AIRES

AIRES/Stellplatze, Camperstop

What is an AIRE?

I realised after talking to friends and family that whilst I and many motorhomers know what an aire is not everyone does!

AIRE literally translated is AREA and in France they have had the sense to set aside an area especially for campervans (as they call them) in many towns and villages.

These aires are varied, 99% of them you can stay overnight only a few are just  service stop.  Many are free to encourage you to walk into the nearby town and spend your money in their shops increasing tourism.  The service points are also varied, some are free, and can contain a combination of fresh water, waste water dump, chemical toilet dump and electricity.  These are really safe places to stay and are ideal as they often are in ‘just the place’ you want to visit.  We have used many and in order to help those who either:

1. Haven’t used them

2. Had a bad experience

3. Want to know the good from the bad

I have compiled a list of those we have visited and tried to give an honest opinion of each.

In Germany they are called Stellplatze and the best place to find out the full information is:

http://www.vicariousbooks.co.uk/

who stock all the books on AIRES

We have:

French Aires – the new addition of North and South books

All the Aires Spain and Portugal

All the Aires Belgium, Holland & Luxembourg

Bord Atlas – Europe and Germany (Stellplatze guide)

All the Aires – Mountains

Camperstop Europe – http://camperstop.facilemedia.nl/en/

And the best of all ACSI membership –  http://www.campingcard.co.uk/ – this is a membership for a year at a time that enables you to use almost 3000 campsites across Europe in low season (not school holidays) for a set fee of either €12 €14 €16 or €18 per night for a van, two adults and one dog although many do not charge us for the 2nd dog and a certain amount of electricity (which I cannot remember).

FRENCH AIRES

 

 Neufchatel-en-Bray – Rue Ste Claire

Region: Haute-Normandie

Department: Seine-Maritime

This is a beautiful aire and was brand new when we stumbled across it after trying to get into the campsite next door which was full. There are approx 14 pitches, all hard standing with newly planted shrubs in between and a pull in service area for water and waste. It was so new that there were not any photos in the Aires book and stupid me forgot to take some of mY own.   Next to the Aire was an old railway line that had been turned into a cycle way and it provided a wonderful walk for us and the dogs. In 2013 the fee for the aire was 12 euros and is paid via a ticket machine on the barrier. This is a perfect stop over aire and for longer stays. 7/10 (2013)

Roye – Place de la Republique

Region:Picardie

Department: Somme

This is an aire in a car park in the centre of town next to a small chapel and a fire station.  When we stayed it was only our 2nd time on an aire and nearly put us off completely as it was very noisy.  The aire was on the route from the pubs to the houses and the late night drunks made a lot of noise going home and I personally found it scary.  The facilities had seen better days when we visited in 2013, though we did not use any of them. 2/10 (2013)

Chambon-sur-Lac – off D996 next to Camping les Bombes

Region: Avergne

Department:Puy-de-Dôme

Although we didn’t stay in this aire as we had already pitched at a nearby campsite this aire is lovely.  We used it just to park for the day so that we could explore Chambon-sur-Lac and this is allowed at no payment.  The aire itself charges €6.00 per night payable at the nearby campsite. It has plenty of room with marked out pitches in a very quiet area of the village/town. 8/10 (2013)

Le Mont Dore – Ave des Crouzets

Region:Avergne

Department:Puy-de-Dôme

Again we didn’t stay over in this aire just using it as a car park for the town of Mont Dore.  Personally I wouldn’t want to stay here as there are many other aires in the area which are better. 4/10 (2013)

 

Brezolles – D939 

Region:Centre

Department:Eure-et-Loir

This is a beautiful aire and whilst we used it as a stopover you could easily extend your stay.  It is set in a former walled garden next to the church. 8/10

Rodez – D162 opp ZI Cantaranne

Region:Midi-Pyrenees

Department:Aveyron

This is a small aire set on the outskirts of the town next to a lovely lake with plenty of walks.  We did not go into the town as it was very wet and used it as a stopover for which it was perfect. 7/10

