France or Spain for 2 weeks in January?

May 8, 2021
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Right, I've previously posted about a fortnights suggestion in January here and got some replies that pushed me out of my comfort zone and now am ready to step right outside of it and consider a circumnavigation of France in January and even found out about acsi cards etc .....

HOWEVER...

Today, on a facebook forum, I've seen many talking about Spain being the preferred option for this time of year as French Aires seem to shut off their water, the weathers a lot wetter, etc etc.

Now, Im not after super warm weather, Im from the NW of Ireland (where you know its summer because the rain is warmer) and the wife is from Manchester (where they seem to think the letter H doesn't exist, oh and it rains a lot there too, lol) but I guess Im trying to see what would be the best bang for my buck experience wise as we've never done the continent and only had the MH since June.

Whichever we do we would take the tunnel, I've no problem driving through France to get to Spain, rather that than a ferry for a day to Santander etc.

So, anyone got any particular thoughts about France v Spain in January for a fortnight? C'mon, help a funster out? :cool::cool::cool:
 
Jan 6, 2017
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Just spent 8 weeks in France (and have been many times before) and we didn't even scratch the surface.

Driving to Spain from the Tunnel for a two week trip - wouldn't even consider it, and I love driving!
 
Feb 16, 2019
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For two weeks in January, for a great place to visit, FLY to southern Spain or Portugal.
Hire a car, very cheap as off season, and explore.
It takes us from Lockerbie.
1 day to Dover, or any southern port, all within 25 miles of each other from our location.
2 days to get into northern Spain.
2 days to get to coast of southern Spain/Portugal.
driving at least 6/7 hours a day.
then add in your stops and the days done.
so 5 days there, 5 days back

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PaulC70
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Dont mind the weather one way or the other as thats what coats and layers are for, same for cold at night, on board heating and layers :) We've done January a couple of times on Lewis and Harris so no strangers to the weather, granted it wasn't in the motorhome but still..

I'd actually originally thought about the Hebrides again but to be honest we've done it and in a Motorhome theres very little daylight hours in January, hence heading south and looking to make the best of it?

So may well stick to france then after all and do a circumnavigation and hope for decent(ish) weather.
 
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PaulC70
May 8, 2021
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For two weeks in January, for a great place to visit, FLY to southern Spain or Portugal.
Hire a car, very cheap as off season, and explore.
It takes us from Lockerbie.
1 day to Dover, or any southern port, all within 25 miles of each other from our location.
2 days to get into northern Spain.
2 days to get to coast of southern Spain/Portugal.
driving at least 6/7 hours a day.
then add in your stops and the days done.
so 5 days there, 5 days back

No way Im flying there and leave the motorhome sat at home, otherwise what was the point of buying it?

Looking at google I can get to south coast of France in 2 days from Bedford via tunnel leaving me 12 days to circumnavigate clockwise back to the tunnel and home?
 
Feb 16, 2019
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Totally agree .
Southern France is an easier drive, I did not chat about Spain, the thread did.
It also made you aware of the weather you could get in France.
I would do as you have indicated, travel south in France.

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Apr 22, 2018
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We just pootle around France and make it up as it happens. Why plan? We’ve never struggled to get water, yes some turn it off for winter, but not all, and if you had to you go to a campsite where they have it all. We often go to touristy places that in the summer would be too busy for me, so I get to see places that I would normally avoid.
 

suavecarve

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My ha'penies worth
I wouldn t bother with Spain for a fortnight.
I would create 4 to 5 journeys as you have no chance at all of seeing France in a fortnight.
I would have a tour of Brittany
A tour of La Loire
A tour of the Champagne region
A tour of Alsace Lorraine
A tour of the Black Forest in Germany
A tour of the Baltic in Northern Germany
I might even have a tour of Netherlands in my back pocket.

2 days before I were to leave, I would check with www.ventusky.com and look at their 10 day weather map and choose the best option as there is a high likelihood of the remaining places I didnt go being available the year after.
All of those are maximum of just over a day's travel.

They tend not to turn off the water at cemetaries and it appears to be a Napoleanic given right for any Frenchman to take the water from there without paying anything. When in Rome ......
 
