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Itinerary Europe

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1. Posted by DanielC1 (Budding Member, 2 posts) 14 Nov '09 00:00

DanielC1 has indicated that this thread is about France

Hello there,

I am new to this site and so just a little nervous. I live in York with my wife and three sons (13, 6 and 3 when travelling). We have a transit van sized campervan plus awning. So far we have enjoyed w/e breaks in the uk and holidays in Scotland, France (Vendee) and to Amsterdam in our van.

I would like to do a "mini tour" 2 - 3 weeks in Europe in August next year as an experience for the boys. I want to take in as much as possible (countries, cities, sites,) without the travelling becoming too much for them. I would like to take in a variety of scenery if possible mountains coast and I am happy to drive long distances in the evenings or overnight (sharing with my wife).

I know that this is a tall order in such a short space of time with children of different ages and I don't want my unrealistic expectations to spoil our holiday.

Can anyone suggest an itinerary that is manageable (or an alternative proposal) together with any tips and recommended "dos" and "don'ts" or point me in the direction of any other useful information?

Thank You

Daniel

2. Posted by montblanc (Budding Member, 12 posts) 14 Nov '09 00:43

Hello Daniel

The obvious choice it to come to France, travel suth then go either to Italy, back through Switzerland ove the St Gotthard Pass, then Germany, Belgium etc

But how about leaving France for another two or three week trip - just driving down th A6/7 and turning left will not show you anything of France - it is 95 different countries alone .

Instead plan a trip through the 'new' (really the oldest) European countries to the East - aim for Istanbul and see how fara realistic plan will take you there and back in three weeks

3. Posted by mpprh (Full Member, 109 posts) 14 Nov '09 02:07

A few points ...........

  • August is the busiest month in Europe for holidays
  • The direction of travel is towards the coast - so both N-S & E-W, then return !
  • August can be hot. South France can be over 40C (110F).
  • August is when the North of France take their holidays
  • France has possibly the best camping facilities
  • Coastal campsites will be full in August - so you need to book

I would aim for some days by the coast (although it will be busy) some in the hills and some by a river. The kids (and you) would benefit from somewhere to swim at each stop. I would also avoid crossing too many borders. Once out of EU the extra traffic can cause long delays.

So, a trip like this would be interesting enough, but not too tiring :

Calais - Paris - Orleans - Clermont Ferrand - Lodeve - Anduze - Sauve - Sommieres - Aigues-Mortes - Montpellier - Sete - Pezenas - Narbonne - Perpignan - Girona - Roses - Barcelona - Jaca - Pamplona - San Sebastian - Biarritz - Bordeaux 6 La Rochelle - Saumur - Tours - Blois - Paris - Calais

You can stay longer where you prefer or skip other places so you don't need to reserve every stop.

As it is August, you could have a quieter than usual trip into Paris.
The A75 autoroute ( Clermond Ferrand - Med ) is quiet, beautiful and free.
Clermont Ferrand - Lodeve is in Massif Central.
Lodeve to Sommieres is in Cevennes.
Perpignan to Girona is in Pyrenees.
San Sebastian to Biaritzz can be either coastal or mountain.
The Aigues Mortes to Rosas section is never far from the Med coast - either for an afternoon swim or a nights stay.
Similarly San Sebastian to La Rochelle is close to the Atlantic coast.
The last section follows Loire valley.

Check out the places on Wikipedia.
It is also worth tracing the route on Google Earth and noting additional places that may interest you.
If you develop an interest in Roman history, some of your route follows Via Domitia and there are plenty of remains in Arles, Nimes, Ambrussum, Agde, Loupian, Narbonne, Empuria Brava, etc.

BTW this is a trip I did in the 1970's in 2 weeks. Roads were quieter then, with no radar traps and it was just myself and my wife in an MGB with a very small tent.

Some photos : -snip-

You won't have time to see everything !

Peter

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

4. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member, 611 posts) 14 Nov '09 03:06

Hi Daniel,
I agree with the above in general.
We did a RTW trip in 02 and went thru Europe in June/July

http://www.gypsyjournal.com/Chapter.asp?ChapterID=765

You can see a few countries if you head for SE France, then back up via Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Holland etc.
It really depends entirely on your children and what keeps them amused.
We followed the sun, so didn't book everything, but were turned away a few times, so I'd recommend it, especially after a long drive.

Steve

5. Posted by DoniB (Budding Member, 3 posts) 16 Nov '09 06:21

Daniel. The itinerary outlined for you above is excellent, i'd only make one change and one addition. When at La Rochelle be sure to go over to to Ile de Re - which is an island that is absolutely spectacular with terrific camping and bike riding for the kids - beaches are great too. While passing Bordeaux (en route from Biarritz) - stop and stay a day or two and make sure to hit Cap Ferret - there are gorgeous Atlantic Ocean beaches in Cap Ferret not to mention excellent oysters (not far from Bordeaux). Bordeaux is a gorgeous city, a Unesco World Heritage site and has a fine zoo for the kids. I'm not too keen on Biarritz (having just been in Sept) rather 15 minutes south is St. Jean de Luz, a much more charming town. You'll find a bunch of great places to camp up and down the Atlantic Coast of France and/or stay (small hotels/inns etc.) with the kids. Bicarosse Beach and Bicarosse Lake are terrific for kids. (between Biarritz and La Rochelle).

Enjoy your trip!
Doni

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

6. Posted by patrickbyr (Budding Member, 5 posts) 25 Nov '09 06:52

have you considered Slovenia ? Ljubljana ? Its really starting to get some some good rankings in polls. Ljubljana has been voted best small city Location in the world. Slovenia is 5th in the world as a destination. In a article by the national geographic Ljubljana was rated as one of the most honest city. Polls are just to get you to consider , i would recommend it to any none European as a destination. For me what you get is a something completely different to the larger "mainstream" European countries. This all most a young Europe. Not over populated , mass marketed, franchised , in personal service country. You have small family businesses , who care about customers returning.
The country itself has from city locations with great theaters coffee bars , theaters , a lovely slow moving river running through the capital , trees, very "leafy" and relaxed vibe. If you head out of Ljubljana you have mountains, wild life that compares to many countries. Tradition as well , the Slovenes hold on to the tradition so much and its not just displayed for the tourist like in some countries ... these guys are celebrating there traditions in the low season also. -snip-

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]