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rach82
21-07-2013, 14:44
Hi there,

We are off to France for the first time for 19days leaving on the 1st September - this is also our first time out of the uk in our campervan.

We are having an afternoon of planning and research today but are struggling to even get started as we dont know France at all!! My first thought was to research regions and see what might suit us best and go from there??

We like rural, wild, picturesque, quiet,traditional away from it all places, not touristy, so little villages and towns would suit us best but we do want a mixture of everything!!

......... so can anyone reccomend some regions for us to begin??

We are arriving in Calais and were thinking of going down the east side and back up the west?

We would like to stay mainly on Aires - or any good campsites if you can reccomend? We only have a toilet in our campervan so will need showers. We have the latest edition of All the Aires but it doesnt mention on the 'key' if they have showers - or do they not in general?

Thanks for your help!

Rach & Mick

mark61
21-07-2013, 15:45
How far into France do you intend going, do you want to see the Alps, etc.

Nothing wrong in planning, it can be a lot of fun. Just remember to chuck all plans out the window once in Calais. :)

In a bin of course. ;)

Tbear
21-07-2013, 16:22
For a shower, get a watering can.

Leaving in September. No heating. Take it this is not going to be a long trip so I would not try and go the whole way around. We have only managed a about 50 miles a week as we have found too much to see and do.

I would think about municipal camp sites to do washing and get a nice shower. Good value but beware the way they charge. There is a basic + van + number of people + time of year + phase of moon, etc. Still tend to be a lot cheaper than commercial ones.

Our plan was to hit Calais and turn right. End of plan. Already been abandoned as we have ended up with a ferry to Dunkirk

Just go and enjoy. The All the Aires Book is full of Plan B's if there is a problem. You will be amazed how easy it is unless you try and buy petrol on a Sunday lunchtime without a local credit card so don't run too low

Richard

robjk
21-07-2013, 16:34
Hi there,

We are off to France for the first time for 19days leaving on the 1st September - this is also our first time out of the uk in our campervan.

We are having an afternoon of planning and research today but are struggling to even get started as we dont know France at all!! My first thought was to research regions and see what might suit us best and go from there??

We like rural, wild, picturesque, quiet,traditional away from it all places, not touristy, so little villages and towns would suit us best but we do want a mixture of everything!!

......... so can anyone reccomend some regions for us to begin??

We are arriving in Calais and were thinking of going down the east side and back up the west?

We would like to stay mainly on Aires - or any good campsites if you can reccomend? We only have a toilet in our campervan so will need showers. We have the latest edition of All the Aires but it doesnt mention on the 'key' if they have showers - or do they not in general?

Thanks for your help!

Rach & Mick



Hi going east in France 3 aires that we have used
Arques (saint Omer ) no hook up but from memory you can use the showers on the camp site who manage the aire
Stenay have showers and hook up
Pont-a-mousson showers hook up and washing machine

Most aires do not have showers and we only found these by word and mouth talking to others when we stopped

Enjoy yourselves but as some else has said we threw our plans out of the window and followed the weather forecast

Rob and sue

barryd
21-07-2013, 16:53
Ive been planning all day. You might like the Alsace region. Rolling hills and nice scenery mixed in with some lovely towns and villages. We did it last year and this year we are heading to Jura which is similar but a bit further south. Then deep into the French Alps towards Annecy (which is fantastic by the way) and up into the high mountains around Val D'iser before heading south west to the Ardeche and then the Pyrenees. We will take two months to do that though. for 19 days I wouldnt try to do too much.

Sparks
21-07-2013, 16:59
Post Deleted

Skar
21-07-2013, 17:21
Not sure what weather you are looking for but I would saythat the North West of Normandy would suit you, meander down, meander back. We will be in France at about the same time as you, no idea where as yet but if the weather is decent in the North we could be there or maybe in the Loire, dunno... ;)

rugbyken
21-07-2013, 17:47
With only 19 days would definitely stay around one region , we find that we can alternate aires & sites showering in the morning then staying on an aire etc going out sept you will be able to use ACSI sites as well as the municipal ones ,
Depending on your interests there are WW1 battlefields, WW2 beachheads and the bayeux tapestry all within easy reach and more quaint little villages than you can shake a stick at in ,
ie lovely aire at Honfleur almost in the shadow of the massive Pont de Normandy Honfleur has a stunning wooden cathedral built by the local shipbuilders few miles down the coast deauville a double town, wildcamping on the harbour, few miles more Pegasus bridge near Caen then bayeux and the Normandy beaches,
You will find aires by the sea in Normandy are expensive but one of my favourite places in France is cerisy la foret nr bayeux an aire where they have an international sculpture competition there and all round the town are pieces from previous years and a large old abbey

