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colin h

Port Grimaud

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We have finally booked for September and wondered if someone could help with advice.

 

We have travelled in France for the last 30 years but never towed a van before. We plan to stay over 1 night from our route from Calais and have questions about any sites that may fit the bill that you have stayed at.  If you have done this trip before. Is one stop enough or should we stop twice?

Is the Libert tag expensive and is it worth it.

Any other advice would be welcome.

 

We live Southampton area so possibly even considering Ports/ Caen/Le Havre.

 

Also which ferries are generally cheaper.

 

 

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My personal  view is that two days towing from the channel ports to Port Grimaud  with a van is a bit too much even using autoroutes; let alone non toll RN - but each to their own. France is big.

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Hi Colin, So far as sites/stops then that will depend on your route. So far as your route that will depend on your ferry. So far as the ferry...........................personal choice but my choice would be Portsmouth or Poole on BF.

Prices  will vary but the days of the super cheap Calais crossings are long gone and the differences may not be that great for the longer routes.

If you are a caravan club member you can get a great deal on  a combined fare.

Re the Tag we personally would not travel without one as my wife is unable to reach the ticket machine and being able to use the 30kph lane means not even slowing completely.

Have a great trip. 

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So you reckon more than 2 days?   How much does the liber t tag cost, Just googling now

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Colin, as you live near Southampton I suggest the 0815 to Caen which arrives at 1500.  If you do a couple of hours down to Le Mans that afternoon it leaves you two days at 300 miles a day via Tours after that . No, you don't want to go via Paris, do you?

Tags are easy for toll payments but optional if you have an agile passenger. 

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Colin.

I have got an ATMB tag.

Some of their site is now in English but Google Chrome browser takes care of the translation.

Sometimes there is an offer on but you are charged the toll fee plus a set fee $1.90 pm for each month you use the service.

They also takes credit cards on their website, I have a Halifax Clarity that charges no commission.

As said by others makes life so much easier at the toll.

As for ferries. I live near Fleet Services.

If you wanted to do the drive in two days, why not get the overnight out and back.

Last year we went through Portsmouth both ways, this year out Portsmouth and back via Poole, although Pmouth is nearer Poole is not too much further.

You'll arrive and be off the boat by half seven which would give you a good drive on day one with an overnighter to relax and then finish the drive again the next day.

Going overnight back gives you again the whole day to get back to port.

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We've used the APRR tag for several years. It's so convenient and we've never had a billing problem.

I believe it's €15 for the tag and you pay €1.70 for any month you use it. The bill hits your credit card half way through the following month - we too use the Halifax Clarity card to get the best rate and avoid transaction charges.

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Many years ago we drove from Port Grimaud to Calais with one overnight stop en route, the second night was at Gandspette and we crossed to the UK the next morning. Not sure if that counts as two stops or one? That was when we were at work but wouldn't do it now. The route we took was straight down the middle of France via Lyon, obviously from Caen you will be using a different route. 

 

David

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I would not bother with the ferries but I would plan to set off in the morning añd book the tunnel 2 hours after i would expect to get there. If you are early they usually put you on the next crossing and most of the time you're leaving half an hour after you get to Folkestone.

From Calais you should easily make it to Port Grimaud the next evening with one stop on the way.

 

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At this time of year you can usually get an ATMB tag just for the price of the postage as they are normally trying to attract skiers. You then only pay for the toll on the autoroutes being used plus the nominal admin charge for each month in which you use it.  My wife reckons it was one of my better ideas. We also use the Halifax Clarity Card.

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10 hours ago, AndersG said:

I would not bother with the ferries but I would plan to set off in the morning añd book the tunnel 2 hours after i would expect to get there. 

 

 

The OP lives in Southampton, so  Portsmouth & Poole are MUCH closer for him than Dover and mean less distance  to his destination “the other side”  

 

Colin

Don’t forget that if you book a BF crossing out of season (like September is) via the CMC then very often the caravan goes free,  and that’s a BIG saving!

 

If not a member it’s worth joining  JUST for that “free caravan”  ferry discount, you save the membership on a single crossing. 

 

If your crossing doesn’t come up with a free caravan PM me for my Club Voyage code to get 10% off.

 

Sound advice from Jiffy about crossing routes and timings.

Be careful if looking at the BF “Economie” service price structure. The headline figure is less but they charge MORE for the Economie cabins on the overnight sailings, so be careful to check the total cost before clicking on buy. 

 

As for how long to get to your destination I tend to agree with others. That’s a loooong haul in two days if towing, don’t forget you cannot do the same speeds when towing as you can solo.

 

Andy

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Years ago:

 

1. Sheffield area to A26 Services Aire du Mont de Nizy (Close to Guignicourt).

2. To  Aire de Montelimar Ouest - large set back places in woodland and allegedly patrolled at night.  

3. Onwards to Grimaud (well in our case Le Lavandou)  In those days the Toulon tunnel was not built (in fact the East West route was only opened a long time after the West East) so the drive though Toulon was slow. 

 

Fastest route possible as time really mattered and stopping on Aires was acceptable and, as far as anything is, safe. 

 

Later:

 

1, Sheffield to  Camping au Bord de L'Aisne at Guignicourt.

2. Camping Floral - On N7  10 mins from Autoroute du Soleil leaving at exit 17, Montelimar Nord.  Small site with tiny pool and takeaway snacks.  Fine for an overnight stop.  

