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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERBODY!

OK so this year me and my girlfriend are planning to take Bluey to France for 2 to 3 weeks. Being islanders we are going from Portsmouth to Le Harve. We need to incorporate a few days in Paris and thats our plan so far:confused:.

So we need help from you intreped explorers. Searching for campsites in France keeps bringing up lots of Butlins style campsites YUK!

We like walking, visiting historical sites, stunning scenery, out of the way driving, Cheese, Wine, farms etc and her in doors insists on hot showers and clean facilities. OK so where do we go? thinking West Coast.

Let me know your recommendations, campsites and places to visit. If I get enough I promise I will document our journey in a thread that might help others also.

Thank you so much in advance. T:

Matt, Hayley and Bluey
 

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http://www.camping-guyonniere.com/index.html

Recommend this place as a great place to stay in a spot that is ideal as a base for touring the area also. Very friendly owners and staff.

Just to the west of here about 15 mins drive is a place called st gilles croix de vie, one of my favourite places in France.
 

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Hello when we first visited France we got off the ferry with no plans and drove to the nearest beach as it was dark at night, we parked up and slept awoke and had breakfast, stuck a pin the map (well sort of) and went. You will soon get used to parking where you like, FREE with no (NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING ) signs anywere, nearly all villages and towns have (air de camping car) sites which are normally in a lovely place and free although not a lot in the way of facillaties Electric hook up,water and waste. You can go to large posh camps and use there showers for a small charge.We came to France 4 times on road trips and now we live here full time. Nearly every place has somthing of interest like walks etc ( I dont mean touristy places like Mount st micheal. YUK YUK ). Our local town Lassay Les Chateaux is pleasant with a few bars and shops and a chateaux to walk around and the larger town of Mayenne also has plenty to see and explore. JUST GET OVER HERE AND DO IT (whatever IT is) Bon Voyage

Alan
 

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If you fancy going as far as Brittany I can recommend Carnac, Trinite and the Quiberon peninsula.

Some amazing scenery and great coastal (and inland) walks. Also plenty of historical sites going back over 6,000 years to more modern such as French revolution and the Resistance, e.g. Battle of Marcel which was pivotal in securing the D Day Landings.

Also, great beaches and excellent sea food.

We stay at Camping Le Men Du. A very friendly family owned and operated site, close to the beach.

http://www.camping-mendu.fr/uk_default.php

Warm showers and very clean.

Electricity hook-up available on most pitches.

http://www.ot-carnac.fr/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnac_stones

http://www.brittanytourism.com/


Oh, forgot to add, plenty of pics of the area on my website - www.getliff.net. Don't miss the Oyster Festival at Locmariarquer if you make it that late in the year.

Adam
 

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I lived there for a year and came back in April, I have also been touring over there by motorcycle more times than I can remember, so I guess I learned quite a bit in the process.

What many people do not realise is that Europe is geared up for motorhomes. Almost every village has an 'Aire'. These are free motorhome rest sites, usually located near the centre of the village. The idea is that you can stop off there overnight and that you will bring money to the local economy by stocking up with fuel and food, eating out etc. There is no need to if you don't want to though.

Some Aire's have portaloo's, and all have waste disposal facilities. The general rule is that only self contained motorhomes can use them (eg built in shower and loo) but I wouldn't worry about that. France is a free country, and there are no 'officials' checking on anything, except making sure that the Romanies don't set up camp.

You will also find campsites all over the place, and they are often very scenic, plenty of space, and very well equipped with every facility you will ever need.

The only thing to look out for are the mains hook ups, you may need a converter lead. France is a big country so be prepared for journey times, the roads are exceptional, and little traffic, but the distances are a lot bigger than they look on a map. Leave plenty of time for catching ferries etc. No matter what speed you do you will only ever average 50mph ( I know this from biking, even cruising at 100-120mph, the average speed is still only 50mph...it's true!).

Remember that you are sat on the wrong side of the van. This means that overtaking on 2 way roads is a problem, though if you use the dual carriageways its much easier. You will get a much better view ahead if you hang back from the vehicle in front, so plan ahead. Also, the French do not hang about, and the golden rules are:

If you see a motorcycle, pull to the right and let it past, even in traffic. They are the absolute kings of the road in Europe, and everyone gives them a free reign. They acknowledge your kindness by sticking their foot out, they are NOT trying to kick your car/van.

Do not move out of the inside lane unless you are overtaking, and pull back in as soon as you have. The law in France is that you keep your indicator on for the full duration of your overtake, and then signal that you are pulling back in. Be wary that in France cars will cruise at 100mph and close in on you at a rapid pace, they will sit on your bumper until you move back in.

It's a fantastic country, and the scenery is breathtaking, I am taking the van over in September and doing France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and maybe Austria/Italy too, I love it over there. A:

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
http://www.camping-guyonniere.com/index.html

Recommend this place as a great place to stay in a spot that is ideal as a base for touring the area also. Very friendly owners and staff.

