Any advice for our 1st trip to France.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Shandyman, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. Shandyman

    Shandyman Funster

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    Hello Funsters,

    We ( 2 adults and a dog) are hoping to go to France for the 1st time in June or September for about 12 days having never done anything like this before we are really looking for some guidance.

    1. Which is the best crossing tunnel or ferry given that we would be travelling from West Wales.

    2. What area would be best for the 1st trip given that we like the sea, sand and chilling.

    3. Which month would be best to travel.

    4. Would it be best to stay on sites or on aires.

    Any advice on the above or any other information we should consider would be greatly appreciated.

    Many Thanks

    Richard and Carol
     
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  2. kelv

    kelv Funster Life Member

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    Hi
    We did brittany and the vendee last June highly recommend
    Portsmouth to St malo on the overnight ferry a bit expensive but you save on driving and in my opinion the ferry is part of the holiday
    Great campsites very cheap if using the acsi card average 14 euro a night
     
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  3. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Hi, Tunnel best all round for the dog, no messing about, June may be a bit warm for the dog if you travel too far south, depends on the breed really. Keep a card on the dashboard with an arrow pointing to the kerb to remind you to keep on the right. Buy local food, but take plenty of your usual dog food. Feed dog in the mornings to cut down on noxious gasses at night, hee hee. Avoid tolls and explore the little villages, roads are great, traffic minimal and parking easy.
     
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  4. Phill D

    Phill D

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    Hi Richard and Carol

    we are going in June this time, we take our dog also.
    this is what we are doing this time, but there are infinite other options....:whistle:

    travel up to Ashford and stay a night at the CL at the back of the Dum Inn pub, elec if you want it and pub grub, its not cheap at £18 ( thats with elect ) but it is literaly 5 mins from motorway and 10 minutes from the shuttle. there is a field at the back to walk the dog and the dog is welcome in the pub.
    we then cross using the Tunnel,,, TESCO vouchers so free travel except for the do (£32 rtn ) we tend to cross on an early ish sinday morning ( 8 / 9 am ) as we use the French motorways at least for the first jump. there being little or no traffic on the French motorways on a sunday particularly in the morning.

    we only occasionally use aires but thats us.
    we use both a mix of ACSI sites and Camping cheques, oh and municipal sites.

    avoid Mid July to 3rd week in August its French Holiday season and prices and pitches are all at premium.

    only ever book our shuttle over and back and nothing else. we then go where our fancy or the weather takes us.

    we usually plan to go to a particular area but that is very loose and vary from that if the weather is not kind. have been known to just drive until the sun came out, found a nice site and stayed a week.

    oh and we have only twice in 6 /7 years of trips ( 4 - 8 weeks at a time ) been turned away from a site full, then found another 20 minutes drive away.

    I assume the dog has its Pet passport sorted.
     
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  5. colinw

    colinw Read Only Funster

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    I will follow this thread closely as well . please keep nuggets like the one above coming ,thanks .
     
  6. Phill D

    Phill D

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    if you want a town site about 45 mins from the shuttle French side.. there is a small simple site with a few nice eating places and a LeClerks for booze and cheap fuel within about a mile..
    we often use it on the way back and use the vet, although the vet is not the cheapest at Euro 40 but he is thorough and helpful.

    the place is, Montreuil-sur-mer, the site is La Fontaine des Clercs,

    however there is now a new Aire close to the town centre which is level and hard standing.
     
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  7. Eddystone

    Eddystone Funster

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    This is very much our format too.
    We don't have a dog so can not comment on that aspect.

    Have used the Drum Inn and also CC Black Horse Farm. Even stayed with C&CC temp hols site when we had an afternoon train.

    Haven't bothered with camping cheques since getting ACSI but also use municipal sites and occasional aires. One point here though - some municipals don't take credit cards.

    Have been in May and also September and enjoyed both. Lovely long daylight days in May. Shorter in Sept but still warm enough to enjoy.

    Go and enjoy the much quieter roads. BTW we only use toll free roads and see the real France .
     
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  8. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    From West Wales I would go to Roscoff from Plymouth, which is about two hours from Bristol. The channel is a very long and boring drive from where you live and Northern France can be depressing.

    Brittany is delightful if the weather is good, which it isn't always. If it is damp head south towards the Dordogne which can be a bit touristy but virtually anywhere will be good. The Ile de Oleron is about halfway down the west coast and a great place for chilling. Has some good naturist beaches if you want to go fully native!

    Use the aires around the smaller towns or villages. You only have 12 days so don't spend it driving.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
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  9. wingman

    wingman Funster

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    @Shandyman Hi Richard & Carol. You will LOVE it! Remember that 12 days equals 6 days there, six days back if you go too far!

