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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.

Looking to go to France



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 08:40 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Mike R
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 36
Default Looking to go to France

Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our van.
I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or what to
look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it would be
better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french trippers!

Thanks in advance

Mike


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 08:56 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
David
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,622
Default Looking to go to France


"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our
van. I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or
what to look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it
would be better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french
trippers!

Many years since we went, had a great time enjoy yourselt. We went right
down south seemed a long way but took 2 or 3 days over it.
Toilet blocks often not seperate men and women.
French toilets are very strange.
We were a party of 50 units for 3 to 4 weeks and the site owner had
converted one toilet to English type for us, we could not get near it for
the French queing to use it!

--
Regards,
David

Please reply to News Group


  #3 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 08:56 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
David
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,622
Default Looking to go to France


"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our
van. I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or
what to look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it
would be better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french
trippers!

Many years since we went, had a great time enjoy yourselt. We went right
down south seemed a long way but took 2 or 3 days over it.
Toilet blocks often not seperate men and women.
French toilets are very strange.
We were a party of 50 units for 3 to 4 weeks and the site owner had
converted one toilet to English type for us, we could not get near it for
the French queing to use it!

--
Regards,
David

Please reply to News Group


  #4 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 10:37 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
David Klyne
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 406
Default Looking to go to France





"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our

van.
I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or what to
look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it would be
better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french trippers!

Thanks in advance

Mike

I suppose the advice would be not to be too ambitious on your first trip
just to give the opportunity to get used to things. Generally the North and
North Western France is not as busy traffice wise as further south. Mind you
some people do bite the bullet and go much further but as David has said its
2 or 3 days each way out of your holiday. If you belong to either of the
Clubs they can put a package together for you and they are generally best
ferry deals. Driving in France often seems easier than in the UK as outside
of towns the traffic densities are much less. Obviously this newsgroup is a
good source of info but you may find it beneficial to join a couple of web
forums. Two I would recommend are
http://www.touringandtenting.com/forums/index.php
http://www.caravantalk.org.uk/forums

You are welcome to have a look at my website which might give you a flavour
of what to expect.

David - Milton Keynes
www.caravantravels.co.uk
Site Reports and Stories of our Travels in the UK and Europe



  #5 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 10:37 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
David Klyne
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 406
Default Looking to go to France





"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our

van.
I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or what to
look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it would be
better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french trippers!

Thanks in advance

Mike

I suppose the advice would be not to be too ambitious on your first trip
just to give the opportunity to get used to things. Generally the North and
North Western France is not as busy traffice wise as further south. Mind you
some people do bite the bullet and go much further but as David has said its
2 or 3 days each way out of your holiday. If you belong to either of the
Clubs they can put a package together for you and they are generally best
ferry deals. Driving in France often seems easier than in the UK as outside
of towns the traffic densities are much less. Obviously this newsgroup is a
good source of info but you may find it beneficial to join a couple of web
forums. Two I would recommend are
http://www.touringandtenting.com/forums/index.php
http://www.caravantalk.org.uk/forums

You are welcome to have a look at my website which might give you a flavour
of what to expect.

David - Milton Keynes
www.caravantravels.co.uk
Site Reports and Stories of our Travels in the UK and Europe



  #6 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 11:11 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Terry Jones
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4
Default Looking to go to France

sorry forgot to send it to news group
"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our

van.
I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or what to
look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it would be
better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french trippers!

Thanks in advance

Mike




  #7 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 11:11 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Terry Jones
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4
Default Looking to go to France

sorry forgot to send it to news group
"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our

van.
I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or what to
look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it would be
better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french trippers!

Thanks in advance

Mike




  #8 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 11:11 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Lee_D
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 165
Default Looking to go to France

"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our
van. I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or
what to look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it
would be better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french
trippers!

Thanks in advance

Mike


Mike last year was our first year too.. just got back from our second trip.
Each trip was around 17 days and booked via the caravan club using all there
brouchure sites.

First year we went via Portsmouth to Le Harve and returned Cherbourg to
Portsmouth. Crossing to Le Harve was a cock up on my behalf as at the time I
booked I had no French Map and though the port was closest to the first
site. On realising my error the Caravan club managed to juggle our return
crossing. We did Five sites... Domain du Logis (28 miles south of St Malo
port), Camping Du Jard (never again-- far to comoercial for us!), La
Chenarie (Bayonne), Some site I forget the name of near to Futurescope
Poitiers and finally Le grand Large near to Cherbourg. Basic we drove all
the way down to the Spanish border on the West Coast and back up the middle.
Around 1500 miles or so.