Aug 11, 2019
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My ha'penies worth
I wouldn t bother with Spain for a fortnight.
I would create 4 to 5 journeys as you have no chance at all of seeing France in a fortnight.
I would have a tour of Brittany
A tour of La Loire
A tour of the Champagne region
A tour of Alsace Lorraine
A tour of the Black Forest in Germany
A tour of the Baltic in Northern Germany
I might even have a tour of Netherlands in my back pocket.

2 days before I were to leave, I would check with www.ventusky.com and look at their 10 day weather map and choose the best option as there is a high likelihood of the remaining places I didnt go being available the year after.
All of those are maximum of just over a day's travel.

They tend not to turn off the water at cemetaries and it appears to be a Napoleanic given right for any Frenchman to take the water from there without paying anything. When in Rome ......
As above. Particularly in regard to touring a region for a fortnight. France is too big for a whistle stop tour.

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Augusta08

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Here in Morbihan the winter months can be very pleasant, there is a very warm micro climate on the Morbihan coast. We have palm trees and bananas growing in the gardens. The aires are open all year.

Look up Port Louis, Locmiquelic area. (Where I live) thru to Vannes.

The Petite Mer de Gâvres
20210828_113006.jpg

I thought the blurb about micro climates was estate agents tosh, but in 18 years , never had a frost!
 
Jan 22, 2020
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My ha'penies worth
I wouldn t bother with Spain for a fortnight.
I would create 4 to 5 journeys as you have no chance at all of seeing France in a fortnight.
I would have a tour of Brittany
A tour of La Loire
A tour of the Champagne region
A tour of Alsace Lorraine
A tour of the Black Forest in Germany
A tour of the Baltic in Northern Germany
I might even have a tour of Netherlands in my back pocket.

2 days before I were to leave, I would check with www.ventusky.com and look at their 10 day weather map and choose the best option as there is a high likelihood of the remaining places I didnt go being available the year after.
All of those are maximum of just over a day's travel.

They tend not to turn off the water at cemetaries and it appears to be a Napoleanic given right for any Frenchman to take the water from there without paying anything. When in Rome ......

Some of those locations in January are not for the faint hearted.

We lived in Northern Germany on two occasions……lots of snow at times. Our son and his family have just moved back to the UK from the Netherlands……..we have photos of them ice skating their local pond in January/ February.

On other occasions we had as mild winters as here in the SW of England. 🤷‍♂️
 
Aug 18, 2011
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Dont mind the weather one way or the other as thats what coats and layers are for, same for cold at night, on board heating and layers :) We've done January a couple of times on Lewis and Harris so no strangers to the weather, granted it wasn't in the motorhome but still..

I'd actually originally thought about the Hebrides again but to be honest we've done it and in a Motorhome theres very little daylight hours in January, hence heading south and looking to make the best of it?

So may well stick to france then after all and do a circumnavigation and hope for decent(ish) weather.
Still short days in winter in Europe.BUSBY.

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OP
PaulC70
May 8, 2021
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My ha'penies worth
I wouldn t bother with Spain for a fortnight.
I would create 4 to 5 journeys as you have no chance at all of seeing France in a fortnight.
I would have a tour of Brittany
A tour of La Loire
A tour of the Champagne region
A tour of Alsace Lorraine
A tour of the Black Forest in Germany
A tour of the Baltic in Northern Germany
I might even have a tour of Netherlands in my back pocket.

2 days before I were to leave, I would check with www.ventusky.com and look at their 10 day weather map and choose the best option as there is a high likelihood of the remaining places I didnt go being available the year after.
All of those are maximum of just over a day's travel.

They tend not to turn off the water at cemetaries and it appears to be a Napoleanic given right for any Frenchman to take the water from there without paying anything. When in Rome ......
Wow, great information there, I love your idea of having lots of planned smaller tours I have to admit. Also never heard of that ventusky site which I've bookmarked, very comprehensive!
Found https://about-france.com/index.htm by starting to google regions in France which has really spurred me on so now need to find out more about the areas as well as Germany / Netherlands too.
I think there's a bit of me wants to restrict things to france due the fact of the language barrier to a degree as I feel I can get away with a little pigeon english if you see what i mean.

