Jump to content

First trip to France


Recommended Posts

Using up my annual leave in March and find I have 16 days free. Picked up our new 'van recently so thought about taking the plunge and heading off south.


Any ideas as to where to go would be appreciated, have tried looking at weather forecasts etc but as we all know weather is never guaranteed.


Would we be likely to experience a little sun in the south of France in March? Where would you recommend going for a first trip etc?


Plan to travel via the tunnel this time.


Any advice/ info would be appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For France weather follow this link


Next stop look at www.vicariousbooks.co.uk and get an ASCI discount sites guide  and All the Aires France they will set you up for somewhere to stay.

We have never been to the south of France this early so cannot comment what the weather will be like , but no doubt someone will come on board with an answer. France is a very large country and fantastic for motorhomes so free and easy get a good French road atlas or map you can also check distances on the www.viamichelin.com site. If you have the time avoid toll roads and cut your travelling costs by half also you will see more of the fantastic countryside . From Calais to say St Tropez or Montpellier will take a comfortable 3 days . Have fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Living in Devon, I would not waste time travelling all the way to Folkestone, only to have to travel all

the way back west once in France to get to Spain. You may get some sun in the south of France. As you only have 16 days (2 would be getting to/from tunnel) Why not get the ferry from Plymouth to Spain then you would have more chance of some decent weather

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PJay - 2013-02-09 1:03 PMLiving in Devon, I would not waste time travelling all the way to Folkestone, only to have to travel allthe way back west once in France to get to Spain. You may get some sun in the south of France. As you only have 16 days (2 would be getting to/from tunnel) Why not get the ferry from Plymouth to Spain then you would have more chance of some decent weather


Having family still in Devon I have to agree that a trip to Dover and then back again the other side of the Channel (X2) is not ideal. Personally, while BF are the most convenient for Spain, the LD line route from Portsmouth to Le Havre shows a considerable cost advantage to France and the trip down to the South or South West is achievable in a day or so. The weather Here it Périgord Gastronomique, take your average Devon Temperature and add 5°C to it, less rain, and lower wind speeds ;-)

Still Sound Good?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roger (Retread)

Have to agree with you. We live within sight of Portsmouth Harbour, so we go from there. Tried the tunnel twice, and by the time it takes to get to Tunnel, we can be in Cherburg (Fast Cat) Also the cost of getting there is very little different , with cost of fuel. And Op lives a long way south of us.

Not sure where you are , but we have friends in Normandy/Brittany and Haute Vienne , between Potiers/Limoges

So always visit when we are over. Often to deliver items that they miss from UK.

Looking forward to coming over again April to June . Starting to get van ready, with service and MOT , to be arranged this month , and also Insurance. The weather here in the south is fairly mild and dry at moment, but the forecast is not looking to good

Roll on April


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The OP clearly said this is his first trip to France, and by implication first trip across the channel by MH.

So let's not confuse the issue by telling him he's going to the "wrong" country! France is a far better bet than Spain for a first venture over the water, being considerably more MH-friendly.


As to the chosen crossing, it may be that he (a) has already booked on the tunnel or (b) has specific personal reasons for using it rather than a ferry. If so, then tunnel it is.

If not, I'd agree with those who've pointed out the enormous travel times/costs involved for someone in Devon using Dover or Folkestone - not to mention how boring and apparently interminable that north-eastern bit of France is! So if the "tunnel" decision isn't yet final, do check out the various Brittany Ferries crossings to make your "real" holiday start sooner.


Once over the other side, I'd recommend the western end of the Med coast. It's not as unspoilt as it once was, but still far less over-developed and commercialised than the Riviera end. I'm thinking Vias, Agde, Valras-Plage or even all the way round to Argeles-sur-Mer. All of which are nearer to (say) Cherbourg or St Malo than they are to Calais.


Bear in mind, though, that this early in the year many sites and Aires will be closed. In the case of Aires, that may only mean the water is turned off, but even so you shouldn't pass up any opportunity to fill up your fresh tank (or empty the other stuff!). Get the books Kelly recommended (and I'd add France Passion too), and check out what they say about opening/closing dates for places you're considering.


