Navigation aids for France

Discussion in 'France' started by Aminthule, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Aminthule

    Aminthule Funster

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    My partner and I are new motorhomers and loving it. Since purchasing my first MH in July we have done around 2000 miles and been away in it for around 40 nights. Next year we fancy going to France and as we live in West Cornwall will use the Plymouth - Roscoff route for ease. I've never driven in France, but have cycled there and most people seem to advise that it's generally not a harrowing experience. In addition to my generally good, but not fallible SatNav I will take the "All the Aires" guides, but what other navigation aids would experienced motorhomers recommend? Is there a good road atlas for motorhomers covering France? Would people recommend some of the tablet/PC based navigation/mapping apps? Any constructive advice would be most appreciated. Thanks.
     
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  2. mickyc

    mickyc Read Only Funster

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    For navigation we have satnav and a decent Michelin spiral bound mapbook (French supermarkets sell a good selection)

    We tend to use the book on long journeys and the satnav in towns/cities.

    Remember, you're never lost, just in a different place (y)
     
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  3. bjandlin

    bjandlin Funster

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    Co Pilot & a good map for us.
    Bj & Lin
     
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  4. Sas r us

    Sas r us Funster

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    Sat navy is good for getting around and don't forget to change map settings to France when you get there, but other wise if you have no destination in mind just go where it takes you..... That's what a motorhome is about.... Plenty of places to stay where your custom will be welcome.. Enjoy and relax....
     
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  5. bjandlin

    bjandlin Funster

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    French aires book by Monde de la Camping Car is good. In most French super markets.
    Barrie.
     
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  6. Flamenca

    Flamenca Funster Life Member

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    Just satnav and Michelin spiral bound plastic coated pages for me. The plastic pages have the advantage that you can write on them with chinagraph pencils and wipe off when you want.
     
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  7. CherryPirate

    CherryPirate Funster

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    I use a 3G Ipad (has a GPS built in ) and run the Tom Tom Europe app (Western Europe is also available and a little cheaper). All updates are free. I also have a 3 sim card with "Feel at Home" and allows me to surf the internet for my favourite French Aires site Campingcar-infos. This site currently has 8552 aires in France alone and organised by District (much like an english county). There are of course may other sites even those that show a 360 degree view of the aire you might want to view.

    Hope that this helps

    Colin
     
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  8. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Camping Car Infos (see post #7 above) free POI files for aires, downloaded a couple of days before you set off, as they're constantly updated.

    You might consider getting a Trucker's edition road atlas if available, as these will show low bridges and and narrow streets. We only use an atlas to get the bigger picture of where we're going - we use the satnav for getting around.
     
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  9. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    As already recommended the Michelin atlas is good:

    But a map of the whole of France is also very useful for large scale planning. If you intend to do any walking a larger scale map helps enormously, local tourist offices can sometimes help but the 1:100K IGN maps show the main GR footpaths and the minor roads. At that scale you won't see everything but they are pretty good. For proper hill walking 1:25K is much better as would be a proper GPS like the Garmin eTrex 30.

    Deciding where to go is a different matter entirely. We've used Lonely Planet and Rough Guides in the past but are now converted to the DK Eyewitness books like this one:

    They do one for the whole of France as well which is a good start for an overview of the country.
     
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  10. laneside

    laneside Funster

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    We have spent a fair time touring France and now live there and yes satnav is very useful especially if you use co ordinates, definitely not postcodes in France. Yes you need a good map and much patience with road numbers as few maps, for a French reason, never agree with the numbers on the road signs.
    The best word of caution is to try and check the satnav route on a map as it is an absolute pain for cutting corners off tho save a few yards and often trying to take you up less than suitable short cuts for no good reason
    The one thing to encourage you is that the roads are sooo much quieter than we are used to back in England and parking is plentiful and free almost everywhere
     
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  11. Mikey RV

    Mikey RV Funster

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    We have been in France now for five days, not the first time driving in France but the first time in our camper. We have a garman sat nav which is doing us proud. All the Aires books, plug in the coordinates and it's got us to the aire every time. Really surprised how empty the roads are and this time of year not been busy in the Aires. I am surprised how many Aires you have to pay for now looking in the books but most of them are near the coast. Have fun on your trip.
     
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  12. FIDGET

    FIDGET Funster

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  13. sdc77

    sdc77 Funster

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    A three mobile account might be useful .. the roaming feature is very popular
     
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  14. Dave and Ginny

    Dave and Ginny Funster

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    As many others have said, sat nav in conjunction with a good map such as the Michelin atlas is quite adequate. Plan your daily travel on the map so you have a good idea where your heading and the type of route you wish to travel, toll or non toll etc. Use the sat nav but continue to have the map handy. A good co-pilot is useful as well and when she/he tells you to ignore sat nav and go where she says then best do it! :love:

    Avoids many arguments that way :mad:.
     
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  15. FIDGET

    FIDGET Funster

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    @daveandginny, A good co-pilot is useful as well and when she/he tells you to ignore sat nav and go where she says then best do it! :love:
    Avoids many arguments that way :mad:.

    Not in our household, Wifey can't read a map to save her life, & if I give her a list of which towns/villages we will go thru in a set order, she ends up directing me back to one that she hasn't crossed off.
    So now rely on satnav & if a problem personally resort to map. Being a mere man I can't multi task.
     
  16. Dave and Ginny

    Dave and Ginny Funster

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    Don't let on, but I often pretend that I've missed the turning my co-pilot want's me to take! "oh darn it...we will have to follow sat nav now".
     
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  17. Aminthule

    Aminthule Funster

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    Thank you all for your help and advice to date. I have a modern Pioneer multifunctional unit that includes SatNav, and I will check I can enter coordinates. Am planning to get All The Aires, a decent rod atlas and some DK guides, so hopefully will manage a few Gallic miles on my first trip!
     
  18. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    If it's the same as the one I have it does but only as digital degrees. The format in All the Aires is degrees/digital minutes so you need a method of converting them. I use this app https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/coordinates-converter-free/id429253366?mt=8
     
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  19. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    post codes in france are huge if you enter a post code into the sat nav it will offer a list of rds and you have to scroll down to the one you need the list can be a hundred or more long
     
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  20. EthnGeoff

    EthnGeoff Funster

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    Think you'll find that driving in France is generally a pleasure. Remember to set your satnav to avoid tolls, alternative routes are usually very good and tolls can prove expensive.
     
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