Gemani2
21-07-2013, 18:37
Get a 12v shower..we got ours from maplins ...if your stuck just get hot water in a bucket, pop in the 12v pump and hey presto ..your own power shower, one of the best things we bought for our boat, and take as back up on the camper...if you haven't got a bucket we cut the top off a large pop bottle and put the water in that, you'll be surprised how little water you use...not sure if they still sell them in maplins but sure you can get them on amazon

Beemer
21-07-2013, 18:46
We have a plan for France, but no doubt it will change...why? because we can!
Our trip in August is only for two weeks, and our intention is to go as far as the Bordeaux area (Gastes).
We will bimble down, taking two or three days, stopping at aires and municipal camp sites for showers and cycle trips.
We made the mistake a few years back of planning ahead and booking sites...a big mistake for us, financially and touring wise.
Now we have an outline plan, only..... and let France do the rest.
So many places...so little time.... at the moment!! :wave:

barryd
21-07-2013, 18:52
If your going to do Normandy you probably have time to do a bit of Brittany as well. Motorhomes everywhere!

witzend
21-07-2013, 19:23
Route des Grandes Alpes, la plus belle des itinérances routières (http://www.grande-traversee-alpes.com/fr/route-des-grandes-alpes)

France's Scenic Route - guide to driving in France (http://www.drivethroughfrance.com/scenicroute.htm)

Battlefields of WW2 by Paul Reed (http://battlefieldsww2.50megs.com)

Most beautiful villages of France (http://www.francethisway.com/most-beautiful-villages.php)

You should get some ideas from these links and two books I'd recommend are Secret France & Back Roads France I bought from Amazon some time ago

kernowprickles
21-07-2013, 19:28
If you like Marmite (or peanut butter!) take it with you; a large jar of Marmite (IF you can find any!!) was over 8 euros!! Peanut butter was around 4 euros for a smallish jar. Look out for Lidls. Aldi, Netto and Dia, as they are much cheaper than the other supermarkets. Also buy your fuel in supermarkets, it's a lot cheaper than roadside garages.

We have not long come back from our first trip with a motorhome to France, and it is sooo much easier! Less traffic, lots of (mainly free) Aires - can't wait to go back!!! We didn't use satnav to find the Aires, but relied on their description in All the Aires, and a good atlas - we used the AA Big Road Atlas France 2013. (Take Post-its if you use this, as quite a short journey can cover several pages, so I numbered the Post-its to save frantically looking for pages while en route. They are also handy for marking pages in the Aires book.) Mostly we found the Aires quite easily, only had 2 that "got away"!

Good luck, enjoy your trip, and hope you have good weather!

KP

spiderwoman
21-07-2013, 20:26
We spent 3 weeks in June in France and paid only 10 euro for camping as we used free aires (listed in the aires book already mentioned). None of them had showers, most you had to pay a small amount for electric. For your first nights stay (depending on what time you arrive in France I would recommend Wissant as it is only a few miles from the tunnel. We used it for our first and last night in France. Has the advantage to that it is a short walk through a small housing estate to a lovely beach!
Spiderwoman

Devadave
21-07-2013, 21:02
If you have a GPS visit the French website for location and info download the aire locations and suck it and see, we have just come back from trip down west coast from st Malo to Santander..great fun:camper:

i-Camping car : Le site d'informations sur les aires de services et le camping car (http://www.i-campingcar.fr/accueil.htm)

barryd
21-07-2013, 22:20
Route des Grandes Alpes, la plus belle des itinérances routières (http://www.grande-traversee-alpes.com/fr/route-des-grandes-alpes)

France's Scenic Route - guide to driving in France (http://www.drivethroughfrance.com/scenicroute.htm)

Battlefields of WW2 by Paul Reed (http://battlefieldsww2.50megs.com)

Most beautiful villages of France (http://www.francethisway.com/most-beautiful-villages.php)

You should get some ideas from these links and two books I'd recommend are Secret France & Back Roads France I bought from Amazon some time ago

Brilliant links thanks. I have done the southern half of the Grandes Alpes last year and plan to the other half this summer.

