French trip

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Kathyc, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. Kathyc

    Kathyc Read Only Funster

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    Hi everyone, we are new to motorhoming - just 6 months under our belts so far. Next Friday we are going off to France for 2 weeks and have booked our crossing from Folkestone through the tunnel. This is going to be our first foreign trip this way and I'm a little nervous. Does anyone have any good tips that will help us? Also does anyone know a decent place to stop that is not too far from Calais? Thanks so much to you all in advance for any help you can give.:thumb:
     
  2. peter marshall

    peter marshall

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    Hi
    Enjoy your trip, dont wory about the roads they have a good road system if you want a aries there is a good one at gravelines next to the marina, we stopped there in the past and its not far to travel. Pete :thumb:
     
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  3. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    As soon as your back you will be wanting to plan your next trip..:thumb:

    Enjoy.....:Cool:
     
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  4. Spacerunner

    Spacerunner Read Only Funster

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    France is a great place for motorhomes, we only started going there 4 years ago and have been totally seduced by the scenery, road system, food and facilities for motorhomes.
    Driving on the 'wrong' side of the road is, IMO, easier than on the left. It enables you to get tucked right into the side if the road is narrow and there is an oncoming vehicle. Never before have I had the pleasure of storming up a duel carriageway and no other vehicle in sight. Some of the straight roads go on for miles, no wonder the Frenchies have trouble going round corners :BigGrin:.
    Try to tour a bit inland as well as the coast. Its usually very quiet and there are some truly lovely free aires and nice villages,
     
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  5. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    Hi you will love France dont want to scare you but are you aware of a few different laws they have loke you must carry spare bulbs, florescent jackets for everyone on board if you require glasses for driving you must carry a spare set. There will be a few more cant think of them off top of my head just now but someone else might help.

    Also dont know how much research you have done, have you looked into Aires and bought the book all the Aires if not worth a look. If you want to park near the tunnel for the night you can overnight at the cite de europe its the shopping center at the tunnel exit or you can drive into Calais and park at the Aire there.

    Hope you have a great holiday

    Just thought you also need a warning triangle
     
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  6. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Depends what time you disembark and how far you want to drive, whether you want to fill up with diesel before you get 'into' France, or wot. Some nice seaside places not too far from Calais, eg Berck sur Mer (2 aires there and gorgeous beach, but normally windy, however there are dunes so doesn't tend to be windy on the land side of em) or other resorts in that area for instance.

    Personally we do a quick 40 mins into Belgium (Adinkerke) to stock up with baccy usually first because we're usually getting low on stocks. So we nip to Auchan in Dunkerque too and fill up with diesel plus do any shopping we need straight off (proper croissants, brioche, baguettes etc) Otherwise it's Auchan in Boulogne (St Martin de Boulogne) for ditto and off we go on our holidays.

    Enjoy!
     
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  7. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    I'd second the earlier comment about the Aire at Gravelines - it's a pleasant spot, although no services other than at a nearby campsite. You could also allow for a day in Calais itself - typically we get the shopping in at Cite Europe in the morning, walk down the beach to Bleriot Plage in the afternoon then watch the ferries manouevering from a spot on the harbourside Aire in the evening. If you want to go a bit further afield try Honfleur via the Pont de Normandie near Le Havre - there's a huge Aire within easy walking distance of the town centre. If you want a campsite near to Calais there's one at Guines which we've booked through the CCC before now.

    If you don't already have a SatNav I'd recommend getting one for the sake of an easy life - the French Michelin maps are OK for motorways but are like works of fiction elsewhere.

    You can download POI files for SatNavs that show French supermarkets, like LeClerc, Carrefour, Auchan, Super U, Intermarche and so on - all very handy. Also - supermarket fuel is generally a lot cheaper than motorway service station fuel.

    Bon Voyage.
     
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  8. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Well the main prob with French roads off motorway recently is the fact that they are all being renumbered and some of the new numbers bear no relation at all to the old ones. Of course it takes both Michelin and IGN (the French equivalent of the Ordnance Survey maps) some time to catch up with it all. But in the past, we've not had any such probs with Michelin even in the most remote places we've been too.

    Even with Sat Nav you'll come across roundabouts that Tom doesn't know about or he'll say at the roundabout take the third exit and there's no roundabout just a straight road!

