Motoring - France - johnny
Having had out holiday flights 'withdrawn' by RyanAir , we now face a long drive to the Dordogne this summer. Do we trust the internet routeplanners (which seem to route by utilising maximum percentage of distance on Motorway) or can someone recomend a good route from Cherbourg to Belves (20m west of Sarlat).
Motoring - France - lauriew
Johnny,
The best route planner I have found is on:
www.theaa.co.uk
This is accurate,upto date and you can put "vias" in.
You can also have "with or without motorways".
Check it out...its free.
Motoring - France - Podge
Can I recommend that you also try the routeplanner on viamichilin.com I have found it very useful in the past and it gives a number of options (quickest,shortest,no-tolls,etc) so it should be able to address your preferences.

Podge.
Motoring - France - Podge
Mind you, it'll work best if you spell it correctly! that's www.viamichelin.com Doh!

Podge
Motoring - France - Oz
Also check out:

www.maporama.fr

- in which you can enter not just the start and destination towns, but also the street names.
Oz (as was)
Motoring - France - Pugugly {P}
Try Travellers' France - Arthur Eperon. Good old fashioned, friendly book. Avoids the Autoroutes, Always in PU's glovebox when in France.
Motoring - France - PhilW
Depends if you want to get there as fast as poss. or amble down gently, stopping on the way. If the latter get a good road atlas and a good guide (as above or the Dorling Kindersley one or the Blue Guide) and plan your route accordingly. also try the Bison Fute website - tells you which routes to avoid on the really busy days and advises on "scenic" routes
Motoring - France - smokie
www.mappy.com

But sanity check any routes these sites give you. One of them takes you from Calais to Le Mans via Paris, when there is a much better alternative at about the same mileage. Road directions etc are good though
Motoring - France - Mike H
Yep, a sanity check is a good idea on all these route planners.

I wanted a route from Portsmouth to Strasbourg, travelling on the ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre. So I punched in the details and it directed me to Dover, then via Calais to Strasbourg. So then I tried "via Le Havre"... so it directed me to Dover, across to Calais, then down to Le Havre, then across to Strasbourg.

It was at this point when I realised that these route planners still have some way to go!!
Motoring - France - CM
Another website is www.mappy.fr

It gives an option to go express (via auto-route) or not. Having lived in France for a few years and driven the length and breadth of the country, I only ever used a road map. Basically you know that the autoroutes are fairly good except towards the end of August.

Having lived in the Bordeaux region, which isn't a million miles from where you are going, I always used to leave Cherbourg and head towards Tours. I will admit that the road from Cherbourg to Tours is not exceptional but it is free. Tours itself is a pain in the backside and will take about 30 mins to get around.

The autoroute from Tours south to Libourne is not that expensive (IIRC it used to be about 160 francs). Libourne to Belves is about 70 miles of quite busy road
Motoring - France - CM
On hindsight this is not the best route. Go to www.mappy.fr and put in Tours to Belves. Half autoroute half not.
Motoring - France - CMark {P}
"we now face a long drive to the Dordogne this summer" - now this is the sort of problem I would like to have ;-)

Half the fun for me is the route planning even before the car turns a wheel.

In my opinion, only those fellows at Michelin can get anywhere near to our guys at Ordinance Survey when it comes to producing beautiful and accurate maps. A little over a tenner should get you a wire-bound Michelin Motoring Atlas of France covering the whole country at 1:200 000. The same outlay again will buy you a copy of the Michelin Red Guide which lists all the hotels and restaurants. Any place underlined in red on the map has an entry in the Guide.

All of this is available for free from the viamichelin.com website as mentioned above by Podge.

Relax, take your time and enjoy!

CMark
Motoring - France - Humpy
You'll find that the National and Department roads are much more easily negotiated at the weekends since most of the lorries are parked up. During the week I'd stick with the autoroutes.
Motoring - France - TrevorP
I always (unless AA says roadworks) go:-