Aire at Rodez

 

Lac du Pontcharal – Vigeois – D7

Region:Limousin

Department:Correze

This is a strange place.  When we went there was a new aire just built on one side of the town and the one in the AIRE book is on the other side but is really in our mind just a service point. The new AIRE is lovely although it has no services. Take a look for yourselves from the pictures below.  The service point one was very run down when we visited and it looked as if someone had been having bonfires using mattresses. 6/10

 

Oradour-sur-Glane – D3 and signposted well

Region:Limousin

Department:Haute-Vienne

This is a very popular aire due to its location to the Memorial Village of the same name.  The pitches are designed for you to ‘double up’ on but we didn’t need to when we visited as it wasn’t that busy. It is perfect for visiting the village but may not have enough in the area for you to want to stay longer. 7/10

 

Amboise 2 – Allee de la Chapelle St-Jean

Region:Centre

Department:Indre-et-Loire

This is a lovely aire that has its own barrier entrance and un-metered electricity.  We used it after visiting Chateaux Chenonceau but there are also many other chateaux in the area. 7/10

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Ambleteuse – D940

Region:Nord-Pas de Calais

Department:Nord

This is a camperstop and we only found out about it because we had travelled to an AIRE in Breck that had been taken over by Gypsies.  In the AIRE was a British couple who said to us that they were moving on to Ambleteuse if we wanted to follow.  It is set in a farmers field that is rather steep in places and overlooks the English Channel.  It is perfect just to stopover on your way home. 6/10

The camperstop can be seen in the distance.

The camperstop can be seen in the distance.

 

Mareuil Sur Ay – Place Charles de Gaulle

Region: Champagne

Department:Marne

 

This is a lovely AIRE alongside a canalWhen we visited the fairground was in the village and had taken over the AIRE but the locals didn’t seem to mind us parking up in the streets and spilling out onto the tow path with tables, chairs and bottles of wine. 7/10

 

Our makeshift aire

Our makeshift aire

Givry – Rue de la Gare

Region:Burgundy

Department:Côte-d’Or

Another lovely AIRE in a car park on the outskirts of the walled town of Givry next to the Voie Verte Cycle route.  The service point is opposite the car park in a lay by but again when we visited the fairground people had taken over part of the AIRE and had access to the standpipe and were quite happy for us to fill up with fresh water direct from that! The cycle route adjacent is also well worth investigating and the town has a lovely patisserie! 8/10

 

Sharing the AIRE

Sharing the AIRE

Bedoin – Chemin de Bedoin a Malaucene

Region:Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur

Department:Vaucluse

This is definetely the most beautiful AIRE we have come across so far.  It is in a large field with some of the pitches on the sides of the fields divided by almond trees.  All around are the stunning surroundings of Provence with the Mont Ventoux mountains in the distance.  The village has all the local amenities and a very large market on Mondays.  The Gendarmes call in the morning for the fee of €3.00 and it is very amusing and also very sad to see the amount of people suddenly pull of the AIRE when they see them walk in the gate! 10/10

 

Chablis – D235

Region:Burgundy

Department:Yonne

We used this AIRE purely for parking so that we could visit the Sunday Market for the local famous blood sausage (black pudding).  It would also serve very well should you wish to visit the many Chablis wine produces in  the area.  As an AIRE to stay in it was just a car park outside some of the industrial buildings and would probably be OK in an emergency/stopover but not really suitable for staying in for any length of time. 4/10

Carcassonne – Chemin de Montlegun

Region: Languedoc-Roussillon

Department: Aude

This aire is part of the massive coach park for the medieval village of Carcassonne.  The aire part is at the far side of the coach park and is perfect for visiting Carcassonne.  You get a ticket on entrance to the coach park and pay at a booth before you exit. There are toilets there though we didn’t use them as we use all the facilities in our van.  There is a water and waste disposal point that has seen better days so we disinfected the tap before filling up with fresh water (just in case someone had used it to rinse their toilet cassette!). The water and waste facilities are free (included in the whole cost). It is only a 5 minute walk to the medieval village which you can see the fairy tale top of from the aire.

