Hints & Tips for a Motorhome Virgin Please (1 Viewer)

DavidAWood

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Dec 8, 2014
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Hi

I am an experienced traveller - but not as a Motorhomer! I have rented a Motorhome for a 14 day trip in June and we pick it up from Rouen. I don't have a clue!

My worries are getting stuck under barriers or not being able to access some supermarkets due to size; getting stuck down a country lane and unable to manouver out again ; reversing!

As a sample of what we want to see - we loved Collioure and if the region we are in has anything like it - we will visit. Some 1st & 2nd WW memorials are also on the agenda.

So my main questions are;

In 14 days - how far do you think we should travel from Rouen?

Would you Name me some names of recommended coastal resorts (with access roads I won't get stuck on)

Roads to avoid?

And other than that - any tips or "must do" / "mustn't do" stuff will be gratefully received.

Haven't been so nervous since left in charge of a river launch after 5 minutes of instruction :-(
 

pappajohn

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Hi David,
i think you worry unneccessarily.......did the river launch sink, did you crash it ?

I assume not and a motorhome is really no different.

Common sense tells you when a road isnt suitable
most barriers will be much lower than you so getting stuck would be near impossible...you will see you wont fit under......not that there will be many iin France, a very motorhome friendly place.

Cant advise on distance as that depends how long you stay in one area, how far you travel each day etc....too many variables.

Others will be along with suggestions of places to see/go.
 

Hollyberry

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Travelling from Rouen, depends what you want.
Camp sites with pool, all bells and whistles?
Coast?
Aires?
Or a mixture of all?
Rouen to the Il de Re is about 5 hours straight driving in a car, so if you want coast, maybe head SW from Rouen and make your way down the coast.
If you stick to RN roads you'll be fine.
You can get sat navs that allow you to input width, length, height and weight of vehicle and in theory you shouldn't ho own any toads too narrow.

In your shoes, I'd pick a couple of campsites and a couple of Aires for the first week and see how you get on. You can then venture further for the second week.

You are very unlikely to come unstuck but it's also supposed to be relaxing so no point in over stretching yourself and getting stressed!

Look at the area you want to visit from Rouen and there'll be lots of Funsters with knowledge of Aires and campsites.

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dabhand

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The best plan for France is don't have a plan, drive, stop, drive stop, spent months just aimlessly driving wherever the fancy took me, although I do love the Dordogne, Sarlat in particular about 6 hrs from Rouen any direction from there is good, a nice drive over to Bordeaux and back along the coast La rochelle etc. As other posters have said depends what your bag is. My own experience is it's pretty difficult to get stuck in France, signage is pretty good St Malo and Dinan are both Lovely and would make a nice circular route if going back to Rouen although they are very touristy. Say what you fancy, kids, no kids, gourmet, cheap, busy, quiet and you will get loads of suggestions. If you drove for no more than an hour a day you could do the above little circular route in two weeks or you could drive to Sarlat in a day. Unless you have to be somewhere in a hurry, then don't (hurry)!!

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DBK

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I like Brittany although the weather can be a bit "British" but if you are going to have a dry spell June should be favourite. It also won't be too crowded. You could just shuffle anti-clockwise round the coast from Rouen until you reach Carnac (for the stones) and the Quiberon area, then head back via Rennes. Lots of aires, for which I suggest the book from Vicarious Books (Google them) as that will describe how they work and where they are. Lots of campsites in the region for which the ACSI book would be useful although not all may be open at the beginning of June but they will all be from about the middle of the month. The Caravan Club and Paul Roger also produce books listing campsites.

My suggestion would be don't drive too far and spend more time enjoying where you are.

And welcome!

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DavidAWood

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Dec 8, 2014
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Travelling from Rouen, depends what you want.
Camp sites with pool, all bells and whistles?
Coast?
Aires?
Or a mixture of all?
Rouen to the Il de Re is about 5 hours straight driving in a car, so if you want coast, maybe head SW from Rouen and make your way down the coast.
If you stick to RN roads you'll be fine.
You can get sat navs that allow you to input width, length, height and weight of vehicle and in theory you shouldn't ho own any toads too narrow.

In your shoes, I'd pick a couple of campsites and a couple of Aires for the first week and see how you get on. You can then venture further for the second week.

You are very unlikely to come unstuck but it's also supposed to be relaxing so no point in over stretching yourself and getting stressed!

Look at the area you want to visit from Rouen and there'll be lots of Funsters with knowledge of Aires and campsites.

