Christmas in France & Spain

Discussion in 'France' started by Rick&Bianca, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. Rick&Bianca

    Rick&Bianca

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    We have chosen to spend Christmas and New Year (16 nights) travelling through France & Spain. Our plan so far is to travel down the east side of France, through the south of Spain, and then back up through France. Any tips would be most welcome... We have travelled plenty in UK, but this is the first time in Europe with the MH. Taking along our 2 pooches, and our happy to stay in Aires. Any advice....?
     
  2. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    :welc:Don't rush there is plenty to see we are going down the eastern route mid December did it couple of years ago there were Aires open although some had water turned off so top up wherever you get the chance.
    We will be over wintering in Spain for three or four months wending our way along the coast to Portugal before returning home in April/May
    You will be travelling a lot of miles in just 16 days/nights good luck and enjoy it.
     
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  3. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Wrap up well. Keep watching weather forecast. Water in aires may be turned off. Lots of sites will be closed. Be flexible that's a long way to go in winter.

    Benidorm is a good compromise target with everything open and loads of fun to be had.
     
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  4. sciac2001

    sciac2001 Funster

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    Depends what you are after... Relax or sightseeing! Spain has loads of everything.
    Strongly recommend visits to Granada, Cordoba and Seville as well as many of the hilltop towns and villages. The food variety is also to die for.
    Enjoy!
    (We will be heading that way ourselves from Italy in a week or so. Will see if we can pop into one of the Funster favourite places along Benidorm and check it out and then head on south into Andalucia.)
     
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  5. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    With only 16 days that is a long way.. daylight hours are short.. and as mentioned it will be cold.. weather permitting.. a minimum of four days each way to south of Spain .. gives you 8 days to relax..

    Personally, I would go down the west coast of France, the weather is generally milder and lower risk of heavy snow..
    You will probably encounter snow in central Spain.. so go prepared
     
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  6. Eeyore

    Eeyore Read Only Funster

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    I don't want to sound like a wet blanket but, from very long experience, I think you will not find the touring experience in winter as good as you hope. Apart from southern coastal Spain and the inland honey pots, campsites in the rest of Europe tend to close down at the end of October- or earlier- and, if they are open, you usually find yourelf alone or with vans en route somewhere whose occupants arrive late , leave early and want only to relax indoors after a day driving. Aires tend to have water turned off at about the same time even if the weather is not freezing and, bluntly, they can be a bit bleak and lonely.

    The weather can be rough; cold, wet or worse in New Year and it gets dark early and light later. You have to get quite a long way south before it gets appreciably warmer and you have only 16 days to do the round trip.

    Have you thought of a tour of Christmas markets and those places that put on events for Christmas ? Or, perhaps, a fast trip down to southern Spain and spend some time there ? If you can afford it- and the difference in price is not as huge as you might think- then the ferry to Santander or Bilbao will give you a good start as you can cross Spain to the warmer south in one or two days.

    Enjoy whatever you do and, if this is what you want to do then don't let me put you off.
     
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  7. Rick&Bianca

    Rick&Bianca

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    Our route is not set in stone, and any advice is greatly welcomed.... Obviously we'll be checking weather etc. travelling is not an issue, we don't get a lot of long holidays so we make the most of it! Last year we did Devon & Cornwall and loved every minute,..
     
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  8. Fenman

    Fenman Funster

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    Unlike over here where the world comes to a stop for a week or two at Christmas in France the main family meal and get together is in the evening of Christmas Eve.
    Usually a huge feast with plenty of oysters and foie gras and going on to the early hours of the 25th.
    Christmas Day is hangover day.
    Boxing Day is back to normal, shops and restaurants all open as normal.
     
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  9. Kim H

    Kim H Funster Life Member

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    We left England on 27th December this year aiming to hit Benidorm mid January. We'd never travelled through France at that time of year and as we left the tunnel Calais side, it was very cold with snow on the roadside. We spent our first night on the Aire at Le Crotoy where the temp dropped well below zero. We're equipped to deal with cold weather, but we weren't prepared for the water to be turned off. Maybe naively we assumed that we could fill easily. Thankfully, we always travel with enough water to last us a few days. We arrived at Parc Verger in the Limousin on New Years Eve and had a few days down time there, recharging both us and the m/h. The weather was fine, but chilly at night and it got warmer as we got towards the Somport tunnel, but it was noticeably warmer as soon as we exited on the Spanish side. That said, when we arrived at Benidorm it was bl@@dy cold - apparently it was the coldest winter for 30 years!