Cherbourg - Caen - Alencon - Le Mans - Tours -

on the RN's

- then around Tours and to Poitiers on Auto route

(thence to Limoges, Toulouse and Spain, but that's another story)
Motoring - France - johnny
Trevor
Interesting.
Mappy.com sends me via Nantes & Bordeaux
Michelin routes via Nantes and Angouleme.
Motoring - France - CM
Bordeaux is far too far west for you.
Motoring - France - PhilW
I take CM's point but that route to Bordeaux is pretty good. There is now a new stretch of motorway (now there's a concept we have forgotten in Britain!) from Avranches at the foot of the Cotentin peninsular to Rennes (completed last Autumn I think) and from Rennes to Nantes is "Grande Vitesse" - motorway quality but not classed as motorway. From Nantes to Bordeaux is, I think, all motorway though there may be a few miles near Niort that still isn't. East from Bordeaux to Sarlat is non motorway and I am not familiar with it. This route therefore avoids long stretches from Caen to Tours which are non-motorway (Ithink)and can be very busy with lots of trucks. Now you can spend hours studying that Michelin map book planning the best route for you and before you know it your holiday will be here! Enjoy!
Motoring - France - PB
Mappy.com is the best I think. And stop at the first Aire to buy an up to date France map. When I look at mine from a few years ago it is astounding how much the French motorway system has expanded.
As I remember from the last couple of years, the route you need is now motorway almost all the way, the only significant missing link is the 100km or so near Alencon.
What are the flight options now? We were planning to fly to Bordeaux for our similar trip this year.
PB.
Motoring - France - johnny
I was delighted to snap up tickets flying from Bournemouth to Bergerac (Buzz) in late june £250 for a family of four - plus another £280 to hire a car for a fortnight.Not so pleased when most of the flights were cancelled from Bournemouth following RyanAir takeover - hence the long drive. Looked at moving to Stansted departure but flying the same dates came up at £750, also very early departures and late arrival back in UK.
I love driving in France but 2 small children don't...
Motoring - France - Phil I
If practical you could stop off at one of the very nice seaside places on the west coast of Cotentin Peninsula. Lovely beaches and provided you miss the french holiday period plenty of available accomodation. Kids would enjoy it and it would break up the journey for them. Have a good hol. whichever way u go.
Motoring - France - CM

What are the flight options now? We were planning to fly
to Bordeaux for our similar trip this year.
PB.


My colleague has just booked a flight to Bordeaux in late March for £79 return (I think possibly from Heathrow!)
Motoring - France - No Do$h
If you live near Bournemouth have you looked into the Condor high-speed from Poole to Cherbourg? Doesn't cut down time in the car but will reduce your overall journey time by a fair few hours.
Motoring - France - johnny
If you live near Bournemouth have you looked into the Condor
high-speed from Poole to Cherbourg? Doesn't cut down time in
the car but will reduce your overall journey time by a
fair few hours.

Tried the Condor online booking - didn't work so i booked Brittany Ferries Poole to Cherbourg slow outward, express return, £330 which seemed the best deal for a western channel crossing. You can end up spending a fortune on a long crossing -
How do people afford to take a caravan to st malo in high season?
Motoring - France - PhilW
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I think to some extent it depends on how much holiday time you get. If you only get 10 days or so the extra day or so of driving (each way) from Calais to the south makes big hole in your holiday so the extra money may be worth it. We're lucky enough to get a long break in the summer so use cheaper short crossings and count the journey as part of the holiday. Also take account of the fact that we don't decide exactly where we are going until we arrive in Calais so a long crossing may not even shorten the journey if we decide to go to Germany/Austria/ etc!! Indecisive? Moi?
Motoring - France - wemyss
I think there's some kind of cartel operating with these ferry prices in recent years. we always travel on the continent each year and the prices appear to have quadrupled of late.
Last year went on the Poole Cherbourg with a single taken from the internet. Quite reasonable about £100.
Coming back up three weeks later we cut across to calais to get the cheapest crossing. Went to P&O booking office and it was £273 for a single across to Dover.
Tried the office next door Sea France and it was about the same to a few pence.
£273 to travel 20 odd miles has to be a rip off to me.
Always used to use Brittany Ferries to St Malo which in my opinion is the best of the lot for shooting down the west coast, but their prices have gone way over the top.
But the prices which are charged to hauliers are still reasonable so it's the private car owners who seem to be taking the brunt.
Motoring - France - PhilW
Alvin,
You are right about a cartel - prices and price rises are far too similar to be a coincidence and I'm afraid they had you by the short and curlies when you were in Calais presumably with GB passport, GB car, GB residence. I expect they took your money with glee! The b****rds! I'm surprised they allowed you to buy a one-way ticket in the first place. Mind you it stops us buying two cheap one day returns for a tenner and using one going out and one coming back several week later - they check these things and if you haven't used the return half they charge you extortionately to get back in. Did you think of buying a RETURN ticket in Calais - probably a lot cheaper!
Motoring - France - wemyss
Phil, Yes I think they have caught on to the cheapo 10 quid ticket and not coming back.
I've used this one myself in the past going out with tokens collected for a one day shopping trip to Calais and not coming back.
Then gone to St Malo on the return journey and bought a one way to Portsmouth quite reasonably.
I will do some research this year to find a better way after the £273 rip off.
Maybe buying a single from St Malo of the internet for the return journey and then the £10.00 cheapo out.
I,m told although I haven't checked that a return bought from brittany ferries startin from St malo is cheaper than the other way round although I can't see how this helps.
What I do know is that last year my daughter and family did very well.
The son in laws friends Dad runs a haulage company doing continental journies and he booked the standard eurotunnel journey for them for £70.00 total.
Presumably they have a heavily discounted account with eurotunnel and can use this for cars also.
Motoring - France - smokie
Sommeone once told me that the expensive single journey is 1) to catch out people doing what you did and 2) to take advantage of the large number of personally imported motors
Motoring - France - CM
I asked once why I couldn't just get 2 away day returns and was told that if you didn't use both parts of the ticket you would be billed on your credit card for the difference (ie making it up to the cost of buying an expensive 1 way). I am not sure the legality of this or whether it was just the ticket person trying to warn me off.
Motoring - France - No Do$h
Tried the Condor online booking - didn't work so i booked
Brittany Ferries Poole to Cherbourg slow outward, express return, £330 which
seemed the best deal for a western channel crossing. You can
end up spending a fortune on a long crossing -
How do people afford to take a caravan to st malo
in high season?

