First trip to France

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by macski, May 13, 2009.

  1. macski

    macski Read Only Funster

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    Hi all
    I am planning my first trip to france mid june booked sea france ferry dover to calais can all you experienced travellers give any advice regarding arriving at the port / campsites I have the camping card book do you have to make reservations or just turn up also have the aires book not quiet sure how they work ie paying would appreciate as much help and any comments would be gratefully received
    thanks
    colin
     
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  2. vindiboy

    vindiboy Funster

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    you can stay the night on the dock at Calais right next to Sea France and P.O offices where you book in for the ferry, its reasonably quiet and very safe, free and there will be lots of vans etc .there.So you might want to try it if you arrive at Calais late and don't want to drive far first night. The Aires in France are very good, and when you find one you just park up and relax. lots are free some a few Euros, some you pay for water, its all very easy and well signed telling you what to pay for and where, some you need to get tokens for from the local Marie or local shops others take coins in a parking meter type machine.Toilet dumping is always free.Some Aires are better than camp sites in my opinion , and I'm sure you will soon have your favourites also, good luck and Bon Voyage.:thumb::thumb:
     
  3. superk

    superk Read Only Funster

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    Nervous anticipation is not unexpected but after a couple of days in France you'll wonder why you were slightly anxious. France is very motorhome friendly whether you are using sites or Aires.

    As already stated you can park up at the 'Sans Billet' departure area of the Port - just follow signs as though you were departing or there is an Aire at Bleriot Plage where you can sleep to the hum of the ferries going in and out.

    In June it probably won't be necessary to book sites. Aires are almost exclusively on a first-come-first-served basis so best not to leave it too late in the day to get your spot. The Caravan Club 'Club Europe' is very good for sites.

    The best way to get information is to ask other motorhomers who are also parked up - and don't just look for British ones - many motorhomers from other countries will speak some English particularly the Dutch - a great way to broaden your experience and if you have some French then give it a go - the French are not what you might have read - nice folks particularly when you make a little effort.

    France is our favourite motorhoming country - when we return there from other countries we feel very relaxed. - You'll have a great time and any 'mistakes' just give you a better story to tell when you get home :BigGrin:

    Get a good map like the Michelin Road Atlas Motorhome and Caravan Bookstore - MOT Atlas France 2009 (Michelin Tourist & Motoring Atlases)

    and depending on whether you want to laze or sightsee either The Lonely Planet Guide:
    Motorhome and Caravan Bookstore - France (Lonely Planet Country Guide)

    or Rough Guide:
    Motorhome and Caravan Bookstore - The Rough Guide to France (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

    :Smile:
    Keith
     
  4. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    And the municipal campsites are better than many and cost around €10 a night.

    Many French towns have them, you'll see CAMPING signposted as you enter the town.

    They put the UK to shame.

    Example: Conty a few miles south of Amiens. There was a drain, a tap and a long strip for parking on a quiet country road, filled by about 20 happy campers, all FOC. We spent money in the supermarket. Everyone a winner.

    Eample: Gannat north of Claremont Ferrand. Council site. Immaculate everywhere. Closed swimming pool. €10 without electricity, €2.40 for electricity.

    It's just too easy over there.

    Millau is worth a visit, many campsites and a delightful town. Oh, and and English Viaduct.
     
  5. bushman51

    bushman51 Read Only Funster

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    Being a full timer, I completely agree! Nothing better than France if it comes to aires (I never, but never, use sites)!

    I agree, the Dutch speak English very well - but please also give other Europeans a chance. I'm Swiss, by the way... Asking other campers is the very best source of information. All those "guides" may already be partially outdated if they appear on the market. WE are not :Smile:

    Bon voyage!
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  6. wasp

    wasp Funster

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    Hi we go to France fairly often and I bought the Aires De Service Camping Cars from Leclerc or one of the supermarkets it lists aires and camp sites it is about 8 or 9 euros is also available I think through Vicarious books hope this helps Cheers Rob W
     
  7. Kon tiki

    Kon tiki Read Only Funster

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    Where do you plan to go? People might be able to give you more specific information. The last time we used a campsite in France with a motorhome was 18 years ago, since then we always use aires. I have heard about some problems concerning the aire in Calais but as others said you can stay at the port on your first night if you arrive late. If you drive down the coast about 40 miles there are 3 aires in Le Touquet, I think the one by the airport is free & the other 2 are about 5 euros with electric. A bit farther on there is Berk sur Mer where it is free but no services.