    My thoughts on your trip are that it will be one hell of a charge in 2 weeks - oh and get an ACSI card!
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
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  10. ojibway

    ojibway Funster

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    By traveling pretty much every day you will keep your batteries charged so you should have plenty of charge for nigh time heating and you will be toasty warm as you drive too.
    We have always reckoned that you can get enough water at Lidl in 1.5l bottles to keep you going - cheaper than staying on a campsite just to fill up.
    The drive can be spectacular especially over the Pyrenees but be aware, sometimes the roads are closed due to snow, even the Somport tunnel.
    Otherwise, aires all the way but not so many in Spain. We have stopped a couple of times at the campsite in Zaragoza (Camping Ciudad de Zaragoza) though there is an aire at Marlofa, just north of Zaragoza
    Mike and Annie
     
  11. Mikeco

    Mikeco Funster

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    Having done the drive down through France in Dec and Jan many times my advice would be to think again about what you are planning to do. You will be travelling around 3000 mile in 16 days, most of it in cold weather as it will not be anywhere near warm unless you are on the coast in southern Spain. This year we are doing the Plymouth to Santander ferry simply to avoid the drive through France.
     
  12. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Essex to Devon and Cornwall and back cannot be compared to Essex to southern Spain and back, in winter, in 16 days.
    Either go for longer or don't go so far - unless of course you enjoy driving most of your time.
    Just my opinion of course.
     
  13. sciac2001

    sciac2001 Funster

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    Or ignore France and sail directly to northern Spain, from where the drive to the south is much more "do-able"and you will have the feeling that you are almost at destination as soon as you disembark.
     
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  14. sciac2001

    sciac2001 Funster

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    Or ignore France and sail directly to northern Spain, from where the drive to the south is much more "do-able"and you will have the feeling that you are almost at destination as soon as you disembark.


    Sorry - double-post.
     
  15. Judge Mental

    Judge Mental Funster Deceased RIP

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    Personally think it's to much in 16 day's...not any sort of holiday I can imagine. We can get to benidorm in two days. That would give you 10 days there. Even that I wouldn't do. I would fly somewhere warm and have a proper holiday...sorry
     
  16. ojibway

    ojibway Funster

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    Another good route is down the centre of France. You can avoid toll roads or pay and drive down the E9 - Orleans, Vierzon, E11 - to Clermont Ferrand the non toll A75 which gets nicer and nicer, over the Milau bridge (toll), then free all the way to the Med. with wonderful scenery, even in winter!
    You can go on to Spain taking the coastal route missing any snow either on the E15 or, if you want to explore the coast itself then take the D914 starting in Perpignan through Argeles, cross into Spain at Portbou.
    There are lots of aires between Beziers and the Spanish border.
    You can go back through Carcasonne, Toulouse, Brive le Gaillarde, Lomoges.
    Be very careful in the south of France and Spain that you don't leave things unattended. There are people everywhere looking for an opportunity to rob you. They will usually use distraction methods, lure you away from your van then grab anything they can and run. If you can't keep it on you hide it out of reach!
     
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  17. ojibway

    ojibway Funster

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    Just a quick one -
    Google maps doesn't do alternative routes like 'avoid tolls" anymore but you can use Viamichelin -http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/ which has options.
     
  18. St piran

    St piran Read Only Funster

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    We spent last New Years eve on Honfleur aire. Lots of British vans stopping on route to Spain. We enjoyed the different culture of a French NYE, lovely meal in a restaurant next to the harbour and then spending the rest of the evening in the 'Le Lord' bar with locals playing darts and drinking Champagne. However it was cold and we didn't have sufficient battery's to keep the blown air system working. Frost valve kept dumping the fresh water and although we had a 100w solar panel not much sunlight to top up batteries.

    Would I do it again, yes we would as we changed the MH to a winterised one with lots of solar, batteries and heaters in the fresh and grey water tanks. Oh yes and Alde wet heating. (y)
     
  19. zac

    zac Funster Life Member

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    We have done this the last 2 years travelled east side of France 2013 and west side 2014 over on the tunnel. We didnt find any isues travelling downon either side. All the towns were quiet and aires the same. Last year we went through the pyranees which was also ok going into Spain (coming back a different story). It is a bit of a rush to get down to Spain given we had to be back for work start of Jan and quite cold so be prepared. All in all it is still a holiday regardless of what others say, of course it is always nice to have more time but for us this is not possible (work gets in the way). This year we are doing the same but going Portsmouth - Santander which will save us around 3 days travelling but the cost is a lot more. We used the France and Spain Aire books and also the Asci book, these were more than enough for our needs. We found the warmest weather towards Murcia but anywhere on the south coast will be better than the UK.

    Whatever the weather just enjoy yourself thats the main thing.

    Any questions let us know!
     
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  20. ojibway

    ojibway Funster

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