France for the first time

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Mizar, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Mizar

    Mizar Read Only Funster

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    Hi been reading the threads for the last couple of months and what a great forum for information and chat.
    Only been motorhoming for the past 12 months seriously and this is my first post we are thinking of going to france at easter for a couple of weeks thought we would go out of season when its a little quiter on the camps etc with it been our first time.
    We are going with our 2 boys age 4 and 10, i was thinking of going from dover to calais then on to Disney Land Paris for a couple of days (any advice on where to stay or can i stay in the carpark is it safe) and then making our way down to the south coast around Nice spreading the travelling over a couple of days and then spending 5 or 6 days in the south before heading back north for the ferry home.
    Does this seem too adventerous for our first time, is it too much to cram in in 2 weeks,would we be better just going for a week and staying north just to get a feel for france. as i have never been to france before and never driven in france.
    do we need to book sites on the med or will we just be able too turn up.
    We are thinking of using there Aires and campsites as we find them on the way down rather than booking sites gives us a little more freedomi have bought the France aires book and the ACSI card.
    Sorry so many questions but this is our first adventure out of britain and we are a little nervous but cant wait seems more like an adventure rather than an holiday great!!!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated

    Ged
    :BigGrin::BigGrin::BigGrin::BigGrin::thumb:
     
  2. thehutchies

    thehutchies Funster

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    One piece of advice: Don't do it!
    (we have 4 kids, so have some experience :RollEyes: )

    That's a huge amount of driving, unless your kids really love being strapped in their seats for hours on end.
    About 300 miles down to Dover.
    150 miles to Paris.
    600 miles to Nice.
    And back again.

    That's half your holiday gone just watching trees go by at speed.

    It might be better to just concentrate on the Disney part for your first trip, maybe spending a week or two just visiting a few places in the North.

    We went for three months a few years ago and it still wasn't long enough. :Smile:
     
  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi Ged

    I agree with thehutchies, France is a big country and distances deceiving ..

    We have also spent many months in France and have yet to see a fraction .. The North has much to offer, is generally quieter and has some great places to visit ...

    Buy a copy of the French Aires de service, it will be invaluable, there are thousands of safe and cheap aires to visit..

    you can also look on line at http://www.campingcar-infos.com/index1.htm get a 'feel' for how they are listed, you will soon pick up the French used to describe them.. they also have the GPS locations , a sat nav makes finding them a doddle ..

    This a Google map of ones we have used, all safe and worth a visit ..
    Click Here

    The motorhome car park at Disney is safe and right next to the main Disney entrance, no facilities so have your fresh tank full on arrival .. not cheap at 15 euro per night but it's very convenient. see location with GPS on the Google map.

    Make the trip after Disney a holiday rather than a race to get anywhere, plan to drive only a few hours each day, stay off the autoroutes and see many small and interesting villages.. stop and soak up the French atmosphere.. have a great trip..


    jim
     
  4. dellwood33

    dellwood33 Read Only Funster

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    :welcomefunster:Welcome to the forum Mizar.
    We are going to travel around Brittany from early June till at least mid July and are intending to use the Aires, with possibly a couple of sites for laundry etc. We are planning to make short hops between aires, so that we minimise the daily driving and maximise the amount of time for exploring etc.
    If you do a search for Disney Paris, you will find information regarding the parking etc. Some funsters were there at the New Year. :Smile:
     
  5. robinmclaren

    robinmclaren Read Only Funster

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    new year

    we..

    robinmclaren
    terry c
    errpaul
    davidejm


    were there new year , thread is " disney paris new year " , some pics on terry c and my pictures

    would agree and make disney the holiday but take time through villages on way there and back and enjoy them
    get annual passes for disney and have 10 days there , this includes parking charges , take a day out and get train to paris
    have a great time and enjoy
     
  6. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    The two previous replies are spot on...Do your Disney land.... then use the aires and work your way around North to Middle Middle to North for the first time......only problem would be the weather may not be hot and sunny at that time of the year....keep your water topped up .enjoy your Holiday
    Mel
     
  7. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    Agree with the above posts, the first time we went to France we seriously underestimated the size of the country and spent days driving. Not a holiday. Treat France as a long term project and do a bit at a time. We've been going for over 20 years and still have to get to the south-west corner.

    Enjoy France.

    Bill
     
  8. JayDee

    JayDee Funster

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    Everyone's said it. Too much, too short a time.
    There's only the two of us and if we were planning a trip like you've suggested we would take about a month over it (and not limit ourselves to Nice). There's more than enough in and around Paris alone to occupy you for a couple of weeks, let alone Brittany, Rouen, Bayeux... the list can be very long.

    If you intend to use Aires you won't need to book anything (Disney excepted I should think - don't know about that).

    Whatever you finally decide have fun. limit you travel to, say 150 - 200 miles a day and give the kids a chance to let off steam at regular intervals during the day. Why not split the trip down to Dover into two days, stopping off at, say Stratford or Oxford for a night. Just a thought.


    John
     
  9. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    You know the answer now :Smile:

    I'd suggest Paris to La Baule/ St Nazair. Possibly the nicest beach in France and a much more manageable distance - though even this is quite a long way back to Calais.

    Don't expect too much from the weather.
     
