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Advice For Trip To Brittany (First Time)


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We are looking to spend 2 weeks this summer (August) in Brittany, probably at Camping du Letty in Benodet. This will be our first trip to France with the caravan (although I have driven in France a couple of times before).

This can be booked either through the C&CC or direct with the site - does it matter who we book through (any advantages either way)?

As we live in North Kent, we'll get the ferry from Dover to Calais - are there better days to travel/days to avoid? Ferry out would probably be 9. 25am.

I suspect we'll want an overnight stop on the way to Benodet - any suggestions of somewhere between 4 and 5 hours drive from Calais? Ideally get there around 5 to 6pm, pitch up, grab some dinner and then kids to bed around 8pm.

Any suggestions on routes from Calais to Benodet? I don't mind using toll roads if it's quicker and easier but just as happy to avoid if the alternative is more scenic and still almost as quick/simple.

 

In terms of dates, we were originally thinking of taking time off from Monday 4th August to Friday 15th August, travelling any time from Saturday 2nd, depending on when is best to get ferry and travel on the roads in France (I believe travelling on Saturday wouldn't be advisable?).

Having looked at posts on this site, we're now wondering whether we should go last week in August and back first week in September (kids back at school on 6th September I think) as it may be quieter - will it make much difference? Earlier in August would suit us better but not if it will be significantly quieter later on (would prefer less crowds around).

 

Thanks in advance.

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France goes back to work largely after 15 Aug Feast of the Assumption Bank Hol. After then you can generally get on sites without pre-booking. You are right about avoiding the roads on Holiday Saturdays, Sunday is a good day to travel but smaller fuel outlets will be closed or card-only so pre-plan. Also a lot of sites start accepting ACSI and Camping Cheques from mid-August which can make a huge saving. If you are flexible about the site to use - and most will still be open - then the world's your oyster! As for breaking the journey down, look out for Campings Municipal situated in most villages so you can walk to a restaurant.

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Benodet is a nice area although a bit touristy & will certainly be quieter during the 2nd half of August but that's when the Brits come over, so possibly not :-)

 

I certainly wouldn't travel on the 2nd, it's not know as 'Black Saturday' for nothing or the weekend of the 15/16th, that's when the French go & return from their holidays.

 

Although I don't go to Calais often, I always use the autoroutes, they're not that expensive, in fact, free West of Caen. According to Google Maps avoiding toll roads adds about 2 hours to a 7 hour journey & I would guess that you would use more fuel in that 2 hours than you would save in tolls & think of us locals who get stuck behind caravans :-)

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We have done the first 2 weeks in August at du Letty for the last 2 years, travelling from Calais.

 

What ever you do don't travel on a Saturday. We did that first year going from where we live (just south of Manchester) to Dover and getting the ferry over then we spent Friday night at baille du Somme aire before setting of at about 7. 30 on Saturday morning to do the 400 miles to Benodet. We arrived at du Letty at about 9. 30 that night!

 

We went Thursday / Friday last year and from camping st Claire at Neufchâtel en bray we hit du Letty at about 3. 30 on the Friday afternoon so you can see what difference it makes avoiding the Saturday!

 

Du Letty is great for the kids, we have 3 girls who were 4, 7 & 11 last year and they are kept busy. You can also mix it up with the beach (catching crabs) and the pool / slides. There are some good days out at quimper, concarnou and Pont avon if the weather is a bit iffy.

 

In terms of route I followed the sat nav which is basically Calais past abberville on to Rouen round the Caen ring road on to Rennes and then onward coming off the autoroute and through fousenant to Benodet (viamichlin also sends you that way). I think the tolls are about 40 euro including the Pont Normandy.

 

If you have any more questions please fell free to ask and Big Tims reviews are well worth a read as that is what convinced us it was the best place for our virgin trip to France and he describes it all far better than I could.

 

Mike

VW Touareg 3. 0L V6 262 R Line with a Unicorn IV Segovia trying to keep up!

 

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We went to Benodet years ago and it was ideal for the children. I checked Camping Cheques and ACSI but there was only one site anywhere near Benodet with CC that did the discount from 24th August and non for ACSI so I don't think that they would be options for you.

