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Safest free or low-cost motorhome stopovers near Calais France

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One of the many wonderful things about motorhome travel is the nightly stopover. It’s a chance to put your feet up and relax after a long day of travelling or sightseeing, or to use necessary services like electricity or dump points. For many, like us, it’s also an opportunity to get more involved in a local community, staying with or close to locals.

As avid fans of the France Passion network, we get the peace, serenity, ambience and safety of staying on someone’s private property. But travelling can’t always be perfect; sometimes, you just need somewhere to pull up quickly and safely for the night. There are times when we have to travel further than we intended, or our plans go awry, and we arrive at a location much later than expected.

Sometimes, you don’t even get to where you want to be. This situation can create anxiety and stress, and let’s face it, that’s the last thing anyone needs on a road trip.

Travelling from the UK to France via Calais is one such situation that can create angst, even if you are on time and arrive here with no issues. Why? Finding a safe place to stay in a motorhome near Calais is one of those topics that usually lights up the Facebook forums, with everyone expressing an opinion on whether you should or shouldn’t stay here.

We aren’t going to get into this conversation here; we’ll leave that to the forums, as everyone has a different view and level of acceptable risk. While it is not our preference to stay here either, we aim to provide a list of sites available near Calais should you find yourself desperate enough to need one.

Things to note: We aren’t listing official campgrounds here as these are generally places we don’t stay in, therefore we can’t comment on them accurately. All maps and distances are given as a general guide from the car ferry. For those taking the Eurotunnel and heading to those locations that are in the west, the distances will be less.

Disclaimer: if you stay at any of these sites, you must personally assess your safety and security before you choose to stay. Circumstances can change quickly, particularly in this area, so always do what feels right for you and your travelling companions. Keep everything locked up and inside where possible. Don’t leave your vehicle or belongings unattended.

Summary free or low cost stopoers near Calais
Summary free or low-cost stopovers near Calais

Aire de Camping Cars Watten

The overnight stopover at Watten is approximately 36 kilometres (22 miles) southeast of Calais. Depending on the time of day, using the A26 will take about 30-40 minutes. Using the A16/D300 will add about 10 kilometres to the trip.

The site is a hard-stand parking area beside a canal that will fit around a dozen vehicles. There’s a town nearby with several shops. If there’s one thing we know, sleeping anywhere near a canal usually sets you up for a peaceful evening. Two of our more recent motorhome journeys were along the Canal du Midi and the canals of the Loire.

It’s free to stay, but there is a charge for water services via the borne, which, annoyingly for this location, only takes tokens (jetons) that must be bought from local stores. There is also a dump point here.

Location: Rue Paul Mortier, 59143, Watten

More reading >> We’ve also travelled extensively on French canal barges. You can read all about these stories here.

Map Calais to WAtten motorhome stopover
Map Calais to Watten motorhome stopover

Camping-Car Park Calais

This one is quite close to the port, approximately 15 minutes drive. It is currently being taken over and re-established as part of the Camping-Car Park network. You can read more about this type of stopover in our detailed guide.

Like all Camping-Car Park locations, this one has a 24-hour charge and a service area that incurs additional fees. Due to its proximity to the port, this is one camping area you would need to be mindful of security.

Note – this stopover is closed from April until June 2024 as it undergoes renovations.

Location: Calais, Pas-de-Calais, Hauts-de-France, 62231. Next to Camping Le Grand Gravelot (official campground) at 275 Rue d’Asfeld, 62100 Calais.

Calais to Camping-Car Park Calais
Calais to Camping-Car Park Calais

Aire de Camping Cars Boulogne-sur-Mer

This aire is approximately 45 kilometres (27 miles) from Calais on the west coast. While this one feels a lot further away, if you jump on the A16, it’s a reasonably quick drive. Note that tolls apply here. It’s a beautiful location, with plenty of hard-stand parking spots on the edge of the cliffs and views of the ocean.

It is a paid site, with access to water for an additional fee. There are areas for draining waste water but no electricity.

Location:  Boulevard Sainte-Beuve 62200 Boulogne-sur-Mer

Aire Boulogne-sur-mer to Calais ferry
Aire Boulogne-sur-Mer to Calais

Car park Auchan Boulogne

The beauty of France is that there is always a shopping centre or similar location ready for overnight stopovers, should you not be able to find anything else. We’ve certainly done this before, and provided you don’t need facilities and services, it’s a perfect stopover.

More reading >> Wild camping, aires, France Passion and Camping-Car Parks. Where you can stay in France.

This one is at a commercial shopping centre near the enormous Auchan supermarket, which is also a good place to start your grocery shopping if this is your first night in France or take French goodies home.

It’s located off the N42, roughly 30 minutes from the Calais port. A service point for dumping waste is on the side road next to the Auchan Service Station.

Calais ferry to Auchan Boulogne
Calais ferry to Auchan Boulogne

Aire de Camping Cars Wissant

There’s nothing fancy about this aire, but it’s only approximately 30 mins from Calais. It’s also been around for a long time, proving that some people need something nearby.

It’s a reasonable-sized location with hard-stand parking areas and the ability to dump wastewater.

It is likely that this aire has also been taken over by Camping-Car Parks, which means that in the future, it will have all services but will be a paid site.

Location: Route de Calais D940 10 62179, Wissant

Calais to Wissant aire
Calais to Wissant aire

Free camp Landrethun-le-Nord

This location will always be subject to change, but it has been possible to park in front of the Forteresse De Mimoyecques Museum. It’s just a dirt entry to the museum, but it will easily fit four or so motorhomes.

Location: 5120A Rue de la Forteresse, 62250 Landrethun-le-Nord

Calais to Landrethun-le-Nord
Calais to Landrethun-le-Nord

Aire de Camping Car Gravelines

This aire is located by the rowing lake built ahead of the 2012 Olympics, between Calais and Dunkirk. Given its proximity to the park, it’s a quiet location to stop over. It’s also quite a popular park, especially for early and late arrivals and departures, so you will usually have safety in numbers. This is a paid site.

Location: Gravelines, Nord [59], Hauts-de-France, 59820

Calais to Gravelines aire
Calais to Gravelines

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