Why call them Aires?

There are several names you may have heard of: Aire, Borne, Stellplatze, Aree de Sosta, stopover or camperstop. The name Aires comes from the French 'Aire de Service Camping Car', their term for motorhome stopovers. British motorhomers and press refer to them as 'Aires', which technically just means 'area' in French. Therefore people have been confused with other signs using the word 'Aire', as it is commonly used on signs for motorway services and rest areas, children's play areas and activity areas to name a few. Although motorhome stop overs are referred to as Aires, you are very unlikely to see a sign for a motorhome Aire using the word Aire, usually they use a motorhome symbol instead.

Motorhome stopovers are not confined to France and every country that has motorhome Aires has its own name for them. In Germany there are at least 3,000 motorhome stopovers called Stellplatze. In Italy the over 2,300 motorhome Aires are called Aree de Sosta. There are also two generic words that refer to these motorhome service areas. In the UK they are known as motorhome stopovers and in Europe they can be referred to as Camper Stops. So whether you stay on an Aire, Stellplatze, Aree di Sosta, stopover or camperstop, it is all the same thing. What they are not is wild camping or free camping areas.