    No harm at all in going the pretty way (which was always what my dad said when he eventually turned up wherever having got lost - oh well we decided to come the pretty way) - you are on holiday and you see some most surprising places and come across little treasures you'd never heard of before.

    Great ! :thumb:
     
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  9. DavenJen

    DavenJen Read Only Funster

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    Try Le Touquet...

    A short drive along the coast - excellent beach, cycle path, clean and about an hour from Calais. Get there early in holiday periods. really nice aire. 50°32'9.67"N, 1°35'32.55"E.
     
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  10. Habberfun

    Habberfun Read Only Funster

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    Hi Kathc Just arrived back from a month in France Spain and Portugal had a fantastic time. We stayed off the toll roads(set Sat Nav) and had no problems the roads are still good and more often then not run alongside the motorways. We buy diesel at supermarkets much cheaper then on the motorways and stock up food at Lidl the wine is also very cheap and good.The Aires book by Vacarious books is invaluable ,many Aires are free in the villages or just a few euros. We stay at an Aire about an hour from Calais at Le Crotoy a fishing village, last time we stayed there was 105 Motorhomes on the Aire so get there early.From the Aire you can cycle for miles safely on bike tracks. I know you are going to have a great time.
     
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  11. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    magicsurfbus..Yes there are services at Gravelines, about 1km away at the Gendarmerie about 15 meter's past them on the same right hand side of the road, down the side road off the main road ....it is card only 2 euros if you require water potable/ drinking water...but you can empty grey and toilet free of charge..it is a new borne and been there about two years now.....in fact we was talking to a local council person who was asking us to fill in a survey about 9 months + ago and asking us what we thought some of the problems were and could they improve here at Gravelines...we mentioned a borne on site....what they have done is put up some small square signpost's pointing you to the services at the Gendarmerie....we was also told of the charge that would be in force for this year and it is 3 euros over the winter and 6 euros in the summer...the 6 euros is now in operation, it says you are in a payant area...the machine is at the end of the row of motorhomes.
    many of the Brits that were there did not have tickets...did not realise there was now a
    charge.....at least a dozen or more over the two days we stopped...I think the pay machine is card only...
    One person tried three different credit/debit cards before they finally got a ticket .that is not a problem as we would do for others motorhomers, if there card did not work or no card ...we would use our French bank debit card and they would pay us in euros...
    Also when using the machine it takes a long time.....the machine seems very slow... so don't worry..... also community police and gendarmes.. police the area....
    The road that is a dead end near the old house motorhomers have been stopped from parking there...a large rock had been concreted to the tarmac to stop vehicles parking..somebody had moved the large rock and motorhomes were squeezing past BUT the gendarmes were putting tickets on those motorhomes, we know this as we were there last week ....
    It seems the large patch of ground at the entrance to the site near the rear of the Renault garage were a lot of the larger motorhomes often park still seems Ok for parking as the police and the gendarmes did not bother them.


    Mel
     
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  12. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    We like both Gravelines and Calais port...but now that Gravelines have put the 3 euros in winter and 6 euros summer charge on, with the 2 euros for water making it 8 euros per night...and you have to travel 1km...to empty and pick up.
    We think Calais is now the better option as it is free in the winter and 7 euros in the summer plus water is all in free..also you can empty toilet and grey by just walking to the borne on the Aire..carrying your cassette
    Plus you have the quick foods chips dough nuts and ice creams plus *plenty going around and in front of you....
    :thumb:

    Mel
     
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  13. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Kathy and welcome to the fun. Driving in France is easy there are two main differences though apart from them driving on the wrong Side of the road.
    1) Pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians do not wait for you to stop, they step straight out in the knowledge that you WILL stop.
    2) when entering a round about you have right of way rather than traffic already on the roundabout as is the rule in the UK.
    Other than that keep a weather eye out for low bridges, traffic is much lighter than here and you will love it.
    Have a great trip and do check out the chatroom lots of knowledgeable people in there.
     
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  14. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Whoops!! NO !!! It used to be like this ages ago ... not anymore , people on the round about have priority !!!! Now you might have thought so Roger as frenchies don't care about rules , but do obey the rules Kathy ..PLEASE!

    Sorry Roger , don't want to upset you , but would not like Newbies to be in troubles in France!!


