My boyfriend and I can only fit in about 10 days for a holiday this year, and thinking of taking our car and tent over to France. This could either be from 10th to 21st August or from 31st Aug to 9th September.
We are wondering where we should go. Happy to drive fairly long distances if there are nice places to stop-over along the way. We were thinking of camping but cheap b&b's etc would be ok. We're on a pretty tight budget.
I went to the Dordogne as a child and loved it - would go back but I'm worried it would be overly crowded and pricey. Should we go anyway? We like old historical towns, beautiful scenery, some walking (although we're rather unfit) and generally rustic places with good food and drink.
Was a bit worried about the weather in early september....it may have the advantage of being less busy but will summer be over?... I like sunshine!
...having just come back from showing an American lady around the Aude/Ariege area, I can highly recommend going down there...loads of camp sites and suchlike...from Carcassonne left or right down to Narbonne, loads to see and still wild and woolly on the east side, a bit more 'domesticated on the west...great area for discovering something different every day - Cathar country, loads to see and do...I live in the Dordogne and don't particularly advise this area...
...have a great holiday...
I'd recommend (if the whole trip in ten days max.) 4 days in the Champagne region countryside, then 1/2 a days drive to the Loire Valley. Wonderful scenery in both places and you'll never go thirsty.... Hic.
To encounter fewer crowds go for the later dates.
To optimise the weather head South.
To save money visit Languedoc instead of Provence (same weather but quieter)
Some camp sites will be cheaper in September, too.
To get low cost accommodation check out the Michelin guide to camp sites, Accor group for low cost hotels, and www.chambre-dhote.org for b&b.
Using the autoroutes, the Med is a days drive from Calais (Montpellier, Languedoc is 950 km from Calais).
Ideas for travelling from a base in Languedoc :
Montpellier, regional capital of Languedoc Rousillon, and Herault is an old university town. Medical schools were established during the occupation by the Moors around the 9th century. The Moors, at that time, were the most advanced scientific culture in the Mediterranean basin. Today Montpellier has stunning modern architecture alongside an ancient centre. The tram makes it easy to visit the numerous art galleries and museums.
Nimes, the capital of Gard, was the Nemausus of Roman history. The arena (built AD or BC 0) is still in use. The old city and Maison Carre are worth visiting.
Arles is of interest for its extensive Roman remains and also it's artistic history.
Narbonne, just outside Languedoc, has fine Roman remains.
Mountain areas include Mt Aigoual, Anduze, Florac, Ganges, Gorge du Tarn, Mt Lozere, Mende, Millau, St Guilhem le Desert, St Hippolyte du Fort, St Enimie, Sauve, Le Vigan,
Coastal towns include Beziers, Bouzigues, Camargue, Canal du Midi, Cap d’Agde, Grande Motte, Grau de Roi & Port Camargue, Maguelone, Marseillan, Meze, Sete.
Historical interest in Aigues Mortes, Beaucaire, Lodeve, Pezenas, Sommieres, Uzes, Pont du Gard, Lunel (inc Ambrussum).
There are many other towns, outside Languedoc, but within reach and worth visiting. The majority of these can be reached by car within less than 2 hours, but Barcelona is just under 3 hours from Montpellier. A small selection -Aix en Provence, Andorra, Avignon, Banyuls, Barcelona, Les Calanques, Carcasonne, Ceret, Collioure, Figueras (Dali museum), Girona, Gorge d’Ardeche, Larzac, Les Baux de Provence, Marseille, Martigues, Mont Ventoux, Orange, Perpignan, Tautavel, Toulon.
You will run out of time ?
Wow thanks for all your help.
Languedoc looks really interesting. Would probably be driving down from Calais, so will have to thik about an interesting place to stop overnight along the way- its only me driving so I don't fancy attempting it all in one go!
It is autoroute all the way.
Calais-St Quentin-Dijon-Lyon-Avignon-Montpellier is 8 hrs min (no stops, no hold ups, low traffic, good weather). Reckon 9-10 hrs to be safe ?
If you go in July or August, book your accommodation in advance, it is the "grandes vacances" during this time and it is really busy.
Also depending on when you decide to drive south on the motorway, it can be very very very busy. Make sure you are not on it any Saturdays especially, the first saturday between July and August.
Have a good holiday