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  1. I'm thinking through a sailing trip to France and interested in wisdom and suggestions from the forum. Plan A - is to drive the caravan, probably mid-wayish down the west coast and book a site near a decent sailing school (with a selection of well-maintained boats for hire!). Plan B - could be to buy a light single-handed dinghy to roof-top and launch/use. I'm over 6' so Toppers are too small for me, a Laser at 60kg is possible to lift up onto a roofrack, but I seem to get a bit of Laser-knee these days when hiking, or an RS Aero - an amazing 30kg hull but a bit pricier and I haven't tried one out ....yet. Plan C - stick my old windsurfer on the roof and keep it simple. Plan D - keep it even simpler and book into a kite-surfing school and forget sailing! It would be great if the site was walking distance of a beach/estuary and the sailing area sheltered enough not to be too concerned about losing sailing days if the surf gets up! What have you done yourselves and what suggestions do you have for me please!
  2. Morning folks, On from a thread I started back in the beginning of the year where in my naivety, I aimed to traverse the whole of France in a day, much to the horror of seasoned caravaners! I have now adjusted the itinerary accordingly and we have booked our ferry crossings over to Caan, overnighting to land early hours on the Sunday. We are planning to drive down to the Dordogne region for a week, then head up to a site just outside of Puy du Fou where we'll spend 3 nights before heading back upto Caan for our return crossing. I appreciate the time frames are still a lot shorter than most would take, but thats all we have available this year. We're after a site with good access to a river or lake where we can take the kids out canoeing and just enjoy the area, no need for entertainments or waterparks. The children have never experienced fresh water swimming and I'm keen to have that as the focus for this break. Does anyone have any personal recommendations? Thanks. Benn
  3. Hi, I've heard that's its possible to site a touring caravan in france/spain. I am thinking of this. we have 2 small dogs. we enjoy walking mainly also mountain and road biking. I am wondering what the options are that many of you may have experience of..... locations, price, towing the van, travel time, do you fly there or drive. any advice would be great . regards rob
  4. Hi All, It's been a while!! After caravaning in France since 1985 and promising ourselves we will one day do the D-Day Beaches for the last 20 years.. we've finally decided to bite the bullet!! We are planning to be outbound the last week of April or the first week of May 2020. We've been told that Arromanches is a good base for what we plan to be a week in the area. We've driven past the church at St Mere Eglise numerous times... but we're looking for recommendations for Campsites in the area near Arromanches. Thanks in anticipation. G.
  5. It has been our routine for quite a few years now to book the tunnel to Calais and a few weeks later to book to return. In between, we wander around to virtually empty campsites grateful for our patronage. Not this year. All the sites we have visited have been full - and the site we are currently on in St Raphael is turning people away! Nobody is quite sure what is happening. One theory is that the weather over much of France is poor, squeezing everyone into the same few areas. Another is that there must be some sort of German holiday as there are a large number of Germans around. Has anyone else noticed? We'll be leaving our current site tomorrow as we have been upset by the staff there (PS: if you want to be thought of as a 5 star campsite you have to have SOME idea of customer service).
  6. So we're off to France (Le Grand Bornand) skiing in February this year. Pulling a twin axle Sprite Quattro Fb with a Kia Sorrento. Do I need to get winter tyres or not? Part of me thinks I won't need them for more than 9 tenths of the journey. Are they worth it? And what happens when I come home, do I need to take them off again. ?
  7. Is it possible to access UK TV with a satellite dish in Brittany, northern France?
  8. I know that in France it's important to remember that flashing headlights mean "I'm coming through" as opposed to "My dear chap would you care to go first?" In this country it's good manners to flash thanks at someone who has let you through a gap, if it's too dark to wave. Does a good mannered French driver - there have to be some - or UK driver in France, simply not give any acknowledgement for fear of giving the wrong idea? And if you wish to give way yourself for any reason, do you simply hold back until they get the idea, since flashing would indicate that you were coming through yourself? Thanks, most politely.