    Frankie:Smile::Smile::Smile::Smile:
     
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  15. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Well trust me to read travel guides published by the AA no less, and I did find people were giving way to me even though I was, out of habit, waiting.
    You won't upset me Frankie, the truth is always welcome. I am glad you seem to agree about the pedestrians though. I just state things as I see them.
    Hell you'll be telling me next you don't drive on the wrong side of the road, hee hee
     
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  16. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    You are totally right when you talk about pedestrians expecting you , "drivers" to stop ! It is a real problem as the law says , as soon as a pedestrian has one foot on the road that's it you're outlaw if you don't stop . This, as a lot of things , I guess, leads to abuses of all sorts!
    It drives me mad, as sometimes they cross on a "speed part" while they have pedestrian crosses a bit further (BTW , the only time a pedestrian is wrong is when he crosses at less than 50 metres from a pedestrian cross.... then you can get reall .... cross:BigGrin: , yeah you can swear too .... I do:Blush::Blush: ... and just love it ... I shout for all the times I could not:BigGrin::BigGrin:... and give them all sorts of sweet names (No I won't tell you which ones :Angry:)

    Anyway , talking of pedestrians , don't forget when you'll cross the road to watch out FIRST LEFT and then right!

    Now ...; Have fun!!! And if you're still nervous , PM me I'll give you my mobile number so you can TEXT me for some help and I 'll either TEXT you back or CALL you back depending on how free I am with my work ! Ok??

    Safe trip!


    Amicalement

    Frankie:Smile::Smile::Smile:
     
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  17. JOHNSTEY

    JOHNSTEY Read Only Funster

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    Just back from a month in France and stayed at the Honfleur Aire last week.Great spot very busy.10 euro for 24 hours but the machines weren't taking cards and don't take notes so have some coins if you are going there.Enjoy:thumb:
     
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  18. weejohnw

    weejohnw Funster

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    Hi there,
    we have had several trips to France and after the initial nerves, driving in France is actually easier than in the UK. The roads have much less traffic.
    We have nearly always used Aires and on our three week trip last year only used paid aires on three nights (French Alps area), fantastic views for 9 euros - well worth it - the rest were all free.
    On our previous visit we used a campsite one night and returned home early having contracted Legionairres disease - that took about eight months for us both to recover from.
    Depending on which direction you are going, you might want to have a wee look at the aire in Doullens, it is just over an hour or so drive from Calais. Nice town and we discovered a great Pizza shop.
    Our supermarket choice and preference was Super U.
    With no particualr time table to follow you can elect to use toll or non toll roads, sometimes it can get a bit tedious on a non toll road if you have spent hours slowing down (and DO SLOW DOWN) going through sequences of one small hamlet after another.
    Enjoy
    Weejohnw.
     
  19. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    I agree totally with what you say Frankie:thumb:.....BUT:Eeek:....as you say do the French obey the law:Doh:....Mmm.....NO:Wink:...what Roger is saying MAY NOT BE LAW ....BUT what Roger has said is wise move to make that person or persons aware of what might happen and often does rightly or wrongly on a zebra crossing and round-about's....:Eeek:

    Yes they do just walk out in front of you,:Eeek: they do not look :Eeek:,and they come out from behind cars that are parked on the Z crossing:Eeek:....and yes they do pull out onto a round-about in front of you correct or not......:Doh:
    In fact here in the northern and mid France they still do not understand who has the right of way on the round-about!!!!!...old law or new law.:Doh:

    So it is a wise move just to make them aware and be careful at round-abouts'
    At zebra crossings and cars pulling off a minor road in front of you priorité à droite.:Smile:

    It is also a wise move to inform them of the old rule that is still in force the priority to the right....
    Mainly in towns the priorité à droite...priority to the right.

    My neighbour who is 70+ old rigid Frenchman says he will pull out in front any body and hit them if he has to, when he has the right of Priorité à droite...on a minor road pulling onto a main.... he has the right!! ..his 46 year old daughter says he has already hit a car or cars????? also on a round-about..he still thinks the old law exists.:Eeek:

    You may be law biding people in Toulouse...but I am afraid....the rest of France has not caught up with you yet:thumb:
     
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  20. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    Roger You are correct it does happen, the law may have changed...but have the French???,,,,many do not understand or obey the law....they may in Toulouse....but the rest of France is trying to catch up ...if they really want to Mmmm....many still believe in the old law.
    It was a wise move just to make them aware and be careful:thumb:
     
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