continental touring help

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by nicklu, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. nicklu

    nicklu Funster

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    :Smile:Hi we are new to this site so hello to every one, we joined a couple of days ago. We have a motorhome and want to take it to france and Spain, we would be grateful for any advice on places to go and roads to take, we have invested in the areas books of France and Spain and hope to go about may/june time.

    nicklu:BigGrin:
     
  2. Viennese

    Viennese Funster

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    Hello & welcome

    That's a very big subject! Both countries are huge and varied in scenery and interests. Best to read your guidebooks first and get an idea of which areas you want to visit then ask again, otherwise you could be deluged by posts from hundreds of friendly and helpful funsters who all have their favourite spots!

    Best not to try and do too much on your first trip, said she from experience!

    Best regards

    Catherine
     
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  3. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    hi welcome o the fun. if i may sugest just follow the sea off the ferry turn left and stay as close to the sea as you can .lots of free parking places and airres or paying places . venture in land if you like . as said france is huge takes years just to scratch the surface .
    spain also follow the sea . gotta start somewhere.
    west coast of france then nothern spain lovelly. best places to go. is all of it. its really nice.
     
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  4. JayDee

    JayDee Funster

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    Hi Nicklu,
    Welcome to The Fun. Best site around for fun friends and info.

    There is a wealth of information on here, already posted or in peoples experience that you will get swamped with it all.

    A few more details of the sort of things you think you'd like to do will filter some of the info and there are several Funsters that live in France (some are French, like Frankie - handle Yodeli; others are Brit and own campsites - ParcVerger for example). Lots of people here regularly visit France.

    Travelling in France is generally considered to be easy. If you are of a mind to 'get there' then there is a good network of Autoroutes, some free but many tolled (and hence not cheap). A lot of folk prefer to use the Routes National, as these are often nearly as good as the motorways and where they aren't dual carriageway they are decent quality main roads (think A roads in the UK). There are also the Departmental roads which are usually smaller (sort of like our B roads), and are more picturesque as a result, but of course you don't cover the same distance in the time.

    Accepted wisdom is that the Aires are excellent (we have used a few) but do avoid the Motorway Aires and maybe some around the cities as they are the ones most likely to be targetted by thieves and hoodlums. The smaller town aires and those in and around the villages are excellent but not all of them are free. Take notice of your 'gut-feeling'. If it feels a bit dodgey, drive on. There's another one not far away. Also it is not wise to put down steadies or put external screens over the windscreen, etc., as if you found you needed to move on in a hurry for any reason, you wouldn't be able to.

    Using Aires, though an excellent way of touring, will leave you wanting to stop somewhere to do a bit of laundry, have a proper shower, or some such. In these circumstances do consider the Municipal Campsites. They often have good facilities, are usually reasonably priced and mostly close to the town centre.

    There are laws in France that must be followed that are different to our own.
    Some examples are:
    Hi Vis Yellow vests. One for each occupant and handy so they can be donned prior to exiting the vehicle.
    Must have a 1st. Aid Kit.
    Must have a set of spare lamps.
    Must have at least one (two in Spain) Warning Triangles.
    Must carry a fire extingusher.
    Must apply beam benders to headlamps.

    There's a lot more info to be had, but thought these few morsels would get you started.

    There are plenty of sources of further advice around, but don't hesitate to ask here. There are no stupid questions (stupid answers? Yes. But not questions!):BigGrin:

    Enjoy everything you do and everywhere you go.


    John
     
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  5. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Nice time to go, not too hot, not too expensive.

    Bye the ACSI DVD ( assuming you take a windows computer ) then you'll have thousands of sites all waiting for you ( http://www.vicariousbooks.co.uk/ ) for when you want a bit more than a basic aire.

    The BIG question, how long are you going for ?
     
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  6. rangitira

    rangitira Funster

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    And!, leave the food behind:thumb: just take the very basics, tea bags and the like, enough for you first meal. get the rest over there, fresh from markets, and learn the following phrases by heart;

    "Un Beer Blonde/ braun" and "Vino Collapseo Rouge/ Blanc"

    "Sarkozey est Poison Pygmy" is also useful if you find the need for excitement in your life:thumb:
     
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  7. Welsh girl

    Welsh girl Funster Life Member

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    Agree totally, it was our first trip to France last year having never been abroad with the motorhome before and I was worried about taking enough food to get us over the 2 month holiday we had.
    We wanted to bring the food BACK it was so delicious, lots of It I never saw before, but they have pictures on all the food you buy except for fresh stuff of course, the living prawns in the supermarket were weird and I couldn't bring myself to order them, all in a heap with their antenna's waving aawww, poor things but that's their way of life, embrace it, enjoy the difference:thumb:
     
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  8. malheg

    malheg Funster

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    Touring Europe

    We are touring Spain/Portugal at the moment, great sites, great weather.
    Just do it, you will enjoy.