 

Rocamadour – Parking Le Chateau

Region: Midi-Pyrenees

Department: Lot

This is an aire just off the main car park at the top of the cliff town of Rocamadour and is perfect for exploring the wonderful and staggering cliff town.  There are no facilities but it is free and very quiet. 7/10

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Montignac – Rue des Sanges

Region: Aquitaine

Department: Dordogne

This is a perfectly designed aire and one of the best that we have ever used.  It is on the very edge of the town next to the main road but not noisy and accessed via the high street.  It has marked out bays and no height barrier.  There is a machine in which to pay for the night although no one came to check our ticket.  The electricity points are next to the pitches and included in the fee and a new water, waste and chemical toilet point had been added (again included in the price).  The town is lovely with quaint little streets and many cafes and bars.  We stayed here so that we could visit the nearby Lascaux caves some 2 miles away which has parking for motorhomes so great all round. 9/10

Villandry – D7

Region: Centre

Department: Indre-et-Loire

This aire is perfect for visiting Chateaux Villandry which is just 200 yards away.  It is only a car park but there is a service point (which you have to pay for). The service point accepts euros which is great as you don’t have to go searching for tokens, the aire is free, though the car park surface is very dusty and muddy.  It is an ideal stopover for visiting the chateaux though. 6/10

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La Mailleraye sur Seine – Quai Paul Girardeau

Region: Haute-Normandie

Department: Seine-Maritime

This is a lovely aire as recommended to us by Peter and Nia (http://peterandnia.com/) set along the River Seine.  The pitches are mainly grass and you would need to check their suitability in wet weather although we parked on the hardstanding next to the sewerage plant (surprisingly no smells). There is a service point (tokens) and the charge was €5.00 although no-one came to collect) The town is small and in March was a bit of a ghost town, but it did have a bakery and a vets so is perfect for the dogs passports ready for home and is not too far from Calais. It was enjoyable watching the very big container ships and barges go past. 8/10

St Imoges – Rue de la Briquetterie

Region: Champagne

Department: Marne

This is one of many ideal stopover aires just south of Reims.  It is quiet and next to a wood which we could walk the dogs.  The aire is free but the services are charged. 6/10

Aire at St Imoges

Aire at St Imoges

Montreux Chateau – D11 by canal bridge

Region:Franche-Comte

Department: Territoire de Belfort

This is a beautiful aire on the French, German, Swiss border next to a canal.  The aire is barriered and you need to buy a ticket from the machine opposite to get the code to get into the aire.  The cost is €5.00 per night and then you need further tickets with codes for water HOWEVER there is a toilet next to the aire and you can get fresh water from there as the sinks are massive and you can easily get a jerry can type water container under them. Watch out for the local cyclists on the canal tow path they are not very friendly and don’t like other users!!!!! 8/10

Montreaux Chateaux

Montreaux Chateaux

Nantua – D74 adj to lake

Region: Rhone-Alps

Department: Ain

This aire is set along the roadside of a very busy lake.  Whilst the aire is nice and the views nice it is very noisy and there are people walking backwards and forwards pass  the vans all day and night. The services are free and the aire is €7.50 per night although no one came to collect the money. Train line behind but not overly noisy and only ran during the day. 6/10

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Lamarche sur Saone – off D976

Region: Burgundy

Department: Cote-d’-Or

This is a lovely aire set in a field on the edge of the River Soane.  Unfortunately we were not able to use the service point and the machine that dispenses the tokens was broken! The views were lovely and the walks along the river great.  The bakery wasn’t open when we visited (strange), there was a Spar but we didn’t go in. 7/10

Banteux – Rue du Port

Region: Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Department: Nord

This is another perfect stopover aire only being 2 hours drive from Calais.  It is set in a field behind the canal and although there are no views it is easy to pick up a chair and walk round to the canal bank and watch the world go by.  There is un-metered electricity included in the cost of €4.00 per night which is collected by a very friendly man. 7/10

 

Honfleur – Bassin Carnot off D580

Region: Basse-Normandie

Department: Calvados

This is an extremely busy aire spread over a large area of what initially looks like car parking.  It has water and chemical waste points and payment machines in which to pay for your overnight stop.  There are some electricity points but you would be lucky to get one!

