Aire de camping cars Fontet – more than a simple aire

Dates visited: 18th to 19th of June, 2023 and 24th to the 26th of March, 2024

Among one of the biggest draws for visiting France in a motorhome or camper is the ability to utilise the network of aires which are sites designed specifically for such self contained vehicles. Sometimes these aires are located close to a location you want to visit, other times they are welcome stopovers on your journey. The aire in Fontet, for us, falls into the latter category. However there’s a lot to like about this aire.

When we arrive in France on a Sunday (as we like to do)and are travelling to the south we like to get south of Bordeaux but no further than necessary – it takes the best part of seven hours to get around Bordeaux so unless you can swap drivers it can drag on a bit. For the kids too it’s a lot of time to be cooped up in the motorhome. So a well timed opportunity to stretch the legs, get a bite to eat and a good night’s sleep is much appreciated and this site allows us to do all three.

Getting there

Getting to this aire is fairly straightforward. It is located south of Bordeaux. After you pass the city going south, or immediately before it heading north you exit the motorway, pay the obligatory toll and it’s only about 5 minutes drive. The roads lack a hard shoulder and are a bit narrow compared to the lanes on the motorway but are very drivable and well surfaced so not a bad end to the drive by any stretch. When you arrive at the gate you can pay at the ATM style device at the gate. This issues you a barcoded ticket that you can use to gain access to or exit the site. You can also book ahead if you are going in the peak season and don’t want to run the risk of finding out the site is full. Full details on booking and prices can be found here.

Pitches and facilities

Pitches at Fontet are well laid out. The pitches take the form of a number of parcels; approximately 8 by the gate within easy reach for the short term visitor and more closer to the lake for those looking to stay more than a day. The lake is one of the main attractions for this aire. The aire is located alongside the Canal Lateral a la Garonne and has a small lake for berthing vessels. This means the area is relatively busy – for an out of the way village and boasts an on-site restaurant and bar, along with showers and washing facilities. We have visited here twice (June 23 and March 24) and found the bar to be open until about 7pm on a Sunday but not on a Monday. We didn’t find an opening schedule but were there relatively late and not while holiday season was going full-tilt in France. The opening hours may vary each day and during the high season. In addition, there is also a snack shack but we didn’t find this to be open during either of our stays.

There is a really good playground on ‘site’ that caters for toddlers and younger children and there are towns nearby that can be accessed by the cycle/walking tracks along the canal. That’s another thing I should have mentioned earlier. There is a dedicated cycle track along the canal that also presents a good opportunity for some active vacationing.

The local village is a bit sleepy. It has a shop that opens for a couple of hours each day so you might be as well off planning a trip to the supermarché in nearby La Réole if you need to pick up more than a baguette. There is an historic château in the village but this is in private ownership and not accepting visitors as far as I can tell … you can rent the whole building but I think they may have a no riff-raff policy.

The imposing walls of Château La Grange. The chap that wards away peasants had gone on his tea break leaving the walls and gates to do his job for him. Mind you .. they could do with getting the painter back for a week.

The onsite facilities are, as far as we could tell, confined to the typical aire facilities i.e. water and electric hookup in addition to bins and facilities for emptying grey and black waste however as mentioned above you may be able to use the publicly accessible showers and toilets when the facilities are open. However even the basic facilities are decent. There are multiple sites for emptying waste and filling up on fresh water. Pitches are marked out and spacious, even allowing room for outdoor furniture and a wind-out awning if the weather permits.

Camping car service area Fontent
The motorhome service facilities are easily accessible and to a the best standard one might expect for an aire, actually they are better than you might find on more expensive campsites.

Facilities for children

We haven’t visited during the high season or daytime Saturday/Sunday but there were plenty of indications that watersports are a big part of the site and could be a good match for older children. The aforementioned playground is also a plus for entertaining younger children and you can take in a walk along the canal path – if your children aren’t opposed to walking. The downside is there are no real shops in the immediate vicinity if you run out of Pampers, wet wipes or food so pack accordingly and definitely don’t arrive empty handed, hungry and tired on a Sunday after 7 expecting to be able to find a restaurant or shop. It may just result in you having a minor meltdown, or at least that’s what I think might hypothetically happen in a situation like that.

Value for money

OK. This is the best bit. It cost us 11 euros per night. For all of the above facilities this site represents excellent value. I can’t imagine us spending a week here but when we were trying to take advantage of the good weather on our second visit we were happy to stay a second day and explore the area. I would think that in the high season or Friday/Saturday/early Sunday this place would pick up a lot more business and could be quite lively. The main disadvantage is the lack of a major supermarket within walking distance and shorter opening hours for the on-site facilities during quiet times but the latter is to be expected as the area is generally sparsely populated. Other than that it’s a solid stopover. If you are driving to or from the south of France via the west coast Fontet is well placed to break the journey and represents excellent value for the money.