3. Onwards to destination.

 

Recently:

 

Much much slower. No hurry so happy to take back roads or motorways but never stop on Aires.   

Can't really comment upon the Southampton departure  except to say my advice would be to avoid Paris.  Traffic can be incredible and what may seem a less direct route can be quicker and certainly more pleasant.  

 

You do mention departing at Calais which is why I've added my tuppence worth.  The "later" route might suit you as your trip to Calais would equate with mine from the Sheffield area.  In fact yours would be shorter.   Guignicourt might be worth booking but doubt it in September.  Camping Floral should be fine too. 

 

Record:

 

Without a caravan driving my Saab Turbo and with speed on motorways less restrained in practice than today from Frejus to Sheffield area non-stop.  Only rest was on the ferry!  

 

What a difference both state of mind, call it common sense, and maturity makes to our decisions. 

 

 

 

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Thank you people, some great advice,. We are CMC members but did not realise the caravan goes free bit.

7 hours ago, Squash said:

What a difference both state of mind, call it common sense, and maturity makes to our decisions. 

 

I will second that. Once  upon a time we drove it in one and now its a long haul.

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8 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

The OP lives in Southampton, so  Portsmouth & Poole are MUCH closer for him than Dover and mean less distance  to his destination “the other side” 

I know where he lives  but the distance from Caen is about the same as the distance from Calais and he would be in France earlier if he used the tunnel instead of a day ferry.

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16 hours ago, AndersG said:

I know where he lives  but the distance from Caen is about the same as the distance from Calais and he would be in France earlier if he used the tunnel instead of a day ferry.

Distances once landed are, as you say , the same but personally, having used Dover many times when it was the choice based on destination, Italy, and cost the journey was one to be endured not enjoyed.

 

Folkestone is closer than Dover, just, but I would choose what seems will be a 30 minute journey to Portsmouth over an at least 2H 30M , and potentially more depending on traffic, journey to the Tunnel.

There are of course many who prefer the tunnel, maybe not good sea travelers or pets to consider, but in terms of cost I am sure that it will be more than the ferry.

 

I don't know the price for a night crossing with BF from Caen but for us the Plymouth crossing on a Thursday night is cheaper, by over £100 last time I checked, than the Friday day crossing. I believe that the afternoon Portsmouth-Caen crossing often comes out the cheapest.

 

Colin-If you are not a caravan club member give me an idea of what crossings suit and I will see what the prices are.

Edited by Allan Guest
Miss spelling.

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8 hours ago, Allan Guest said:

Distances once landed are, as you say , the same but personally, having used Dover many times when it was the choice based on destination, Italy, and cost the journey was one to be endured not enjoyed.

 

Folkestone is closer than Dover, just, but I would choose what seems will be a 30 minute journey to Portsmouth over an at least 2H 30M , and potentially more depending on traffic, journey to the Tunnel.

There are of course many who prefer the tunnel, maybe not good sea travelers or pets to consider, but in terms of cost I am sure that it will be more than the ferry.

 

I don't know the price for a night crossing with BF from Caen but for us the Plymouth crossing on a Thursday night is cheaper, by over £100 last time I checked, than the Friday day crossing. I believe that the afternoon Portsmouth-Caen crossing often comes out the cheapest.

 

Colin-If you are not a caravan club member give me an idea of what crossings suit and I will see what the prices are.

Thank you, we are CMC members and have compared. It looks to be same as direct but with options to add sites at reduced cost..  Bit thank you for the offer.

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We find Portsmoth /Caen from Hants is by far the best bet to the S of France the afternoon out morning back is the cheapest option (CMC) with an overnight stay at Riva Bella they are open for the 2130 arrival and from 0630 for the 0815 back. Its around 690` on autoroutes and 129 euro toll. At an average towing speed of 42mph its 16 hours doable in two days but is wearing when towing. An overnight stop might be Le Clos Auroy at Orcet just south of Clermont Ferrand. This shorter route is via Lyon but bear in mind the A75 to Montpelier from Clermont is free!

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14 hours ago, compact said:

We find Portsmoth /Caen from Hants is by far the best bet to the S of France the afternoon out morning back is the cheapest option (CMC) with an overnight stay at Riva Bella they are open for the 2130 arrival and from 0630 for the 0815 back. Its around 690` on autoroutes and 129 euro toll. At an average towing speed of 42mph its 16 hours doable in two days but is wearing when towing. An overnight stop might be Le Clos Auroy at Orcet just south of Clermont Ferrand. This shorter route is via Lyon but bear in mind the A75 to Montpelier from Clermont is free!

 

Thank you for that

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On 18/01/2020 at 18:12, colin h said:

Thank you, we are CMC members and have compared. It looks to be same as direct but with options to add sites at reduced cost..  Bit thank you for the offer.

Hi Colin, Have just seen this and wonder what routes you are comparing?  You need to add the vouchers,/sites before you will get the combined fare.

 

My Plymouth-Roscoff return with 7.5m van and 4 vouchers is £319.80-you could also get this deal by booking sites. 

The vouchers are £87.80 making the ferry portion £232.

 

The cost of the same crossings/cabin booked direct with BF is £463 so double the price.-a saving of £231 and even if you did not use the vouchers, or stay at booked sites, you are still saving almost £150.

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Thanks for that

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