Advice please for France

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Chockswahay, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    We are off to France (and Spain to follow) in a few weeks.............

    I would appreciate any advice that you seasoned Funsters might offer....

    Any 'must take' guides, maps, etc?

    Any 'must see' places or sites?

    We intend to enter via Cherbourg then make our way through Loire and down to San Sebastian then across to Barcelona and down to Valencia before returning via Madrid and Bilbao.

    We love 'big' scenery, natural stuff, local food and wine, cycling, surfing, fishing, walking..........you know, all the 'outdoor stuff'

    Cheers :BigGrin:
     
  2. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    My advice is limited..
    1) Get through and out the other side asap :Wink:
    2) Avoid toll roads esp if you have a largish van .. The auto ones think you are a lorry and charge accordingly


    On the up side

    1) Stay in France and enjoy the wonderful food and cafe life
    2) Stay at the many aires available to you as a motorhome owner


    Seriously though..

    Many aires are jam packed at this time of year so always have a fall back plan if pos.

    When on an aires do not put out chairs or any other paraphernalia

    If on the road, do not be frightened of stopping in motorway service areas.. BUT !
    Do not do as we see so many idiots doing, parking as far from all the lorries as possible.
    if there ARE any thieves about you are gonna stand out like a red beacon .. We always park right in with all the lorries.. The drivers are usually very friendly and they all watch out for one and other and of course you too.. We have made so many friends in service areas it never stops amazing me ! ( and the drivers have often offered us grub and wine as they are as interested in meeting a traveller in their country as you are in doing the travelling )

    neither woman or myself speak any worth while french, but we always seem to manage just fine :thumb:
     
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  3. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    Thanks Jaws, I probably would not have thought about parking with the lorries..........it does make sense :Smile:
     
  4. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    One thing to be aware of is gas. The cylinders in France and Spain have different connections and niether have the same connections as Calor in the UK.
    Get your deisel and gas from the supermarket forecourts they are cheaper than garages and many have 24hr pumps with card payments.

    I've probably done to death the fact that Puy Du Fou near Cholet is a 'must see place' so I won't mention it here.:BigGrin:

    Shops in many towns and villages in France close Sunday and often Monday as well.

    Don't underestimate the sheer size of France - it's HUGE so don't expect to speed through it. Take your time and explore as you go. We always book our ferry one way so do not have to get back on a specific time and date but book the return trip when near the north coast. Much better than having to rush.

    Have a great trip and tell us all about it when you get back.

    Wyn

     
  5. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Just to Add to what Jaws has put...Don't forget the motorhome and yourselves...:RollEyes:...

    No just joking, what you buy in the uk you can buy over here in France maybe more expensive...except ..bacon, sausages, b/beans, double cream, gravy powder, custard powder, sausage rolls and savory pies, mint sauce.. these are just a few items:thumb:

    Wise words from Wyn & Jean.....your gas if you buy a butane tail in the uk this will fit a French propane bottle in France...(external fit connection)

    there many different lengths...you need one to reach for your bottles to your regulator

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Butane-ga...ervan_Caravan_Accessories&hash=item4ced0e6790

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
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  6. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    Thanks guys, this is the stuff!

    On the Gas we will be OK as we have refillable and the appropriate connectors :Smile:

    Now to Google Puy Du Fou near Cholet :BigGrin:
     
  7. malheg

    malheg Funster

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    France

    If you enjoy a curry take some with you.
    We found plenty of Chinese ingredient's but no Indian.

    Malc
     
  8. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Spain has that by the shedload. Never seen such variety and changing so quickly.

    Must sees IMHO:

    The Alhambra in Granada.
    The caves in Nerja.
    The Grand Mosque in Cordoba.
    The gorge in Ronda.
    The walled city of Avila.

    Now join those up and the scenery you'll see is mind blowing.

    Most of the seaside towns will provide you with miles of easy cycling. Granada would test The Tour riders.

    When you see what the Muslims left behind you can't help but be impressed with them as a people.
     
