First trip to France in the van in April...?

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First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby WestWey » 19 Mar 2013, 22:22

So, me and L and the kids are off to France second week of April and thinking of heading to the Loire Valley as it's a bit south so might be 'a bit' warmer...

Does that sound sensible to all you seasoned travellers or are we just mad to be doing so at this time of year?!? :?

Ah well, too late now...

The van is to be booked in for a service/check up before we go and I'm getting my lists of spares/things to take sorted to go with the Euro Breakdown Cover...

However, still looking into where to camp, stop off.... I've been reading some of the other France related posts, but any tips on decent campsites would be ace. Also, I'm only just catching up with this Aires / France Passion stuff...are there more posts/threads on this I wonder...

Feeling totally unprepared. But also looking forward to it! :D
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ian Hulley » 19 Mar 2013, 22:29

We are going back here .. http://en.larolandiere.com/ there is an Aire in the local town and lots of France Passion places as it is near Chinon at the South Eastern edge of the Loire Valley.

It's only 300ish miles from Calais so not far.

Type France Passion into the search box ... there are many references and a few threads on just that subject. Enjoy :ok

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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ralf85 » 19 Mar 2013, 22:37

This is your first time. Well there are some on here who go for Aires, but as I always say if you have kids find campsites with playgrounds, so they can let off steam while you cook supper at the end of the day. Take at least a Michelin campsite book which tells you which sites are open so early in the season as not all will be, so recommendations may not open just yet. I ask because realistically you will only be doing 200+ miles a day (unless you use the autoroutes). How long are you going for?
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby WestWey » 19 Mar 2013, 22:38

That's great, thanks Ian!

I have looked at that campsite you linked to but sadly it doesn't appear to open until later on in April. I've bookmarked it for future reference though :D
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby WestWey » 19 Mar 2013, 22:41

Ralf85 wrote:This is your first time. Well there are some on here who go for Aires, but as I always say if you have kids find campsites with playgrounds, so they can let off steam while you cook supper at the end of the day. Take at least a Michelin campsite book which tells you which sites are open so early in the season as not all will be, so recommendations may not open just yet. I ask because realistically you will only be doing 200+ miles a day (unless you use the autoroutes). How long are you going for?
:)


We're going for a week in total. Yes, with kids I'm more looking at the campsite options I guess. Have got a campsite book and checking out tips on here to see if likely to be open when we go. Thanks for the advice! :)
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ralf85 » 19 Mar 2013, 22:50

Well to be honest I would suggest that you don't travel too far otherwise you will spend too much time on the road and not enough chillin with your family. Whatever, you decide to do have fun. Oh and don't forget to tell your insurance company where you are going and for how long. Have you got breakdown cover over there?
:?:
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby WestWey » 19 Mar 2013, 22:59

Totally agree, Patrick. That's one of the reasons I thought the Loire Valley might be a good option i.e. a bit southerly but not too far. Yes, got Euro breakdown cover etc.. Thanks for the reminder about telling the insurance co. about what we're up to though!! :)
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ralf85 » 19 Mar 2013, 23:07

Sounds about right. If you are interested I can recommend a wine co-op in that part of the world (It's closed on Mondays and for two hours at lunchtime). You can do a bit of wine tasting and see if you want to buy a few bottles. They even do a fizzy white and pink which are fun too. I will dig out the details tomorrow if you want.
:)
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ian Hulley » 19 Mar 2013, 23:13

Ralf85 wrote:Well to be honest I would suggest that you don't travel too far otherwise you will spend too much time on the road and not enough chillin with your family.

Agreed, as I said the Loire is around 300 miles so not a long run on the Peage should you choose to eat the (frankly pretty mundane) miles from Calais, Rouen, Le Mans, Tours etc.

Ralf85 wrote: Oh and don't forget to tell your insurance company where you are going and for how long. Have you got breakdown cover over there?


As my friend says but also remember to tell your credit card company too, just in case. In these days of no passport stamps I tend to use my card for lpg or a small shop just to officially place us where we were on a certain day. Oh and buying 5 litre boxes of cheeky own brand Merlot from L'Eclerc is far easier than having to find/park/survive the Calais 'Hypermarche' and still very cheap. Also try local artisan goods especially the cheeses and breads :pimp Cidre cheese with Torchon ham in a fresh baguette 8) :pimp
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ralf85 » 20 Mar 2013, 11:13

Right mate, on the way out you might want to drive down the N154, a lovely road ( a number of us use it all the time). Then you could take the A12 towards Dreux and stay at the camping municipal at St Remy sur Avre. Tip - you cannot turn left across the traffic to get to it. What you do is turn right and go around a small traffic island so that you face across the main road and wait for the lights to change. Cross over and take the first right turn (about 30 metres) and follow the camping signs. The people who run the site do speak English, so once you have shown them your passport to check in they will look after you. If you don't want to cook walk back towards the village. When you see the kebab shop turn left. About 100 metres along on the left is an excellent pizza restaurant, where you can also buy wine by the jug, always a lot cheaper way of buying wine in French restaurants and perfectly quaffable. There is a bakers shop behind the village square on the opposite side of the road for fresh croissants, baguettes, pain au raisin, pain au chocolat (I'm dribbling now) - you will enjoy it. There is also a small Aldi type supermarket there for emergencies like jam and toilet paper (you must use French stuff as English toilet paper contains dodgy chemicals in it (most French sites do not provide toilet paper).

Cave Cooperartive du Vendomois, 41100 Villiers sur Loir, out in the coutryside. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00. One of the places that I found in the guide 'The vine art of plonk' (advice about how not to buy from expensive chateaux). If you visit, I suggest you ask to taste some of the cheaper wines as some of these have often won medals and I think taste better. If you don't like - don't buy. Try the Charme aux Dames fizzy too. You can pay with a debit or credit card. Right that's the wine done.

On the way back, you might give Camping Sainte Clair at Neufchatel-en-Bray a visit. At this site you order croissants, baguettes and pay for them as you register. You collect them in the morning. They normally also do food in their restaurant in the evening, not fancy but wholesome. There is also a large supermarket nearby for self catering and chocolate.

Lastly, to use a credit/debit card in France, whether for buying petrol or in a supermarket, you must press the equivalent of the green button first before entering your pin, then press the green button again afterwards. I have had to explain this to desparate Brits several times trying to fill up at un manned garages. That's all for now. Bonne vacance.
:ok
Patrick
By the way, both the sites mentioned have electric hookup if you need it.
Last edited by Ralf85 on 21 Mar 2013, 09:02, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ian Hulley » 20 Mar 2013, 12:30

We like the Vieux Carion Merlot from L'Eclerc and a nice Gamay :pimp There are some really fine Rosees down in/around Chinon, strawberries and cream flavour Image

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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby WestWey » 20 Mar 2013, 19:42

That's brilliant, thanks so much for all the brilliant info and advice. :ok
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ralf85 » 20 Mar 2013, 20:10

I'm jealous that you live so close to the ferries. You lucky lucky b*****d!
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby WestWey » 20 Mar 2013, 20:17

Ralf85 wrote:I'm jealous that you live so close to the ferries. You lucky lucky b*****d!
:ok


:) Well, it's a slow trundle to the M20 from Hastings though! We're Eurotunnelling it this time around...

The two sites you've mentioned look great. Going to try and get sorted by the end of the week.
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Re: First trip to France in the van in April...?

Postby Ralf85 » 20 Mar 2013, 20:22

Try not to run the ducks over at the St Remy sur Avre site. There are normally lots of them pottering around. They like bits of bread if you have some spare.
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