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Camping Tour of France - Suggestions and Help Please =)

highguyuk Avatar
5y, 8m agoPosted 5 years, 8 months ago
My GF and I are off on our holidays late June coming back Mid July. I always wanted to go driving into France so we're off to tour a bit of the place, camping here and there, maybe the odd Hotel if I can get it cheap enough. There will unfortunately only be me driving the journey so have to be mindful of travelling distances each day.

But ... we're not sure where to go! We want to take in as much as possible, but struggling with where to aim for. Initial plan is to travel down from Calais to Bordeaux and then back up to Calais perhaps via the coast line. So this post is just to ask for any ideas, recommendations, places to go and avoid and some general advice.

Budget is quite tight really, sure we'll be spending quite a bit on Diesel during the trip, so any money saving (Whoops, wrong site!) ideas also appreciated!

Fire away please!
highguyuk Avatar
5y, 8m agoPosted 5 years, 8 months ago
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#1
do this every year. We use eurocamp/keycamp or eurocamp independant. Their sites are usually placed next to lots of areas of interest. Maybe jus tuse their site for info purposes....

Gaste near biarritz (weather can be tricky) surfing / windsurfing
Argeles sur mer - Fishing / Beach / cycling
Sarlat - Caves
Vias - Beach
Vallon Pont d'arc - Caves/rivers
Beziers - Prefume Manufacture
Carcassone - Medievel walled Town
La Rochelle - Harbour / beach

what are you looking to do? kayacking, surfing, city breaks / wine tasting.


Edited By: manc80 on Apr 01, 2011 12:17
#2
you can avoid the toll roads and do most alt routes to the south in a simliar time (especially with aid of sat Nav)- but use the tolls around paris as this is free.

I have the tolls and petrol we used written down at home from our last 2 years trips if any use to you.

Money saving tips:
Fill up at hypermarkets eg Carrefour NOT on toll roads
Make sure you have the correct stuff in your car as they like to fine toursits eg. 2 yellow jackets, 2 hazard triangles, etc.... (some even say you should have fire extinguisher (maybe france).

Edited By: manc80 on Apr 01, 2011 12:20
#3
Anything we do won't be too sporty and athletic, we're not that kind of people. Active enough, up for a good walk etc but not a chance we'll be kayacking! I'm not sure I'd fit in one either.

I'm on my way to googling Sarlat/Vias/Vallon. I've been to La Rochelle before I will be going again.

I've done some searching and seem to have found some sort of alternative route avoiding some of the toll roads but any information you have to broaden the picture would obviously be appreciated.

Have looked into car equipment and started ordering bits and pieces. Not seen anywhere that I needed 2 Hazard Triangles though, just the one? Space bulb kit, deflectors etc.

We're basically looking to explore France and get around a lot and see places rather than stay in one area for an extended period of time. GF is a textile artist, so there'll always be one eye on the arts side of things. I love the water, sea/harbours/massive fountains/ports etc, could spend hours just watching things come and go! We'd also love to find some French "car boots" if we could if you know what I mean or open air markets, we like a good hunt about quite a few Sunday Morning in the UK.

Edited By: highguyuk on Apr 01, 2011 12:41
#4
If you don't speak any French and have never been there before then you may be better off taking Manc80's advice. But bear in mind that you pay a hefty premium for Eurocamp/Keycamp service. However, if you're confident enough, you can book direct with campsites through http://www.camping-castels.co.uk and save yourself a fair amount. I've been to several Castels sites over the years and they have all been very good. You can book either tent or caravan pitches or static mobile homes at most sites and they're all over France. The only problem is that you may have to book a full week in high season (usually mid-July onwards).

If you've got your own tent and are quite happy to have only basic facilities then there are plenty of municipal campsites which are really cheap! And in late June/early july, you probably won't need to book tehm. Have a look in your local library to see if they've got a recent(ish) French campsite guide.

As to where to go, I'd probably go to Paris for a day or two then head on down towards Lyon then West to come back up the Atlantic coast. But, it depends what you want. you might need to have a look in a few guide books.
#5
tony_s1
If you don't speak any French and have never been there before then you may be better off taking Manc80's advice. But bear in mind that you pay a hefty premium for Eurocamp/Keycamp service. However, if you're confident enough, you can book direct with campsites throughhttp://www.camping-castels.co.uk and save yourself a fair amount. I've been to several Castels sites over the years and they have all been very good. You can book either tent or caravan pitches or static mobile homes at most sites and they're all over France. The only problem is that you may have to book a full week in high season (usually mid-July onwards).

