10 day France trip - 1st timer

holg8s

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Hi all.
I'm looking at driving into France for my first time in the MH, and after reading lots of blogs I'd still like some advice into this. I've only got ten days to do it, so really I just want to get to somewhere where the kids will enjoy, I can walk the dogs, and see a bit of sun! Ha.
So hopefully, I'm going to book the eurotunnel for the early hours of the morning I want to go. It's in July, so I guess the prices will be hiked up a little bit. Originally, we was gonna blitz it and head straight down to the south. Driving time really isn't an issue for us as we would just share it. But are we really gaining anything? Probably not. We may head for mid France then come back up along the west. I'd maybe stop one day heading down, have a couple of stops for three days, and a stop back heading north on the west side. Giving me a couple of days leeway if I need to change anything.
Any advice on where to go or any of these 'aires' or these 'municipal' sites? I've only ever traveled in the uk so this is new to us! Any help appreciated! Thanks Lou
 
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Hi
I wouldn't go far, you could just take the coast road from Calais and go West - we did and took 5 days to cover a couple of hundred kilometres, lots of beaches and plenty to interest everyone. Apart from wasting 2 days driving (at least) the South will be very hot and busy - take it easy and enjoy(y)
 

mfw

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All the aires north and south france vicarious books will give a lot of aires although some may be getting improved or shut it will give a lot of information

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May 27, 2015
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In July you will find everyone there.
Our first trip-a long time ago-we followed the coast a way then moved inland wandered south a way then back up the coast.
France is a huge country and you would be best, I think, to just wander, there will be a lot of Camping Cars (motorhomes) about just go and enjoy it.:)
 
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Agree with the others head west and explore Normandy maybe down to Ile de Re. Will,still be busy but not as busy as down South and plenty of aires and Campsites in that region. We did our first trip in July 4 years ago went down that way and had no problem finding sites available.
 

Mikeclaire

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The Loire valley is nice,lots to see and do around Saumur etc.
Then take the kids here http://www.puydufou.com/en you will need 2 days for it, but their is a good aire on site to park up and stay.

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Feb 22, 2011
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As others have said, don't try and go too far or you'll just see France through the windscreen.
St Lunaire Brittany, beautiful wide sandy beaches, or lots of other places in the area, loads to see and do.
 

Lenny HB

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Although Normandy & Britteny are nice, the weather is not a lot better than the UK and they are still quite a drive from Calais you would be better off using the miles to go south. You need to get down to the Loire for warmer weather as @Mikeclaire says plenty to do and see in the Loire. If you like hills and walking and life a bit quieter a bit further south is the Massif Central.
France is so varied doesn't matter where we go we always find interesting areas to visit.

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Aug 18, 2011
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Although Normandy & Britteny are nice, the weather is not a lot better than the UK and they are still quite a drive from Calais you would be better off using the miles to go south. You need to get down to the Loire for warmer weather as @Mikeclaire says plenty to do and see in the Loire. If you like hills and walking and life a bit quieter a bit further south is the Massif Central.
France is so varied doesn't matter where we go we always find interesting areas to visit.

True,,6 hours into Brittany and you can be well south of The Loire in that time,,BUSBY,,
 

magicsurfbus

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Brittany's definitely nice but is basically Cornwall in French, including the British style weather and the crowds, including lots of Brits.

If you don't mind the distances I'd say head more south. One Easter we drove from home (NW England) to La Palmyre on the Charente coast in 48 hours, including a 400 mile stint between Calais and the huge aire at Parc Futuroscope, which is worth a visit in its own right. The other excellent theme park in that area (mentioned above) is Parc Puy du Fou, which has its own aire. If you go on a Friday or Saturday there's a vast open air show in the evening called the Cinescenie, although it's best to book that in advance.

We're firm fans of Charente-Maritime because of the variety on offer - a range of beaches and a zoo at La Palmyre, various visitor sites and excellent shops in la Rochelle, lovely beaches and loads of bike tracks on the Ile de Re and Ile d'Oleron, plus generally better weather than further north. All of these places have aires - on Oleron some of the aires are ex campsites so you get grassy pitches and electricity included.

If you really push it you can be in Biarritz in two days from Calais, sunning yourself on the beach by late afternoon on Day 2 - we've done that. Between Bordeaux and Biarritz the west facing beaches are mainly wide and sandy, backed by dunes and pine forests with modern resorts dotted along the coast. If you prefer older coastal places with a bit of history it's best to stay north of the Gironde estuary.

The only thing I'd add about coastal aires in July is the need to get to them by mid-morning to bag a spot, and to aim for medium to large sized aires rather than tiny ones so you catch the morning turnover. The parc aires mentioned above are both huge so that's not an issue.
 
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holg8s

holg8s

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Hi all
Thanks for the valuable info....
Which websites are good for booking motorhome campsites ?
Should I plan and book before we go?
Will also need to find a vet!!!!
I would like to travel to Burgundy....

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Riverbankannie

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I would recommend the Loire aswell for better weather,even though it can be lovely in Brittany.Every where in France has something to offer,you could try Annecy but you would definetly need to book a site there!

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holg8s

holg8s

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Hi
But as this is my first time going to France, and we have a big motorhome...kids and dogs... how can I be sure I will get one of these aires spots?
I don't mind finding some kind of site that has a swimming pool and all the rest for the kids. At least I'll know they will enjoy their time too. But I just can't find anything using the camping and caravaning web site. Even pitch up. I use that quite a lot when in the UK.
 