 

Have you considered getting an earlier ferry so that the children can have some pool/run around time before dinner. Ours used to sleep a lot in the car on the way through boredom but then wouldn't easily go to sleep in the evening.

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Thanks for the help and advice everyone. Lots to think about and we'll definitely book later in August now.

 

Just need to find a site about 4 hours from Calais on the way down and then about 2 or 2 1/2 hours away from Calais on the way back.

 

LongTimeCaravanner - my kids have never slept in the car unfortunately. We once went to Center Parks Longleat when we just had the one, leaving home at nap time thinking he'd sleep but no chance. Too nosey looking out the car to go to sleep! Just ended up with a grumpy child later on.

 

MPG - I've read Tim's reviews and they're very helpful.

 

Really looking forward to the trip. The kids will love du Letty, I think we'll be in the pool all day every day.

 

For those that have been to du Letty, did you book direct or through the C&CC?

Can you ask for certain pitches? We'd prefer a quieter pitch (if that's possible) and don't want to feel cramped. If that means further from the beach then that's fine. Any tips on pitches?

We've only got a single axle but it's 6 berth and about 7. 4m shipping length so not small.

Edited by Smarty
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Don't know about du Letty, but we've booked our sites in Provence, and ferry both ways, for July through the C+CC and compared with booking direct with ferry companies and sites we've made significant savings. Bon vacance,

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Mike said. ......
In terms of route I followed the sat nav which is basically Calais past abberville on to Rouen round the Caen ring road on to Rennes and then onward coming off the autoroute and through fousenant to Benodet (viamichlin also sends you that way). I think the tolls are about 40 euro including the Pont Normandy.

 

 

That would/ has been my route historically.

 

geoff

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Geoff - Yes, put the destination in my car's sat nav this morning and it looks like that's the way it will send us too.

 

LunarLoopy - thanks. When I priced it up it looked like there wasn't any difference, depending on exchange rate, between direct or through C&CC. Might just let them do the work though.

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For those that have been to du Letty, did you book direct or through the C&CC?

Can you ask for certain pitches? We'd prefer a quieter pitch (if that's possible) and don't want to feel cramped. If that means further from the beach then that's fine. Any tips on pitches?

We've only got a single axle but it's 6 berth and about 7. 4m shipping length so not small.

 

Smarty

 

I booked directly with the site both times via their online booking system and sorted the ferry directly. Not sure on the cost difference as i was not aware you could book any other way.

 

The pitches are quite tight in places. We have a similar sized van to yourself and despite telling them the size and the size of the awning we have been unable to fit the van on the pitch with the other vans around. This has meant having to move to another pitch where i could get the van on.

 

If i can work out how to do it i will send you the site plan then you can see where the pitches are. We were on Les Sternes 5 first time and Les Chardons Blues 2 second time.

 

How old are the kids? if you go the second half of August the site really empties out and if you are on the outer reaches of the site it can be very quite. Also it is best to avoid the sections off the main entrance as it is busy with traffic running back and forward.

 

If you think of anything else please feel free to ask.

 

Mike

VW Touareg 3. 0L V6 262 R Line with a Unicorn IV Segovia trying to keep up!

 

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Thanks MPG. Have seen the site plan - which pitches are bigger? Hard to tell from the map as it only shows the paddocks rather than the pitches themselves.

 

Kids will be 9 and 5 1/2 by the time we go but both tend to be in bed quite early normally and get miserable if they're up too late. Normally in bed by 8pm although will probably be later than that while away - hence wanting a quieter pitch.

 

I'll have a look at the plan again - I assume Les Sternes 5 and Les Chardons Blues 2 were both bigger pitches then?

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Thanks MPG. Have seen the site plan - which pitches are bigger? Hard to tell from the map as it only shows the paddocks rather than the pitches themselves.

 

Kids will be 9 and 5 1/2 by the time we go but both tend to be in bed quite early normally and get miserable if they're up too late. Normally in bed by 8pm although will probably be later than that while away - hence wanting a quieter pitch.

 

I'll have a look at the plan again - I assume Les Sternes 5 and Les Chardons Blues 2 were both bigger pitches then?

 

the pitches are all a very similar size but if the others are full it can be restrictive in fitting the van in or pitching the awning.

