Thanks for accepting me into your group.
At present My wife and I live in France, but we have a uk address as well. We are long term motorcaravanners and have a Dethleffs Fiat based van, but want to change to caravan and car outfit. We have always liked Eribas and think this is the way to go.
Looking forward to advice and chats!
Definitely a good decision ????
I too live in France. When we arrived we had a small motorhome but found it somewhat restrictive. If you want to explore and go off the beaten track a caravan and small 4x4 make a lot of sense. We have always been minimalists and our little Puck suits us fine. It also has the added benefit of being classified as less than 2 metres tall and is thus Class 1 on the autoroutes.
I assume you are planning to continue to live in France.
Years ago we were holidaying in the South of France about 50miles north of the south coast. It was so hot our children were fainting so we packed up our campervan and drove off up the Alps. When the temperature dropped to 38C we heaved a sigh of relief as we could now at least breathe properly. Up and up we went into the Alps, and saw several lovely off road places we could have stopped for the night - or indeed as long as we wanted. At each place there was a sign: Motorhomes Yes. Tents: No. Caravans: No. That pursuaded me to stick with motorhomes - although now I have a Puck as well.
The thing with a caravan is that you are more or less obliged to stop at a camp site all the time whereas with a motorhome you stop where you like: you are only parking. A policeman friend once told me that if you park in a layby that is fine. I am now referring to the UK, I don't know about France. If you stop with a caravan in a layby that is also fine so long as you don't put the legs down. Once you put the legs down you are deemed to be taking up residence, which is not allowed.
I bought a new Rapido motorhome a few years ago and the owners handbook had a few pages at the front explaining that in 1972 the French Government couldn't decide if allowing camping cars to stay in town overnight was a good thing (because they would spend money locally) or a bad thing. They commissioned a survey which concluded it was a good thing and so it is enshrined in French law that every town mayor has to provide overnight parking for camping cars.
That wouldn't happen in the UK of course - you know why and I'm not going to get in trouble here for explaining. Apparently in France if people turn up in caravans and camping cars and take over a car park and make a mess the police / army move in and move them along. No so-called 'human rights' there. Whereas in the UK it takes four months and an average of £100,000 to move them on and clear up their mess. That's why we have height barriers everywhere and 'no overnight parking' signs.
I was unaware that the French Government had passed legislation to force mayors to provide parking for camping cars. Back in the 1970s they were few and far between. What they did do was make it mandatory for all towns with more than 5000 inhabitants to provide parking for "gens de voyage". In other words gypsies and other travellers.
If you know what you are doing you can stop overnight in a caravan without problems. We do this regularly in the mountains. or when travelling long distances on autoroutes There is always the risk that your caravan will be burgled. But the same goes for an unatttended camping car.
Nowadays, in popular tourist areas, there are more and more strategies for limiting the number of camping cars doing wild camping. Earth banks and concrete blocks are appearing all over the place where it is legally possible.
Finally might I add that the rights of the individual in France are jealously guarded. I saw on the local TV news last night where a hundred or so travellers have turned up at a local town overnight, removed the concrete blocks barring access to the rugby ground and settled in for the duration. And the municipality is powerless. The cost of clearing up afterwards will be born by the ratepayers.
Ah thank you Banyulsman for updating me. I bought a new Rapido in 2014 and that is what I read in the owners manual. It's good to know of the current situation. We love going to France in our motorhome, it is so much more free than the UK, and the roads aren't so crowded. Of course these days we can't go so that's out of the question. You also have Police, we don't, we never see Policemen on the streets. Here they rely on cameras to take pictures of registration numbers and then send letters inviting you to donate £100 to the government slush funds.
France has plenty of speed cameras too. The "Gilets Jaunes" (Yellow Jackets) movement shares the view that they are just a licence to print money so they are regularly vandalised. Usually by spraying the lenses with paint. The French have a long tradition of taking action. Demos are a feature of everyday life here. If you don't like it you take to the streets. Or worse.
The French have a long tradition of taking action.
Whereas the British have perfected the art of moaning instead
All mouth and no trousers I believe is the phrase.
One thing that seriously annoys me here is that we have many "Speed Camera" warning signs, which are followed several hundred metres down the road after the camera, by speed limit signs. The irrefutable conclusion is that they are indeed just revenue collecting machines. If the Authorities were seriously wanting to reduce speed they would add what the speed limit is on the same post as the camera warning signs instead of a hundred metres after the camera.
At least we do have our cameras painted yellow, even if they are hidden in the bushes whereas in France they are ominous grey boxes hidden in the bushes. Apparently in Holland they have cameras secreted in wheely bins which they put out on bin collection day. Or at least I was told they did when I worked there many years ago. I wonder if the bin collection men hooked them on to the lorry to empty the contents?
I wouldn't have warning signs at all, just good speed signage and cameras, then maybe people wouldn't speed so much, after all they only make money if you break the law.
I cannot see a truly comprehensive speed signage happening. In order for this to happen you would need a speed limit sign just after every junction on every road. You could correctly argue that a driver should know what the speed limit is of a road, but exceptions do occur where a limit is lower than you believe it is or should be.
Back in 2007 when in south of France the local area we were in had on trial a coloured line system at the side of the road. The colour signified the speed limit. Excellent idea in residential type areas but I don't recall seeing it since.
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