France

Ty

Apr 18, 2018
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Looking for a bit of advice,we are looking at planning our first trip out of the uk to france we have been all over Europe but by plane ,we are only planning on 2 weeks would like to head for the sun.any ideas,

Thanks in advance
Ty
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Only been twice , once to the Vendee part and the second time to the Dordogne and euro disney and we loved each trip , no doubt you'll be unindated with replies for this one. It all depends who's in your party , any kids as there's a variety off places and sites to keep kids entertained . How long a drive do you wish to commit to also the first time we done it we done a 5ish hour drive to our stop over before continuing the next day another 5 hours so work it out how far you want to drive stopping & break wise . Once you've done it once it gets easier though .
 

Ty

Apr 18, 2018
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Hi Craig

Theres only the wife and myself both kids are now in the 20s, like you say probably 5 to 6 hrs from Calais to a stop over then the same again would be more than fine ,we potentaily have a stop over near St Malo not sure if to stay around this area or continue on .
 
Nov 11, 2009
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If your stopover is around St Mali then Brittany has some very nice spots but a 5-6 hour drive south would see you in the Vendee which has great beaches and some good sightseeing with nice coastal and inland towns. As you realise France is vast and diverse so you need to decide what rings your belll. Our first two holidays to France with our young kids were Brittany followed by Vendee St Giles Croix de Vie in our 1.8 Marina Estate. You will enjoy France I’m sure.
 
Jan 19, 2002
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Worth having a look at either club site's overseas bookings section. The Eurocamp brochure will give you km from the site to the ports and probably on their website too. You might find a 'package' booked with one works out cheaper than DIY, and this can include overnight stops if required. As examples we've been as far as Rougemont in the Jura stopping over at 'Forge de St Marie' from the Calais crossing, or Ty Nadan on the S Brittany coast crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff then a couple of hours drive south. I like the Alan Rogers France guide (or website) as you get a half page description on a number of sites. Apart from the main towns driving is comparatively quiet and traffic free - coming off the ferry at Roscoff you are immediately in open country, and at Calais takes you quickly onto the motorway network. If planning a route do check on any road tolls as these can mount up to the cost.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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About 210Km from Calais (takes about 5hrs towing) is a site called Camping St Nicolas at Le Bec-Hellouin. Can highly recommend it. Has good clean facilities, I believe it now has a pool and a small bistro/bar, and there is (was free) wi-fi. Nearby Brionne has a decent sized Carrefour for shopping. There is only one piece of payage autoroute near Boulogne which is easily avoided by using the D901 and D940. You will see much more of France if you keep off the autoroutes.

If going to France as a couple do you want a seaside break or have interest in exploring France? Agreed Brittany and the Vendee are both worth visiting (or going a bit further south to Cognac) but the Loire as a first time visit takes some beating. Angers and Saumer on the Lower Loire are good places to go, and if you like light white wines then Sancerre on the Upper Loire is a good base. The municipal Camping Paulin-Roulin at Crezancy-en-Sancerre is small, superbly kept, and very quiet but no pool or anything like that. Only has eight pitches all with 10A electrickery! Call before visiting as there is a height barrier on the entrance and you will need to speak a bit of French. From Le Bec you go to Evreux, Dreux, Chartres, Orleans, Vierzon, and Bourges all of which have by-passes or ring roads. Bourges is a nice place to have a wander around and also has a good municipal, and just up the road is Mehun where they make Pillivuyt porcelain and have a factory shop that sells (essentially perfect) seconds by weight! (Ask SWMBO.)

In terms of caravanning in France:
Most supermarket/hypermarket fuel station pumps accept UK credit cards and often speak to you (oh yes, talking petrol pumps!) in English as well. If you have time and do not have one get yourself a Visa card (M/C is not so widely accepted in France) that does not charge for transactions - Nationwide, Santander, and I think Halifax do them. The advantage of using a CC is that it gets transferred from Euros to sterling at bulk rate which you won't beat anywhere in the UK. If you buy anywhere and pay by credit or debit card ALWAYS pay in Euros as the rate will be better (but as an experienced traveller you probably already know that.)

Be aware that most French sites limit power to 6A so unless you want to use up your gas get yourself a lower power kettle - 1KW for example. Some sites limit to lower (I have seem 3A) when you will have no option but to use gas, but others are getting better and allow 10A or even 16A!

Some sites use the blue EHU connector that we use but many still use the standard continental Schuko connector so you will need an adapter. Either make one yourself or get one from such as Towsure - it needs to be a right-angled Schuko plug with the socket for the earth pin at the top opposite the cable direction or you may not get it into the connection box on site.

In France, due to a protruding earthing pin, you will not be able to reverse the Schuko plug in the socket if the polarity is incorrect.This will start a row on here but unlike the UK where we use single pole (i.e. live wire) switching the Schuko system uses double pole breakers or switches so if it trips it takes out both wires, live and neutral. As a consequence the French (most of EU in fact) don't both about supply polarity when wiring up socket outlets. For safety it is a good idea to get a short length (about 1m) of 2.5mm orange flex and a blue plug and socket. Wire one end correctly (L&N) as marked on the connector but reverse the L&N wires at the other end. You will also need a 13A plug-in polarity tester to confirm correct connection (Towsure again.) The green/yellow earth wire is connected direct at both ends - whether there is an earth actually connected to the supply is a different matter altogether!

Finally, if you have the spare payload capacity on your van it is worth taking a second EHU cable as the run on some sites can be long.........