colpot
22-07-2013, 08:27
We have just come back from a "planned" trip to Brittany (planned as in we knew we wanted to go to Brittany!) and we didnt get out of Normandy.
Five years ago when we first went over in the Motorhome we drove (boy did we drive!) the Loire Valley - but didnt see much apart from France Passion sites and Campsites. We learned our lesson quickly and so visits since then (even a trip down South to Pte Grimaud to see relatives) we have made the decision to limit the driving time so we take time to enjoy places more.
Have Fun

tim m154
22-07-2013, 10:45
Our plan for last years holiday in Europe was the ferry bookings, after that there was no plan, you cannot get the plan wrong that way, just head off and when you get there that's where you are headed!!!! We travelled through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Lichenstein, Switzerland, back into Germany and then into France, then up to the Normandy coast for the last five days, When we get off the ferry its a case of Left, Right or straight on! Whatever you do enjoy it.

rebbyvid
22-07-2013, 13:28
Five of us going 1st sept so may be on the same ferry,we are going to the show at Dusseldorf but will be about France for a day or so.
have a look here
Blank Page (http://www.rebbyvid.co.uk/#/more-links/4542257529)

Covey
22-07-2013, 15:13
The Beast and I are on the midnight ferry to Calais on the 6th Aug and my plan is to decide which way to go once I arrive in Calais.

One outline idea is to travel up to north of Amsterdam and follow the coast along to the Baltic and then swing south as autumn arrives and spend the winter in the Algarve or maybe southern Spain somewhere, on the other hand.................................

The only fixed date is that I have to be back in the UK by the middle of July for no other reason than I need to get my vehicle MOT'd.

What do those MH owners do who want to go off for longer than 12 months and don't want to drive all the way back to the UK for an MOT?:anyone:

carol
22-07-2013, 18:29
Sounds like a plan! Great stuff.....enjoy :wave:

Annette Doyle
22-07-2013, 20:31
I'm planning to head to the Auvergne (Central Massif) early Sept for three weeks, having read an interesting article in April edition of Practical Motorhome. Anyone else been this way and can recommend sites to stay at and places to visit?

rebbyvid
22-07-2013, 20:37
What do those MH owners do who want to go off for longer than 12 months and don't want to drive all the way back to the UK for an MOT?:anyone:
Wouldn't think you had a choice if its registered here.

carol
22-07-2013, 20:37
I'll be arriving in Roscoff on 3rd September - no real plans - anybody planning to be in Brittany around then, please let me know cos am looking for travelling companions!

deanjo
23-07-2013, 18:20
Route des Grandes Alpes, la plus belle des itinérances routières (http://www.grande-traversee-alpes.com/fr/route-des-grandes-alpes)

France's Scenic Route - guide to driving in France (http://www.drivethroughfrance.com/scenicroute.htm)

Battlefields of WW2 by Paul Reed (http://battlefieldsww2.50megs.com)

Most beautiful villages of France (http://www.francethisway.com/most-beautiful-villages.php)

You should get some ideas from these links and two books I'd recommend are Secret France & Back Roads France I bought from Amazon some time ago

the first link posted here is carrying a corrupt file from what I can make out.

shortcircuit
23-07-2013, 18:41
"What do those MH owners do who want to go off for longer than 12 months and don't want to drive all the way back to the UK for an MOT?"

Buy a new MH every 3 years? :wave:

FrankK
23-07-2013, 19:37
the first link posted here is carrying a corrupt file from what I can make out.

Riom Aire is good for 1 night. be aware of the distances involved. You need a site with a shower block after a few days.

Sand55
23-07-2013, 22:32
Rach , hope you enjoy your trip. :) Sounds great.

vwalan
23-07-2013, 23:32
hi short circuit . have a vehicle thats mot exempt . like mine .
shame that covey as bought the wrong sort of vehicle . never mind ,more planning for his next vehicle .

David & Ann
24-07-2013, 04:06
1) Never plan a route. As the days go by you are way of route. Take it as it comes.
2) Shower, get a watering can with a rose. Fill it up with cold water leaving enough space to add a kettle of hot water. Strip to the bare necessities, Hubby can do the controlled pouring. Then it is your turn to do the same. Out in the open is best.
3) Gasoline (diesel) try travelling with a full tank always. Fill up at every opportunity at large shopping centers as suggested in earlier posts. A lot of places have card only payment so be aware, especially at weekends when they are shut. There is nothing like being short on fuel, you waste a lot of time hanging around waiting for the pumps to open.

Covey
24-07-2013, 07:13
vwalan............... Is your vehicle MOT exempt because of age or type?