The town is beautiful, full of street side cafes and restaurants. This is a good stopover site and possible a longer stay. 7/10

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Beauvoir – St Mont Michel 2 – D976

Region: Britany

Department:Ile-et-Vilaine

This is a wonderful commercial aire that has been newly built and is just a mile from the free buses that take you to St Mont Michel.  The aire is well laid out with massive pitches complete with electricity.  There are numerous water points along with a motorhome service point.  There is also wifi included in the cost.  You need to pay for your stay at a machine which will issue you with a receipt that has the code on for entry via the barrier.  The village has many cafes/restaurants which offer many of the seafoods that are caught in the area. We had a wonderful meal of mussels.  You can walk along the river to the buses to take you to the island of Mont St Michel which is impressive in itself. There is plenty of scope to stay here for a while.   9/10

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Coulon – D123

Region: Poitou-Charentes

Department: Deaux-Sevres

This is another beautiful aire – the picture in the book does not do it justice.  At the back of the aire is the walkway along one of the many canals in the area that takes you to the town – literally a 2 minute walk.  There aire is being upgraded and more electricity points are being put in.  You need to pay for your stay at the machine BEFORE you can get in.  The machine issues you with a code in order to enter the site. Coulon is a beautiful area and you could spend many a day here exploring the canal network known as Green Venice. 9/10

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Lamotte Beuvron – N20

Region: Centre

Department: Loiret

This is a very busy beautiful aire situated next to a canal with fountains! There is no electric but a fresh water, grey water and chemical waste point and is all free.  There is a wonderful patisserie ‘just up the road’ and this was perfect for a stopover but could be useful for a few days as well. 7/10

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Wissant – D940

Region:Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Department:Pas-de-Calais

Another very  busy aire and only 20 mins drive from Calais.  Again the picture does not do it justice as the picture makes it look like a car park but extensive landscaping as made it look much prettier. The town is small and the beach is a 10 minute walk away.  Ideal for a stopover but not much more as it does not have any fresh water, but it is free. 6/10

 

Cambrai – Rue du Douai

Region:Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Department: Nord

A really nice aire on the outskirts of the town next to a canal basin BUT the local youths tend to congregate their with their alcohol and ghetto blasters so after we had eaten we moved on. 6/10

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Catillon sur Sambre – D643

Region:Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Department: Nord

Another really nice aire situated on a canal, the aire has room for 4 vans but there is apparently an overflow car park that can also be used but we couldnt find it.  Thankfully we took the last space and as a bonus no one came to collect the money. 7/10

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Mouzon – Rue du Moulin Lavigne

Region: Alsace-Champagne

Department: Ardennes

A beautiful aire situated on the river Meuse.  You pay in the office opposite that also takes the money for the boats that also park here overnight. The bays are nicely set out with small hedges in between. 8/10

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St Omer – Rue de la Gaiete

Region:Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Department:Pas-de-Calais

An ok aire, set right in the town next to a heavily used and very noisy train line.  It is ok for its purpose of somewhere close enough to Calais and just for an overnight stop.  6/10

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Mutigny – Off D201e

Region:Grand Est

Department:Marne

This is a really nice aire set on a hillside overlooking the vines.  There is nothing in the vicinity to speak of but a bread van does call at 11 o’clock in the morning. Perfect for an overnight stop 7/10.