Thanks for this - good questions... and good answers :)

I am looking for recommended coastal towns/villages - happy to seek out campsites once I have an idea of where is worth a visit.

I intend to seek out some WW1 and WW2 memorials too - but struggling to find bike hire...
 
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DavidAWood

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The best plan for France is don't have a plan, drive, stop, drive stop, spent months just aimlessly driving wherever the fancy took me, although I do love the Dordogne, Sarlat in particular about 6 hrs from Rouen any direction from there is good, a nice drive over to Bordeaux and back along the coast La rochelle etc. As other posters have said depends what your bag is. My own experience is it's pretty difficult to get stuck in France, signage is pretty good St Malo and Dinan are both Lovely and would make a nice circular route if going back to Rouen although they are very touristy. Say what you fancy, kids, no kids, gourmet, cheap, busy, quiet and you will get loads of suggestions. If you drove for no more than an hour a day you could do the above little circular route in two weeks or you could drive to Sarlat in a day. Unless you have to be somewhere in a hurry, then don't (hurry)!!
Thanks for this - some names for me to look up...
Its No Kids, Quiet, on-site eatery but not vital, I am into landscape photography - so scenic resorts would be good.
I am travelling with my son of 19 and we like to explore (on bikes if I can get some) - and at night we see ourselves eating, drinking and chilling out :)
 

Hollyberry

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For bike hire in France you can always ask at any tourist office. If you can't find one try the Mairie---font of all local knowledge.
If you're on a river ask at the canoe hire place.

For the WW1 and WW2 war graves, you're going north from Rouen --- ok if you really want to see war graves but the least attractive part of France, I think.
There are many memorials dedicated to the Resistance but they don't seem to be well advertised ( not the best word, but you know what I mean)
Honfleur is about an hour and a half west of Rouen----huge Aire, easy to find and park, EHU, pay at machine. 5 mins walk to the beautiful town centre.
Getting out of Rouen is the most taxing thing facing you. Get the hirer to write directions or take a truck sat nav.
Don't go near the underpasses!!!!!!

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tonka

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You will have very little issues near WW sites. They are visited so often by motorhomes that some have dedicated parking nearby or allow overnight stay. Campsites are often nearby as well.
Know the height of the van, use your brain and read roadsigns not just go down a road because a sat nav will tell you to,,
Most Sat nav's are for cars and generally do a good job BUT just have that bit of common sense.

Enjoy the trip.
 
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No one seems to have replied to your question about parking at supermarkets - our experience both in UK and France is that you can always park at supermarkets - they don't have height barriers cos their deliveries are by high lorries so they can't prevent motorhomes getting access too. In UK there are often 2 or 3 hour limits - don't think we saw these in France but thats plenty of time to shop and have lunch and a quick after lunch snooze! Motorhomimg in France is bliss - We spent a glorious 3 weeks in Alps last June - mainly staying on free Aires, wild camping and a few ACSI sites (to charge up elec stuff, have long showers and do laundry). Loved the France Passion scheme too. The books (ACSI, Aires and Passion) may seem a big expense but well worth it to get safe, free or cheap overnight stops. I wouldn't book anything - just bumble around and stop wherever takes your fancy! Enjoy the freedom and have fun!
 

greyman1

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as you will be picking the van up from rouen i am presuming that it will be lhd . this can of course, [ and should be a advantage, i have one myself ] . but only if you are familiar with one .visability at junctions is greatly improved but it can take a little time to get accustomed to changing gear with your right hand etc. also be aware that some petrol stations [esp at supermarkets can be very narrow around the pay booths ] and a bit of 100%concentration will be needed if you want to keep your hire deposit intact !!! have a great time and enjoy . regards garry

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May 7, 2011
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Hi, enjoy your trip, it's very easy driving over there. one thing to remember when approaching villages the speed sign (is not like here in britain showing numbers) it's actually the village/town name board which means 50kph or 30mph approx and then on leaving village , the village name with a red line thru equals end of speed limit. they are very strict on speed limits!!
 

Rob and Val

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As you are interested in war memorials, the Somme 1916 Trench museum at Albert (95 miles from Rouen) is a very interesting place. It’s located in the tunnel complex that runs under the city. We parked just a few yards away from the entrance to the museum.

When you descend into the dark hallways of the former shelters (last used during World War 2), you're greeted by diorama after diorama dealing with the trench war of 1914-1918. It also features a film about the war, hundreds of photographs and many display cases with personal items belonging to soldiers that fought here. Very moving.
 

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