If you've got your own tent and are quite happy to have only basic facilities then there are plenty of municipal campsites which are really cheap! And in late June/early july, you probably won't need to book tehm. Have a look in your local library to see if they've got a recent(ish) French campsite guide.

As to where to go, I'd probably go to Paris for a day or two then head on down towards Lyon then West to come back up the Atlantic coast. But, it depends what you want. you might need to have a look in a few guide books.

Always willing to have a go at the local language, GF will probably do most of the talking. I was aware of Eurocamp/Keycamp and there expense, it is probably not something we'd go with as we have our own equipment. All we'd want is toilet/shower facilities mainly. The idea is to plan where we want to go, a route - and then work out where to stay along the way!

We're planning to avoid Paris as GF went earlier this year and did most of the main attractions although I haven't been. That's probably a nice weekend away at some point in the future. I'll also have the car and have been made aware that Paris is a nightmare to try and get around with a car.

I'm just a big planner, like to know what's happening and leave nothing to chance. Thought I'd gain some knowledge off the boards before launching into things as I knew plenty of people will have been and done all this before =)
#6
Driven round paris twice before. NOT recommended at all!! :)

agree if you have the kit eurocamp wil be expensive (eurcamp independant not that bad though). We just prefer to have a bit of luxury and stop in their mobiles with AC and decking, etc...! not really in the spirit of camping i know! :p
#7
I should have added that if you're intending to avoid the motorways completely then you'll be lucky to average 40 mph. Too many villages to pass slowly through and too many traffic lights and roundabouts. So you probably aren't going to want to do more than around 200 miles in a day. You could try going east to Reims then head down towards Lyon and across if you want to avoid Paris.

The Mediterranean coast is nice in parts and reasonably inexpensive as long as you stay clear of the tourist towns (Nice, Cannes etc). But it'll take 3 days of driving if you don't use the motorways. If you decide to do this it's well worth planning your route to go over Mont Ventoux, a really wonderful (though terrifying in parts) drive. The Tour de France goes over the route. I was exhausted driving the car over it, I can't begin to imagine what the cyclists must feel like.
#8
you can avoid paris on the motorway for free as there is no toll on this section. Avoiding toll roads (not all motorways) will take you around 12-14hours to reach the south coast. We usually do that in one stint and then take our time on the way back.

Remember also that what you lose paying tolls you may end up paying for in petrol economy / distance / or getting lost!
#9
I'd have been more tempted to take the scenic routes if there wasn't just me driving. As it's only me and I'll need to watch the miles I do, they'll be a fair split between tolls/scenic routes so that we can get to where we want to go without me being knackered for all the holiday!

For anyone who stumbles across this thread at a later date ... about-france.com and viamichelin.com seem good sites for route planning.
#10
Collioure down on the Spanish border. Cap d'adge (very touristy) and Agde old town

manc80
do this every year. We use eurocamp/keycamp or eurocamp independant. Their sites are usually placed next to lots of areas of interest. Maybe jus tuse their site for info purposes....

Gaste near biarritz (weather can be tricky) surfing / windsurfing
Argeles sur mer - Fishing / Beach / cycling
Sarlat - Caves
Vias - Beach
Vallon Pont d'arc - Caves/rivers
Beziers - Prefume Manufacture
Carcassone - Medievel walled Town
La Rochelle - Harbour / beach

what are you looking to do? kayacking, surfing, city breaks / wine tasting.



Used to work in vias for canvas holidays. Whole of that coast is fantastic IMO and is my retirement dream. Prefer it to the cote d'azur, weather as good but much less crowded.

Brittany is beautiful and you could spend weeks just exploring there but weather can be hit and miss, although my first season was worked there and June was glorious.

Edited By: stewby on Apr 01, 2011 14:04: Cos I can
#11
Something I've just found and need to be aware of - Tour De France starts whilst we are there. Would like to go and see a stage, but also avoid the Tour Travellers.
#12
highguyuk
Something I've just found and need to be aware of - Tour De France starts whilst we are there. Would like to go and see a stage, but also avoid the Tour Travellers.


Cool, I always go end of July and miss the tour. Would love to see a stage. I would get a route ap for this years tour and you can then plan from there
banned#13
Why waste your life in France it's a **** smelly country, go East of France and experience so much more! plus you don't have to pay for the toll roads, which will rape your budget.
#14
Remember it's full of French people.
#15
for the carboot sales, look up the broquants, and depovants, (can't for the life of me remember which is the carboot, and which is the type of shop, lol.
My parents have kitted out their new house in french antiques, and go to Normandy twice a year.

we have found that lidl and super u are the cheapest supermarkets over there, especially the wine, which is cheaper in lidl than most of the hypermarkets,

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