    Once you get there & spend a couple of nights staying at some fantastic spots for free you will know why most motorhomers like France.:thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  8. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    We have been over a couple of times good roads and little traffic. We were recommended to avoid the motorway Aires as they apparently are not secure. The town and village Aires and sites are very good. We are off again July.
     
  9. Parcverger

    Parcverger Funster - Campsite Owner

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    You will enjoy visiting France, it is a great country with plenty to discover. Before coming to the Limousin we toured throughout the country, using aires and campsites - all have their uses. We echo the comment of larryH that you should avoid motorway aires generally, and never stay overnight on an aire on a free motorway. Municipal sites can be good, but toilet facilities are open to all and can be very messy. We have motorhomers on site at the moment who moved here from a grassy municipal after rain, as they were up to their ankles in mud and we have hard standings - that's why its worth having info with you on all aires and campsites.

    Bob
     
  10. Lincolnshire Rover

    Lincolnshire Rover Read Only Funster

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    We have just returned from our trip to the south of France diesel on average was 92.5euro p/ltr using Nationwide card exchange was 1.11euro to £1 total milage from home to Cannes : Port Grimaud : St Tropez return was 2002 miles we do not use paege mtorways total cost for diesel was £211.41 CC site fee's were £79.44 the overnight stops on Aires were free and 2 stops had free electricity Eurotunnel was £96.00 so a total cost of a 2 week break was £386.85 excluding food ,apart from buying some bread milk and croisants ( we always take our our own food and home made meals ) Now you know why so many people favour France all the people we met being French / Dutch / German / Swiss / Italian were more than friendly including the English people:thumb: being motorhomers everyone are more than helpfull.
    Where in the UK can you have a holiday at this rate and to top it all the weather was fantastic:thumb:
     
  11. Baggins

    Baggins Read Only Funster

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    Tom-Tom

    Recently back from 3,000 miles through France, Spain & Portugal after a 25 year break.

    My best investment ever was upgrading the GB TomTom to Europewide model. No more looking out for strange signposts and roundabout exits. The bonous of being able to enter co-ordinates of Aires/Campsites is magic. Occasional weird routes through the countryside that I would not have taken following a paper map added to the experience.

    It made the trip 99% stress free.

    All the best on your French trip - As others have said it's the most welcoming country for Motorhomers.

    BW
     
  12. ralph-dot

    ralph-dot Read Only Funster

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    Hi Colin, I agree with all of the good advice above, I always really enjoy France and hope you do too. You can see how we got on here, France

    Ralph
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  13. ralph-dot

    ralph-dot Read Only Funster

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    That's about 40mpg, wish my van did that

    Ralph
     
  14. Hopesy

    Hopesy Read Only Funster

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    One little tip is to take some Euro coins they always come in handy on the first night/day when you've normally only got notes
     
  15. macski

    macski Read Only Funster

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    thanks to all of you who have given me some very good advice and i shall make sure when i get there we will relax and have a good time
    once again thank you all
    Colin
    :thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  16. navyman

    navyman Read Only Funster

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    Hi, Camping and driving in France is great. The Municiple sites on the whole are very good value for money,May and early June you could have the whole site to yourself,the Aires de Service are good places to stop at, one that we have used the last two trips was alongside a Gendarmary with toilets and electricity free and a two minute walk into the shops,it was aq quiet site. Do not stop on Motorway Service Airs over night as some are not at all safe.If you can get hold of the Airs de Service book you will find hundreds of good stopping places.Have a nice Holiday,the French people are very friendly.
    :Smile:
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  17. Lincolnshire Rover

    Lincolnshire Rover Read Only Funster

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    , one that we have used the last two trips was alongside a Gendarmary with toilets and electricity free and a two minute walk into the shops,it was aq quiet site. :Smile:[/QUOTE]

    Please let us know of the location:thumb:
     
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