We used to have a saying in the Army "any fool can be uncomfortable!" and I don't plan on discomfort whilst trying out this MH living business!! Trouble is that modern comfort comes with a requirement for power so we cover the vehicle with solar panels and pray for sun.

One does like to hear the clink of ice in one's glass of Bombay and Tonic. I did try Bombay and Tonic in a plastic glass but it just does not taste the same so it was out with the shatterproof plastic glasses and back in with the glass (plus suitable padding to ensure the integrity of the contents!) :cheers:

vwalan
24-07-2013, 08:49
hi. the trailer is a living van under 3,500kg the truck can only pull a living van thats category 13 .the truck is category 35 all on the v112g exemption list.https://www.dvla.gov.uk/dvla/forms/onlineforms.aspx
drop down on this link to v112g .
lots interesting forms on here though.

witzend
24-07-2013, 11:43
the first link posted here is carrying a corrupt file from what I can make out.

Hi the link to the site works for me and the site is working as it should do as far as I can tell please explain

deanjo
24-07-2013, 23:10
Hi the link to the site works for me and the site is working as it should do as far as I can tell please explain
as I clicked on the link my screen froze and wouldn't allow me to do anything,had to turn the laptop off by holding the power button in,spybot and registry mechanics both came up with problems numbering into the teens.I have since ran these programmes to sort the problems out,everything ok on my laptop but I wont be trying the link again

ps................tried the link tonight from a different pc on a different broad band provider and it worked.

but as I say problems last night,needing re-boots

Covey
25-07-2013, 08:31
vwalan..........

What exactly is a "living van" and how is a living van different from a caravan? I assume the tractor unit has some form of hook-up in the rear to pull the living van. Is this the same as some of the rigs I have seen on CC sites where there is a huge trailer converted for living in and pulled by a pickup type truck with a hook-up unit in the rear cargo area.

vwalan
25-07-2013, 09:49
UKMotorhomes.net - MOTs for Motorhomes (http://www.ukmotorhomes.net/motorhome-mot.shtml)
this is a good explanation of a living van ..
mine is a mini artic uses a truck type hitch on the tow unit ,in the avatar . mine puts 50%of the weight of the loaded trailer on to the truck .
to be an artic at least 20%of the load must be imposed on the tow unit . most american style fifth wheel caravans arent an artic . they just use the hitch or have a ball type in the pickup bed . also my trailer uses air brakes . the electric brakes used on american trailer dont have type aproval in europe for heavy goods vehicles over 3,500kg tow units .
i got into all this by accident 13 yrs ago ,thought it would be good to convert a mini artic .it opened my eyes and have since helped several meet the rules and regs .
i converted my mitzy from a tipper . it was our local grave diggers tipper . shortened the chassis and built the new upper chassis anf fitted the fifth wheel and the compressor set up. the truck is on hydraulic brakes , but the trailer is air .
hope this helps feel free to ask questions . i built mine with continuous advice from vosa . also lowered the train weight so others can drive it on their c1+e licenses.

lebesset
25-07-2013, 11:35
UKMotorhomes.net - MOTs for Motorhomes (http://www.ukmotorhomes.net/motorhome-mot.shtml)
this is a good explanation of a living van ..
mine is a mini artic uses a truck type hitch on the tow unit ,in the avatar . mine puts 50%of the weight of the loaded trailer on to the truck .
to be an artic at least 20%of the load must be imposed on the tow unit . most american style fifth wheel caravans arent an artic . they just use the hitch or have a ball type in the pickup bed . also my trailer uses air brakes . the electric brakes used on american trailer dont have type aproval in europe for heavy goods vehicles over 3,500kg tow units .
i got into all this by accident 13 yrs ago ,thought it would be good to convert a mini artic .it opened my eyes and have since helped several meet the rules and regs .
i converted my mitzy from a tipper . it was our local grave diggers tipper . shortened the chassis and built the new upper chassis anf fitted the fifth wheel and the compressor set up. the truck is on hydraulic brakes , but the trailer is air .
hope this helps feel free to ask questions . i built mine with continuous advice from vosa . also lowered the train weight so others can drive it on their c1+e licenses.

alan , I would have thought it was easy enough to have a sensible rig like yours drivable on a B + E licence eg

short chassis tranny or similar crewcab , MAM 3.5 , unladen weight , say , 2.5 tonnes , can tow MAM 2.5 tonne trailer , 500Kg on fifth wheel , don't know what the trailer brake regs would be ...would the 2.5 tonne trailer mean the imposed load on the axles or include the 500Kg imposed on the truck ?