Good grief! Although I live in Poole I'm going Dover Calais in a couple of weeks as the overall journey is quicker to Geneva, even allowing for a high-speed from Poole.

Total cost for 8 day return with car and 4 adults £135 with P&O. I didn't even look at Poole, but then I'm heading the other way.

Try www.ferry.co.uk for cheap fares.
Motoring - France - PB
>>My colleague has just booked a flight to Bordeaux in late March for £79 return (I think possibly from Heathrow!)<<

do you know who with? Thanks.
PB.
Motoring - France - CM
>>My colleague has just booked a flight to Bordeaux in late
March for £79 return (I think possibly from Heathrow!)<<
do you know who with? Thanks.
PB.


BA from Heathrow.
Motoring - France - patpending
Alvin said "Coming back up three weeks later we cut across to calais to get the cheapest crossing. Went to P&O booking office and it was £273 for a single across to Dover."

WOW!

I would have tried Eurotunnel. They normally have very good capacity and I think their top price standard single has never been above £180? A Brit could travel single tomorrow from France for £112.50. The 5-day return can be very good value too...

AND for £10 you can join the Eurotunnel Club and get 10% off and save for free crossings!

but using the internet has to be the key to savings today if you don't mind exactly which route or carrier...

pat
Motoring - France - wemyss
I think it depends on the time and day Pat.
We arrived at Calais about teatime on Saturday afternoon in August of last year and was a bad weekend for travelling with seemingly all of France on the roads returning from holiday.
In retrospect we should probably have gone to Eurotunnel to see if they were better prices but after travelling up from Portugal we were ready for home and still a long way to go.
Incidentally far more tragic than the cost of the ferry was an accident we passed on the exit road from the port.
A British families vehicle had turned over on the long sweeping bend coming out of the port, no more than quarter of a mile from coming off the ferry.
It looked very serious with French paramedics giving resuscitation to two of them at the roadside. With their holiday luggage strewn around the vehicle it was heartbreaking to think they had just left the ferry to start their holiday and this catastrophe had happened.
But getting back to ferry prices the year before we paid around £200 for a standard return with Brittany ferries to St Malo in October and last year it was over £400 in August. But they do have a great advantage in travelling overnight on the outward journey which means you leave the ferry at about 8am in the morning and straight on to the road for Rennes. And also further down the west coast than the other ferries.
I hadn't realised until last year how long the Cherbourg peninsular was.
Motoring - France - Alfafan {P}
Our trip to Le Mans for the last 2 years and this year via Newhaven-Dieppe on the Seacat (2 hour trip) cost around £112 return for car and up to 5 people. Had to book it pre-Jan 31 and over the net, but it's worth looking on the site for any special offers.
 

Value my car