On that trip which was my first abroad I learnt to pay attention to ports
and Autoroute / Motorway access to sites.

I worked my self into a lather over using toll roads before I went due to my
limited French. Absolute doddle! Pick up your ticket at the first booth,
pass it back at the second with your visa card and off you go. Only other
thing to pay attention to is any height barriers across any lanes and any
automatic lanes (you'll soon get the idea!).

I found 200 to 250 miles each day was enough. One day we did 340 miles with
the nippers in the back... never again!

This year we did 3 days Domain Du Logis (inland nice site , second visit,
got the same pitch! visiting distance of Mont St. Michel), 7 Nites at a
club site near Royan (I'll now doubt remember the name when I click send!),
excellent beach access from a short drive - 2 miles. And Finally 7 Nights at
Pavillion Royal in Bidart, cracking site but you need to book early to avoid
disappointment and to plan your stay around the return crossings from
Santander unless you trek back again, Site has access to a beach and the
waves are surfing type. We had a Dolphin coasting the beach on one day.
Stunning! It's also close to Spain for a visit to St Sabastian (25 miles)
and very near Biaritz a cracking Town which is very clean and very Movie
star stylie from our observations.

First year cost 950 via the Caravan club, this year cost 1550 again via
the club. Bearing in mind the crossing from Santander and hike in Ferry
prices generally I felt this was good value for 17 nights. Britanny do tend
to squeeze the cars and vans in alot tighter than P & O or maybe thats just
my experience anyway.

The return crossing from Santander was very good with excellent Cabins and
massive port hole windows. Swimming Pools and Cinemas etc. We do the
crossing that go overnight as these minimise disruption to your travel and
actually treat them as part of the Holiday.

Only other thing I'd recommend is Red Pennant Travel insurance and break
down cover. We Broke down 38 miles short of Bidart this year. Got recovered
and Caravan club Red Pennant sorted everything. Covered all payments at the
Landrover main dealer, aranged hire cars, and really saved the holiday.
Seems expensive when you book it but I've just had more than my monies
worth. I also have what I considered prior to this trip to be a really
reliable car.

Don't be put off touring. I had never driven abroad before and never been
abroad before my first trip.


Just get plenty of maps and if possible a GPS mapping system (we got a
medion 260 - takes all the hassel out of the trip!). Plan your route well
and then ejoy the sun. Once we got to Royan and further South in 14 Days we
saw rain twice, other than that it was 28 to 33 C.

Go for it!

Lee D
--

www.lrproject.com

Workshop photos from Landrover repairs
& other such tinkerings.
Home of Percy the Jag powered Landrover


  #9 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 11:11 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Lee_D
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 165
Default Looking to go to France

"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our
van. I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or
what to look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it
would be better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french
trippers!

Thanks in advance

Mike


Mike last year was our first year too.. just got back from our second trip.
Each trip was around 17 days and booked via the caravan club using all there
brouchure sites.

First year we went via Portsmouth to Le Harve and returned Cherbourg to
Portsmouth. Crossing to Le Harve was a cock up on my behalf as at the time I
booked I had no French Map and though the port was closest to the first
site. On realising my error the Caravan club managed to juggle our return
crossing. We did Five sites... Domain du Logis (28 miles south of St Malo
port), Camping Du Jard (never again-- far to comoercial for us!), La
Chenarie (Bayonne), Some site I forget the name of near to Futurescope
Poitiers and finally Le grand Large near to Cherbourg. Basic we drove all
the way down to the Spanish border on the West Coast and back up the middle.
Around 1500 miles or so.

On that trip which was my first abroad I learnt to pay attention to ports
and Autoroute / Motorway access to sites.

I worked my self into a lather over using toll roads before I went due to my
limited French. Absolute doddle! Pick up your ticket at the first booth,
pass it back at the second with your visa card and off you go. Only other
thing to pay attention to is any height barriers across any lanes and any
automatic lanes (you'll soon get the idea!).

I found 200 to 250 miles each day was enough. One day we did 340 miles with
the nippers in the back... never again!

