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First Trip to France!! Help locations/campsites/hotels

Travel Forums Europe First Trip to France!! Help locations/campsites/hotels

1. Posted by peterross9 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hey all,

im planning my first self drive holiday its a last minute thing unfotuantely,

we go on 11th August leaving Carlisle up in Cumbria, ive booked a ferry crossing dover to calais at 1345 arrivng around 5pm french time,

i plan to drive around 3 hours into france before having an overnight stop,

where would be good, our final destination is going to be grasse in the south of france,

we want something cheap and cheerful for this stop. fairly close to the main road but with some food outlets close by.

we are stopping in Grasse for 3 nights before heading back north we want to book somewhere else for 2 nights were thinking of camping where is nice but in genral direction of home, needs to be a reasonable distance north so i can drive home in one go on the monday!

Also anything else i should know for my first time travelling abroad by car???????

thanks in advance:)

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 7y

You're going to drive 400 miles just before lunch? Rather you than me I suppose :)

Anyhow, if you've any energy left after the ferry, I suppose a three-hour ride should get you somewhere near Troyes, provided you won't have any delays. Troyes is a really nice city; lots of hotels, lots of restaurants.

On the way back, if you want something in France that allows you to drive home in one go afterwards, I think you're looking at something very close to Calais. I don't know that part of France very well, and what I know doesn't make me happy. Picardy is generally a depressing place, and the weather has a tendency for being awful. You may want to consider breaking the home journey in three legs, making a stop in Dijon or thereabouts and a short one close to Calais.

3. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

I would suggest using the many 'Air du Repos' to rest. They are not camping sites but simple rest areas off the main roads, very similar to a 'picnic lay-by' in the UK. I just used them to stretch my legs/catnap/make a drink, etc.

Most have toilets, water fountains, etc, though I would avoid stopping for any length of time at the quieter ones at night, especially down south, unless you're team-handed of course. They have been known as targets for robberies, but you know how it is, just keep your wits about you really. The larger ones do have places to eat and are pretty much 'services'.

I actually did Marseilles to Calais in about 20 hours in an old banger - drove, stopped, ate, slept, drove - though you have other plans on getting back. For that there is the often recommended 'Formule 1' hotel chain if you want a roof over your heads. Don't know about campsites. Sorry.

Happy travels. ;)

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Jul-2009, at 09:44 by fabyomama ]

4. Posted by peterross9 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Thanks for the suggestions,

i was looking at Troyes for the overnight stop and Formula1 sounds like a good idea perfect for cheap and cheerful,

as for coming home i still dont know what to do, go myself a tent kit so probably looking for some good campsites, ideally would want to stop the two nights to make it worth while, where would you suggest would be good to stop for 2 nights, heard champagne is a nice region but not sure if theres much to see,

i have got friends in London so will be able to break the journey up on way home?

I guess i want to be somehwhere between dijon and reimes, but im more than happy to go off main road for a hour or so to get to nice place, small towns rather than big cities will be more like what were after!

thanks again guys

5. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

Just had a thought. Is August the French holiday month? I've never been there at that time, so don't know what it's like, or if you have to book ahead or anything. Anyone?

6. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

August is the French holiday month. For that reason I would never go to France in August.

Paris in August is completely deserted, the only people in town are American and British tourists. The Parisians all head to the beach and most places at both the Atlantic and Med are packed to the brim.

7. Posted by bertles86 (Inactive 108 posts) 7y

Try stopping at Reims or Dijon...

8. Posted by frimann85 (Budding Member 16 posts) 7y

Why make Grasse the last stop when you're not far from Cannes/Antibes/Nice?

The coasts in Southern France are really nice... And France in August tends to be warm...

9. Posted by peterross9 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hey all, formula1 is booked at Troyes on way down,

grasse is destination as visiting family, still plan to visit coast and Monaco, last thing to sort is the campsite/hotel coming north going to sit down with the mrs and decide what to do and get something booked!

Thanks again

pete