  9. Ferry crosssing fantastic, Brittany ferries, short comfortable journey our dog Summer was priority for choosing this short crossing. Summer is very spoilt and also elderly at 13, but she certainly doesnt look it or act like it, even so the thought of putting her in a kennel/cage was not going to happen on other routes. The Cherbourg route was ideal so she stayed very happily in our car in her bed, happy dog therefore happy us. No problems with checking her in, this is our first time towing abroad and Summers first abroad adventure so we needed to plan it as stressfree as possible. The towing experience was fine, I was map reader with the help of Miss Sat nav (Ummm??) and we managed to get to our first stop a campsite Mont St Michel - having ventured through the tinest villages around to get there. We have an 8 metre caravan and a 5 metre car - Swift Conqueror 645 and Nissam pathfinder. This site was excellent - do remember that a lot of sites you have to pay for water, here it was 3 euros for 10 minutes of water we only used 2 minutes - but had no change so had to go off looking for change as reception was closed and after a long day and journey it wasnt ideal - a lesson learnt for next time! Many sites we have found were not open at this time of year (Dec 28th) and also many unsuitable for twin axle caravans. Coming of the motorway and hunting these sites down which we could find, was going to be very stressful, so we decided the only solution was the motorway aires. Also a warning about unmanned french petrol stations - Dont use them, they take 100 euros from your bank even if you only put in 50 euros, a few days later they take the 50 euros but hold onto your 100 euros for 2 weeks!!! This is apperently normal on debit cards so do beware of this - Spain is fine operates as in the UK - I had not read this on any foums anywhere - we thought we had been victims of fraud. This as I metioned is our first time towing abroad, Id read the forums the warnings and picked up tips on parking in the Aires. .. so we took a chance we had no other choice, they were ideal for us, you just pull in, park up then straight off again in the morning. We found that the 2 we parked in one being in France near Bordeaux and the other near Zaragoza, were absolutly fantastic and it is such a shame theres so much bad things experianced in these aires. We parked at the end of a lay by pull in, as advised no one can then block you in and rob you we parked close to lorries and other fellow campers. I also kept a light on all night so it was visable just slightly through the caravan blinds. It was all very quiet, not much noise, but it was New years eve maybe everyone was where they wanted to be. Will we do it again? - yes we will on the journey home. We arrived at Bennicasm around 4pm - first experience of a Spanish campsite. ... oh lordy. .. large twin axle caravan with no motor mover. ...um we will save that one for the next blog. ...till next time x Photos below Summer at the first campsite in France,
  10. So here we are. .. The first episode. ..the crossing Poole to Cherbourg. .. . number 1. ..always check when boon docking (no electric hook up) that your leisure battery works. ..ours didnt. ..thankyou to all all who got me candles for Christmas. . No 2. ..parking up noone for miles around to find someone park 3 inches away from you . ..do not pull the window blind up in anger and rip it off "just to have a look" . No 3. .emptying all your entire water out of the internal tanks under the van to create a flood then to realise the dogs water bowl is empty. No 4. .Dont rely on your mobile phone to be an alarm clock for an early start the battery goes flat . .espcially when your parked at the very front of the check in lane with a ferry load of cars waiting to board. You tube vloggers, bloggers or carry on camping?? But hey were on our holibobs. ..who cares . .join us in the next blog as we attempt to find our first campsite with the help (or not) of the new sat nav, who loves taking us through narrow french villages Im sure I heard the sat nav laughing afterwards!! . .Hi de hi campers xx
  11. We're getting together ideas for a trip in Southern France next April/May. Earlier I asked a related question here about the Dordogne, and had much useful advice in reply, mentioning other places too. The net keeps spreading - Lot, Jura, all stations between and beyond. .. We've tented in France a number of times over the last 20 years, but always en route to an organised traditional music & dance event, where we'd stay in that area, then drive back in time for work. This means we have little experience of exploring the country, and that only in July/August. The more people we speak to, the wider the variety of suggestions or places to go, and we can't fit 10% of them into this first caravan trip there. So to help refine things, I'd like recommendations for where to avoid at that time of year! Preferably with reasons - everyone has different tastes Thanks for suggestions! Richard.
