238

  • otherclive
  • otherclive's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 6352
  • Thank you received: 1480
Craigyoung wrote:
This was something I was wondering to as my wife asked me and I thought it was slightly different to what went into the cars unsure but another pick at the petrol stations and is in France is that when we were travelling back from Loire valley last week down to Calais and we needed fuel & and the 20 minute break , i must admit i couldnt get round the back to get parked in up to 3 service stations :angry: at the end I used an aire a few miles further down the road which had 4 caravans in with plenty of space , was really peeeee'd off because two cars were taking up caravan bays in service stations !! Bloody car drivers :angry: :P

It happens here as well. Cars, WVM trucks all do it. If you look on google at SARN services Bridgend you will see an HGV in the caravan bays when there are lots of spaces in the HGV spots. So it’s not a French thing.
Subaru Forester XT 240 bhp, carrying two Springers and towing a Sprite Musketeer TD 2013.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2

Most recent caravan reviews

Coachman Acadia 675 - That attractive, low profile look will be familiar to Coachman fans (© Practical Caravan)
Elddis Avanté 454 - The Avanté looks good with quality moulded front and rear panels (© Practical Caravan)
Bailey Discovery D4-2 - The Discovery is a quirky looking tourer, with an awning that stretches right around to the rear (© Practical Caravan)
Sprite Super Quattro EB - The EB's curvaceous exterior, with three windows, a large sunroof and smart graphics, rather belies its entry-level price band (© Practical Caravan)