Avoiding the Péage

We’d spent a comfortable night in Frodo off-grid in the parking area provided by the Belgian Brasserie des Fagnes.

We got ourselves ready in a leisurely manner as the rain came down yet again. It has actually rained at least once on every day we’ve been here. The rain abated and I got Frodo off the levelling ramps, which was all I had to retrieve from outside before hitting the road at 09:30 heading for France. Yeah! We are only a few kilometres inside Belgium.

Incidentally, I had levelled Frodo a little too well on the ramps because the overnight rain caused an irritating drip, drip, drip, on Frodo’s rear mouldings – he needs to be slightly nose down so the rain runs forwards.

On the motorway we passed the sign I was looking forward to saying “France”. The free autoroute continues to Reims, from which we planned to head through Chalons-en-Chanpagne and onto Troyes, where we planned to stay two nights to investigate the town.

Now, the main route between Reims and Troyes is a péage autoroute. We have an electronic toll tag to make paying the tolls easier but there are management fees associated with it: a yearly fee of £10 plus a £6 charge for every month that you use it in. Today being 31st May, it seemed a bit silly to get lumbered with another monthly charge for the sake of two junctions on a péage autoroute when there was a perfectly decent N-road running parallel. We took the N-road.[Cheapskate!] Actually, you get to see a bit more of France, that way.

There was a “Route Barrée” sign in one of the towns we needed to pass through so we got an even more interesting diversion through some country lanes and villages before picking up the main track again.

And [lose another 100 points] so, after 250kms, to Troyes. We have stayed here once many, many years ago, That was on a campsite with a caravan but we can’t remember where it was. This time Francine had found what used to be the camping municipal site within a 20-minute walk into town. It is no longer a camping municipal; it has transformed into an aire de camping car with automated payment and entrance control – tell the machine what you want (1 night, 2 nights), how many people, add water if you want (electricity is included), waggle your contactless card and get a ticket with a QR code to open the barrier and dispense water.

It’s the way things seem to be going; automated aires for camping cars. The other way things are going is that we are losing some campsites suitable for all to motor home sites, probably because there are so many people swanning around in very expensive fashion accessories. There’s clearly no shortage of money for a serious chunk of the community.

PXL_20240531_124351752We used a similar aire de camping car last year. That one was no more than a tarmac parking area with plug in points for electricity and water. This conversion in Troyes has been exceptionally well thought out and done. All the tracks around the site and all the pitches are made of lattice concrete slabs which stop 3500kgs vans sinking in but allow grass to grow through.

Excellent (except for the losing general campsites aspect).

Posted in 2024 Summer