  12. We are going to eastern France in September and on return we would like to visit Paris. We are looking for a location east or north-east of Paris with accessible transport into the city to save having to take car. Any suggestions. Acsi preferred if possible. Thanks Andy
  13. Also available on Thomson's Travels __________________________________ 18th November 2014 After a few days around Civray, in the garden of Julia's brothers house in the Poitou-Charentes, we found ourselves, in light drizzle, headed south down the N10 towards Bordeaux, arriving at the campsite at about 15:30hrs. A nondescript drive only made notable by the cruise control deciding that it wasn't going to be a cruise control, just a switch on the steering wheel pretending to be the cruise control! Cured by a stop in an Aire, turn the engine off, then back on again to teach it who's boss! The approach to the campsite at Camping Bordeaux Lac (Now Closed!) is somewhat peculiar: Drive West along the A630, hang a left at junction 5 turn left, turn right under the bridge, head East, back down the A630 to junction 4a drive to a roundabout take the first exit go back under the A630 and the rest is easy. The trouble is that the Mr Tomtom doesn't recognise junction 5 as a way through and wants you to go to junction 7. . . We're getting good at ignoring Sat-Nav's in general! The campsite, was beautiful, large pitches, lakes, fountains and fresh bread in the mornings, if you order it and a heated shower block. At 17:00hrs, forgetting that people have to go home then, we thought that we'd go and find the supermarket to get food for the next few days. . . What a mistake! The Sat-Nav took us to a building site, admittedly one where we could see the shop, but in the end, it took us 45 minutes of hell, driving up and down a clogged motorway until we found ourselves in the carpark. We dumped the car, bikes still on top, in the outside carpark,there were no height signs, so didn't want to risk going under cover. The shop, well if I said a nightmare, some, the shoppers amongst you might complain, but come on! There seemed to be a row for everything! One row for Camembert, one row for Emmental and so on, ad-infinitum! The place was bigger than a big thing on stilts It took a age to navigate around the wine aisles, the cheese aisles, the fish aisles, the meat aisles (The new shoe aisles, the spare brain aisles!). Finally we made the tills, the car and we set off home. The only way out was through the covered car park! With heart in mouth, we negotiated the speed humps (that would have made a good climb on the Tour de France), under the concrete beams strewn with hanging signs, worrying that the bikes would take a like to one of them and get attached! We made it out and a mere 25 minutes later we were back at the campsite! It was dark and only just over a mile away from the shop!! NEVER AGAIN! Until next time! _________________________________ 19th November 2014 A day in the sand is planned, except firstly we'll visit, yes you've guessed it, the shops again. I think I've found a quick way there. . . We set off to check out my 'quick way there', and in a matter of 10 minutes we were driving through the Auchan car park, this time without the bikes on top, looking for the Decathlon, to look at cycling attire. The trip to the coast of 50 miles was well worth the effort. We parked near the Dune de Pilat, €1 for 4 hours parking, first 30 minutes free (Take note Poole Council!!!), walked the 200 yards to the dune, clambered to the top to be met by a sand-scape to die for. miniature canyons, river valleys and even a crashed (toy) plane which had created its own mini dune. On the drive home, we decided to stop off at a camping shop we had noticed on the way out, just off junction 11a. If we'd realised how far off, we may not have bothered! we found it in the end after passing through a Romany encampment which had taken over a number of factories. Not just factory units, whole factories! There was room for caravans, cars, motor homes and tents, all under cover! To top it all, the whole area was covered in clothes from cloths banks hanging out to dry, getting ready to be sold in the local market no doubt. Once at the camping shop, we bought some toilet chemicals and headed back to our corner of the travellers world.
