A75 or the A20 down to Vias.

Sep 2, 2006
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Hi,
My brother journied down to Vias last week solo, and remarked on the terrain, and suggested that I found an alternative route, he is an experienced caravanner but tows with an old style automatic turbo diesel Ford Galaxy , which has gearbox overheating issues so he possibly wasn't the best person to make the judgement, especially being that he was solo.
However he did put further doubts in my mind, after reading about different experiences with this road.
I tow a Swift Challenger with a VW touran 1.9tdi, which I have found to be a very balanced combination, with regards to power, fuel consumption, and roadholding, however it does have it's limitations, and there will be 3 kids and the wife, 5 bikes and all the gear for two weeks away. I travelled to Cornwall last year and did'nt have any issues, the problems is I have'nt really towed anywhere particualary challenging, several trips to Spain and Vias previously but going down the Eastern route, Macon/Lyon. Weekends away tend to be a 90 mile run to the New Forest, from West Sussex.
So the dilema, do I chance the A75, of which I have had previous feedback on, or do I use the A20, is there much difference between these roads? I would welcome any feed back from anyone who tows with something similiar.
I currently have a campsite in Issoire booked for the second night stop, so would need to find an alternative, away in just under 3 weeks.
Thank you.

Regards Paul.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I have just come back from a month in France and used the A20 down to St Brive and in the southern section beyond Limoges there are some longish inclines there is nothing that should worry a modern well matched outfit. We came back with temperatures in the mid 30s with no problems. Our outfit is a Bailey Pageant (1400kg) with an XC70 automatic D5 tug.
 
Dec 14, 2006
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We've towed on the A75, and the A20 - we have a Ford Mondeo Turbo Diesel, 2L, towing a Swift Speedbird (Challenger size and weight), MTPLM 1350 - and we don't have problems on either route. There are some very long uphill stretches on the A75, south of St Flour - and then a very long downhill section after Le Caylar, almost all the way to the coast. The A20 is also hilly, but not as 'testing' - though there are still some longish hills. According to Viamichelin the A75 is about 11hrs 45 minutes (driving time at max allowed speed) and the A20 12hrs 33 minutes - and tolls on the A75 for car and caravan are €70.30 on the A75 and €77.70 on the A20.
We've always tended to use the A75 because it's such a lovely scenic route - but in the last couple of years have used the A20. However, we generally get down to Brive and then 'cross-country' on the D820, rather than continue on the autoroute - to avoid tolls. We've also used the cross-country route D840 which crosses to Rodez, then on to Millau and continue on the A75 down to the coast - and that's fine for towing.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The A75 is more challenging than a lot of roads in France as it climbs to over 1100 metres in places. The roads are not steep but very long drags uphil and particularly from the south some uphill sections are quite twisty. The A20 is a nice road but the problem in getting to where you want to be seems to me to be less direct. I can't see a reason why the VW should have a problem. They are reputed to run quite cool so hopefully overheat should not be a problem. I did tow up to Millau from the south once in a Citroen Xantia with the temperature needle edging into the red!

David
 

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