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  9. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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    like john (jaws) said there is no problem in france parking with the lorries i always try to park with them i prefer it to the aires but a need is still the aires books or try to get a poi onto ya sat nav as for places to see in france there really is to many to mention but if u r near Biscarrosse just after Bordeaux then check out the sand dunes there fantastic place as is mimizan a bit further on have fun and safe roads :Smile:
     
  10. bernardfeay

    bernardfeay Read Only Funster

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    If you are going to park near lorries be sure to park well away from the refrigerated ones; they make a racket all night long.

    As for security we have 3 unsuccessful robbery attempts and one successful in Barcelona, one successful bike stolen in Madrid and one attempted back snatch in Bilbao.

    In large Spanish cities presume you will be targeted and act accordingly.
     
  11. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    You think !

    In Spain you need to plan ahead, very few filling places compared to France. But in the summer you might not need even one fill up.
     
  12. Spottycatz

    Spottycatz Read Only Funster

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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  13. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    Allow more than one day to see it all. They have their own aire so that's not a problem.

    Try to time things so you can go to Sceniecine (Fri & Sat nights) it's just the most amazing extravaganza!

    Wyn
     
  14. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Which reminds me !!
    At the moment there is a gang of scumbags working the Valladolid area at the moment, nicking anything they can from cars, vans and lorries.. Had this report as early as March and again just the other day from a good riding mate of mine who lives very close by

    General advice is not to stop for a night 20 miles either side of it..
     
  15. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Haven't managed the Puy de Fou ever yet. One day .....

    The Alhambra and Generalife you could also take a couple of days to see - water running uphill and they hadn't invented the pump, etc etc - utterly fascinating and you could walk by it - I was halfway down a flight of stairs which had a water channel alongside the handrails when I realised the water in them was going UP the stairs. Stopped me in me tracks, continued to the bottom and couldn't see what was sending it upwards, had to turn round and go to the top to see what was 'sucking' - nothing ...... not to mention the pomegranate effect ceilings but there again, you are sick of em by the time you've finished ! :Rofl1: and have to say, the restaurant in the Parador on site is exceptionally good. But then, restaurants in all Paradors should be - prices match the quality so be warned!

    If you got the impression that place blew me away, you'd be about right.

    France - There are shedloads of caves (Grottes) in France. Most of them are humongously large, often go on a train or a boat for part of the distance, but there's also quite a lot of walking and going up and down stairs involved.

    And the Gouffre de Padirac is an absolute must see. It's not like anything else anywhere ......

    A Michelin large scale road Atlas is your first priority really. Any road with a green stripe alongside it, you will know has ' nice views' but it doesn't distinguish between very good and bloody fantastic, so you still get wonderful surprises, and also wonder why some other roads you happen to be travelling on, which you think are truly stunning, aren't so designated! If you spend any time in one partic area it's worth getting the local Carte Michelin which are a lot more detailed - but usually the local tourist offices are a mine of info, and if they charge for any of it, is cheap. Free local tourist info leaflets are available in hotel lobbies and in the shops at bigger service stations amongst other places for all local and not so local attractions - Pete goes mad cos I pick em up at the drop of a hat - well - if you miss stuff it gives the excuse to go back to those parts again, doesn't it?

    If there's a brown signpost with white writing on it, it's a 'designated' place of interest. However whether it interests you particularly, is down to the individual. Most of these are shown on the rd atlas.

    And France has a huge network of public footpaths called GRs - Grande Randonees - well publicised and special maps with all the details on them, but the main routes are shown on the road atlas and down to the smaller ones on the local maps, but the finer details are in the GR books and leaflets.

    Firestone used to be the equivalent of Michelin in Spain, but I don't know if that is still the case?

    Phew, just get over there and get stuck in. If you spent the next 10 years there, solid, you'd not see 27% of it !
     
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  16. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    As always, I'm much obliged to you all.

    Many thanks :BigGrin:
     
  17. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    Then you didn't look hard enough :RollEyes:
     
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