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Thann – Rue Anatole Jacquot

Region:Grand Est

Department:Haut-Rhin

A nice aire although rather small and the Gendarmes came and made us park in a set way – upsetting the whole aire which resulted in arguements amongst the campers! Ok for an overnight stop 6/10.

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Kayserberg – Just off D415

Region:Grand Est

Department:Haut-Rhin

This is a lovely aire set in a large car park with TWO service points.  It is a real sun trap and the village/town is just a 5 minute walk away.  The town is beautiful with many tourist shops, gingerbread shops and pretzels.  This town is famous for its pretzels and storks nesting on the roofs and the tourist industry here is geared around it.  It is a very busy tourist place but the aire is placed well on the outside of town and is really busy with campers but quiet. 9/10

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Ste Marie du Lac Nuisement –

Region:Grand Est

Department:Marne

A lovely aire set back from the lake which has many cycle/walking paths all around. Perfect for overnight stops and also longer stays. 8/10

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Watten – Rue Paul Mortier

Region: Hauts-de-France

Department: Nord

This is an ideal overnight stop before getting on the ferry or eurotunnel the next day.  The town has a couple of bakeries and the aire is set next to the canal of which there are a few in the area. 7/10

 

Spanish AIRES

El Pople Nou Del Delta – Cami de Les Casetes – Amposta

This is a lovely aire that is set in a very large car park that serves the local restaurant and the important wetland wildlife area.  We were able to see the Pink Flamingo in their natural habitat. We would have stayed longer if the weather had been better as their were many cycle ways from the aire.  8/10

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GERMAN AIRES

Hausach – Baden Württemberg

This is on a car park at the local swimming baths. The bays are very small and there a no facilities.  It is opposite a small housing estate and fire station.  Behind the swimming baths there is a lovely walking area leading to a big open space which is ideal for walking the dogs.  Beside the car park is a lovely little stream which the dogs enjoyed cooling down in as it was very hot when we visited. The nearby town is lovely and it had a street market with nice bread, meats and fruit and vegetables.  Whilst there was nothing to look at the aire was perfect for a stopover and it was free.

Bad Waldsee – Baden Württemberg

This is a very busy AIRE in the thermal spa town of Bad Waldsee.  The bays are large, and some of the motorhomes look as though they have been there on a semi-permanent basis.  There is a fee for staying here and all the services of water, waste and chemical disposal also attract a fee as does the electricity.  If you stay for a certain number of days you can have a free ticket to bath in the thermal spa baths though how many I couldn’t tell you as our German is very limited and although there appeared to be a ‘man in a van’ who ‘overseen the aire we couldn’t understand him.  There is a bakery van that arrives every morning between 8 and 8.30 and does a very busy trade. For us this was a perfect stop as the Hymer Museum is only 1-2 miles across the other side of town and well worth a visit.

Oberwesel – The Rhine – Am Hafendamm

A fantastic stellplatz on the banks of the Rhine.  This is different to what we are used to as it is also part of a campsite with a reception and they place you on the stellplatz with the campsite bit on other pitches.  You can also pay to use the full facilities of the shower rooms but we just used it as a stellplatz.  Really nice here as you can cycle along the set out paths along the Rhine to The Loreley and Pfalgrafenstein castle. 9/10

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Bacharach – The Rhine – An der B9

Beautiful stellplatz set on the banks of the Rhine, this is a paved stellplatz next to a campsite which is where you pay, and they have a nice restaurant you can also use. 9/10

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Muden – The Mosel – Hotel Sewenig

A parking space outside the hotel but perfectly adequate for a quick stopover nothing more as no facilities.  Ideal for visiting Burg Eltz but I would recommend parking in Moselkern and walking from their and then finding another stellplatz for overnight as there are plenty with facilities along the Mosel. 6/10

Our spot at Muden

Our spot at Muden

Neef – The Mosel – Am Frauenberg

This is going on my top 10 list as it is wonderful, next to the Mosel, a big open space on grass with all the facilities you need, water, grey waste, chemical toilet, rubbish bins and electric for €8.00 per night which is collected along with a bakery van and ice cream van calling at the sight. 10/10

