Motorhoming in France

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by EmmaB, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. EmmaB

    EmmaB Read Only Funster

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    Hi there. Can anyone offer any advice? We are planning to take our motorhome to France for the first time in August (never been outside UK). 2 adults & 2 teenagers. We would like to stay at 2 sites (4 nights in Vendee & 4 nights in Brittany). We have been looking around and found a couple of nice sites. However, they work out about €280 each for 4 nights. This seems a bit excessive to me (although this could just be my misperceptions). Is this price about right? Also someone advised us not to book but just to turn up and it would be a lot cheaper. I'm not sure of I feel comfortable doing that (I like to know things are booked).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated :Smile:
     
  2. HymerB544

    HymerB544 Funster

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    Motor homing in France

    Hi Emma,
    Sue and I have visited that part if France many times over the past 20 years, and a few of those trips were in motorhomes. Our days of taking the kids have gone, so I can't speak for comparative prices, but maybe can offer some useful advice.

    I,m guessing that your cross channel route will be Portsmouth/st Malo? It isn't cheap in high season with an MH but, once there (ferry docks around 0800) you could, if you wanted to maximise your time on the Vendee, cover the 160 or so miles to St Jean De Monts in half a day easily. And the roads are toll-free that side. As for sites, when ours (girls) were teenagers we headed for livelier sites for their benefit, where they quickly made friends, leaving us to cycle to the beach on our own. They also liked to stay up rather longer than us! Much depends on their age of course. 13 is not the same as 16 to 18.

    In terms of location, the choice of site down there is huge, so worth further research, but we have stayed - and enjoyed - sites in the following locations:

    Noirmoutier
    St Jean De Monts
    St Giles Croix de Vie
    St Hilaire
    Les Sables D'Olonne
    And further South:
    Ile De Re
    Ile D'Olonne
    Arcachon.

    If I had to pick the two the kids liked best it would be Le Bois Masson in St Jean, and Les Biches at St. Hilaire. Both large and lively, with good facilities, but prices will be at a premium in August of course, wherever you go. Les Biches is big enough for you to get further from the noise of the clubs, if that suits.

    We think the Vendee beats the lot for beaches, climate and accessibility.

    Happy travels!

    Gary :BigGrin:
     
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  3. EmmaB

    EmmaB Read Only Funster

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    Thank you for taking the time to post this Gary - much appreciated. We are doing Newhaven to Dieppe (a decision based on times I think). Our teenagers are 15 & 17 so we were looking for a reasonably lively sites for them. Will check out the sites you recommended now.

    When you say premium prices - roughly how much is that per night? There just seems so much variation between sites I'm not surer hats reasonable and what's not. I have read that many people don't actually book in advance - they just turn up. Would you recommend this or is it best to book?

    Thanks again! :Smile:
    Emma
     
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  4. Phill D

    Phill D

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    From mid july to 3rd week of august is considered high season and price rocket at the big sites in particular and can be as much as £40 a night whereas the same site today ( we are on our way back from 6 weeks touring France, chasing the sun and sights, are only around 16 euros. We never book but i am told if you do not book for the high season be prepared tom move on. Also full sites in France are "fuller " than in the uk. You are likely to be able to shake hands with your neighbour from your awning.

    We are currently on a site where the area we are pitched is marked for 7 pitches, 4 would be just about comfortable. Currently there are 2 of us.

    Others here are more experienced than i so keep asking the questions.:thumb:
     
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  5. HymerB544

    HymerB544 Funster

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    The Vendee

    Hi Emma,
    I can't really advise on what is cheap and what is expensive, as we haven't done France in high season since the late 90s, but I would say that at that time of year, I'd always book if it were not just me and Sue. The whole of France hits the beaches in August, and the main holiday routes too of course. There are several ways of checking out vfm and quality. You could start with the sites shown in the 2 main club overseas brochures (who of course add a premium) but then look them up in such as Alan Rogers guide, or the ACSi guide (no discounts in high season from Acsi of course, but the guides are well worth buying.

    One last thought; when Sue and I did the Atlantic coast last year on the way down to Morocco we chose NOT to use motorhome Aires. Then when we saw the ones just north of St Jean, we regretted it, so don't rule them out for the odd night or two. Another good source of guides is Vicarious Books. They are online and we have most of their products.

    You'll hear this said many times in motorhome forums, but the MH aires are exclusively for MHs, and not t be confused with the motorway aires, which are more like our mway service areas. Vicarious Books is definitely worth a look, online.

    Regards

    Gary :BigGrin:
     
  6. EmmaB

    EmmaB Read Only Funster

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    Thank you Phill. The two sites we initial chose were nearly £60 a night which I thought was a bit excessive. The more I read, the more I am thinking about taking the chance and just turning up (but have 2 or 3 in reserve).

    Enjoy the rest of your trip! :Cool::Cool:
     
  7. EmmaB

    EmmaB Read Only Funster

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    Thank you Gary - this is all very helpful advice. Realising how little knowledge we have about this trip!
     
  8. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    As has been said, late July and particularly August are peak times when urban France heads for the beaches. Have you thought about municipal campsites? Not many entertainment facilities but often great locations and considerably cheaper than private sites near the coast. Here is the French website showing them by region.
    http://www.camping-municipal.org/

    Also, if you use a SatNav, download the POI file from Archies Europe. You can choose just France or any other country.
    http://www.archiescampings.eu/eng1/
     
  9. EmmaB

    EmmaB Read Only Funster

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    Having 2 stroppy (!) teenagers we are really looking for a fairly active site but will definitely check these out. Thank you
     
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  10. Peter & Elaine

    Peter & Elaine Funster

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    Leave kids at home and go alone
    Ours have flown the coupe and we miss them but not on holidays
    Now we get
    Grandad where are you going this weekend and my mummy says its ok if I come
    Then the crunch line
    Big eyes and Plesaseeeeeeeeee
    3 year old blackmail
     
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  11. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    I don't really have much current knowledge of Vendee campsites as it's quite a while since we toured the area, but I can heartily recommend a day at Parc Puy du Fou if you need a break from the beach. You can stop overnight in their Aire for a lot less than the cost of a campsite. The CineScenie show on Friday and Saturday nights is pretty awesome.

