French driving holiday recommendations.

Discussion in 'Travel' started by Ord_Sgt, Nov 5, 2010.

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  1. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    I'm just back from a great few days driving around western France. I've not spent much time there before outside of Paris and battlefield tours.

    I enjoyed it so much I'd like to see more so am hoping for some recommendations for other places to visit, good food and wine places and any cultural or historic trips.

    In your own time carry on.
  2. UK Campsites can be useful for ideas. The posts can be a bit twee though

    If you're Motorhoming then France has got to be one of the best countries in Euroland. Our web-footed chums have a system called "Aires" and these are stop-overs for Motorhomes; have a look at camping-car : The best European guide to motorhome sanistations at least this one's in God's own language.
    There are others ie CAMPINGCAR-INFOS is reckoned to be one of the best.

    There also campsites termed Municiples. These are sites run for the benefit of a village or town. They're usually well priced. Unfortunately, in recent years a lot of them have been sold off to the private sector
  3. The Charente coast is beautiful and miles of empty beaches. Cognac of course is a must and some pinueu de Charente makes the day drift by.
  4. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    If you play it right with a motor caravan you can stay in the "Aires de service" which are normally free for about two or three nights and then go on to another,its a great cheap way to have a brilliant holiday, I normally don't bother making plans just go with the flow, the joys of campervan ownership
  5. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Not an owner of a motor home or a big fan of camping to be honest, but thanks for the pointers.

    Just ideas of great areas to visit would be welcome, thanks jarrod, anything particularly in the Charente area I should be on the lookout for? Cognac is top of the list for next spring. :)
  6. Some good scenery in the Lozère (Cévennes) but you need a head for hights, lots of up and down twisting small roads. R L Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey is set there. The Ardèche is nice too. Both are good for kayaking/canoeing. Southern central France is still relatively off the beaten tourist track.
  7. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    Dosen't Jarrod call his shed on wheels MK" Poppy"
  8. Here's another useful link for gen on the various regions of France France family holidays and the best tourist attractions From my own experiences, I would have to say that Normandy always seems to be wet. The further South that you go, the better the weather.
    The months to avoid seem to be mid July to the end of August. The prices are higher then as most of France seems to be on holiday.

  9. I haven't driven in France before, I am thinking of just taking the car and a tent, only going in hotel or Campsite when I need a clean up, planning to travel as cheaply as possble to have more spare money to spend.

    Are they ok with you are there any particularly bad attitude toward British ? do you get hassled ?
    Do Aires de Service allow you to pitch a tent up ? as you say its free, no membership required ?
    Do MOD 90s get you any freebies etc in France.

    I am also thinking of driving round Europe taking advantage of the Shengen border system, further advice about this would be useful thanks
  10. Ord sgt I'd put la rochelle on your list and Bordeaux. If you like oysters loads of places at the side of the road on the coast. Miles of empty roads stress free driving. Just get a map and head up the coast better than the south and cheaper.
  11. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    bin there done that, cooking mussels in a bucket,barbying fresh fish, eating oysters only minutes old and parked on the beach drinking realy good wine that cost pennies for a f@ck off big jerry can full,

    Oh and you can hire a Motorhome for about £50 a day, with all the toys already installed, my mate got one it even had an X Box and a WI thingy
  12. Once you hire one you buy or make one. We hired one in Canada. Can't think of a better way to get around you have all your familiar things and can come and go as you please. I'm thinking of replacing the car with one of the imported vw campers just for weekends.
  13. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    Since I've had this sight problem it's really screwed up my social life, going away for a few months every summer and then every weekend in the winter with the Motor Caravan club was my idea of heaven, some of the locations they got us into were amazing, race courses meetings, RIAT,the Grand Prix,world Rally championships, Le Mans ect and all for normally less than a tenner a night.bloody brilliant
  14. Ord_Sgt, get yourself a copy of the Michelin Green Guide for France - the general one covering the whole country, rather than the regional ones, at least to begin with. They're packed with useful info and maps, including one showing 'touring programmes', with various great driving routes, 'places to stay' (though not individual hotels etc.) and other must-sees. You can pick one up second-hand for three or four quid total from Amazon, AbeBooks or eBay; it doesn't matter if they're a few years old, as the subject-matter doesn't change much, if at all. Once you find a favourite part of France it's worth buying the regional guide as well. I've used them for years in every country of Europe I ever visit, and I've never been disappointed. Highly recommended.
  15. Try the main truck route through southern Belgium/ northern France and Luxembourg out to Strasbourg: along the way there are, among other things, V2 launch site, space museum, river canoeing (including a bit through caves), the Champagne region, great roadside cafes and truckstops, US/German memorials and cemeteries around Bastogne etc.

    Strasbourg itself is interesting, but hot in summer, and a stroll across the bridge and you're in Germany. Head south towards Switzerland then turn west through the Vosges mountains.

    Miles of nearly empty A roads (stay off the toll roads, expensive), lovely countryside and the natives are friendly. Most can't or won't speak English, but a bit of French will keep you fed and watered, and around Strasbourg/Luxembourg most of them speak German too.

    Do watch your speed near Calais, as les Flics WILL impound your car on the spot if you can't pay their on-the-spot fine. Take your time, mooch off onto side roads, and relax and enjoy.