European touring

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Dave G, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. Dave G

    Dave G Read Only Funster

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    Planning a trip to France & Spain in February - not taken our van to Europe before. Any general tips anyone? Is it possible to avoid the toll roads & still get south reasonably quickly? Are the aires in France safe to stay at? Do I need to get an adaptor for the electric hook-up? Be grateful for any general help.
    Dave:BigGrin:
     
  2. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    We use the toll roads to move quickly across France and then leave them to tour, they are not really that expensive as we find we save fuel using them. Also we avoid the aires on the toll roads only using the ones in or near villages.

    Drving in France is a dream, good open roads with less traffic away from the cities that is. We do carry a continental adaptor but haven't needed it for a couple of years now.

    Rgds
    Bill
     
  3. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    Hi Dave,

    I'll bet you are looking forward to your trip!!

    I drove down to Spain last year, and for the first time, decided not to use the Autoroute, but to stay on the main roads. It was very easy, and didn't take an awful lot longer. Trip was much more scenic, and I saved fuel. The biggest gain was that the amount of money saved on tolls was sufficient to pay for fuel for the whole trip!!

    French Aires are for the most part, are very pleasant, and I've never felt threatened. There are nearly always other motorhomes using them too - safety in numbers!

    You'll find a continental two pin adaptor useful. You can buy them easily in this country, as well as in France. Quite a lot of aires use the standard plug, but there are still quite a few that use the old two pin sockets.

    Have fun!!
     
  4. neilmac

    neilmac Read Only Funster

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    From our experience I would agree with savantuk's advice.

    If you are using satnav its so easy to take a non-toll route. We travelled the length of France 6 times in 2009 that way and exclusively used Aires, so would highly recommend them too.

    At the time of year that you're planning to travel you may find water on Aires scarce as many are turned off to prevent frost damage.

    Enjoy your trip :Smile:
     
  5. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    We shall be watching this thread and taking notes as were planning our first trip in the 6 week holls. Thanks for bringing it up.:thumb:
    Bev
     
  6. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Expect snow. You may have to use motorways.
     
  7. hogan

    hogan Read Only Funster

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    Have just completed a 2 month trip starting in Nov 2009 finished in Jan 2010 From Spain to , France,Germany,Luxembourg,Belgium,Holland,uk Then back home to Spain,Never touched a toll road only stayed on 1 site and that was in The UK.
    But we did get snowed in twice,once in Normandy and again at Jaca in Spain.
     
  8. jaygee

    jaygee Funster

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    We went to France for the first time last August for 1 month. Used toll roads only ocasionally but wished we didn't as didn't really save much time. Used lots of Aires (non motorway) and loaded them into our sat nav before we went which we found very helpful.
    Took an purpose built adapter lead/plug for the electric lead as was only a few £'s but found that on some sites the electric box was quite a way from the parking site so would advise taking extension lead of some sort.
     
  9. nomadic

    nomadic Funster

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    Hi Dave

    Agree with all that has been posted, and would add:

    When entering French villages, watch your speed, if no speed sign is displayed it still reduces to 50Klm/hr from the village entry name sign, to when you exit the village name sign. The exception to 50Klm/hr is a lower speed of 30Klm/hr or even 20Klm/hr, usually past schools. The local police like there portable speed cameras!!!

    One item we find useful is a piece of hookup cable, about 2 metres long, REVERSE wired. I say this because we have found sites in France with CEE sockets, but reverse wired. In such a case, we plug the 2 metre length into our m/h, and plug the hookup cable into it, and the hookup post...this corrects the supply. I am assuming you have a polarity tester.

    Enjoy your trip

    Nomadic:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  10. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Hi Dave
    I live in France and use the aires all the time...nothing else... and feel very safe and they are very good, I agree with DOUG there is always a good road that is not a toll.......one thing you will notice if you travel on the toll roads, they are very empty...a lot or most of the lorries will try at all cost to avoid toll roads, they are not cheap to travel on.... to travel by car in France on tolls I find it expensive and it is the next class up from a car for the small motorhome double, without a high top roof and without a Trailer which would put you into a even higher class and pay more......what willh has said !!!!!....as far as using the the toll / motorway for sleeping that is a no no :thumbdown: ...when I purchased my motorhome in France my dealer agent stressed to me NEVER sleep on the motorway Aires as they are not safe...turn 5 or 10km off and into a village and find a aire....I think that speaks for itself that somebody who is French lives and born in France 60 years old motorhomed most of his life, as does his grown-up sons...... or do you follow what Bill has said that lives in Scotland comes over for a few weeks in a year and thank fully had no trouble ??...No disrespect to to Bill.. willh.. who has tried to give you helpful advice:thumb:....but I am not sure in this instance it is correct and the best advice.....it is up to you what you do, you take your chance,
    If you read many forums they all give the same advice not a good idea to sleep on motorway aires to easy for the thieves to disappear...(as many have been robbed)
    cost on tolls.....one instance I travelled down near the south of France Atlantic side travelled over the border just into Spain did just under 50km,... all this along the same road I went through three toll booths total cost 50 euros....... came back along the coast road better scenery less amount of diesel less mileage but 50 euros better off !!!!!..... did I save any time?? I may have, I may not have as the motorway went out around to get to the point I wanted to be...Mmmm

    Mel :thumb:

    Have a good Hoilday:Cool: hope you get plenty of:sin: and none of this stuff:rain:
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  11. Terry and Nicola

    Terry and Nicola Read Only Funster

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    tolls

    We came from disney after new year non toll way was very easy it took us a bit longer but saved on full and toll cost but did have some snow
     
  12. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    Hang on Mel, it takes me two and a half days to get from home to Sete (1200 miles) and costs about £80 on the peage. Not using the peage would take at least an extra day. I'd rather have an extra day or two down south, especially when I watch the thermometer on the dash go up from 8 to 24 degrees.