    Armchair planning is the answer to a successful trip, but don't over-egg it. There is another section within MHF called 'Continental Touring' which has loads of info.

    Firstly, make sure the basics are done...... Passports are ok, Meds If you need them, all of your vehicle is in order (with things like headlamp beam deflectors if requ'd) and remember that you need to take documents like your V5, (log book that was) MOT (if requ'd) your insurance doc's, driving licence etc. It's best to photocopy these and keep the originals in your vehicle safe, if you have one.

    Decide on Toll roads or no tolls and set your Sat-Nag accordingly. It's always useful to have a pot of € coins for tolls. Saves you ferreting around for money at the booths.

    Talking of tolls, once you've gone through one, you'll be an expert! Remember though that some approach lanes have height restrictions and are cars only, whilst others are for lorries or for those with a Tag. Just head for the icon on the gantry signs which looks like a bloke with a hat accepting cash.

    Loads more, but others will contribute.
    James
     
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  10. Mousy

    Mousy Funster Life Member

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    We drive from Llanelli to the tunnel, leaving in the morning, takes 5 hours. We use a mid afternoon crossing. We see how we feel and drive accordingly, stopping overnight in aires. We love aires.

    We like the ill de rey but have two trips booked this year, first 2 weeks in July we are taking our dog and sons to lake annency. We will use aires on the way down then 2 campsites probably.

    September first 2 weeks, no idea where but that's the beauty of France, it's massive and so motorhome friendly.
     
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  11. Clive

    Clive Funster Life Member

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    Well you are looking at the best two months to avoid the crowds and still get good weather. All I can suggest is pick an area that you fancy, then just play it by ear. I cross on th 6th June, turn right and head towards Bordeaux, whether I can there will depend on the interesting places I find in between. (y)
     
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  12. Baggers53

    Baggers53 Funster

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    Have a good Sat Nav.....be flexible, have a plan and some idea of where you want to go and what you want to see, but be open minded and in the end do what you wish to do with out tiring yourselves out.
    Do a card with your vehicle details such as Length, height, width, weight, number plate and any other info and stick this to the drivers sun visor....you never know when you will need this info at short notice ie a bridge or a ferry.
    Also do another card with a cross reference of MPH to Kph and put this where the driver can easily view it.
    Just go and enjoy it!!!!
     
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  13. Rob and Val

    Rob and Val Funster

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  14. Easyliving

    Easyliving Funster

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    Hi

    We are big fans of aires and the one at Merville Franceville (in Basse-Normandie region) might be worth a try if you want sea and sand.

    Quite a small aire, only room for about 6 vans, but it is very near the beach and only a 10 minute walk to a nice town.

    Photo below was taken on 17th June 2012, not exactly crowded as you can see.

    Merville-Franceville.JPG

    Paul
     
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  15. iandsm

    iandsm Funster

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    A few French phrases like hello,good morning,thank you,please, go along way when coupled with a smile
     
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  16. Larby

    Larby Funster

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    I set my sat-nav to read in KPH. Use it as the speedo. Speaking of speed, DON'T. If caught, on the spot fines. Gatsos are hidden between central armco and hedges! although there is usually a warning of cameras ahead.
    The village or town name on entry is the speed limit change, usually 50kph (30mph).
    There can be priorty to vehicles emerging from the right from minor roads, even in towns!
    Unlike UK, you can park in supermarkets, no size restriction and park on the edge and no one cares then. No flipping Parking Eye to worry you.
    Oh the joy of driving in France, so stress free. Yellow lines ? what are they !
     
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  17. Easyliving

    Easyliving Funster

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    We bought 'Fast French in a Day' and found it really quick and easy to learn enough words and phrases to get by.

    Paul
     
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  18. Shandyman

    Shandyman Funster

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    Thank you all for your replies so far there are quite a few thing we hadn't thought of.

    Richard and Carol
     
  19. whoa

    whoa Funster

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    Hi our van due soon but have never motorhomed in France, driven and stayed etc, so can I mention not to forget your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) If you never had one, and if renewing or obtaining the first one, and online please make sure you go to the govt dept for free, and not those websites that might want to charge you, hope it all goes well, be interesting to hear how you enjoyed it all
     
  20. Larby

    Larby Funster

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    You mentioned a dog, all very simple, get it chipped, get a rabies jab and passport, wait 21 days then you can travel, France is dog friendly, get dog checked by vet more than 24hrs but less than 120 hours prior to returning. Typically 30 euros depending on size of dog. Dog stays in MH on ferry on Dover-Calais route. Mine is OK with that, walk him prior to crossing but he is a very accommodating dog so curls up and sleeps. With the tunnel, he stays with you, but I'm too tight for the tunnel.
     
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