First time abroad - France

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Jumpstartrichard, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Jumpstartrichard

    Jumpstartrichard Read Only Funster

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    Hi all,

    As I see a lot of you are seasoned travellers to France and beyond. Having bought my first motorhome in July, we are planning on heading to France for a couple of weeks leaving the 10th of September.

    Please can you advise me on anything I need to do or require to take with me? Such as, do number plates require GB on them or are they ok with the Scotland or NI flag on them (Im Northern Irish living in Scotland so flipping a coin to see which to put on!) Fire extinguishers, does std GB drivers license do or do I need to get a Europen one from the Post office (they probably dont exist anymore), anything at all will be helpful, i was a kid in the 80's last time we went to France in a VW Bay!

    Thanks

    Richard
     
  2. MikeandCarolyn

    MikeandCarolyn Read Only Funster

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    If you Google 'driving abroad' you will find several links to the info you need :thumb:

    Mike.
     
  3. callumwa

    callumwa Read Only Funster

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    It's a long drive from Aberdeen.... which parts of France are you heading for?

    UK license is OK, do you have the old paper one or the new plastic one?
    Original number plates are also OK.

    Make sure you switch data roaming off on your phone unless you have arranged some European contract / rates otherwise you will get a unpleasant surprise.

    Remember take your insurance documents, log book etc for the van. Good idea to have copies too, keep them in a separate place.

    A High vis vest is required to be carried in France in case of breakdown, in theory for all occupants, we have two. You should have a warning triangle, I have never had one though.

    Plan your route using A roads unless you are in a hurry, Some motorway tolls will cost you more than the fuel you use for the same distance.

    French N and D roads are normally very good. Get a Michelin map and follow the roads with the green highlighted colour. They tend to be very scenic.

    Have a great time.....:thumb:
     
  4. rob kinnear

    rob kinnear Read Only Funster

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    Hi Richard
    We had our first trip last September and found a few lins useful

    http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas/index.html

    http://driving.drive-alive.co.uk/

    I also read allot of the forums on here. As others have said remember all your documents have a printed route of where you are going and enjoy the trip.
    We are planning a trip to start on 11th September for a week may head towards Nantes area but will loo at long range forecast before we leave.

    All the best
    Rob
    :thumb:
     
  5. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    You'll need to consider what you'll do about gas if you need a refil. They don't have the same bottles as we do here.
    Wyn
     
  6. normanandsue

    normanandsue Funster

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    Have a great time, we were in Brittany earlier this year and the most valuable pieces of kit we had were a book, "All the aires France" and a sat nav.

    Do not confuse the aires on motorways and the side of the raod with camping car aires. Most of the camping car aires are free, some make a small charge, the book available from "Vicarious Books" gives plenty of information on the sites. It also gives advice on where the nearest supermarkets are where fuel will be at its cheapest.

    We started from north of Aberdeen and took two days to get to Dover and two to get back, so allow plenty of time and don't rush. Have a plan of where you want to go but remember you are on holiday, stop and enjoy the nice places and if you don't do all you want to do - so what you can go back next year.

    Have a great time and let us all know how you got on.

    Norman
     
  7. MikeandCarolyn

    MikeandCarolyn Read Only Funster

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    We like to meander in 'the general direction of.........' Using N and D roads we see rural France-but having said that-now that we are retired we can spend a couple of mths meandering with no time restraints.
    Driving is a pleasure over there :BigGrin:

    Mike.
     
  8. Jumpstartrichard

    Jumpstartrichard Read Only Funster

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    Hey everyone, thanks for your advice, all noted and greatly appreciated,
    Think I’ll check with my phone provider to see how bad the roaming charge is and then likely turn it off!
    Been using the search function and there is a lot of help and useful info here.
    We are heading down to a place called St Jean d’angely for a motorbike race but maybe having to go on past there to pick up my brother from Bordeaux airport as he wants to come and see the race also for the weekend. Will try and get EuroDisney in and Paris itself.
    Wyn (or anyone), on the gas note, I read on some of the posts that certain ferries do not allow you on with full gas bottles, is this true? Or just a myth (fingers crossed) as I was going to get 2 full bottles for heading across. As I am new to this, I do not even know how much gas is realistically required for 2 weeks, keeping in mind we will be in a field at the race Fri through to Mon with no hook up (apart from the wee trusty Honda genie which will be well chained!)
    Thanks
    Richard
     
  9. jaygee

    jaygee Funster

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    We've been on ferries several times and no problems with gas bottles, we make sure we have 2 full ones when we leave.
    Suggest making sure you have a few Euro coins handy as some aires require these for water etc.
    Also take either a very long electric lead or an extention as you may not be near the electric point.
    Lots of Aires in France also some good parking to be had in car parks especially on the coast.
     
  10. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    The ferry people have never asked about gas on any of our trips. I believe that they require you to have the valve shut off for safety purposes. What you may have to take into account is what you would do if your gas runs out (Unlikely if you have two full bottles) as they have different gas bottles from ours with different connections. This means that if you have to buy their gas you have to buy the bottle (not just the refill cost) and a connector (readily available). Just something to bear in mind. If you plan to go to France from time to time it is probably worth doing this while there so you have them for future visits.
    Wyn
     
  11. emjaiuk

    emjaiuk Funster

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    You have to be unlucky, but if you are stopped for a routine check or any other reason the police can and will fine you for not carrying a warning triangle and a Hi-Viz vest for EVERY passenger being carried and they must be accesible from inside the vehicle, ie not in an exterior locker. The law says a UK number plate must have an official GB/euro blue badge OR the vehicle has to have a GB sticker. BTW AFAIK it is illegal to use a warning triangle on a motorway. Spare light bulbs and first aid kits are recomended only.


    Malcolm
     
  12. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Vehicles over 3.500kg are required to display three speed restriction stickers to the rear. i understand there is a 70€ fine for each infringement if you are stopped.
    The gas is only a problem for LPG vehicles in the tunnel, they are not allowed. All LPG must be turned off on all ferries and in the tunnel so don't leave your fridge on gas. If you wear glasses you must carry a spare pair.
     
  13. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    You may well be correct Roger, but my understand was that only French registered vehicles required the speed stickers.. they are recommended but not mandatory.

    I never had them on my RV and in five years of travel abroad was never pulled for not having ... Of course not being pulled doesn't prove that they are not required .. just my experience.

    More info From CC

    The French highway code stipulates that 80 and 90 stickers must be displayed by vehicles required to drive at the lower limits.

    The Legal Department of the Automobile Club de France said that UK
    registered caravans did need to display the stickers, the French Ministry of Transport changed their minds three times: the first reply said no, the second reply said yes and the third and final reply is below:

    We have checked with several Government Departments and Ministries (Interior, Gendarmerie, Industry and Transport) and we have concluded that the stickers are not mandatory but the speed limits are applicable

    www.caravanclub.co.uk/media/5582430/french%20speed%20limits.pdf
     
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