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Any experts on France here ? - planning a road trip

james3200

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13 Aug 2007
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296
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CROYDON
Hi all

I am hoping there are some members on here who go on self drive holidays in France

I am planing on taking my girlfriend over to France on Holiday on a self drive (with my new car :p ) late August early September for about a week.

Planning on going via Normandy, down to the Loire, western France, Dordogne, and back through Northern France to Blighty

Looking for nice chateaux in these areas and towns to visit as you can never get better than personal recommendations! not too much online I have found, and family / friends don't know too much..

Long shot, but if you can help I would love to hear your thoughts!

Cheers,
James
 

Simon D

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22 Sep 2008
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Wish I could help, I only really know the south of France.

Maybe a bit of a detour but could point you in the right direction down there!!
 

AdAndrews

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Kidderminster, Worcs
Most years my family goes to france, and last year we stopped of in the dordogne for a couple of nights, and we stayed in a lovely hotel, and the food was absolutely out of this world, i will ask my mom and dad for the name of it and get back to you.
 

Steve Smith

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I drove to Le Manns last year with some friends. The only thing I'd say is factor in the toll fees for the motorways. Great roads to drive on, but we spent €60 on toll fees (€30 each way). I think it was only 2 or 3 different toll roads, and we covered a good 400 miles easily. Doubt this applies to the back roads of course :)

Great scenery though. Like driving through some parts of the UK, but it feels much bigger.
 

LondonDragon

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SteveUK said:
The only thing I'd say is factor in the toll fees for the motorways. Great roads to drive on, but we spent €60 on toll fees (€30 each way). I think it was only 2 or 3 different toll roads, and we covered a good 400 miles easily. Doubt this applies to the back roads of course :).
Other than England I don't know of another country that does not charge motroway toll fees, I have driven to Portugal and back a few times and also to the south of France (Lyon) and the toll are really worth the money.
When using the motorway to Portugal it took 19 hours from London to Portugal, and using non-tolls roads, we tried it once took 48 hours lol
 

AdAndrews

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my dad brought a gadget for the tolls, its like a digital device which sticks onto the windowscreen, linked to out credit card, where you just go in a special lane(with no traffic!!!) and then the sensor picks it up, beeps and up the barrier goes, all in around 10 seconds, it was ace.
 

LondonDragon

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AdAndrews said:
my dad brought a gadget for the tolls, its like a digital device which sticks onto the windowscreen, linked to out credit card, where you just go in a special lane(with no traffic!!!) and then the sensor picks it up, beeps and up the barrier goes, all in around 10 seconds, it was ace.
Yeah thats just to stop queeing but still pay for it lol
 

AdAndrews

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Yea, i know you have to still pay :lol: i didnt mention costs becuase tbh my dad doesnt moan about the costs of the toll, so it must be pretty reasonable, coz he is the tightest man you will every meet :lol:
 

LondonDragon

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AdAndrews said:
Yea, i know you have to still pay :lol: i didnt mention costs becuase tbh my dad doesnt moan about the costs of the toll, so it must be pretty reasonable, coz he is the tightest man you will every meet :lol:
Its not that bad really, and saves you a lot of time, the time we tried to drive without tolls it was a nightmare since we had to cross so many towns and cities on the way, traffic signals and stuff lol not to mention that you waste much more petrol which would have paid for the toll charges anyway ;)
 

Nick16

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Surrey, UK
SteveUK said:
I drove to Le Manns last year with some friends. The only thing I'd say is factor in the toll fees for the motorways. Great roads to drive on, but we spent €60 on toll fees (€30 each way). I think it was only 2 or 3 different toll roads, and we covered a good 400 miles easily. Doubt this applies to the back roads of course :)

Great scenery though. Like driving through some parts of the UK, but it feels much bigger.
just got back from the Le Mans 24 Hours :D
 

YzemaN

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6 Nov 2007
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Copenhagen
I just spent a week in the Black Perigord (Dordogne) in April. Beautiful area, I don't think I've ever seen a place the lush and green. We stayed in a town called Sarlat-la-Canéda which is very quaint but probably overrun in the summer. They have farmer's market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Be sure to get your foie gras from there and don't buy it from anywhere else in France! If you go to Sarlat, try eating at "Le Tourny". They serve the best entrée I've ever had. Fried duck's liver with peach. Sounds gross but very yummy!
It seems like there are more castles than houses in that area, so you're spoilt for choice. A lot of them also played a role in the 100 year wars and you can get guided tours in most places. Josephine Baker used to live in one of them (Les Milandes) so pick a castle, any castle...
And while you're in the area check out the caves! There's a (not very interesting) museum in Les Eyzies where you can get some pointers on which ones to see. Say hi to my ancestors for me :D
If you're into more "modern" caves you should go see La Roque Gageac, but stay away from Rocamadour, it's an empty shell that's completely overrun by tourists at all times...
 

JazzyJeff

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I just got back from a week in Lot de Garonne, absolutley stunning scenery, we stayed near Fumel, went Kayacking down the Dordoyne river, caves at Domme were good and Rocamadour was amazing a whole town built on a cliff face !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plus a t the top was a park were you could walk round with and hand feed the monkeys !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

james3200

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CROYDON
Cheers all, much appreciated for the tips!

Going to read up on some of your suggestions over the weekend and try and narrow some choices down :)

If anyone has any names of nice hotels / chateaux that would be very helpful

YzemaN - "Le Tourny", sounds good!

Do you think its possible to drive and find accommodation you like and just turn up, anyone done it this way?

Cheers!
James
 
Joined
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Kendal, Cumbria
Yeah, just turn up and hunt around. This has worked for me for years. In the holiday season it works anywhere with a good range of accommodation providers, because there will ALWAYS be last minute cancellations. Top tip is to start looking at lunchtime, or you'll get stressed and spare rooms will go. Once you've booked your room you can freshen up and enjoy the locality unencumbered.

I've tried this the world-over and I've rarely had any difficulty at all - plus the accommodation provider is always happy to get a fill-in for a cancellation, and they don't pay a third party for the booking, so you can get a good price, or at least a very friendly welcome!

For France, another tip is to ask to see the dining room before any bedrooms - this shows you have the same priority as the average French person (food is everything!), and endears you to hotels who take pride in their cuisine. And if you ever get shown the dining room first, without even asking, then book in - you'll be on for great nosh leter on!
 
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