Calais to midi pyrenees (or reverse route)

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by june123, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

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    Have our annual 3 weeks in France coming up soon and it's difficult to find new places to visit. Fancy hurrying down as far as the midi Pyrenees (Pau???) probably on toil roads and then meandering back to Calais over about two weeks plus keeping to the west of Paris. I would love to hear of favourite places along this route. Love pretty scenery/mountains/canals with good cycling and small pretty towns and villages. Would like to hear of aires within walking/cycling/bussing distance of towns/villages so that our motorhome can be left behind.

    All suggestions seriously considered.
     
  2. bungy

    bungy Funster

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    cant advise on this but will be watching with interest...we like similar things to your preferences.:thumb:

    We've normally done the eastern side due to time of year we go(mid to late sept), but this year were planning on doing somewhere on the western side and going a lot earlier in late June early July

    The last time we went down that side of France they had the worst weather in 30 odd years...snow storms, rain...etc etc. Got quite annoying after being told on numerous occasions 'you should have been here last week - it was 30c'.:cry:
     
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  3. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Hi June !

    I have put this link several times , but once more won't do any wrong.... it's a real nice video! Make sure you have the sound turned on....Enjoy!

    Amicalement
    Frankie :Smile:

    PS: Have a look at the right of the video, you'll see a lot of suggestions of other videos very informative!


    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-aIvCEVAZk"]GRANDS SITES DE MIDI-PYRÉNÉES - LE FILM - YouTube[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  4. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

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    midi pyrenees

    Beautiful Frankie. I managed to scribble most of the places down. Some were on "my list" - just spoilt for choice.
     
  5. hdvrod

    hdvrod Read Only Funster

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    When we came back from the Pyranees last summer to Calais we set the sat nav to avoid motorways and tolls,took us some lovely places we would have otherwise missed,maybe worth mentioning as well we travelled from south of Andorra and up into the Pyranees coming down the other side into France the road was extremely steep for about 10 miles with continous hairpins,I could smell the brakes over heating,a lower gear didn't work as the road was so steep the weight of the MH was overpowering the engine braking,we couldn't stop to let them cool down because of the hairpins and no laybys or pullovers,near the bottom it smelt like the brakes were on fire,managed to pull into a garage forecourt at the bottom using the handbrake which was just about working,got out and there was smoke billowing from the wheels and the discs were glowing red hot,I was afraid they were going to burst into flames,ran into the garage to get some water(realise you shouldn't throw water on red hot brake discs but seemed the lesser of 2 evils the alternative being a fire) The guy only had tap water so was running back and forward with bottles.Waited 1/2 hour and gingerly set off again the brakes seemed to be fine much to my surprise.When we got back to the UK got the brakes checked out as I though I might have cracked a disc,but they were okay.Lesson learnt, dont go over the top of the Pyranees!!!
     
  6. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

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    midi Pyrenees

    I feel for you! Your experience is why we stick to foothills only, We now prefer to look up at mountains rather than climb them as we've also had our hairy moments.

    Can you remember the names of any of the pretty places on the French side of the Pyrenees going north to Calais? I can see plenty that sound promising but personal recommendation is always best. We intend to get off the toll roads on the way back.
     
  7. 163phil

    163phil Read Only Funster

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    If you're going as far as Pau, you might as well go just 30-odd miles further to Oloron-Sainte-Marie. It's a pretty little town with great scenery on the edge of the high Pyrenees and as a bonus the municipal campsite is very cheap & well maintained:thumb:
     
  8. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Not Midi-Pyrenees, but nearby is the spectacular medieval walled city of Carcassonne (aire provided in the parking), and a few miles south of there is the picturesque village of Lagrasse with its abbey, bridges, and quaint winding streets. Overnight parking in the grassy car park is allowed.

    Cahors in Midi-Pyrenees has an unusual towered medieval bridge, a Resistance Museum, a cloistered cathedral, and free overnight parking for MHs on the south side of the river with a free shuttle bus to and from the town centre.

    North of Midi-Pyrenees you've got the Dordogne and Vezere valleys including the prehistoric caves around Les Eyzies de Tayac, Rouffignac, and Lascaux, and various quaint villages clinging to limestone cliffs like Beynac et Cazenac, la Roque Gageac, Castellnaud la Chapelle and the medieval site at La Roque Saint-Christophe. Beynac and Castellnaud both have impressive chateaux too. Sarlat-le-Caneda is an unusual and slightly larger medieval town in that area. We've been touring that area in the last couple of weeks - all of the above places (apart from the sites at Rouffignac and Lascaux) have aires or tolerate overnight parking in MHs.