  14. Also found under Le Manns on Thomson's Travels _______________________________________________ 9th & 10th November 2014 We woke to the sound of rain, which quickly passed, leaving everything damp! After breakfast, we sauntered around readying ourselves for the trip to our next campsite near Le Mans. The trip down was uneventful and longer than necessary, the reason being was that we either took the péage (Toll Roads) or the free roads, we took the free roads, saving ourselves €30, however it took 4. 5hours instead of 3. .. The free way is always best! The campsite, Camping Le Pont Romain was closed for lunch when we arrived, so we waited outside reception for an hour and a half until 15:30hrs when the staff returned. The pitch we chose was chosen, as much for convenience, as for position. We were able to make use of mains water and drainage as well as electricity at 16 Amps. All looked Hunky Dorey, sparkling toilet blocks and solar heated showers, bread ordered on the day delivered to the site the next morning, time to start relaxing and getting in to French mode. .. We awoke the next morning to wall to wall sunshine and off to the solar showers. .. what a disappointment, it had obviously been cloudy and night!!! Loads of water and residual heat from yesterdays sunny intervals. So, after croissants & bread and Camembert for breakfast, we made tracks for the Super U in the centre of Le Mans. Filling up with diesel at €1. 19 a litre before we went in to do our shop, was the highlight of the day. On the return to the campsite, we detoured in to an E. Leclerc to buy a decent iPhone 5 cable, as all the cheap ones I'd purchased through eBay had stopped working! That afternoon we walked in to the local village of Yvré-l'Eveque via the Roman bridge. The village was clean and deserted, kids in school and parents at work, apart from a couple of people in the village 'Aire de Repose' who had found a way to 'do it' in a car!!!. Off tomorrow morning. .. Lesson Learnt: 2 nights is not long enough to visit anywhere!
  15. Also found in 2014 France on Thomson's Travels ____________________________________________ Coutances is one of those places which we have passed through many times, but have never stopped in. The campsite, the municipal site, was situated in a wooded area next to the Sports facilities. If you search Google for 'Coutances Municipal Camping' it takes you to the offices in the Town Hall, so do what we did and search for "Les Vignettes, Coutances". We arrived at the campsite without fuss or fanfare, to find that the doors to the office were locked. . . However, before we could get irritated, a man appeared from around the side of the building and welcomed us with open arms. Electricity, we found by trial and error was only 5 Amps, so after resetting the trip a couple of times, we limited the power consumed, and spent an enjoyable evening drinking Merlot and watching M*A*S*H. on DVD. After the longest sleep I have ever, to my recollection, had, over 12 hours, then a hot shower in the site facilities and breakfast, we set off for town at about midday. The walk down through the municipal campsite lead through the towns impressive sports facilities, which boasted of 3 full sized football pitches, tennis courts, a 50metre swimming pool, skate park and exercise equipment (Take note England, this is a town of only 9,000 inhabitants!), to the lower part of the town, we walked up the old streets following an up hill course, until we reached the center of the town on top of the hill, where, in splendour, stood the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Coutances. A majestic building which dominates the skyline and which can be seen from miles around. The Cathedral is free to enter and the colours refracted on to the stone walls from the stained glass windows is beautiful to see. We wandered around the inside and out taking in the history of this wonderful building. We then walked back to the caravan, narrowly missing a number of bars and restaurants on our way. We explored the remains of the towns dilapidated and unkempt Roman aqueduct. After a quick beer we drove to the E. Leclerc to buy us a fish supper. The supermarkets here in France know how to put on a display when it comes to fish! Everything from Lobsters to prawns and cod to eels in fact, almost any type of fish you could possibly desire was on sale. Well, after much dillying and dallying we plumped for a lump of Morue (Cod) with a promise to be more adventurous next time.
  16. In this blog I am going to try and tell you the story of my wife's (MrsT) and my trip of a lifetime. There will be links to our blog, where you can read many of the stories I'll be posting on here and others, which I will be missing out, Before this trip started, we had had 20 years of taking the kids to France for the usual 2-4 week summer holiday. To begin with with tents and Eurocamp, then with a Lunar Clubman (the one with a boat roof) until we reached the point where we had a brand new 2010 Bailey Pegasus 554 waiting to show us how she would cope. We did a short trip to settle our nerves then. . . we took the plunge. Follow the full blog at www. thomsonstravels. co. uk _________________________________________________ After a few short months of indecision, the house went on to the market and within 2 days a buyer found. 3 weeks later, we were living on our drive waiting for the money to be paid in to our bank account, and finally, a very short 5 weeks from start to finish, we were on our way around the UK visiting friends and relations as we prepared ourselves for a trip of a life time. As we haled from Poole in Dorset, it seemed silly not to wave farewell to the UK from our old favourite cross channel port. In doing so managed, for the first time in 16 years of caravanning summer holidays in France, to become violently sea sick! Ah well, a lesson hard to forget! We arrived in France at a goodly time and drove to our first of many campsites, in Coutance on the 7th November 2014. The campsite, unbooked as most of our campsites have been, was easy walking distance from the town and, like many municipal sites in France, close to the town's football and sports facilities. After a much needed bottle of wine and a good nights sleep, we were ready to explore.
