French Road Trip - Ideas and thoughts very welcome

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pHiL, May 30, 2012.

  1. Well the ferry is booked for our first trip away in Nellie - maybe we should have planned something more local and and shorter for the first trip, but I'm a seasoned camper (canvas granted), have travelled quite a bit, and due to work commitments this year, we can only get away then.

    The plan is : landing at St Malo on Mon 16th July at 16.45 and then departing back on Wed 25th July at 19.00....... beyond that, no plan as yet! So I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations or any ideas of routes etc.

    If it was me on my own, I would just turn up and make it up as I go along. However I will be taking my girlfriend, who isn't really use to camping, and def not living in a camper. I therefore need to make sure that I plan this one, so that it goes well.... otherwise I will have no chance of getting her away in it again and I'll be getting told to get Nellie onto eBay! :eek: My theory is, if this one goes well, I can take her away on more 'riskyunplanned' adventures in the future! My girlfriend is a very organised person, so we often clash on these types of things :)

    In fairness, my girlfriend hasn't many demands, but she does want decent showers and sitdown toilets at the campsites, and if there can be the occasional swimming pool then great. Though regards the pool, as it will be school holidays, maybe we will need to give that option a miss! Once again, we are tied to these dates due to my work schedule.

    We are both in our early 30's with no kids, and are just looking for a chilled break. Lots of wine, country food, fresh bread for breakfast in the morning, getting away from it all, that kind of thing.

    I have no idea on where to go, or how far to travel dailyor through the entire trip. We will probably stay a couple of nights at most places, though maybe more or less depending on where we are. Was thinking maybe trying to move south as quick as possible - I have been told by friends that I may went to get south of the Loire Valley to try and get guaranteed weather?

    So a general call out to the TLB members, any experience of this type of trip? Any suggested routes? Any do'sdon'ts? The future of my relationship, and more importantly, the camper ;) may be in the balance!

    Thanks for any helpadvice!
  2. Tuesday wildchild

    Tuesday wildchild I'm a circle!

    Yes Loire Valley and below is were the weather is better as a rule.

    If you can get down La Rochelle - Royan area plenty beautiful beaches and like.
    We spent a week just outside Royan a few yrs back on a farm site (with toilets and showers) which sold a fantastic (chilled and cheap ) wine, we drank are share and some.

    Or if inland is wanted I cant recommend this place more we stopped for one night and stopped 2 weeks. No pool but its is on the banks of the Loire and swimming is great there.
  3. Thanks, thats great, a couple of things for me to think about.

    Do you recommend booking these sites in advance? I'm thinking as its mid/late July I may need to book in advance.
  4. Tuesday wildchild

    Tuesday wildchild I'm a circle!

    We never do but we just drive around till we find something we like the look of.

    For La Croix Rouge I would to be honnest it was a very popular site ( we got lucky) for stop overs and stayers. We were going to be there next week but have postponed are 3week holiday for a month or so :(

    The Farm site was 2 fields first was full of French which left their caravan sited all yr and the second for tourers again empty when we went bar one bloke in a tent that he only seem to come out of at night :thinking:,28,,,.php?idCategorie=3&idFiche=84193&pageX=67#tourismeModule=4

    put this in Google maps to see where it is 45.605812,-0.937744
  5. Have a look here for campsites. You should fund what you need. Best to book if there is something you really like, especially as it will be around school holiday time.

    Other ideas are Mont St Michel, Caen, the Normandy beaches (for a bit of world war 2 history) or Eurodisney near Paris. Its a big country with lots to see and some great roads.

  6. Most towns and a lot of villages have a "camping municipal" which in my experience are always nice and a good price. Worth looking out for.
  7. Though it goes against my grain, there is something to be said for a certain amount of planning, when I went to Germany in my bay I had no plans in particular but knew I wanted to go to Wolfsburg. When I got there I found that the kafer club rally was on which was pure luck but amazing. It might be worth seeing if there is some sort of festival or something similar on when you are in France. Have they got a tourist board?

    Plan your routes carefully also as again when I have been abroad and used a satnav all I have seen mostly are motorways with high embankments so you could be anywhere. A bit of planning in advance could probably route you to some places of interest on the way.
    Same with campsites, (shudder) the camping and caravan club have some sites abroad particularly France and you may like to join to use these or alternately find out where they are avoid them :)
    Have a great time
  8. As for guaranteed sunshine the further you go down the better ,we are on our second week of blue skys and sun ,that usually lasts till September...

    It does depend what you like sea beach ,walks,culture,castles,shopping,adventure....

