First trip abroad

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by DBSilverfox, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. DBSilverfox

    DBSilverfox Read Only Funster

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    Been and gone and done it, no turning back.

    ferry booked for 06:40 on Thursday next week, Sea France to Calais. No return booked yet, but expect to be in Normandy and Brittany for a week to 10 days. I think I have everything prepared and bought according to the AA site at least. Leaving Calais, heading west with my "all the Aires" book open and fingers crossed.

    One question though; I have a carry box on the bike rack on the back, so do I have to have one of those square signs with the red stripes on it strapped to the back? Or is that only if you are carrying bikes?

    Cannot believe how nervous the wife is that we have nothing booked, but I keep telling her we are travelling in the house, so it can't go that far wrong.... just hope I am right :Eek!:

    David
     
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Excellent !!

    The idea of the warning squares is that it makes the overhang obvious and someone does not fixate on your bumper and get smacked in the face. So for a fiver or so why not stick one on.

    You'll be fine, loads of aires and municipal campsites where you are going. Just pick the first few mid-day 'till you get an idea of how it works and how busy the sites are.

    Most important have loads of FUN.

    Oh, watch out for limited fuel on Sundays.
     
  3. DBSilverfox

    DBSilverfox Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Brian, I will get one tomorrow. As you say, for a fiver and a piece of string it is probably worth it.

    Really looking forward to the adventure

    David
     
  4. weekenders

    weekenders Funster Life Member

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    Tell your wife not to worry, plenty of aires in France, especially in Brittany, southern brittany is very beautiful, we went to carnac and quiberon a few years ago, some aires are free and some just a few euros.
    have FUN
     
  5. Loujess

    Loujess Read Only Funster

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    Hi David
    We had our first trip in May and can't wait to go back again. Off on 31 Aug. We went in the same direction as you but it seemed to take longer than a week, but maybe we had loads of stops. It only took 2 days to get back to Calais. Although it wasn't planned we went to the Normandy landing beaches and learned so much. Last stop before return was a Mont St Michel and it really was a sight not to be missed. There is no need whatsoever for your wife to be nervous. I found France very safe and always found somewhere to stay. Have a lovely time.
    Ivy
     
  6. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    Hi David
    Well done on taking the plunge tell your wife not to worry we have done 3 years in France without ever booking and always found a site or aire, even turned up in annecy last week in july last year with no booking and got in our first choice site.

    The aires book is a good bit of info and if you have sat nav it would be worth downloading the poi's of campsites from archies downloads.

    Have a great time and keep us updated on how your doing if you have internet.

    Gerry
     
  7. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    Hey I bet my wife was more nervous than yours. We've just come back from our first time abroad and she has totally changed her view. Can't wait to go back. If she is still worried tell her to send us a message with any queries.

    Wyn

     
  8. DBSilverfox

    DBSilverfox Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for all the encouragement guys (and girls). Cannot wait to turn that key in the ignition. Just got to trawl through all the old messages on the forum to see where others have been and stayed.

    although I am saying Normandy and Brittany I don't care if we get no further than Boulogne as long as we are having fun. That is why we bought the motorhome, to come and go as we please.

    Will not have internet, but will be writing notes on our journey to share later
     
  9. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    We went in late June, early July for 2 1/2 weeks and took the same route as you intend to take. We didnt realy know where to go and so we set a target, La Rochelle.

    We didnt get anywhere near it because the weather was so good and the places we visited were excellent. There wasnt any point in long drives.

    The furthest we got was Mont St Michel.

    IMO, Mont St Michel is a very imposing site to visit but thats it. Inside it is a tourist trap at best, Ive had better times in Blackpool. the place is heaving with tat shops, bars, hotels, restraunts etc. The car park and MH Parking area is a dust bowl, with litter strewn all over. Go and take a look at it particularley at night and then drive away.

    There are lots of places that you can enjoy not far away.

    Dont worry about where to stop.There are lots of spots.