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Boris in the distance

Boris in the distance

Kinheim/Kindel – The Mosel – Harelbekeplatz 1

Well I thought you couldn’t get any better than Neef and then we came here which has all of the above + a supermarket 2km cycle away AND free wifi! 10/10

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Traben-Trarbach – The Mosel

We called at this stellplatz, drove in and drove straight out.  It really wasnt out thing.  There are only a few pitches that overlook the river, the rest being jam packed in behind and very much like a small British campsite, very regimented and you needed to pay before you could get in  and look around.  Fortunately for us the warden  was there and he let us straight out. There are so many much better stellplatz along the Mosel – virtually one every village so give this a miss.  2/10

Trittenheim – The Mosel – Am Moselufer

A really good aire set on a former car park that is now just for motorhomes on the banks of the Mosel behind the very big village/town.  It was really nice here with  all the facilities and someone to collect the money and a bread van; although there is a really good bakery in the village and a good wine bar/garden! 9/10

Our pitch

Our pitch

Our view

Our view

Trier – A big German city – on the Mosel – In den Moselauen/Messepark

Perfect for what we needed to do which was to visit the oldest town in Germany which is now a very big city with lots of Roman ruins to explore.  The stellplatz has a card system which is a little difficult to understand but basically: you enter via the barrier which spits out a plastic card, you find your space, you then need to go to the card machine thing and using your plastic card pre-load it with money for the electric, water and if you want the toilets and shower.  When you then need to get water, or empty the waste and get rinsing water you need to present your card to the machines!  Same with the electricity although luckily for us and I have no idea why we just plugged in and didn’t pay a thing.  7/10 (0nly because of the complicated card system)

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SWITZERLAND AIRES

Neuhausen – East Switzerland

This is a big car park designed for coaches and motorhomes to visit The Rhine Falls.  It has lovely marked out bays above the Rhine though there are no views from the site the noise of the falls can be heard.  It is a short walk down to the Rhine Falls and all the trips on  the Rhine and cafes, bars and restaurants.  For us it provided the ideal place to stop in Switzerland so that we could see the falls and to stopover although it was rather expensive at €15.00.  There are water and waste facilities free of charge and also toilets and showers; although you need to pay a further €2.00 for hot water in the showers!  The payment is via a barrier machine which charges for either parking for a short time or a full night and gives you change in Swiss Francs!

BELGIUM AIRES

Genk

This is a lovely aire in a car park next to an extensive forest (National Park Hoge Kempen).  It has marked out bays specifically for motorhomes and is free for staying overnight with a max stay of 24 hrs.  Water and electricity cost €5.00. We found this a delight as we could get out and walk the dogs in beautiful surroundings and it was sunny which always makes a place seem better.

 

ITALIAN AIRES

Gavirate – Lombardy – Italy

Via Cavour

A very busy Italian aire on the edge of Lake Varese. There is a boat house nearby with a lively bar.  There are many bars on the edge of the lake, some pitches have views. All the services are charged and euros are paid direct into the machines to use the facilities such as electricity which is €1.00 for 12 hours use, and €1.00 to dump your chemical toilet waste! It is also €8.00 to stay the night but is an ideal place stop after travelling through Switzerland on your way down through Italy and/or back.  7/10

Pisa – Tuscany – Italy

Via di Pratale

One of the most difficult aires to find, the satnav did not like it at all, there are numerous one ways systems in Pisa and the signs are non existant.  There is also a series of concrete arches to circumnavigate which is not easy in a motorhome and we seen many driver getting stuck.  The aire itself is on the side of a car park and has a parking attendant to take your money and set you up with electricity if you pay for it.  It was €12.00 per night and a further  €5.00 for electric, the water, grey and chemical waste facilities are free. This is an ideal stopover for Pisa but make sure you have a map or like us you will spend 1 1/2 hours trying to find you way back! Sorry no photo’s 6/10

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