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UK Caravanning (uk.rec.caravanning) A forum for the discussion of caravanning undertaken by residents of the United Kingdom, whether in the UK or abroad. It encourages the interchange of views on the merits of models of caravan, makes of tow car, accessories, caravan sites, caravan clubs, and other related topics. The term caravan is to include trailer vans, motor caravans and trailer tents.

Questions about France

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Old July 6th 03, 10:35 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
John Alcock
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Posts: 23
Default Questions about France

"Gilly" wrote in message

Taking the van abroad for the first time in little over 2 weeks...still got
some questions. (Actually there are dozens in my head vying for attention)

I was originally recommended the 'aires du repos' service areas as a
convenient place for an overnight stop - this was from a caravanner who's
been towing to the south of france annually for the last 15 yrs+ so I tend
to trust their judgement.

However, friends we are travelling with have been told a few horror stories
about using them overnight. We have one night that we are not yet booked
into a site and that is for our return journey from the Vendee back to
Calais. (approx 7-8hrs driving time) I originally thought about using one
of these service areas. Although not complacent I don't think many would
think our outfit particularly attractive as both car and van are over 10
years old, not true of our companions who have brand new 4x4 and 3 year old
van, they are justifiably concerned about being targets for theft.

Also, our return ferry is 1100hrs and we still haven't decided how we should
split our journey, i.e whether to try and get as near to the port as
possible for our overnight stop or still leave a couple of hours drive the
next day, bearing in mind we have another 4-5hrs drive this side of the

Would be grateful for some input from others who have made a similar journey
and perhaps could offer recommendations on possible venues for an overnight
stop We plan on using the toll roads at least for the return journey.

Please feel free to throw in any other tips - all advice appreciated - sorry
if this is a bit of a marathon post.


p.s - Have used Autoroute for my calculations so far and have believe I have
most french requirements under control.......famous last words.

Having been to france for the last 20 years i have never had a problem
and have stated so on this group many times ,
until this year at Easter, when i witnessed a suspicious group of men in
the early hours driving around the service area near to Narbonne, they
parked their car
facing the exit to the car park then made a direct line to a transit van
which was British ,ignoring dozens of caravans, they seem to have
singled out this one van ,fortunatly the driver of the van was awake and
when the doors were tried came to investigate
considering the service area was well lit and busy even though it was
about 2.00AM they were willing to take a chance ,when the driver and
myself together with a frenchman who also noticed their suspicious
challenged them they jumped in the car , that incidentally had German
plates, and went through the no entry sign and dissapeared
incidentally the frenchman was at great pains to explain they were not
french but probably eastern europeans ,i am in no way suggesting this
type of incident is common, perhaps the van was carrying goods that were
valuable i dont know as the driver never commented
crime happens everywhere, chap next door had his van broken into when on
holiday in Bournmouth , the R.AC. left me stranded at the side of the
road in the middle of france with the wife and two teenage girls for two
days we didnt have any cause for concern other than the incompetence
of the breakdown service ,infact a french couple offered assistance and
the only time that i have been robbed in france was by a British couple
who while i was touring on my own by motorcycle the woman kept me
talking the man picked up my expensive pair of sunglasses i had placed
on the tank bag
having said all of that the outcome is now i will taylor my trip to stop
at camp sites overnight just in case also having used Autoroute for many
years have found it to be very goog at working out the route but
very much out in time and distance there is another route service which
allows more variation www.mappy.fr ,i think thats the site

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