    Most french holiday makers visit our region [17] because it is nice combination of things to do...
  9. we are also going from the 2nd july til 1st aug and hitting Mayenne, through to south brittany and on to loire and vendee. Really looking forward to it. Best advice is to hit municipal campsites along your route in between premier campings as the premiers really eat up any budget, but the municipals are very economical. That said, if you have no budget and want to sway the g/f to camping, then go premier at first then slum it next time :)
  10. Tuesday wildchild

    Tuesday wildchild I'm a circle!

    Not forgetting the toll motorways these are a waste of money unless you plan on going at full tilt to get from A - B. We always progame sat nav to avoid motorways, specialily the toll ones as we once forgot the ticket when in France and found we could not get out the other end in Spain. Took an hour or more to explain to the spanard (with the big gun) what had happened and for him to decide to let us continue but get off at the next off ramp.
  11. I can recommend a site called Camping Bel in a town called La Tranche Sur Mer in the Vendee, its a cracking little site nice facilities with a pool very chilled out, its in walking distance of the town and beaches...loved it so much we are going back next year, if my memory serves me correctly its only 190 miles from St Malo, the weather in the Vendee is good because that part of France has a Micro Climate.

  12. Thats great guys, cheers. Def got some things to think about and discuss with the better half! Really thankful for all the advice and recommendations.

    For the "camping municipal", can these be booked in advance or do you just turn up?

    Must admit the whole booking ahead thing doesn't feel natural to me, much prefer to just see where we end up, and stay flexible for the route etc. But I think this time I definitely need to be that planned... maybe next year she will let me off the leash a bit ;)

    I never thought about the whole motorway thing either, def prefer the idea of staying off those once I get over there - unless the weather is bad where we are, then it might be motorway south until the weather gets better lol - though once again with pre-booked sites, that might not be an option......damn it lol

    Thanks again for all the help!
  13. I'd really recommend the Cool Camping France book. i'm like you in that i'd rather just wing it, but i've also got an organised girlfriend who doesn't want to find herself peeing behind the van at 11pm in a truck stop because we couldn't find anywhere.
    The few times we didn't book ahead were mixed experiences. We stayed one night in a really nice municipal site by chance, but another night we stayed in an awfull place in dunkirk.
    From that book i'd really recommend Hutopia in versailles. Really nice and clean and really close to central paris. Also the place in the loire valley was good. Moulin fort i think it was called.
    We used the toll roads the whole time. I reckon we saved money by using them because you can just cruise at 55mph or whatever rather than stopping and starting through towns.
  15. remember theres loads of places to wild camp ....then you can save megabucks......have a wicked time people ....
  16. Yep that's the one. Well worth the money. Have you got your spares kit sorted?;)
  17. I worked for euro camp in France for 4 years and I know there are nearly always spaces on site, you may have to wait a day, but you will be fully equipped. Camping municipals are usually turn up jobbys but I'm not sure.

  18. Tuesday wildchild

    Tuesday wildchild I'm a circle!

    I'd say 95% of Camping municipals you can just turn upto without booking unless its a national holiday then it might be sardine time.

    Public Holidays

    1 January New Year's Day (Jour de l'an)
    1 May Labor Day (Fête du premier mai)
    8 May WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai)
    14 July Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
    15 August Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)
    1 November All Saints Day (La Toussaint)
    11 November Armistice Day (Jour d'armistice)
    25 December Christmas Day (Noël)
    26 December 2nd Day of Christmas (in Alsace and Lorraine only)

    Moveable Feasts
    Religion: Christian (Western)

    Feast 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
    Good Friday* 22 April 6 April 29 March 18 April 3 April 25 March
    Easter (Pâques) 24 April 8 April 31 March 20 April 5 April 27 March
    Easter Monday 25 April 9 April 1 April 21 April 6 April 28 March
    Ascension (l'Ascencion) 2 June 17 May 9 May 29 May 14 May 5 May
    Pentecost (la Pentecôte) 12 June 27 May 19 May 8 June 24 May 15 May
    Whit Monday 13 June 28 May 20 May 9 June 25 May 16 May

    Under the law, every French citizen is entitled to 5 weeks of vacation. Most of the natives take their summer vacations in July or August, and many major businesses are then closed. All of France takes to the roads, railroads, boats, and airways. Consequently, traveling in France during August is generally not recommended for foreigners.
  19. Consequently, traveling in France during August is generally not recommended for foreigners.

    oy! I`m foreign.... ;D

    France is a big big place enough room in Auot for a couple of Anglaise....

    I think the traffic jams are mainly around the coast /big cities ,all the motorways/roads are clear near me..... 8)

    5 weeks holiday ... :eek: I must admit , I do not do much work between July and August and neither do most artisans... O:)

    A lot of supermarkets [intermarche etc]are now open Sunday morning ,also coop`s are a bit like your local spa and of course mc donalds....

    nice date list tuesday... 8)
  20. Tuesday wildchild

    Tuesday wildchild I'm a circle!


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