  17. Hi All we will be going the Camping Le Logis Du Breuil in France over the summer andwas wondering if anybody had been here and could give me any tips, we will be crossing Newhaven to Dieppe so any tips on this route would be helpful Thanks
  18. Hi everyone, quick question having looked at a few beautiful municipal sites in the Loire valley we see they dont allow twin axle caravans so a bit disappointed seeing as we have just bought one can anyone tell me if this is quite widespread across France and why they dont like twin axles, thanks for any info
  19. Hi everyone we are hoping to visit France towing an 8 metre inc draw bar single axle caravan, I've mentioned the caravan size as I believe not all sites will accept certain size caravans. We would like to travel down one side of France across and then back home the other side we're not fussed which side first, I'm after any recommendations of routes and sites please we like history sight seeing and anything of interest, has anyone got any ideas please? We will be using the Dover Calais ferry. TIA
  20. I seek feedback/advice from members regarding recommendations for caravan storage facilities in France, ideally within 3 hours drive of Geneva. We want to travel through France and North East Spain during November and December and then put the caravan into secure and cost effective storage before Christmas until we use it again next April. Our preference is to put the caravan into in-door storage near to Geneva as this is where we will then be living from Dec to April. However, we would consider anywhere that can offer good storage facilities within 3 hours of Geneva. Any suggestions? I am aware that one can only officially have a UK caravan in a EU country for up to 6 months before supposely having to register it in that country as a separate registration (unlike the UK). Therefore it is our intention to return to the UK with the caravan in May/June to avoid having to register it in France. Has anyone had problems with the French Authorities? (i. e. how strict are they on the 6 month rule?) Our current insurance policy gives us unlimited duration in EU countries, but of course this might change due to Brexit. I look foreard to some feedback. Many thanks David
  21. Hi everyone Wondered if anyone had ever stayed at Le Vieux Port Camping Village Resort & Spa in Messanges, South West France? On google maps it looks like its in-between Bordeaux and Biarritz. Any tips will be greatly appreciated as this will be the first time of towing and touring in France / Europe!! things like. ... is the power like the uk connector? would you use the water in your water butts for showering and possibly drinking? do they even have water points for me to fill the butt up? bit late in the day but we go a week on Saturday (23rd July) thanks in advance
  22. We got a phone call yesterday to say that Brittany Ferries had cancelled our ferry for Wednesday night from Portsmouth, due to industrial action being taken by dock workers at Le Havre. We booked a pet-friendly cabin months ago but the soonest they could re-book us with one was 10 days. Not being aware of any unrest in France, I scanned the interweb to find that strikes are taking place all over the country and even worse, petrol stations are running out of fuel. None of this has been reported in any TV news that I've seen, or any newspaper. We've had to cancel our outgoing journey and will take Eurotunnel instead, a day later than planned and a good many extra miles. Fuel availability is a bit of a worry too. Last year we came back from France four days late after running foul of french farmer's blockades as they protested about milk and meat prices. I am beginning to feel that France, as a holiday destination, is not fit for purpose. Maybe the Lake District next year.
  23. We thought this may be of interest to members. Last year my wife and I bought a campsite in the Auvergne region of central France. Last season was our first as new owners and we are looking forward to this summer and meeting people of all nationalities. The camp site, Champ de la Chapelle, is located in the Forest of Troncais, one of the largest oak forests in Europe. Any help and advice from members will be much appreciated, what exactly do you look for when choosing a camp site?
  24. Hi All, Planning our French holidays and towing a large twin axle caravan I am getting more concerns that pitch sizes will be an issue. So I need: - Large pitches with easy access (no motormover) - South coast of France - Family frinedly - Swimming pool with water slides for the kids (and maybe the wife ) - Beach access (walking distance with kids) Any recommendations? Thanks
  25. hi all, anyone knows if there is a 'deadline' to buy tickets for the channel crossing? I'm collecting Tesco points but I have the feeling that I won't get crossing times I want if I leave till the end. I'm traveling by the end of July when would be a reasonable time to buy them?. Thanks
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