This year we did 3 days Domain Du Logis (inland nice site , second visit,
got the same pitch! visiting distance of Mont St. Michel), 7 Nites at a
club site near Royan (I'll now doubt remember the name when I click send!),
excellent beach access from a short drive - 2 miles. And Finally 7 Nights at
Pavillion Royal in Bidart, cracking site but you need to book early to avoid
disappointment and to plan your stay around the return crossings from
Santander unless you trek back again, Site has access to a beach and the
waves are surfing type. We had a Dolphin coasting the beach on one day.
Stunning! It's also close to Spain for a visit to St Sabastian (25 miles)
and very near Biaritz a cracking Town which is very clean and very Movie
star stylie from our observations.

First year cost 950 via the Caravan club, this year cost 1550 again via
the club. Bearing in mind the crossing from Santander and hike in Ferry
prices generally I felt this was good value for 17 nights. Britanny do tend
to squeeze the cars and vans in alot tighter than P & O or maybe thats just
my experience anyway.

The return crossing from Santander was very good with excellent Cabins and
massive port hole windows. Swimming Pools and Cinemas etc. We do the
crossing that go overnight as these minimise disruption to your travel and
actually treat them as part of the Holiday.

Only other thing I'd recommend is Red Pennant Travel insurance and break
down cover. We Broke down 38 miles short of Bidart this year. Got recovered
and Caravan club Red Pennant sorted everything. Covered all payments at the
Landrover main dealer, aranged hire cars, and really saved the holiday.
Seems expensive when you book it but I've just had more than my monies
worth. I also have what I considered prior to this trip to be a really
reliable car.

Don't be put off touring. I had never driven abroad before and never been
abroad before my first trip.


Just get plenty of maps and if possible a GPS mapping system (we got a
medion 260 - takes all the hassel out of the trip!). Plan your route well
and then ejoy the sun. Once we got to Royan and further South in 14 Days we
saw rain twice, other than that it was 28 to 33 C.

Go for it!

Lee D
--

www.lrproject.com

Workshop photos from Landrover repairs
& other such tinkerings.
Home of Percy the Jag powered Landrover


  #10 (permalink)  
Old August 14th 05, 04:31 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Dave Dew
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 218
Default Looking to go to France


"Mike R" wrote in message
...
Hi All,

We are looking to go to France next August for the first time with our

van.
I have no idea what to expect on French sites, ferry crossings or what to
look for or avoid. Whilst I can "google" for hours, I though it would be
better to ask and get proper advice from the experience french trippers!

Thanks in advance

Mike



Mike,

We have been travelling up and down France on foot, with bicycles, small
tents, a frame tent (terrible), and then caravan (wonderful), every year
since 1980. A lot of nonsense is heard in England about the French but we
have never met with anything but kindness and hospitality and our Xmas car
list to France gets longer every year. We have been invited into homes for
meals and have been offered places on farm and land to park our caravan. We
have never taken up the offer of free camping as we do not wish to impose.
You have already had some good advice from some of the other subscribers
here but if you want my bit then here goes.
First of all if you do not speak French, before next August try and learn a
bit. A ten week holiday French course would do. In rural France most people
do not speak English. Even if they do, they are naturally shy or nervous as
we are when trying a foreign language. Being as you are in France they tend
to expect you to make the effort and I agree. They are formally more polite
than us so say 'Bonjour' to everybody. Learn to say 'merci' and 's'il vous
plait'. We just use a simple phrase book with phonetic pronunciation.
We have camped in France in every month of the year from April to October
and in twenty five years have never prebooked. If you have children then I
think it would be better if you booked through the Caravan Club. We use the
Caravan Club book 'Caravan Europe Volume 1' and the Michelin 'Camping
Caravanning France' and just turn up at the site of our choice. When we
book-in I indicate only roughly how long we shall be staying and this is
always accepted. This is probably not possible at large beach sites in
August. Another big difference is that French camp sites are like French
bars. You pay when you leave and not on arrival. Very civilised.
I do not know what else to say but if there are any specifics that are
worrying you then you only have to ask this NG.
All being well, after a hospital visit on the 26th inst., we shall be off to
France. First stop probably Penestin in southern Brittany. I know a site
there that is right alongside a rocky beach and I want to try out a couple
of prawn traps I bought on Ebay last month. Then we shall move near
Bordeaux for a few days and finish up around Grau d'Agde on the Med. On the
other hand we could end up anywhere.

Regards.

Dave

 



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