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motorway aires: 19

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motorway aires[1]
in poitou-charentes
- the A87


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new! Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours  Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours

Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France updated: Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France

 the perpendicular or English style of cathedral  Manchester cathedral

the fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
the fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
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stone in church and cathedral construction

stained glass and cathedrals in Normandy illustrated graph

fortified churches, mostly in Les Landes

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using metal in gothic cathedral construction

Germans in France
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Click for an introduction to cathedrals and stained glass in France.

on first arriving in France - driving
France is not England
paying at the péage (toll station)

Click for motorways and motorway aires in France.

Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago, Rochefort-Martrou
Gustave Eiffel’s first work: the Eiffel passerelle, Bordeaux
a fifth bridge coming to Bordeaux: pont Chaban-Delmas, a new vertical lift bridge

France’s western isles: Ile de Ré
France’s western iles: Ile d’Oleron

Ile de France, Paris: in the context of Abelard and of French cathedrals
short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard

Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps

la Belle Epoque
Grand Palais, Paris

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Pic du Midi - observing stars clearly, A64
Carcassonne, A61: world heritage fortified city

Space City, Toulouse

the French umbrella & Aurillac

50 years old: Citroën DS
the Citroën 2CV: a French motoring icon

the forest as seen by Francois Mauriac, and today
Les Landes, places and playtime
roundabout art of Les Landes

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bastide towns
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country life in France: the poultry fair

what a hair cut! m & french pop/rock

Tour de France 2021

Le Tour de France: cycling tactics illustrated

New translation, the Magna Carta


an ecological motorway
Les Herbiers aire
Trémentines aire
aire de la Verrie
end notes

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Motorway aires are designed to provide a suitable environment for relaxing, refreshing and recovering during the long, hard journeys. As well as facilities of often dubious nature, picnic tables and seats, a telephone kiosk, there are often optional extras such as a play area or a display related to some local interest or event.

the A87 autoroute

This motorway is very recent, opening in 2002. There are only three aires for its 130 km, and originally only Les Herbiers included a service station. However, in 2009 the Trémentines aire was transformed so it too has service station facilities. There is also now another new small aire, La Verrie between J27 and J28.

The motorway is extended by the dual carriageway D160 to Sables d'Olonne, making 142 km in all. The sections at the north and south, bypassing the towns of Angers and La Roche-sur-Yon, are free.

an ecological motorway

This a motorway with windmills along side much of its trajectory.

Windmills along the A87

The A87 is built so as to avoid and preserve three regions with protected species, an aquatic plantain, the Blue Mercury dragonfly and the damier of Succise butterfly. There eleven ponds where waterbirds nd insects can breed, and eleven water tunnels under the motorway so otters can pass under the road without drowning during floods.

There are also a number of ponds designed to filter the run-off rain water from the motorway surface, removing and neutralising the petrol products that are washed off vehicles by the rain. The cleaned water is then available for local agriculture.


Les Herbiers Aire

Google map of Les Herbiers aire, A87

This aire on the northbound side [Angers to La Roche-sur-Yon direction] of the motorway is accessible from either direction. From the southbound side, you drive through a tunnel under the motorway.

There is a boutique of regional produce disguised as gifts, and a large cafeteria, as well as a coffee bar. The “Discover the Vendee” exhibition hall is just beyond the fuel area.

Outside is rather bleak, with isolated picnic areas and children’s bouncy rides.

Tis aire is very close to J26, the exit to reach Puy du Fou. This is a locally popular, history-based theme park with several zones for different eras, from Roman gladiators, to Vikings, jousting knights and musketeers.

[Latitude 46.904179, longitude -1.04883]


Trémentines aire

Google map of Trementines aire, A87

From spring 2009, after a year’s work, this previously simple aire has been transformed into a full-blown aire. Why this transformation? Before, if travelling from Angers, a motorist would have to wait 80 km and Herbiers aire before being able to refuel, or else leave the motorway to refuel at Chemillé or Cholet. This was not very convenient, so the decision was made to turn Trémentines into a service station aire.

On average, 12,000 motorists travel daily on the A87. This traffic can double in summer, or during long weekends. “The goal [for the new Trémentines aire] is to capture between 10 and 20% of traffic.”

The entrance and coffee bar at Trementines aire, A87

The new face of Trémentines aire is composed of wood, glass and concrete. This 600 m² building offers a restaurant area and a showcase highlighting local Cholet heritage. Here two three-minute films are shown on plasma screens, there are posters and leaflet stands.

Part of the exterior dining area and view across the aire

The restaurant area extends outside, so you can enjoy the sunny weather and views during your meal, or watch your children in the scattered play areas.

Play areas are scattered

There are planted walks, with roses and larger flowering shrubs, as well as picnic tables, that provide a attractive outdoor distraction.

This is a very pleasant aire, and well worth a break from your journey.

This is a very pleasant aire, and well worth a break from your journey

[Latitude 47.135604, longitude -0.826442]


Aire de la Verrie

Google map of La Verries aire, A87

Since explored this motorway there have been changes. These include this new, small, basic aire between J27 and J28, just marked as a minor road on Google Maps, but still not showing on the satellite image [remember that Google’s satellite images are often five or more years old].

[Latitude 46.956041, longitude -0.938001]

ed notes

  1. aire: in this context, an area —
    aire de loisirs: recreation area;
    aire de pique-nique: picnic area;
    aire de repos: rest area;
    aire de services: services , motorway (GB) or freeway (US) service station.

  2. We have used the letter J, signifying the English nomeclature of junction for access points on motorways/dual carriageways. The French name is Sortie, exit. However, as this would lead to using an unfamiliar (to Anglophones) letter S, in this instance we are remaining English.


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on first arriving in France - driving motorway aires, introduction
travelling by rail to and within France individual aires                                             
A75 autoroute from Clermont-Ferrand to Béziers and its aires Les Pyrénées, A64 Poey de Lascar, A64
A89 autoroute from Bordeaux to Clermont-Ferrand and beyond - aires Pic du Midi, A64
Hastingues, A64
Dunes, A62
Mas d’Agenais, A62
A7 - aires on the busy A7 autoroute from Lyons to Marseille Pech Loubat, A61
Port-Lauragais, A61
Mas d’Agenais, A62
Garonne, A62
A9- aires on the motorway to Spain Ayguesvives, A61
Renneville, A61
Catalan village, A9
Tavel, A9
A62 - aires on the autoroute of two seas three aires on the canal du midi, A61 Lozay, A10
Poitou-Charente, A10
A65 : the autoroute de Gascogne, from Langon to Pau Carcassonne, A61 Les Bréguières, A8
A64 and A61 - aires on the other autoroute of two seas  
A83 motorway in Poitou-Charentes - aires A63: the French Wild West, Bordeaux to the Spanish border - formerly the N10
A837 motorway in Poitou-Charentes - aires A20 - aires on the Occitane autoroute, from Brive to Montauban
A42 and A40 motorways - aires from Lyon to Switzerland and Italy A87 motorway and its aires in Poitou-Charentes

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