Just to the west of here about 15 mins drive is a place called st gilles croix de vie, one of my favourite places in France.

Thank you ipod bob, i have checked this out. Its funny everybody has suggested the same areas, these are the areas I was actually going to avoid in favour of going further down the country. But this looks great. :ILU:

Thanks agian
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I lived there for a year and came back in April, I have also been touring over there by motorcycle more times than I can remember, so I guess I learned quite a bit in the process.

What many people do not realise is that Europe is geared up for motorhomes. Almost every village has an 'Aire'. These are free motorhome rest sites, usually located near the centre of the village. The idea is that you can stop off there overnight and that you will bring money to the local economy by stocking up with fuel and food, eating out etc. There is no need to if you don't want to though.

Some Aire's have portaloo's, and all have waste disposal facilities. The general rule is that only self contained motorhomes can use them (eg built in shower and loo) but I wouldn't worry about that. France is a free country, and there are no 'officials' checking on anything, except making sure that the Romanies don't set up camp.

You will also find campsites all over the place, and they are often very scenic, plenty of space, and very well equipped with every facility you will ever need.

The only thing to look out for are the mains hook ups, you may need a converter lead. France is a big country so be prepared for journey times, the roads are exceptional, and little traffic, but the distances are a lot bigger than they look on a map. Leave plenty of time for catching ferries etc. No matter what speed you do you will only ever average 50mph ( I know this from biking, even cruising at 100-120mph, the average speed is still only 50mph...it's true!).

Remember that you are sat on the wrong side of the van. This means that overtaking on 2 way roads is a problem, though if you use the dual carriageways its much easier. You will get a much better view ahead if you hang back from the vehicle in front, so plan ahead. Also, the French do not hang about, and the golden rules are:

If you see a motorcycle, pull to the right and let it past, even in traffic. They are the absolute kings of the road in Europe, and everyone gives them a free reign. They acknowledge your kindness by sticking their foot out, they are NOT trying to kick your car/van.

Do not move out of the inside lane unless you are overtaking, and pull back in as soon as you have. The law in France is that you keep your indicator on for the full duration of your overtake, and then signal that you are pulling back in. Be wary that in France cars will cruise at 100mph and close in on you at a rapid pace, they will sit on your bumper until you move back in.

It's a fantastic country, and the scenery is breathtaking, I am taking the van over in September and doing France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and maybe Austria/Italy too, I love it over there. A:

Rob
Cheers Rob these tips are very useful, we have started planning and its getting very exciting. I am not sure if the other half will like the Aires idea but suits me perfect, It is good to know that we have that backup and that we dont really have to book every stop. I like the idea of just sticking the pin in the map.

Thanks Rob A:A:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello when we first visited France we got off the ferry with no plans and drove to the nearest beach as it was dark at night, we parked up and slept awoke and had breakfast, stuck a pin the map (well sort of) and went. You will soon get used to parking where you like, FREE with no (NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING ) signs anywere, nearly all villages and towns have (air de camping car) sites which are normally in a lovely place and free although not a lot in the way of facillaties Electric hook up,water and waste. You can go to large posh camps and use there showers for a small charge.We came to France 4 times on road trips and now we live here full time. Nearly every place has somthing of interest like walks etc ( I dont mean touristy places like Mount st micheal. YUK YUK ). Our local town Lassay Les Chateaux is pleasant with a few bars and shops and a chateaux to walk around and the larger town of Mayenne also has plenty to see and explore. JUST GET OVER HERE AND DO IT (whatever IT is) Bon Voyage

Alan
Alan this plan sounds awesome, waking up on a beach and having Breakfast not really having a care.

On that note what are peoples views on wild camping? Is it safe? I hear lots of stories of gassing etc and one guy recently had his pop top slashed open and his kids were up top :eek::eek::eek:

We want to take in everything that France has to offer while at the same time having accomodation booked. We are happy to have a different campsite etc every night if we have to, its just making sure we dont miss anything :*

Thanks again Alan for your help T:T:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you fancy going as far as Brittany I can recommend Carnac, Trinite and the Quiberon peninsula.

Some amazing scenery and great coastal (and inland) walks. Also plenty of historical sites going back over 6,000 years to more modern such as French revolution and the Resistance, e.g. Battle of Marcel which was pivotal in securing the D Day Landings.

Also, great beaches and excellent sea food.

We stay at Camping Le Men Du. A very friendly family owned and operated site, close to the beach.

http://www.camping-mendu.fr/uk_default.php

Warm showers and very clean.

Electricity hook-up available on most pitches.

http://www.ot-carnac.fr/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnac_stones

http://www.brittanytourism.com/


Oh, forgot to add, plenty of pics of the area on my website - www.getliff.net. Don't miss the Oyster Festival at Locmariarquer if you make it that late in the year.

Adam

Hi Adam

Thank you for your reply. We are happy to venture anywhere at the moment we have about 3 weeks. I will have a look at these places in greater detail and feed back. Your website is spot on so will have a nose if you dont mind.

