France holiday ideas

#1
Considering a trip to France in June and looking for some inspiration...

I think the Normandy beaches, Pegasus Bridge and The Somme are a given, but any other suggestions from those who've been? Somewhere to do a spot of hill-walking, good campsites etc would be appreciated.

No doubt this is gagging for a "don't go, the place is full of French" gag.

Cheers.
 
#2
the ardeche gorge is fantastic, water sports, good campsites, beautiful location, caves, sun, sand, what more do you need!!
 
#3
Agree with the Ardèche, some good walking in the Gorges du Verdon or the volcanic Puys in the Auvergne.
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#4
Bordeaux. There is a walking route of the RM Commandos Cockleshell Heros . It follows the path they took on the run from the Germans. Don't know if it is related but it is manly via Vineyards. The route is sign posted with information boards along the route.

The RM Corps Sec has all the details.
 
#5
France holiday ideas?

Yes.....go to Germany!

Seriously though, I can recommend the Dordogne region.
Exellent weather, wine and food. Great scenery and loads of history (medieval villages)
I stayed in Sarlat and it was very pleasant.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#7
Debaser said:
Considering a trip to France in June and looking for some inspiration...

I think the Normandy beaches, Pegasus Bridge and The Somme are a given, but any other suggestions from those who've been? Somewhere to do a spot of hill-walking, good campsites etc would be appreciated.

No doubt this is gagging for a "don't go, the place is full of French" gag.

Cheers.
If you like sports and have an interest in military history the Vosges is little known to Brits and is great for both.
PM me if need specific info.
 
#8
How are you travelling? Motorhome, Caravan, tent, Hotel, B&B?
 
#9
Guns said:
Bordeaux. There is a walking route of the RM Commandos Cockleshell Heros . It follows the path they took on the run from the Germans. Don't know if it is related but it is manly via Vineyards. The route is sign posted with information boards along the route.

The RM Corps Sec has all the details.
An Anglo-French organisation, "Frankton Souvenir", has been set up to keep alive the story of the raid. Its principal achievements are the development of the walking trail, and the installation of explanatory plaques at key points. The development of the trail is supported by the Royal Marines Historical Society. For further details of the Society, and the trail itself, write to their office which is c/o the Royal Marines Museum, Eastney, Southsea, Hants PO4 9PX.

The following sites in France are associated with the raid:

St Georges de Didonne (near Royan). Adjacent to the lighthouse on the headland, overlooking the mouth of the Gironde, there is a memorial to the raiders.

Bordeaux.. On the quayside (Quai des Chartrons), near the permanently moored cruiser "Colbert" (about 500 m downstream from it), is an exhibition centre, called "Hangar 14": outside it is a memorial to the raid9, unveiled by the Duke of Kent and the Mayor of Bordeaux in December 2002 - easy walking distance from the centre of town.

Blanquefort. Just outside Bordeaux. The Château du Dehez, also known as Château Magnol, and the head office of the wine company Barton & Guestier, was the location of the German WW2 naval HQ, and the site of the execution of Sgt Wallace and Mne Ewart. There is a plaque on the bullet scarred wall10 where they died. This is private property, and permission needs to be obtained to visit. There is a ceremony here annually around the anniversary of the raid - 12 December.

Plaques / monuments at places associated with the raid have recently been unveiled as follows:

Napres - The "Fiery Woodman's" cottage (see "Cockleshell Heroes" by CE Lucas-Phillips). June 2002. About 5 mins by car south of St Preuil, past a cemetery on the left, at the crest of a hill, a track leads off to the left. Private property, but the plaque can be viewed on the outside wall

Ruffec - The Toque Blanche restaurant. At the end of their 100 mile cross country escape, Maj Hasler and Mne Sparks were lucky to meet up with French people who put them in touch with the Resistance. Plaque to the left of the door unveiled 2002.

Pointe de Grave, plaque on the lighthouse, and on monument (face lighthouse entrance door, take path to right, 200m). These commemorate the site where Sgt Wallace and Mne Ewart came ashore, and were subsequently captured. Plaque dates from 2003.

St Vivien du Medoc. From town square drive to the beach at St Vivien: memorial with plaque stands at the end of the road to the beach in the car park. Site of the first day's hide for the two successful pairs of canoeists. Plaque 2003.

Montlieu la Garde (about 60 Km NE of Bordeaux on the N 10 Bordeaux - Paris road). Names of Cpl Laver and Mne Mills added to the war memorial in the town centre11. 10 Jun 04.

Chez Ouvrard. The farm building where Cpl Laver and Mne Mills spent their last night of freedom - they were arrested the next day in Montlieu. Plaque unveiled 10 Jun 04 by the sisters of Cpl Laver, and brother of Mne Mills. To find this site you will need a detailed map. Leave the N 10 at the exit for Montlieu - this is the D 730 road., and fork right onto the D258 at Les Cuisinères. Follow it south passing a memorial to the crew of a Flying Fortress bomber that crashed nearby, and turn left on the D 259. Pass Les Barres , and take the track right at Pt 111. The building is on the right after about 250 m.

A good up to date account of the raid is to be found in "After the Battle" Magazine number 118, obtainable from the publishers, Battle of Britain International, Church House, Church Street, London E15 3JA. Tel 020 8534 8833.
Link for Frankton Souvenir - M. Boisnier is charming, and speaks excellent English.
 