have I missed something ?

witzend
25-07-2013, 21:10
Deejo said -as I clicked on the link my screen froze and wouldn't allow me to do anything,had to turn the laptop off by holding the power button in,spybot and registry mechanics both came up with problems numbering into the teens.I have since ran these programmes to sort the problems out,everything ok on my laptop but I wont be trying the link again

just done a search for spybot and registy mechanics and think they may be your problem just Google them and see seems like a lot of users are having trouble like you mention

vwalan
25-07-2013, 21:23
hi lebbeset lynton build 3.500kg gvw weight trailers for things like transits .
as a caravan the trailer isnt moted the truck is a class 7 .
mine was originally a hgv mot on the vw lt50 that it came with . i only found out about the exemptions when i wanted to change the trailer . vosa were helpfull 13 yrs ago. later when i built the mitzy i contracted them again to make sure i built it right . i have been involved in several builds now . built them to what suits the owner and vosa as well. different specs for different vehicles . 15659
this ,i hope you can see it ok .is the iveco daily mini artic . built a few of these.
on those its easier to use hydraulic to electric that works a linear actuator that pulls cable brakes on the trailer .
mine uses air to push cable brakes now . originally was bar brakes on the trailer but i found going off road i was always smacking the bars ,cable is more forgiving . mind dont think its meant to follow landrovers etc . doesnt do bad for an 1987 trailer .

Gee
25-07-2013, 22:44
hi lebbeset lynton build 3.500kg gvw weight trailers for things like transits .
as a caravan the trailer isnt moted the truck is a class 7 .
mine was originally a hgv mot on the vw lt50 that it came with . i only found out about the exemptions when i wanted to change the trailer . vosa were helpfull 13 yrs ago. later when i built the mitzy i contracted them again to make sure i built it right . i have been involved in several builds now . built them to what suits the owner and vosa as well. different specs for different vehicles . 15659
this ,i hope you can see it ok .is the iveco daily mini artic . built a few of these.
on those its easier to use hydraulic to electric that works a linear actuator that pulls cable brakes on the trailer .
mine uses air to push cable brakes now . originally was bar brakes on the trailer but i found going off road i was always smacking the bars ,cable is more forgiving . mind dont think its meant to follow landrovers etc . doesnt do bad for an 1987 trailer .

Is this one of your VWAlan. Pity I'm about £20,000 short. Bonus with selectable 4wd and only 7000mls

mini artic unit +exhibition hospitality trailer | eBay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/mini-artic-unit-exhibition-hospitality-trailer-/251302239133?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item3a82c7db9d)

Covey
26-07-2013, 07:01
Hmmmmmmmmmm..........

A crew cab and a converted trailer might prove an interesting combination!! I have been looking at the options for towing a Smartcar or 107 type vehicle cos the Beast is a little large for the run to the shops!! I can pull 2000kgs behind The Beast in theory (the vehicle performance would be dire!!) but with a cab/crew cab one could keep up with all the emission stuff by upgrading the front end and the rear can take care of itself!

mark61
26-07-2013, 07:32
Lots of cool options. Would consider the idea if I was living in a van or had real long holidays.

International Aid Vehicles | Off-Road Units for Inaccessible Areas | Vipex (http://www.vipex.co.uk/vipex-vehicles/off-road-artic/)

rach82
28-07-2013, 15:25
Just wanted to say a quick thanks for all the useful information............ so thanks everyone! :cheers:

vwalan
28-07-2013, 16:13
bit long that one . i find twenty foot trailer is fine . they do come up . was one last year on ebay for 800quid . needed work but refit and then get a tow unit . i reckon 15 grand could have seen it looking nice . hopefully heres some of mine before and after,table end is the front on the neck of the trailer.

Julie watt
04-08-2013, 09:06
Going to France for the first time in October , found loads of useful information .
Thanks everyone

sak
04-08-2013, 12:44
Have a look on this website, some really good places to stay and very reasonably priced. Les Castels : 41 Campings 4 & 5 étoiles en France dans des sites d'exception ! (http://www.les-castels.com)
We went in June.
Keep away from the municipal site in La Rochelle if you don't have windows in your van, we got asked to leave and that was after we had paid, but got our money back, I was going to say you never noticed the german tanks coming so how did you see I don't have side windows but i couldn't be bothered with him.


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