    Malc
     
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  9. Loujess

    Loujess Read Only Funster

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    Our first trip was along the north coast (the Normandy landings) and was fantastic (Pegasus Bridge was great). So many places to see, including cemetaries which will bring tears to your eyes but also give you a better understanding. Hon Fleur was a great place to visit, including the huge aire which you couldn't miss, and the highlight of that trip was Mon St Michel. You can park out on the headland for around 10@E a night and it is amazing to be right beside the beach and watching the speed of the incoming tide. :BigGrin::BigGrin:

    Ivy
     
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  10. nicklu

    nicklu Funster

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    touring france /spain

    :BigGrin:Wow thank you all for all the advice, we are definately going to go.
    We have 20 days holiday so i think that will be ok for now, my husband would like to drive down to Portugal and spend most of the time there if anyone has been and can recomend good sites we would dearly appreciate it. And for all those on holiday have a lovely time. we will be going may/june time.

    best wishes

    nicklu:thumb:
     
  11. Loujess

    Loujess Read Only Funster

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    Hi Niclu. I really hope you both have a lovely time but I think Portugal in such a short time is pushing it a bit. We always stuck to the D roads and found some lovely laybys to stop in but having done it a few times now, I, personally, would go a bit slower and soak up the atmosphere and villages. Also, do make sure you go to the Office du Tourism in the places you stop since you will find out the best places to see. :BigGrin:

    Ivy
     
  12. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    Hi & welcome from France.

    An article I found online a few days ago :
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/familyholidays/8480383/France-Holiday-highs-in-low-cost-municipal-campsites.html

    Links within it: http://go.telegraph.co.uk/?id=296X674&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.camping-municipal.org%2F

    and
    http://go.telegraph.co.uk/?id=296X674&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.campingfrance.com%2FUK

    will give you lots of low price sites to look at.

    In villages you can usually park in any car park. For example, I live near a medium size village. there is a large municipal site with hedged plots for caravans & tents. You could put a motorhome here. There is a free overnight car park with bourne for water and electricity, waste water and toilet emptying points too. there is also a large car park 200 metres away next to the river and motorhomes frequently overnight there. Leave no rubbish, cause no damage and no-one minds. Lovely sites around here (Bourdeilles and Brantome) are next to the River Dronne.

    I'd say take it easy for your first few trips--choose maybe Normandy or Brittany or a little further south. Enjoy the markets, the restaurants, the scenery and the peacefulness of the countryside. You don't want to spend all your time driving. As a guide, it took me 7 hours to drive here ( Riberac in the Dordogne) from Le Havre. That was in my car, doing up to the speed limit on the motorways and with just 1 stop. Cost about €50 in tolls too (more for a motorhome) Coming home in the motorhome a couple of weeks earlier I took 2 days to drive from Calais and that last day was more driving than I really wanted to do.

    Have fun travelling!!
     
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  13. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Hello from south West France , little frog speaking:BigGrin: Don't be too greedy at first as Holly said ... France is a big country ! In anycase , you won't be left on your own if in trouble ... Stick to the forum and we'll all be there (english and french) to help if in need:thumb:


    Amicalement

    Frankie:Wink::BigGrin:
     
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  14. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    John, Well put..........sound advice Nicklu

    Also a new law that starts this month "A Breathalyser test kit", you must now carry your own Breath test kit in your car!!!!! the fine is 17 euros if you are pulled up and do not have the test kit onboard.....

    Nicklu....if you click on a picasa link at the bottom of my reply, you will find lots of Aires in France.this should give you a insight of what's on offer....there hundreds to look at if you click on each box you will find more photo's inside click on a photo then at the top full screen, and I have more to put on as soon as I have a bit of spare time..also if you go on the home page of motorhome fun, down the left hand side, and click on Jim's,,FRENCH AIRES this what funster's have put on, ones that they recommend.

    Good luck Mel
    :thumb::thumb:
     
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  15. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    You are a treasure Frankie
    :thumb:
     
  16. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Beautiful Aire.......Bourdeilles.... one Aire we love and call many times...just one of many....
     
  17. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    little frog ...with a big heart:thumb:
     
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  18. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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  19. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Hope the OP doesn`t mind me joining in, we are considering whether to travel to France around June/July. Our first MH has been on the drive for nearly 2 weeks but not slept in it yet, Chester will be our first `proper` outing.

    Just wondering about the various ways you can pay for sites in France and which if any of the various books/guides are worth buying.

    We are undecided about whether to risk taking our 8 month old (by then) German Sheperd puppy with us, just wondering whether that would be pushing it a bit for our first jaunt across the water. If we do, we will use the tunnel.

    Any advice/suggestions welcome.
     
  20. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Having some experience but not as much as some.
    Dont try to do to much ! Especially in 20 days or you'll spend most of it just driving...
    In our early days we used to Rush off to Spain for a 2 week break, racing down the motorway and paying a fortune in tolls. France was a place to drive through to get to Spain !!
    Now we have realised the errors of our ways and love France, so motorhome friendly with lots of places to stay and sights to see. Maybe save Spain and Portugal for a later time.
    May / June is an ideal time to go.. My recommendation would be west coast as a first taster with a bit of the Loire valley on route.
    Ref books, "all the aires" about £16 ish will give you a list of free / low cost motorhome overnight places you can use and the ACSI book. £14? campsite list with fixed prices.

    Spain and Portugal are maybe more suited for a winter trip.

    Good luck, go enjoy it....
     
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