  10. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Were in the same boat, first trip to France in the MH. Were going to turn right out of CALAIS and drive south.

    We have absolutley no intention of rushing anwhere and I will not under any circumstances drive on consecutive days.

    We have no idea where we are going and are looking forward to taking this very, very relaxed approach.

    This is the first time I have ever really looked at the map of France and I'm amazed at how large and diverse the country is. Were looking forward to experiencing the French culture and way of life and its as much a journy of dicovery as it is a holiday.

    We may very well get stuck with nowhere to stop for the night but wherever we are thats were we will kip.

    Jim
    :Smile:
     
  11. froghopper

    froghopper Read Only Funster

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    to much

    Hi and wellcome, all said, all good info, but may i put another bit on, we took 2 special needs children 11 and 9, calais disney first, but unuseual for us booked in to Berney Riviere , a campsite near Scioosions or close, iff you want it exact get back to me will give better details, this site is about 2.5 hours from calais, great for children, we got coach from site next day, about 40 mn journey, next day on site, boating lake , everything, day 3 went to pieerfonds chateau, 20 mns away setting for b b c Merlin , sets still left, kids love it, stayed in village by lake, free, then country side to brugge, wild camp on way, lots for energetic children and not loads of driving, ostend, big boats, then Ypres 8 pm they close the road for service on menin gate bridge, town is nice, then dunkirk , you want a sandy beach,, this is it,, go via norfolk line , job done, you will have had a bit of everything, sites, sights, food. fun happy kids, and not a lot of stress ,, just ask, me or another know it all will soon tell you,,, travel well,, remember in a motorhome you are never on the wrong road, just not the one you thought you were on,, good luck ,, oh ye dont forget to wave:thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  12. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    A map does not do it justice, France is BIG.

    Just for a bit of FUN I used the Autoroute measure. A stright line Calais to Nice is 561 miles, so I drew the same distance from Dover, it just and only just stayed inside the tip of Scotland. How many people in Dover would ever say "I'll just drive to the tip of Scotland" ?

    You are very unlikely to get stuck with nowhere to camp, it seems most reasonable sized towns have municipal campings that are cheap and good and may have a free aire next to them. Just keep your eyes open for the signs.

    Make sure have ACSI at least.
     
  13. TDH

    TDH Funster

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    What they all said!

    Our first trip to France in The Rosabella meant a drive from Hereford to Le Mans in 36 hours, and it creased us. We had a pretty tight schedule thereafter as well but have twigged on subsequent trips that around 150 - 170 miles a day is about right for us, including stops for coffee, lunch, moochng and suchlike - The Rosabella is getting on a bit, noisy and not particularly relaxing to drive and I guess with somethng a bit younger it may be different.

    But do it - it's a great adventure, wherever you go in France. I lived in northern France, on the Cotentin peninsular and just that bit between Cherbourg and Granville is lovely, as is the countryside to the East of that area, let alone going round the corner to Brittany Have a great time!.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  14. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Cheers Brian, I have the ACSI card and will get the CCI card free from the C&CC, I wasnt going to buy the all the aries guide but after looking at the comments on the forum I think I will.

    Cheers
    Jim
    :Smile:
    :Smile:
     
  15. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Jim...to quote you ..."We may very well get stuck with nowhere to stop for the night " Mmm you will be amazed there are so many aires....and reading your reply, you are a man that intends to enjoy himself over here and not spend all your days and time driving good luck to you, ....hope you get good weather and I am sure you will enjoy yourselves and be back....
    Mel........may well see you over here, don't forget to say Hello
     
  16. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Thanks Mel

    Jim
    :Smile:
     
  17. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    TDH ..we also live over here.... and running a new vehicle... but we only travel 100 to 150 km per day like you, but a lot of the times it may only 20, 30 40 or 50 km there is so much to see i agree with you.
    enjoy
    Mel
     
  18. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Jim "All the AIRES in France" IS A MUST we swear by it and use it 90% of the time there is also another Aires book if funds would run to it, it is what the french use ( all be it being in French) you can still understand it and it has cords long & Lat its called "LE guide national des AIRES de services camping - cars" ....it is a white book the same size as "all the AIRES book", and they come out each year but are bought up very very quickly there are to do with campingcar magazine over here called ...Le Monde du Camping -Cars....both these books are sold at Vacarious books in the uk:thumb::thumb:...if you are wanting luxury sites club rooms showers washine machines and all the extras do what Brian has said ACSI .....OK......if not....what I am saying we purchased them two years running and have never used one yet so for us it had been a waste of money...but we are going to buy again this year as in a few days we are off to Portugal so we may use them there and of coarse the are a back up.

    Mel
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  19. Mizar

    Mizar Read Only Funster

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    Thanks to everyone for the feed back and i have taken it all on board and its back to the drawing board i will take in paris and stick to 100 or so miles a day in northern france and enjoy what that as to offer and do southern france later at some point.

    once again thanks everyone:thumb:
     
  20. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Mizar..... you could always sneak another holiday this year maybe 2 3 or even 4 weeks and go further south.....we live in northern France and when we go down south we make it a month......other wise you would have to travel motorways and tolls roads to get there quickly .....and then are you seeing France to the best are missing out some of the best parts of France ???:thumb:

    Mel
     
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