    I do recall that the beach at Les Sables was very much a built up seafront resort type affair, whereas La Garenne near Brem-sur-Mer was more open. Quite good waves there if your two are into surfing or bodyboarding.

    We stopped at the Chadotel La Dune des Sables site near Les Sables - it was nothing special.
     
  12. cmcardle75

    cmcardle75 Read Only Funster

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    It would be cheaper to stay on aires and spend the cash on separate entertainment and/or transport.
     
  13. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    Hi EmmaB

    We have been going to France for several years now and although we only have one daughter she always brings her friend who would you believe is called EmmaB :Rofl1:.

    We went to La Rochelle two years ago and due to kids and Lorraine working at school we always go high season. We tend to do a mixture of aires, municipal and big sites. If we stay at an aire then the money we save we will do an activity such as kayak or abseiling this way the kids get to do loads without it costing loads.

    We have never booked a site in France since having the motorhome.

    There is a lovely site in Royan which only cost about €25-30 a night although it didn't have big fancy pool it was 10 mins from a wonderful beach that had kite surfing. We then spent a couple of nights in the aire at La Rochelle and visited the town this cost €10 a night but free local transport was included.

    We then went to the site Las sables just outside La Rochelle and because we didn't book in advance we didn't have to pay a booking fee and I'm sure the cost was around €45 a night just had a look at their website and it would work out at €44 a night in summer have a look http://www.camping-les-sables.com/index.php?page=tarifs_emplacement. It really is an excellent site.

    If you need anymore advice or help I'd advise you to pay the £10 to join as you will save that 10 times over.

    Gerry

    P.S. where in Scotland are you from
     
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  14. MHVirgins

    MHVirgins

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    Hi Emma B
    Here is the link below for you for the book on Aires in France.......it was recommended to us by another Funster:Smile:
    We had planned to go to France last year, but didn't make it:Sad:
    Like you, we always like to know that we've got something booked too.
    Good luck with planning everything, you will get plenty of expert advice on here:thumb:
    Margaret

    https://www.vicarious-shop.com/All-the-Aires-France-4th-edition-9780956678133.html
     
  15. gromit

    gromit Read Only Funster

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    hi were are also going to france for first time but i am just going to turn up as i cant get any good prices on the net
     
  16. G4OGE

    G4OGE

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  17. boyart23

    boyart23

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    France sites location

    Hi
    Have been to France many times and just back to-day.
    Have regularly used the Caravan Club - Caravan Europe 1 Sites Guide and Touring Handbook as an aid to finding sites. Wouldn't tour there without it.
    Used Camping Car Aires this time but found they could be very busy - eg Honfleur 10 euros a night - we were one of more than a hundred motor homes parked there! If your lucky you get electrics included , if a sockets empty. If not, it still costs 10euroes. Stayed at Josselin where it was free but no electrics. As others have said Vicarious Books will sell you a book of Aires locations. Well written, helpful book with Lat and Longs. Found that because motor home Aires are busy you may find your v close to your neighbour.Good idea to get there early eg between 1100 and 1500. For your Aires parking, some times you pay cash at a parking meter, sometimes with a credit card, other times pay at eg tourist office. Would not stay overnight on a motorway Aire!!
    Diesel is a lot cheaper at a French Supermarkets and as you would expect much more costly at a motorway service station.

    Agree with Puy Du Fou recommendations. When we went it had a free Aire. We found we needed 2 days to enjoy it all, this is because events take place at differing times. So it's a good idea when you arrive there to pre-plan your stay. For the night show. it takes place in the open with no shelter, even if it's heavy rain and after dark can be v chilly!. The seating is hard plastic benches so to have a cushion is highly recommended. The show lasts a good 3 hours with no comfort stops. We loved every minute of the show, fantastic!
    Boyart23 - Can't wait to get back to France!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  18. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Be aware that coastal aires become jam-packed during the French holidays too!:BigGrin:

    By the way, we thought you were great in the Spice Girls Emma!:thumb:
     
  19. capinpugwash

    capinpugwash Funster

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    I would not recommend staying on an Aire if you are on holiday AND with two teenagers. The Aires are for short stops only and you cannot set up camp.

    The Vendee is a great choice, having been there more times than I can remember, with my 4 kids in tow, sometimes as teenagers.

    August is VERY busy and prices are high. My edest daughter is going next month with her family, and they are paying premium prices as they will be near the beach and on the site at peak French holiday time.

    If you want to have piece of mind then book a site, (direct with the site works), and enjoy the holiday. Yes some are pricey, and yes you can just turn up and get lucky, but with teenagers on board I for one would want all my bases coverd, especially when time is limited.


    One final point, if you are prepared to be inland a few miles then prices are a lot cheaper, the sites less crowded (so no need to book), but then getting to the beach will be a problem.

    Enjoy yourselves.
     
  20. Easyliving

    Easyliving Funster

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    Hi

    If you happen to be passing I can recommend this municipal site at Bauge near Angers in Pays-de-la-Loire. We were there a couple of weeks ago, lovely site with good facilities, swimming pool next door, wifi etc and only 13.10 euros per night inclusive for 2 adults and MH.

    As others have said, don't discount the aires, we found them to be great for our purposes and there are still plenty of free ones giving more money to spend. All the Aires France is what you need.

    Have a good trip.

    Paul
     
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