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motorway aires: 2

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motorway aires[1]
Mas d’Agenais, A62



Motorways/autoroutes of France

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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.

marker at

Mas d’Agenais aire
sketch map locating mas d’agenais aire

The aire of Mas d’Agenais, near Agen on the A62 autoroute, is a large, relatively quiet aire comprising a large open, grassed area, with literally cooling showers, and a wooded area. Under the trees and elsewhere are varnished picnic tables with seats. In summer, some of these are in deep shade, but flying insects can be a problem in some seasons and some times of day. As a feature, there is also a palombière - an area for dove raising and housing. [Report applies to the northbound aire.] However, this was closed when we visited and it was not clear when it might be open for visitors. This aire has no café, petrol station or shop.

In the southern, hotter regions of France, there are often what the motorway company calls “refreshing showers”. Outside the hot season, the water is turned off and the showers are bleak metal sticks. But come the blasting summer heat, le canicule [2], the showers work - press the button to set off a mist of cooling, invigorating water. (Because of the heat, damp clothes are no problem.)

"Refreshing shower" at the Mas d'Agenais aire, A62


Aires have picnic areas with tables, benches and waste bins. At Mas d’Agenais, these are placed under the shade of a deciduous wood.

Picnic tables nestled under the shade of the woods


Aires often offer an inventive solution to an everyday item. Here, a relaxing chair becomes a sculpted sine wave. Remarkably comfortable for a lump of shaped concrete.

Stone lounging chair in the shade, Mas d'Agenais aire, A62
Concrete lounging chair in the shade

sketch map locating mas d’agenais aire

The Mas d’Agenais aire reviewed on this page is only accessible from the northbound direction of the A62 autoroute. There is also a twin large aire on the southbound side of the autoroute, but without the spray-mist showers and the (likely closed) palombière [ has not yet visited Mas d’Agenais Sud].

The Mas d’Agenais aire is in Département 47.


end 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. canicule: heatwave. Very hot weather generally arises when the star Sirius, the dog star, is visible in the sky during the day. Canicule is derived from the Latin for dog, canis. In English, there is a similar reference with “the dog days of summer”. Depending on the year (and on the source of information), the canicule period can extend from 22 July to 22 August, or 24 July to 26 August.

    This period corresponds to maximum heat in the Northern Hemisphere because of atmospheric inertia. After heating the atmosphere since its zenith on 21 June (the Summer Solstice), the sun begins its slow descent, but the air still maintain that heat despite the reduction in the duration of the day, the atmosphere retaining the heat like a giant storage heater. So from late July to late August is statistically a period of intense heat, but not necessarily a canicule in the meteorological sense of the word.

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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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