Thanks again A:A:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for the feedback so far. It is a real help. Sorry I cant reply with such detail but I really do appreciate it T:T:

OK 2 places that have cropped up after talking with friends:

St Emilion - apparently the wine is stunning
Loire Valley Area - to touristy??


Any thoughts?

Thanks again A:
 

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Pretty much anywhere you go in France you'll encounter tourists. It's a stunning country full of attractions from the geographical to the gastronomic and loads more. Once you get there you'll just blend in and feel at home.
 

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Loire valley is lovely and you will like it.

I have very fond memories of stopping off at small vineyards and sampling their wares.

There are many great wine regions which are very different. I don't think it's too touristy, although I think it is not as laid back as it was. It is possible it'll be more touristy - I've not been back for a few years - but even so it's not quite kiss me quick hats and candy floss :)
 

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Hi

We took our T25 over to France for the 1st time in 2010 for 2 weeks and only booked one night for our arrival

Our plan was to look at the map during the morning cuppa, set off by 10 and only drive through till mid afternoon and settle for the rest of the day to explore / chill as appropriate

We used a combination of http://www.france-passion.co.uk/ , aires and municiple sites on spec and only got turned away from one because it was full (we always had a contingency site planned and ended up at a better location where we stayed for 2 night

Two of the vineyards we stayed at were poles apart with one being a field next to the grape vines beside a Chataeux with use of the tourist toilet facilities and the other was on the edge of a village in an old orchard with an outside loo nailed to a barn!

It was a great holiday and we hope to get back to France this year

Hope this helps

Mr B
 

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Has anyone sailed from portsmouth to St Malo, and toured around that area thinking of doing that in the summer for a week, really like the idea of wild camping though.
 

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Has anyone sailed from portsmouth to St Malo, and toured around that area thinking of doing that in the summer for a week, really like the idea of wild camping though.
Its a stunning part of the world, crossing is long but actually good if you take the night boat. There is plenty to do and see Caranac has already been mentioned i think, there is also Dinan close by which is lovely as is the granite rose coast, which is actually one of the premier holiday destinations for the French ( stunning beaches and seaside towns with plenty of amazing seafood eataries, ranging from cheap as chips through to pretty posh.

There are also the markets which are a great day out if your into great food and local produce. Mmmmmmmmm

A great reference for campsites throughout france is cool camping france.

Enjoy
 

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Europe is so different than the UK, here you have to book everywhere and sooooo far in advance, in Europe i dont think anybody books!, you just roll in and they point out a pitch, some sites you cant even find any officials depending on when you arrive, especially the municipals, people just park up and the next day the owner / warden comes around to meet and greet and guage how long you are staying an take some money off you, completely different attitude so really no need to plan / book, if you are unlucky enough to find a full site there are so many sites you just go a few miles down the road to the next one, and thats all part of the experience, the freedom, the lack of planning
 

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I don’t like the longer crossings, as they are normally expensive
It means a bit of extra driving, but is not always cost effective
Fuel plus tolls against the extra cost of a longer crossing??
Well that just me being tight fisted I suppose
Cheap crossing Dover Calais and off you go

The road network is fantastic if a little expensive with the tolls
But you don’t have to use the motorways; the route nationals are a bit slower and go through the middle of many towns and offer lots of scope for getting your dinner on the way
Shops cafes ETC

Also as has been said above the municipal sites are plentiful and normally cheep and well placed near the town
The showers are not always served with very hot water??? But it is OK sometimes the amps on the sites are rather low and if you plug in too many things you can trip the fuse LOL
The toilets and washing up facilities are normally very good

Most have the euro 3 pin hook up points, but I have found a couple with French type plugs so a couple of different adaptors is a good idea Euro 3 pin A euro to British 3 pin plug and a British to French adaptor is the cheapest coz you can use the brit 3 pin when at home

I would recommend you get a good idea where you intend to go, and then get a red Michelin tourist map I get mine from WHS
These maps show the region in great detail and have loads of items of interest VERY USEFULL

As to places of interest, ???? Blimey there is normally a place of interest round near on every corner

I would also say it depends on the time of year you intend to go High season you will have problems in finding space on many camp sites
Out side of the school hols (that’s when I go) many of the sites are virtually empty

Food
Look for the truck stops on the route nationals as the food is normally very good a fairly cheap But often the menu is limited sometimes only one choice!!! The dish of the day!!!

I realise this place is poss. a bit further than you may wish to go. BUT It is one of the most awesome places I have been to

http://www.gouffre-de-padirac.com/

Just one of the thousands of interesting places to put on the list of places to go to one day

Ps take time to look into the safety items required by French law Hi Vis coat, spare light bulbs first aid kit ETC ETC Full list can be downloaded via the AA or RAC web sites
E111 national insurance card
But have fun whilst your there and you will likely be like me and want to go back time and again

P.S If it is your first time in Europe remember BUM IN THE GUTTER

I have seen many crashes involving Brit cars that forget that they need to drive on the wrong side of the road????

Leave a post it note on your dash as a reminder
 
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