 

Les Sternes has 4 pitches in that area and we ended up in the top left corner 'caravan club' style but the hitch was encroacing right into the middle section. Had we been near the road end nobody would have got past to their pitch with a car.

 

Chardons has about 10 pitches on it and we were side on to the hedge but again we had to move as i could not get the van on the original pitch and if i could have the hitch was in next doors awning!

 

For me Les chardons is the place to be, probably in row 4 or 5. The site is fairly quite at night as the entertainment is usually up at the bar near the site entrance rather than at the one by the pool

 

It is also a bit safer for the kids as they can potter about abit without having to go on the road.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Mike

VW Touareg 3. 0L V6 262 R Line with a Unicorn IV Segovia trying to keep up!

 

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Also, where's the best place to look up toilet stops on the route?


 

the pitches are all a very similar size but if the others are full it can be restrictive in fitting the van in or pitching the awning.

 

Les Sternes has 4 pitches in that area and we ended up in the top left corner 'caravan club' style but the hitch was encroacing right into the middle section. Had we been near the road end nobody would have got past to their pitch with a car.

 

Chardons has about 10 pitches on it and we were side on to the hedge but again we had to move as i could not get the van on the original pitch and if i could have the hitch was in next doors awning!

 

For me Les chardons is the place to be, probably in row 4 or 5. The site is fairly quite at night as the entertainment is usually up at the bar near the site entrance rather than at the one by the pool

 

It is also a bit safer for the kids as they can potter about abit without having to go on the road.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Mike

 

Thanks. That helps a lot.

I've noticed in most of the pictures people parked side on to the rear hedge - is that the norm in France or just this site or is it up to the individual?

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Also, where's the best place to look up toilet stops on the route?

 

Thanks. That helps a lot.

I've noticed in most of the pictures people parked side on to the rear hedge - is that the norm in France or just this site or is it up to the individual?

We just used the toilets at the aire's (services) but i also primed the toilet in the van which came in useful as a couple of the aires left a little to be desired where there was no fuel / food.

 

Regarding pitching you can pitch anyway you want, there is non of the CC directives of a certain way to a peg etc!

 

Due to the way things are you are better side on as it gives you the space in fromt to sit etc and the side to park the car out of the way.

 

we also found people very helpful in manouvering the van into position as there is little room to do it with the car attached.

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Thanks again.

Just need to find a stop off point now. As I'm coming from Kent, it looks like somewhere just past Caen would be best. Something like 4 hours drive from Calais, around Noyers-Bocage kind of area maybe. I'll put up another post about that rather than lose it in here.

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Thanks to all for help and advice.

Have booked Camping du Letty last 2 weeks of August (for 10 nights) with a one night stopover near Bayeux on the way and 2 nights at the same site on the way back (to allow time to explore the Normandy beaches). Decided to do Folkestone to Calais on the train due to speed but Calais to Dover on the ferry on the way back (to allow time to eat as it will be around dinner time). Think the total cost for all sites and train/ferry is about £800 which is a bit of a bargain I think.

Edited by Smarty
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Thanks to all for help and advice.

Have booked Camping du Letty last 2 weeks of August (for 10 nights) with a one night stopover near Bayeux on the way and 2 nights at the same site on the way back (to allow time to explore the Normandy beaches). Decided to do Folkestone to Calais on the train due to speed but Calais to Dover on the ferry on the way back (to allow time to eat as it will be around dinner time). Think the total cost for all sites and train/ferry is about £800 which is a bit of a bargain I think.

Hi Smarty

 

Sorry but I think you've probably missed helping your plans for Du Letty as I've not been on Caravan Talk recently. As my friend Mike (MPG) is one of the many people who have taken acted on my recommendations of Du Letty. It was a site which our children LOVED site when they were younger and the site is now even improved with the new waterpark. I can, however, never resist the temptation to encourage folks to try Du Letty as it has been such a welcome spot for us during many summers and even if my recommendation is too late for you it may help someone else.

 

In my experience it is cheaper to book Du L and other sites direct rather than through the CCC. Apart from 2011 when we used our Tesco vouchers on the Tunnel we are fans of DFDS Dover to Dunkerque ferry for price and speed.