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There are so many aires in France if the one you head to is full you only have to move on to another.
And well worth investing in All the Aires book!

https://www.vicarious-shop.com/prod...clZYx6xpp7iUwpNo0Oxs6meiSJLMGf5RoC_7wQAvD_BwE

We have never had to much problem finding aires in Northern and mid France.Its not til you get to the South of France you may struggle.
One tip is try and arrive early to mid afternoon as that is best times to find a
spot on an aire!
 

magicsurfbus

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If you don't mind translating from French I reckon the CCI website is as good a guide as any, as they include campsites, aires, and overnight parking spots, plus they offer free SatNav POI files and have an App.

If you have family and pooches with you I'd suggest looking for aires that are close to other attractions and distractions (for example a beach) rather than too out of the way, as many of them are basically parking areas with perhaps a bit of grass at the edges, and maybe a pretty view if you're lucky. We had to travel in school holidays for some years so we always had a Plan B aire up our sleeve, but we rarely had to use it. If you need certainty so you can relax then it's all about forward planning and timing, and there's always going to be gaps on the bigger aires by lunchtime as people move on. If campsites are your preferred option you'd be best to book in advance for July. Most French campsites have online booking forms and multilingual webpages. The sites we've found via CCI are usually fine, and all the better for not being stuffed with Brits in our opinion!

Some aires are like camper van compounds attached to campsites, but access to the site's main facilities will vary from site to site, so check the small print.
 
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Been dozens of times and the best weather, if you don't want a long stretch is around La Rochelle area. Plenty of campsites in the books to choose from.

The best beaches though are further down in the Landes pine forests, beyond Bordeaux. The sea is fantastic down there and the surfing is brilliant. We usually do it with one overnight stop somewhere around Tours. There's some great campsites around the incredible Dune de Pyla, largest sand dune in Europe. And then loads more further down towards Biarritz.

Nearly all towns have free motorhome parking, you can find them in the Aires book people have mentioned. But July they maybe full. Beach campsites are superb, but are not cheap.
 

Duffer

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Hi all
Thanks for the valuable info....
Which websites are good for booking motorhome campsites ?
Should I plan and book before we go?
Will also need to find a vet!!!!
I would like to travel to Burgundy....

Hi there,
This link brings up an interactive map of vets that other motorhomers have used for pet passports in Europe. I hope it helps.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?msa=0&mid=zTPBDq9Df4L4.kSm3eLuvVb2g

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May 27, 2015
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For campsites in France look at ACSI, you get a book, map and a card which gives you a discount on most campsites.
For Aires look at 'All the Aires' books and map.
Go to 'Vicarious books' online for the above.
None of the English clubs will do anything for you in France!
When using Aires if you go to one and it's full/not what you thought/you just don't like it, look in the book for another one, they are popular but they are numerous so you shouldn't have a problem, although in July the further south you go will get busier and at that time of the year it will be plenty warm enough!
 
D

deleted-member02

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Hi
But as this is my first time going to France, and we have a big motorhome...kids and dogs... how can I be sure I will get one of these aires spots?
I don't mind finding some kind of site that has a swimming pool and all the rest for the kids. At least I'll know they will enjoy their time too. But I just can't find anything using the camping and caravaning web site. Even pitch up. I use that quite a lot when in the UK.

A few more suggestions, although lots of great ideas have already been posted (y)

www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/county.asp?region=France
https://www.eurocampings.co.uk/france/
https://en.flowercampings.com/
https://www.yellohvillage.co.uk/choose_your_campsite/by_country/france
https://www.camping-castels.co.uk/
https://europe.huttopia.com/en/
 

yodeli

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@holg8s

If any prob with some French to be translated into English , just give a shout I'll help no prob!....Or even with any other prob involving your knowledge (if any?) in French. PM me and I'll give you my mobile number so you can contact me when no wifi connexion

Amicalement

Frankie:)

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Feb 27, 2015
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sorry just a quick answer
Kids like travelling however not too far
they like to stop and see and do things
Ensure your journeys are short it can get very hot in a motorhome.
I personally would aim for the Britanny area
not too far
nice beaches
Look for aires in land they are less crowded
and rive to the beaches or parks or swimming pools
make that a trip so the kids learn to enjoy the journey and not suffer the journey
Remember with pooches the dogs have to ve wormed withing 5 days of your return ferry and at least 24 hrs before it sails
Check on French Bank holidays sothe vets are open ring and make an appointment
The vet Mr Patrick at Forge Les Eauxe speaks excellent English and is familier with the Pet Passport
sorry I just glimpsed the thread
 

suavecarve

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Right, I am going to go completely left field. I would stay away from Brittany at that time of year but would consider Charente on the islands. Brittany was excused for being the French cornwall at the height of summer but Charente Islands (Re Oleran and Noirmoutier) are allowed purely because they are stunning.
However, take a look at Alsace and the Jura Mountains and Champagne regions. If the kids like a swim then don't bother with the beaches on the west coast in July with all the English and germans clogging up the area but use their lakes and rivers and swim in lifeguarded free non salty water in peace and quiet. Check out cascades du herrison and all the lakes that are nearby. The Alsace wine route and the marne river.
Having said all that We are off to Charente in August for a 12 dayer !
 

Davylambretta

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I'm thinking of taking the van this summer would be August time 1x12yr old and maybe 2 Irish Terriers coming from the Scottish central belt with a stop in NW England to collect my daughter which would be on a Sat would have 2weeks max any suggestions where to go was thinking Normandy or Brittany but seeing the comments here has made me think again. Would like to go to the Alps but think possibly just too far for the time I have. Any suggestions?

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