    I don't mind spending that bit extra when I'm away though I refuse to pay £9 odd for the M6 Toll, £1 a mile! At least in France you get value for money, empty roads, no roadworks and around 10-15p/mile last time I checked.

    Anyhow, it really boils down to the individual and how long and how much they can afford.

    Rgds
    Bill
     
  13. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Hi Bev if you have not been over to France yet and are coming over.........you will find France very motorhome friendly....in fact Beautiful.....never worry about an aire thinking this is not what you wanted, as there is always another one close just what you are looking for...the cost, as we would say in Yorkshire not a lot of brass.....the aire could be free or could be 2, 3, up to and around 6, 7 euros max .......the water could be free or it could be a token Jetton 2 or 3 euros you would purchase at the Mairie or tobac there is normally a notice stating place of purchase from, or where you pay............the water could be 2 to 3 euros for about 15 mins timed water or just 100 liters ....there are signes all along the roads, the sign showing a picture motorhome of a dump point and water pick up points.........never leave your drain tap dripping or drop at the side of the road as they frown upon that....electric many sites are free some are in the price when the aire cost around 5, 6 to 7 euros...or some are on the borne and can be 3 euros for 1 hour for you to top up your battery.....one good tip the plastic tap connection over here there are three different sizes that are mainly used it is the thread that you screw onto your tap (although many more tap connections used) so it is best to have a variety on stock....1"...3/4"....1/2"..tap connectors....I will post a ebay link on what I mean
    I agree with all the other tips stated above..yes many electrics are crossed /reversed ...brown.. .x...blue

    Have a good holiday with plenty of sun.................Mel

    this is a 1" and a 3/4" both together one is a inset

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Hozelock-1-Th...denEquipment_HandTools_SM?hash=item4ced0281cd

    this I think is a 1/2" and 3/4" but you would have to check

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1-2-3-4-OUTSI...denEquipment_HandTools_SM?hash=item5883fb3ba2

    And one of these hose pipe connectors for your short or long hose pipe...other wise you will have water all over you :Blush::Doh:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Hozelock-Hose...emQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_3?hash=item19b6253133

    Mel
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  14. JeffersonCampervan

    JeffersonCampervan Read Only Funster

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    This is a good point - although others in this thread seem to be of the opinion that they save on fuel on the small roads.

    I find that the stop & go of the small roads reduces my petrol mileage - that the steady 60 mph or so that you can do on a limited access highway saves me about the same in petrol as I pay in tolls (very unscientific gut analysis, so YMMV - literally :Smile: ).

    That being said, I almost never use autoroutes because I prefer to be more engaged with the country through which I travel,as many have noted above.
     
  15. ian jenner

    ian jenner Read Only Funster

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    ian jenner

    :thumb:hi we are new members living in spain
    from the south we use the A7 free motorway to alicante,motorway thro'Alcoy,free, to valencia by pass,free.at sagunto take the A27 to zaragoza,free,straight on,thro' the pyrenee tunnel(the only free one) to pau and up the west coast of france.use the toll between poitiers and tours its easier and return the same way
    we wild camp or use aires,but not service stations near town.
    safe journey
     
  16. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    What I did find useful, at Aire's with 2 pin electric hook up was a doubler unit. It allowed me to share a hookup with another unit if there were insufficient electric hook-ups.

    I encountered one such aire, where 4 unit's were using the same single hook-up!!

    It doesn't look pretty, but needs must:Rofl1:
     
  17. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Bill.... I am not knocking you, if you prefer the tolls thats up to you.....same as sleeping on the motorway toll road aires that is up to you..... but if you look at most of the replies they are saying the same as me .....I use the tolls over here when I have to because I live here and they don't come cheap...and yes there are very little road works also very traffic because most think like me ........so you are saying from Calais to the south of France on toll roads in a motorhome....it is costing you around £80!!!! ....well it is costing me to travel from Berck to Boulogne in the car that is about 30km 4.62 euros so that would be double in the motorhome?.... you are not going through the toll booths on a blue badge are you and getting a reduction.

    Mel

    I can understand time for you is a problem as you are traveling from scotland
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  18. geoff1947

    geoff1947 Read Only Funster

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    take the A27 to zaragoza,free,straight on,thro' the pyrenee tunnel(the only free one) to Pau


    The Vielha Tunnel between France and Spain is FREE also

    From Tarbes (S France) go East to Lannemezan on the N117 and turn South on the N230 for Vielha which is in N Spain Lovely drive
     
  19. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Doug ...I have a 16amp doubler unit which I used a lot ........ But I also have one of these I have used twice twice

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/SPLITTER-JUNC...al_Components_Supplies_ET?hash=item2c52666269

    Mel..................as you say needs must
     
  20. Kon tiki

    Kon tiki Read Only Funster

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    Traveled in France many times always used aires & never used the peage autoroutes (pay motorways) don't see any advantage unless you are in a real hurry as most of the N roads are really good. One point you need to think about is many of the aires have the water turned off in Feb. Last year we didn't manage to get water until we were well down into France. We are also going in Feb. intending to head towards Capbreton then through Spain into Portugal (much friendlier for motorhomes than Spain)
     
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