    For cycling I'd recommend the La Palmyre area, including Saint-Palais sur Mer - both of these are on the N bank of the Gironde estuary above Bordeaux. Plenty of variety ranging from resorts to wild beaches and pine forests. Also a must for cycles are Ile d'Oleron and Ile de Re, which are well served for cycle routes and are a bit restrictive about MH parking, so once you park you've really got no option but to use your bikes. It's possible to cycle across both islands without a lot of effort, as they're mainly flat. Some of the aires on Oleron are ex-campsites given over to MHs, and are very good value for money. On Ile de Re you have to pay a toll to visit the Island but it's worth it. The city of La Rochelle is good for at least a day or two, with an excellent range of shops and the Park n Ride aire offering bus travel in the ticket price.

    If you like theme parks consider Parc Futuroscope just above Poitiers, and Parc Puy du Fou near Les Eppesses. The latter is history-themed, quite unique and a very popular attraction in France. It's based around spectacular performances rather than rides, and the evening CineScenie show is not to be missed.

    If you're heading back to Calais from Western France and want to avoid Rouen, the large aire at Honfleur is a good place to stop as the town/port is quite interesting, followed by a drive over the magnificent Pont de Normandie.

    Click the links below for reviews of some of the aires, and photos of others.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  9. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Merci Beaucoup for that video - I think you've just decided our 2014 holiday destination...
     
  10. Taran_Las

    Taran_Las Funster

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    Frankie,

    Thanks for the video, IMHO I think the musical director deserves as much praise as the locations.:thumb:
     
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  11. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    My pleasure :Wink: And you can add an overnight stop at my place :BigGrin:

    Frankie:Cool:
     
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  12. Parcverger

    Parcverger Funster - Campsite Owner

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    Why rush down to the Pyrenees when there is so much to see en route? One of our joys of motorhoming was stopping where there were places that attracted us. It doesn't matter where - there are so many places of interest in this beautiful country.
    Here we have a voie vert that is a cycleway/walkway that runs for some 13+km with an excellent tarmac surface; there are fairs and markets and chateaux to see and to visit, and if you want a different experience we are not far from the martyr village at Oradour sur Glane.
    Wherever you go have a wonderful time - there is so much to see and do.
    Bob
    www.parcverger.com
     
  13. MikeandCarolyn

    MikeandCarolyn Read Only Funster

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    Going to Midi-Pyrenees and Carcassonne might I suggest you read the Labrynth trilogy by Kate Mosse and also read about the Cathars and the castles on top of the mountains which are really spectacular.
    Like Benidorm's Tapas Alley,in Carcassonne there are loads of restuarants offering different versions of Cassoulet-a bean stew similar to the Spanish Fabada-well worth trying :BigGrin:
    Cahors-the Malbec grape is used to make the 'Black wines' of Cahors,whereas in Tuchan the Carignan grape is used to make Fitou.
    The wines of South Western France-Languedoc are more than worthy of attention.

    In some villages in Midi-Pyrennees you can still hear Occitan being spoken.To walk amongst the Garrigue and smell the wild flowers and herbs is an experience you will never forget,as is honey from bees who feed on the garrigue.

    Mike.
     
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  14. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for your reply. Have read Kate Mosse - very interesting.
     
  15. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

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    route south

    Know the Limousin area well and have visited Oradour sur Glane. Only "rushing" south so that we can meander slowly back stopping where we please and knowing that we have plenty of time. Not sure we have found your voie vert - sounds good.
     
  16. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    My favourite way of travelling off the beaten track in France is to set the satnav to SHORTEST DISTANCE at point A, choose a town - say - 50 miles away and let the satnav take us there.

    Have never ceased to be amazed by what we have seen, which NEVER would have happened had we just gone from one overpriced tacky tourist trap to another.

    Just my deux centimes worth.....
     
  17. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

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    Calais to ???

    Thanks for all that info. We'll definitely be using a lot of it. We've travelled around most of France over the years but there are always places we've missed.
     
  18. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    I admire your sense of adventure. Even when you set a Satnav to 'Fastest' you often find it cutting corners between intersecting Autoroutes and taking you through 'real' France, ie winding potholed rural lanes with adverse camber, and villages with very narrow streets.
     
  19. JohnH

    JohnH Funster

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    Having just watched the video posted by Yodeli. It brought back memories of so many places we have been to in France. I never cease to be amazed how lucky we are that we have our home on wheels and we can just potter around one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. Thanks!
     
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