#10
#11
I second that from fairmaidofperth, I have a house near Royan and have visited most of these places. One point of interest is the inhabited caves at Meschers (near St. George de Didonne), part of which has been converted into an exhibition for the Cockleshell Raiders. This is surprising as Royan was nearly obliterated by the RAF in January 1945 in support of French forces that were trying to force the Gironde crossing to open up Bordeaux as a port and there is still considerable animosity about it. There was a very interesting museum near Saujon detailing the eventual taking of the Poche de Royan (Royan Pocket), with accurate tableaux of German, American and Free French troops and equipment (including, bizarrely, some sikh troops in German uniforms). We went last year, but the owner was complaining that he could get no support from the local councils and was threatening to close it.

If you are going to do the Normandy beaches, don't stop there but follow the eventual breakout from Caen, Operation Cobra and culminating in the fighting at the Falaise pocket. Read the Max Hastings book before you go and, for the route, follow the War Cemeteries marked on the Michelin maps.
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#12
Be careful wearing or taking any military kit with you. I had a DPM rucksack and had problems with the locals.........












They kept surrendering to me.




The leather one please, and my hat. No I can manage the taxi.
 
#13
#14
If you are with a Campervan / Motorhome then you can make use of the Aires de Service. These cost next to nothing
http://a.ccl.free.fr/annuaire/annuaire01.htm (en français :( )
The Aires are downloadable as POI for TomTom, Garmin, Magellan, Mio and ViaMichelin

http://www.campingcar-infos.com/index1.htm available on DVD and also, if your French is good enough, downloadable as POI for TomTom etc

http://www.eurocampingcar.com/index2.php3?lg=uk&cat_id=0 Pan European guide but can be out of date

http://www.airecampingcar.com/ Another Aires guide

Maps and Route Planners

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/viamichelin/gbr/tpl/hme/MaHomePage.htm
Useful, because it is up to date for Toll charges

http://www.multimap.com/map/home.cgi

The most affordable Campsites are generally, the Municiples. Lots of towns have them. More on Municiples CLICKY

I have found that the further South you go, the better the weather becomes.
 
#15
mnairb said:
I second that from fairmaidofperth, I have a house near Royan and have visited most of these places. One point of interest is the inhabited caves at Meschers (near St. George de Didonne), part of which has been converted into an exhibition for the Cockleshell Raiders. This is surprising as Royan was nearly obliterated by the RAF in January 1945 in support of French forces that were trying to force the Gironde crossing to open up Bordeaux as a port and there is still considerable animosity about it. There was a very interesting museum near Saujon detailing the eventual taking of the Poche de Royan (Royan Pocket), with accurate tableaux of German, American and Free French troops and equipment (including, bizarrely, some sikh troops in German uniforms). We went last year, but the owner was complaining that he could get no support from the local councils and was threatening to close it.

If you are going to do the Normandy beaches, don't stop there but follow the eventual breakout from Caen, Operation Cobra and culminating in the fighting at the Falaise pocket. Read the Max Hastings book before you go and, for the route, follow the War Cemeteries marked on the Michelin maps.
You lucky sod to have a place there. Stayed in La Palmyre last year and loved it as did the family. However I'm pretty certain it was the USAAF not the RAF who flattened the place.

My son loved exploring the old bunkers that litter the place.
 
#16
happybonzo said:
If you are with a Campervan / Motorhome then you can make use of the Aires de Service. These cost next to nothing
http://a.ccl.free.fr/annuaire/annuaire01.htm (en français :( )
The Aires are downloadable as POI for TomTom, Garmin, Magellan, Mio and ViaMichelin

http://www.campingcar-infos.com/index1.htm available on DVD and also, if your French is good enough, downloadable as POI for TomTom etc

http://www.eurocampingcar.com/index2.php3?lg=uk&cat_id=0 Pan European guide but can be out of date

http://www.airecampingcar.com/ Another Aires guide

Maps and Route Planners

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/viamichelin/gbr/tpl/hme/MaHomePage.htm
Useful, because it is up to date for Toll charges

http://www.multimap.com/map/home.cgi

The most affordable Campsites are generally, the Municiples. Lots of towns have them. More on Municiples CLICKY

I have found that the further South you go, the better the weather becomes.[/quote]

[Anti-wah on]

I wonder why?

[Anti-wah off]
 
#17
Wow - thanks for the quick response guys, a lot of top ideas.

In answer to one question, we'll be driving so using campsites and the occasional guest house/B&B to break things up.

Thanks again.
 
#18
Debaser said:
Wow - thanks for the quick response guys, a lot of top ideas.

In answer to one question, we'll be driving so using campsites and the occasional guest house/B&B to break things up.

Thanks again.
Blatant plug for a friend's guesthouse - Les Volets Bleus
 
#19
I have found that the further South you go, the better the weather becomes.
[Anti-wah on]

I wonder why?

[Anti-wah off] [/quote]


I've never really understood that myself. i was always taught that when you came to the edge of the World you fell off :lol:
 
#20
Bailey,

There were two separate attacks on Royan, the RAF hit it on (I think) 5th January 1945 and lost about 8 aircraft, mostly attributed to mid-air collisions. The grave of one of the crews (all 8 of them in the same grave) is in St Palais cemetery (my house is not far from St Palais). Other crews are buried in Royan, Cognac and across the river in Pointe du Grave - other aircraft came down in the estuary. The septics hit the place in April and were aiming for the bunkers and gun emplacements along the coast. This raid is famous for being the first time that napalm was used.

You probably noticed the bunkers at La Grande Cote - they were originally in the dunes in the forest but years of storms and high tides have caused erosion and they now appear to be making their way to Spain!
 

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