As above. Particularly in regard to touring a region for a fortnight. France is too big for a whistle stop tour.

yes certainly agree that it's size doesnt lend itself to a whistle stop, I think I was having the same mentality as those mountain walkers that want to bag peaks and tick off a list but maybe Im being drawn to the big names and tourist traps.
 
OP
PaulC70
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Still short days in winter in Europe.BUSBY.

Just to check looking on timeanddate.com for January 10th
Daylight hours
London 8 hours 10 minutes
Stornoway where we were thinking about but wanting to avoid precisely for this issue is 6 hours 54 minutes.
Somewhere in the middle (ish) of France eg Lyon is 5 minutes shy of 9 hours and the south coast of France eg Marseille is 9 hour 12 minutes.

To me the whole reason for thinking of the daylight thing was only to increase the time doing things while there and enjoying the landscape etc which if we did the Outer Hebrides vs France is a difference of 2 hours daylight a day. Over a fortnight thats an extra full day of experience, I'll happily take that :)
 

suavecarve

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I think there's a bit of me wants to restrict things to france due the fact of the language barrier to a degree as I feel I can get away with a little pigeon english if you see what i mean.
The language barrier is harder in France than in Germany or Holland or Belgium or many of the European countries. I speak French between Pigeon and holiday standard and just about hold a conversation.
In France, dependant upon which region, English is well spoken amongst the young but the elder generation less so, which is where your pigeon french will be helpful, however, I have probably done getting near to 50 nights in Germany and I literally know "Please, Thank you, 1,2 3, rodendahl, weingut and Detour" because they pretty much all speak English and its pretty much fluent.

I agree with Sapper520 about the weather in the Baltic part of Germany, nethertheless, it would still be a plan for me, mainly because I have done a bit of research there and is the only one of those that I havent been to.
The Vendee/Charente/Morbihan is another great shout by Augusta08 as there is a microclimate there and you could choose 100 miles of coastal stuff to do (as low as La Rochelle) and that is only 8/9/10 hours from the tunnel

You may want to read this thread as a number of us went to Germany last year, most of us without a clue as last year's rules at this time of year was self isolation for France but not for Germany, and I doubt many had a handle on the language, if for no ther reason than to look at photos and understand rodendahls and weinguts !
There are a number of other threads worthy of a gander through and think DBK has links to his in his signature at the bottom of his posts (others do as well so worthy of noting them)

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Dec 19, 2020
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In two weeks, you'll either have long days with your foot to the floor to get anywhere reasonably south or the travelling will swallow most of your trip. If it were me, I'd go for the Morbihan. There's a "Camping Car Park" aire just to the south of Vannes. Cycle in or bus stop outside. NB> Cemetery water supplies are not necessarily 'eau potable'
 
Apr 12, 2010
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Two weeks holiday one week traveling ? A no no for me. Not cost effective at all. Decent weather just over the eastern border into costa brava but nearly all ACSI sites will be closed.
Phil

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mikebeaches

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Personally, a January fortnight in France wouldn't float my boat. But as others have suggested, southern Spain is really too far to enjoy any sort of holiday in two weeks, and so France is perhaps a more realistic option.

Just a couple of further observations, whilst it's true there is a decent micro-climate along the coast of southern Brittany down to about Bordeaux - the resort of Nice on the Med developed for a reason - it is probably the warmest place in France during mid-winter. However, with luck anywhere along the Mediterranean coast should be reasonably mild. And whilst Nice is particularly well sheltered and was a fashionable off-season retreat for the rich and famous, I'm not sure it is particularly motorhome-friendly? May be possible to find somewhere nearby at that time of year?

The other thing to mention is that very few French campsites remain open all year, so some research would be required on that front. Of course, you may be planning to use mainly aires or wilding, but as others have mentioned facilities are sometimes closed up in winter.

Oh, and just to add - it can get VERY cold in the centre of the country in winter.