And finally finally, WATCH YOUR SPEED. The French have just reduced the speed limit on non-autoroutes to 80Kph (was 90.) They use a lot of fixed and mobile speed cameras and indeed now have an outside company doing radar speed checks from moving vehicles (differential measurement I believe.) If you get flashed expect to find a speeding ticket waiting when you get home. You can of course ignore it but you may find it a tad difficult to get into France next time! Cars coming towards you flashing their headlights usually means a speed trap ahead - and it is not uncommon to find two in series perhaps 1Km or so apart - you get caught by one, breathe a sigh of relief as you leave the scene, and get caught again! If the Gendarmes are out stopping speeders it can sometimes be several Km down the road after the radar location.

I hope this does not frighten you but getting all these bit and putting them is a fact of life which you need to establish before your first trip - but you only have to do it once!

Have a good trip.

PS
Get a Michelin France road atlas - it is by far the best for France.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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In Europe I always remove the spare wheel from the underslung carrier and carry it in the caravan. It’s far safer than trying to extract into the continental traffic flow.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If you are crossing to France in our view a lot depends on where you live in UK,it may be worth looking at Portsmouth to St Malo out at 8ish at night arrive in St Malo early morning and 5 hours from there should take you well into Vendee, where it should be sunny,you could start with your St Malo site and then travel south a day later,coming back is more difficult if you want an overnight crossing, from memory only a couple of evening crossings a week from SM, but if you fancy seeing some of Normandy Caen offers late night crossing gets you in to Portsmouth early morning.If you don't mind being a bit inland our favourite site is La Garangeoire 277km from SM we normaly use Select Sites to book.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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The first time we went to France via the ferry over but the second time we got the shuttle over and it was much better, 35 minutes and you're in France and away and a must is their wine's to be drank , lovely !! don't forget to bring a bit back for yourself mind like we did the first time - and second time !! :p

 
Oct 12, 2013
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Ty said:
Thanks All some really great advice (the wine is a definite Craig)

That was from an August trip to France a few years ago and what we got was the equivalent to about 80 bottles of wine and we just had a couple left for Christmas !! Mmmm !!! B) :p
 
Mar 24, 2014
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Craigyoung said:
The first time we went to France via the ferry over but the second time we got the shuttle over and it was much better, 35 minutes and you're in France and away and a must is their wine's to be drank , lovely !! don't forget to bring a bit back for yourself mind like we did the first time - and second time !! :p


Good to see that you have the major food groups covered.......
 
Jun 24, 2005
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Another point, diesel used to be much cheaper in France. Last time I was back in the UK (a month ago) it was cheaper in the UK than here so fill up before you leave.
 
Feb 25, 2018
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You might also want to bear in mind that if you use some automatic filling stations they debit your card 100E and refund the difference later. it can be a budget buster!!
 
Nov 16, 2015
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When we tour France we use the Caravan clubs , book, Caravan sites of France, it gives nearly every Caravan site there is with direction on how to get to them from the closest town, and remember France closes at Midday for two hour for lunch and also on Sundays. But still a lovely place to tour. Buy your wine in the supermarkets. . And Pastis 51 is better than Pernod. :p
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Rhys1962 said:
You might also want to bear in mind that if you use some automatic filling stations they debit your card 100E and refund the difference later. it can be a budget buster!!

I think they actually put a 'reserve' on (IME) some silly figure like 119€. When the actual charge goes through a few minutes later the 'reserve' is automatically wiped. This handshake process never shows on the CC account, just the amount spent.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Woodentop said:
Rhys1962 said:
You might also want to bear in mind that if you use some automatic filling stations they debit your card 100E and refund the difference later. it can be a budget buster!!

I think they actually put a 'reserve' on (IME) some silly figure like 119€. When the actual charge goes through a few minutes later the 'reserve' is automatically wiped. This handshake process never shows on the CC account, just the amount spent.

A UK supermarket chain introduced it a while back but the system was slow in the refund and some users found that the next time they went to use their card it hadn’t enough headroom for their subsequent purchase. Supermarket withdrew the scheme. Puzzling as to why it’s worked okay in France for a few years and UK gets it wrong.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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otherclive said:
Woodentop said:
Rhys1962 said:
You might also want to bear in mind that if you use some automatic filling stations they debit your card 100E and refund the difference later. it can be a budget buster!!

I think they actually put a 'reserve' on (IME) some silly figure like 119€. When the actual charge goes through a few minutes later the 'reserve' is automatically wiped. This handshake process never shows on the CC account, just the amount spent.

A UK supermarket chain introduced it a while back but the system was slow in the refund and some users found that the next time they went to use their card it hadn’t enough headroom for their subsequent purchase. Supermarket withdrew the scheme. Puzzling as to why it’s worked okay in France for a few years and UK gets it wrong.

So what's new?
Oh, I forgot. France only do things when it suits them.......
 
May 7, 2012
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If you want the sun my advice I would be use Brittany Ferries to Santander or Bilbao and cut out the long drag through France if you have only limited time. It is costly but so is the fuel and motorway tolls if you drive. Biaritz is a good spot just over the French border with plenty of very good sites. The ferries are far better than most cross channel ones and you can get a good rest provided the Bay of Biscay plays ball.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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We must be unique as we have never bought wine or any other sort of alcohol to take home from France. Actually come to think of it we have never bought wine there to drink while in France. Never saw the point in drinking vinegar laced with sugar and then called some fancy name. :lol:
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Raywood said:
If you want the sun my advice I would be use Brittany Ferries to Santander or Bilbao and cut out the long drag through France if you have only limited time. It is costly but so is the fuel and motorway tolls if you drive. Biaritz is a good spot just over the French border with plenty of very good sites. The ferries are far better than most cross channel ones and you can get a good rest provided the Bay of Biscay plays ball.

Biaritz is nice and the ferries are good even the economy one. You could of course pitch camp in Santander which has some marvellous beaches and we find it glorious. And there are nice day tours up into the Picos de Europa and thevvery attractive coastline and hinterland.
 

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