 

My family and I first went to Du Letty on our first visit to France as tent campers in 1994 and returned for many subsequent years. We then had a break trying other Continental countrie but returned to Du,L after a number of years' break, in Summer 2011 and 2012.

 

I would add that in our experience the Benodet area seems to have I hope that you are going to be in Benodet for Feast of Assumption on 15 August when there is the annual huge fete in the town which culminates in a FANTASTIC firework show which is released from a platform out in the Bay.

 

In 2011 we travelled to a site on the north coast of France and then went on to Du Letty. I have posted a Holiday Journal on the CT site which includes some of my photos of that year's holiday to whet your appetite.

 

http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/caravan-holidays/journals/europe

 

In 2011 we travelled down to Brittany from the Tunnel and on both on both the outward and onward journey we stayed off at a lovely municipal site at Pont de Farcy see part one of my Holiday Journal. If you need a stop over enroute to/from Calais I wouldl recommend that site very highly.

 

http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/caravan-holidays/journals/europe/brittany-part-1

 

I have, also, written comprehensive reviews (Number 1 &42) of Du Letty on another yellow campsite forum which I am not allowed to mention directly on Caravan Talk.

 

I'll have to get down to posting my Holiday Journal of our visit to Du Letty in 2013.

 

I hope you and your family have a SUPER holiday at Du Letty - I'm sure you will.

 

Kind regards

Tim

Kia Sorento Titan TDI (07) & Bailey Senator Arizona (06-5 Series)with Alko ATC, Powrtouch HD motor mover and Alko shocks

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Hi Smarty

 

Sorry but I think you've probably missed helping your plans for Du Letty as I've not been on Caravan Talk recently. As my friend Mike (MPG) is one of the many people who have taken acted on my recommendations of Du Letty. It was a site which our children LOVED site when they were younger and the site is now even improved with the new waterpark. I can, however, never resist the temptation to encourage folks to try Du Letty as it has been such a welcome spot for us during many summers and even if my recommendation is too late for you it may help someone else.

 

In my experience it is cheaper to book Du L and other sites direct rather than through the CCC. Apart from 2011 when we used our Tesco vouchers on the Tunnel we are fans of DFDS Dover to Dunkerque ferry for price and speed.

 

My family and I first went to Du Letty on our first visit to France as tent campers in 1994 and returned for many subsequent years. We then had a break trying other Continental countrie but returned to Du,L after a number of years' break, in Summer 2011 and 2012.

 

I would add that in our experience the Benodet area seems to have I hope that you are going to be in Benodet for Feast of Assumption on 15 August when there is the annual huge fete in the town which culminates in a FANTASTIC firework show which is released from a platform out in the Bay.

 

In 2011 we travelled to a site on the north coast of France and then went on to Du Letty. I have posted a Holiday Journal on the CT site which includes some of my photos of that year's holiday to whet your appetite.

 

http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/caravan-holidays/journals/europe

 

In 2011 we travelled down to Brittany from the Tunnel and on both on both the outward and onward journey we stayed off at a lovely municipal site at Pont de Farcy see part one of my Holiday Journal. If you need a stop over enroute to/from Calais I wouldl recommend that site very highly.

 

http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/caravan-holidays/journals/europe/brittany-part-1

 

I have, also, written comprehensive reviews (Number 1 &42) of Du Letty on another yellow campsite forum which I am not allowed to mention directly on Caravan Talk.

 

I'll have to get down to posting my Holiday Journal of our visit to Du Letty in 2013.

 

I hope you and your family have a SUPER holiday at Du Letty - I'm sure you will.

 

Kind regards

Tim

Hi Tim

 

Hope you are both well.

 

Unfortunately there was not much on in Benodet last year and no fire works for the feast. I don't know if that was because they cancelled them in 2012 due to the wind.

 

However as you have said there is more than enough todo around and the site it's self is wonderful.

 

All the best.

 

Mike

VW Touareg 3. 0L V6 262 R Line with a Unicorn IV Segovia trying to keep up!

 

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Hi Tim

 

Hope you are both well.

 

Unfortunately there was not much on in Benodet last year and no fire works for the feast. I don't know if that was because they cancelled them in 2012 due to the wind.