    Jim

    :Smile:
     
  10. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Very wise. The easiest mistake to make about France is to underestimate it's size. It's damned big. Carnac, top Brittany destination, is 415 miles from Calais.

    And the French are very inconsiderate, or wise, they seem to put all the best bits as far from the UK as possible.

    La Mont Saint Michel/St Malo/Dinard would be good, modest targets to bring you home with a big grin. Best way into that area is a boat to Cherbourg or St Malo, saves a lot of driving, but more expensive of course.

    Whatever ! You'll find the idea of touring the UK very boring after this trip.
     
  11. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    We felt exactly as you do a few weeks ago. In fact my wife was so worried that she talked me out of booking the ferry that we had in mind. I managed to convince her in the end and once the ferry was booked there was no backing out. Since then we have made our maiden voyage. We now have no reservations about going again (we both cannot wait). Any of the fears about safety and places to stay have gone completely. We had a great time and stayed for 3 weeks in total (and could have carried on!) I am in the process of preparing the story to put in the blog section and am writing it from the point of view of someone who had never been before. It certainly opened our eyes about how motorhoming should be and I have to agree with Hilldweller that it will make touring in the UK seem dull by comparison.

    Wyn
     
  12. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    David..You will be fine "no Kidding" you will love it.....If it was me I would work my way slowly down the west coast of Pas-de Calais "AFTER BOULOGNE"..(Le Touquet....Berck...Fort -Mahon-Plage..Le Crotoy...St Vallery...Cayeux sur mer..St Vallery en caux......Veulettes sur mer and head towards Honfleur..Trouville...Deauville....then inland if you prefer woods, lakes, canals and rivers.
    There are a few good Aires above Boulogne..... but you could always leave them for when you come back towards the ferry .....
    After Pas de Calais into Seine Maritime in Haute Normandy then into Basse Normandy then into Brittany if you have the time.....enjoy your trip as you go down and do not rush your trip save some for for your next trip to France as I know you and your wife will be back, Mmmmmmm lovely
    There are plenty of lovely Aires, and of course municipal and private campsites if required...if you have a solar panel & batteries for your power then Aires are fine or you are moving on every day,
    If you require hookup electric then campsites may be better for you ..
    We never go on Campsites as there are that many lovely aires....Beautiful aires
    You may even see as we are out ourselves most of the time over here...say Hello

    Mel :thumb:
     
  13. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    You will love it. Dont forget of course that in the unlikely event that you dont find a suitable Aire or Municiple campsite that wild camping in France is perfectly legal. We have parked up in some lovely places but on the odd occasion where we havent found anywhere or were simply sick of driving we have simply pulled up in a quiet village or driven down a backwater rural road and just parked. People will not even bat an eyelid at you as to them it is normal to see Le Camping Car everywhere!

    On one occasion in sothern Brittany last year we found a lovely little village near a harbour, really quiet and outside the local school yard was a small tarmac car park which actually had 3 spaces allocated for Camping Cars (Motorhomes). We stopped two nights and we were the only ones there. Come Monday morning I went out on the scooter only to come back to find the van completely surrounded by mums on the school run parked all over the place. They just smiled and said hello then 20 minutes later it was all ours again!

    Another tip is if you find the seaside aires packed then pick on thats a little bit inland, they are often much quieter and nicer. If you do go to Mont St Michel rather than stay on the Aire under the Mont which is not very nice, just up the road at the Hotel Verte is a fantastic huge grassy Aire for about 8 euros including electric. You will get on there no problem and its very pleasant.

    Let us know how you get on. Have a fab time!
     
  14. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    If you do go to Mont St Michel rather than stay on the Aire under the Mont which is not very nice, just up the road at the Hotel Verte is a fantastic huge grassy Aire for about 8 euros including electric. You will get on there no problem and its very pleasant.
    Good advice.
    Jim
    :Smile:
     
  15. DBSilverfox

    DBSilverfox Read Only Funster

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    Have made a note of that, and all the other good advice. thanks again. Wish it was tomorrow rather than next week....
     
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