In case it is of interest, here is a map of the average annual sunshine in France, for the thirty years 1981-2010


Whatever you decide, have a great trip! (y)
 
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PaulC70
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In two weeks, you'll either have long days with your foot to the floor to get anywhere reasonably south or the travelling will swallow most of your trip. If it were me, I'd go for the Morbihan. There's a "Camping Car Park" aire just to the south of Vannes. Cycle in or bus stop outside. NB> Cemetery water supplies are not necessarily 'eau potable'
Thanks for the tip re the water, to be fair we mainly only use the onboard as shower and washing up anyway but when we do use the onboard its boiled for coffee :)

Morbihan does indeed look interesting.
You also need to remember the parts of France are very hilly and high so ice and snow may be a problem driving in Winter. If you head south it’s usually better to keep to the west and down the Atlantic coast as it’s much warmer than the centre and the Massif Central.

Richard.

Good point on the weather, hadn't thought about the altitude and a good reason to keep an eye on the forecasts and local reports I'd imagine.
Two weeks holiday one week traveling ? A no no for me. Not cost effective at all. Decent weather just over the eastern border into costa brava but nearly all ACSI sites will be closed.
Phil

I was about to post "south of france is doable in 2 days" but looking at it it's closer to 3. However, while I would be able to enjoy the scenery etc, I'd be missing out on the experiences each stop would offer.
I'm still researching and coming round to the idea of a more focussed trip though (y)
 
Feb 18, 2017
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My ha'penies worth
I wouldn t bother with Spain for a fortnight.
I would create 4 to 5 journeys as you have no chance at all of seeing France in a fortnight.
I would have a tour of Brittany
A tour of La Loire
A tour of the Champagne region
A tour of Alsace Lorraine
A tour of the Black Forest in Germany
A tour of the Baltic in Northern Germany
I might even have a tour of Netherlands in my back pocket.

2 days before I were to leave, I would check with www.ventusky.com and look at their 10 day weather map and choose the best option as there is a high likelihood of the remaining places I didnt go being available the year after.
All of those are maximum of just over a day's travel.

They tend not to turn off the water at cemetaries and it appears to be a Napoleanic given right for any Frenchman to take the water from there without paying anything. When in Rome ......

In Jan/Feb the Black Forest is liable to be under 2 meters of snow
and the Baltic will be, well, 'Baltic' at that time of year
Alsace and the Ardennes are unpleasant in the winter (watch the Battle of the Bulge film for the weather in the region)

However Brittany or the Loire would be better than the UK at the time

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Aug 18, 2011
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Just to check looking on timeanddate.com for January 10th
Daylight hours
London 8 hours 10 minutes
Stornoway where we were thinking about but wanting to avoid precisely for this issue is 6 hours 54 minutes.
Somewhere in the middle (ish) of France eg Lyon is 5 minutes shy of 9 hours and the south coast of France eg Marseille is 9 hour 12 minutes.

To me the whole reason for thinking of the daylight thing was only to increase the time doing things while there and enjoying the landscape etc which if we did the Outer Hebrides vs France is a difference of 2 hours daylight a day. Over a fortnight thats an extra full day of experience, I'll happily take that :)
Sunshine is my need,,,BUSBY.
 

DBK

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I suggest a trip along northern France, assuming you cross over on one of the shorter routes, ending up in Brittany. Have a look at the Camping Car Park sites as most have hard standing and EHU. Not the cheapest but for a couple of weeks they will keep you warm and dry under foot.

There are other aires of course in France and we use them when we can but the CCP ones are convenient.


This is an account of a trip we did and might give you some ideas. We returned through Brittany which is at the end of the report.

 

tonka

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Travelled a lot in motorhome and car down to Benidorm through France, November - February.
Don't underestimate how cold it can be, especially central France. Daylight hours are short and driving in the dark is no fun. Few lights even on motorways and no cats eyes so it makes it for a tiring drive.

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OP
PaulC70
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I suggest a trip along northern France, assuming you cross over on one of the shorter routes, ending up in Brittany. Have a look at the Camping Car Park sites as most have hard standing and EHU. Not the cheapest but for a couple of weeks they will keep you warm and dry under foot.

There are other aires of course in France and we use them when we can but the CCP ones are convenient.


This is an account of a trip we did and might give you some ideas. We returned through Brittany which is at the end of the report.

That's an excellent thread with a lot of very useful info on stops.
Did you plan every single stop or just followed the route but only planned the stops a day or so ahead?
 

HKF

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Some supermarkets are now offering water points for MoHos, especially L'Eclerc :) Also, if you carry a watering can, you can get water from service stations etc., too :)
 
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