 

However as you have said there is more than enough todo around and the site it's self is wonderful.

 

All the best.

 

Mike

Hi Mike

 

It's good to hear from you again. I was surprised to hear that there were no fireworks at Benodet in Summer 2013. I understood that the 2012 cancellation was VERY unusual!?

 

Are you going back to Du Letty in 2014? We stayed in the UK last summer. We had originally planned to celebrate both of us being retired and my 60th Birthday by going to an extended Continental caravan trip to Italy. However, as we had a lot going on at our Church following the Vicar's unexpected retirement and so we stayed in the UK. We originally went to Keswick and then planned to travel on tour around the coast of Scotland. Unfortunately Cary fell and broke her finger whilst getting into our inflatable on Derwent Water and so we decided to stay on in Keswick for the whole summer. In the end we stayed at the Keswick CCC site and Castlerigg Farm sites for a total of 49 nights! This was no hardship as we love Keswick and especially the CCC site where we were fortunate to get pitches right on lake side.

 

Responding to this post has prompted me to, at last, get down to writing up our 2012 visit to Du Letty as a holiday journal for Caravan Talk. I've finished the first part tonight!

 

Best wishes to you and your family.

 

Tim and Cary

Kia Sorento Titan TDI (07) & Bailey Senator Arizona (06-5 Series)with Alko ATC, Powrtouch HD motor mover and Alko shocks

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Tim - thanks. Your posts did help (MPG pointed me to them). We will be arriving at du Letty just after 15th to avoid traffic and crowds (possibly).

I did compare booking direct versus through C&CC and they were the same. Tunnel was cheaper than going direct too. Ferry back was cheaper through the Caravan Club though (we're members of both) so booked that with them. Rest was all done through C&CC.

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Tim - thanks. Your posts did help (MPG pointed me to them). We will be arriving at du Letty just after 15th to avoid traffic and crowds (possibly).

I did compare booking direct versus through C&CC and they were the same. Tunnel was cheaper than going direct too. Ferry back was cheaper through the Caravan Club though (we're members of both) so booked that with them. Rest was all done through C&CC.

Glad to have helped. I'm sure you'll have a super time. Every year weare tempted to return to Du Letty but there are so many other places left to see and time is probably running against us now!!!

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I realise that you've already booked now, but for the benefit of others, the C&CC do claim to match or beat ferry prices. I challenged them to that last year, as Brittany Ferries' own price came up cheaper than the C&CC quote and they did indeed beat it!!!

 

The campsite prices are all published in the Carefree guide, and if you pick a site running a rally at any time, you can make savings by booking during that period rather than outside it.

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There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong equipment (Alfred Wainwright)

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Hi Mike

 

It's good to hear from you again. I was surprised to hear that there were no fireworks at Benodet in Summer 2013. I understood that the 2012 cancellation was VERY unusual!?

 

Are you going back to Du Letty in 2014? We stayed in the UK last summer. We had originally planned to celebrate both of us being retired and my 60th Birthday by going to an extended Continental caravan trip to Italy. However, as we had a lot going on at our Church following the Vicar's unexpected retirement and so we stayed in the UK. We originally went to Keswick and then planned to travel on tour around the coast of Scotland. Unfortunately Cary fell and broke her finger whilst getting into our inflatable on Derwent Water and so we decided to stay on in Keswick for the whole summer. In the end we stayed at the Keswick CCC site and Castlerigg Farm sites for a total of 49 nights! This was no hardship as we love Keswick and especially the CCC site where we were fortunate to get pitches right on lake side.

 

Responding to this post has prompted me to, at last, get down to writing up our 2012 visit to Du Letty as a holiday journal for Caravan Talk. I've finished the first part tonight!

 

Best wishes to you and your family.

 

Tim and Cary

Thanks Tim

 

I hope Cary's finger is OK now. The joys of retirement, being able to spend that length of time away!

 

We are looking to head a bit further south this year to hopefully chase the heat a bit, but still within a days drive of Calais. My only concern is finding somewhere which comes close to Du Letty!

 

Best Wishes

 

Mike & Aideen

VW Touareg 3. 0L V6 262 R Line with a Unicorn IV Segovia trying to keep up!

 

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