Enjoy - and tell us how you get on!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Tony has said, we don't want to confuse you. I would suggest that you get the ACSI book, (Vicarious Books) rather than France Passion, as a first timer. France Passion sites can be difficult to find, and probably muddy at that time of year.

Enjoy your first trip, hopefully the first of many.




PS have to say our VERY FIRST TRIP in our Motorhome was across the water

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Tony says the South West corner but not forgetting the ultimate beach side experience between Cap d' Agde and Aigues-Mort  Park on the road beside the beach, golden sand, blue Méditerrané Salt marsh with Flamingoes on the lakes or over to Argeles sur mer (the municipal charges 12€ pn including 6A Eleccy C-car only off season) and enjoy the beach with the Mountains as a backdrop  


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Off season in France can be unpredictable weather wise. Elevation is the key! A lot of France is quite high up! The Dordogne or Lot region might be worth a look. The earliest I have been is April and we enjoyed good weather (around 20c). Not sure about March but you could be lucky.


The coastal regions might be starting to warm up a tad but you cant guarentee it. In my opinion though the med coast of France is crap in comparison with the inland regions of the south of France. Avoid the pyrenees? Well maybe not. We did the Pyrenees from the med to the Atlantic in 2010 around April / May time and loved it. We had 25c sunny days and up at 7500 feet we watched people skiiing and snowboarding. We climbed up the mountains on our scooter until the road was covered in snow and became a ski slope!


I would go and hope for the best but expect the worst. France is a wonderful country and in March I would expect you will have the Aires to yourself and have a great time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest 1footinthegrave

If your not already up to speed, I'd suggest buying the book "Go Motorhoming Europe" it covers almost everything you need to know about documentation you'll need to take, obligatory items ( headlamp beam adjusters ) even if not driving in the dark. for one and a few more items as well, The use of Aires, etc, etc. It was literally a life saver when we first went. May not be obvious to someone going the first time, but you cannot get Calor gas in France ! and you may just need a French mains hookup adapter on occasions ;-)


Like I say get the book. ;-)


As for where to go that's a tough one given the time of year, perhaps around the Dordogne, or the Loire some interesting cities if the weather is iffy, it's a big country and what looks like a relatively short hop can be very deceiving, especially if avoiding the paid motorways.


Oh and I think avoiding going anywhere near Paris might be wise for a first timer :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this time of year it is difficult to say where the best weather might be - even in northern Spain it can be iffy. Since you only have 16 days, I'd keep an eye on the weather forecast and in particular look at what it is like in Brittany - it can be better there than further south at times and the beaches are superb.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest 1footinthegrave

Just dig my old list out for you, not sure if the self breathalyser needs to be added, but there you go. ;-)


Many of these items are obligatory.



European Health Insurance Card(s)


Camping Card International (CCI)


Ferry tickets (Outbound &


Vehicle insurance certificate

Personal health/travel insurance


Asci book handy

Driving licence(s)

SatNav Software Maps

Paper maps

Phrase book ( not much use if you don't understand the answer though !

Vehicle Registration Certificate V5C

Vehicle MOT Certificate


First aid kit

Spare bulbs, fuses

Headlamp beam benders

Vehicle jack/wheel brace

GB plate (if necessary)

Warning triangle

Reflective waistcoats

Spare keys stored out of sight

Site hook up cable

French hook up cable plug adapter

Reverse polarity and 2 pin French hook up plug in some cases

Camping Gaz adaptor maybe


Photostatic copies of all documents stored separately


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest JudgeMental

France can be pretty miserable even in April...it is very hit and miss. Cold I can deal with but constant rain ruins a break and last 2 easter breaks an absolute waste of time and fuel. ......should have flown somewhere warm...


We had a really lucky Easter break on Loire with lovely weather about 6 years ago...So.....are you feeling lucky..well are you??!?! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest JudgeMental
Cotswold outdoor have a very good sale on of north face apparel and other outdoor stuff.....No such thing as bad weather just bad clothing :-D
Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...