Has anyone driven from Calais to Cote D Azur or am i bonkers !

(25 Posts)
PhyllisDoris Mon 18-Feb-13 12:40:04

Frejus and St Aygulf are lovely. We stay in a fantastic mobile home site called La Domaine de la Bergerie, not far from St Aygulf. I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

Portofino Mon 18-Feb-13 10:04:37

Have also stayed at the sister site to La Prairie - the Kontiki, the other side of St Tropez....

Portofino Mon 18-Feb-13 10:02:25

We didn't stay at La Prairie but at the Pierre et Vacance place up the hill. You could book excursions that picked up from both places. We did a boat trip to St Tropez one evening with a cruise up the coast to look at the posh villas. Also a trip to Ste Maxime when the evening market was on. Lots of cheap and cheerful places to eat on the seafront there. And carousels etc on the seafront.

The market at the Place des Lices in St Tropez is lovely but I would go by boat rather than by car from Port Grimaud. We always enjoyed wandering round looking at all the yachts. You can do a little boat trip around Port Grimaud. Also from the harbour at Ste Maxime you can do a trip in one of those underwater boats and look at the fish etc. There is a massive hypermarket at the roundabout at La Foux in the direction of St Tropez. The traffic can be really heavy at certain points in the day though.

I want to come now. envy

We drive 2 or 3 times a year to the south of France, albeit just north of where you are...takes us 9 hours driving from Calais. What we "prefer" to do is get a hideous middle of night crossing from Newhaven, gets in about 3am, and then we drive with a couple of stops (breakfast Burgundy, lunch Grenoble), getting to southern Alps by tea time. Works for us, but wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. We also live in London, so can leave about 8pm...means only one day "wasted" travelling. On the return, we leave 9am ish and stay around Chalons in Champagne.

Children (now 6 and 8) are used to this. We have a good run round during stops and they travel really well. And the holiday is more "boot camp" than sitting around, so I don't worry about time in the car unduly.

We drive from Calais to Tuscany. Longest few days of my life and felt like wasting precious holiday time sitting in the car with bored kids!

Never again told DH if he wanted to drive somewhere next time he'll have to get there before me to pick me up from the airport.

But friends of ours drive all over Europe. I just think keeping the kids in the car for that long isn't great. I know mine would prefer to be running about or diving in the pool than sitting in the car watching DVDs or scenery for which they care very little.

Can you go somewhere nearer?

Portofino Mon 18-Feb-13 09:52:20

Best beaches: Gigaro - the other side of Croix-Valmer. L'Escalet near to Ramatuelle.
If you want to splurge and do the Bridget Bardot thing on Pampelonne beach, Plages Jumeaux at the far end is very child friendly, kids menu, sunbeds etc. Not cheap.

Ramatuelle is worth a wander round and Gassin is stunning - particularly the view over the bay. Le micocoulier is right on the ramparts with lovely views and good kids menu. Nothing was too much trouble for them.

Portofino Mon 18-Feb-13 09:10:41

This year we are off to La Rochelle. We spent years doing the Med coast and have visited lots of places from La Spezia in Italy right round to the Spanish border so we are doing some different bits of France. Cognac, Dordogne, Loire to date.

Link to Telepeage doodah - a most fabulous invention.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 18-Feb-13 08:38:38

Defeinitely get the telepeage thing.

HolidayArmadillo Mon 18-Feb-13 08:33:48

We've stayed at that site. Still rates as one of our best holidays ever. Very jealous.

ChippyMinton Mon 18-Feb-13 08:30:19

coffeeinbed - you will whoop with joy with a telepeage. It's worth it just to see the other drivers laughing at the "Brits who are in the wrong queue" only to have it wiped off their faces when you sail through without even stopping.

Portofino, are you going this year? We've been to Le Lavandou the last two years but not sure about this summer yet.

Fakeblondie - when are you going? It get quieter literally overnight in mid-August when the French return home. One day we were staking out a plot on the beach at 9am, the next day you could lay at the waters edge at 11am.

coffeeinbed Sun 17-Feb-13 20:31:40

I'll definitely try the telepeage thingie.
Those queues make me want to cry.

PhyllisDoris Sun 17-Feb-13 20:16:44

We've done it loads of times, stopping overnight, and doing it all in one - overnight and by day. It's a hell of a long way, but so worth it when you see the med loom up in front of you.
Avoid first and last weekends of August, when the whole of France is on the move and there are miles long tailbacks on the motorway.
We've finally settled on doing it overnight as the least painful option. Plenty of DVDs and books for the DDs, and take it in turns to drive and sleep.
Have fun x

Portofino Sun 17-Feb-13 20:09:08

Definitely 2 days vs Calais - Montpellier which you could do in one, long day.

Portofino Sun 17-Feb-13 20:07:17

Cote d'Azur adds some hours on - mainly due to the traffic. Languedoc is a doddle in comparison. And the traffic on the coast road from Ste Maxime, where you come off the motorway, towards Port Grimaud and St Tropez can be bloody awful.

fakeblondie Sun 17-Feb-13 20:07:10

Portofino yes please would love some recommendations x

Portofino Sun 17-Feb-13 09:49:04

We've done Grimaud from Brussels which is a similar distance. Stopped overnight at the Novotel at Lyon Nord. It is a long drive. I second getting a telepeage thing. Some of the toll queues were horrendous. It is great to sipped through the express lane. It is wonderful round there. Can recommend some beaches and restaurants later if you are interested.

shesariver Sat 16-Feb-13 22:08:28

We drive from just outside Glasgow to Folkstone, stay overnight and then get an early train and drive down France in 1 day, yes its a long day just prefer to get it over with, haven't drove to cote d azur but managed the Languedoc in 1 day.

fakeblondie Sat 16-Feb-13 21:25:31

That's really helpful thank you . We're staying at Prairies de la mer in port grimaud . Sorry about punctuation have dd asleep on lap asle and only one hand free ! X

ChippyMinton Sat 16-Feb-13 18:26:52

Where are you staying?

We have done this (although last year I flew to Marseille with the DC and took public transport, which was cheaper, quicker and easier than driving). It's best done over two days, stopping somewhere around Dijon/Beaune/Chalons/Macon. Plenty of cheap hotels just off the motorway for a pit stop. Or find somewhere nice for a more relaxing stopover (look at Sawdays guide).

Orange or Avignon are worth stopping at over lunch if you fancy a quick hit of culture, but beware Avignon gets very busy.

Motorways are good. You can get a special widget which allows you to drive through the automatic toll booths and it debits the toll from your credit card, this can save time if you are travelling at peak times. Google "Sanef".

Via Michelin is a good route planning website, and Bison Fute will tell you the busy days that are best avoided when the whole of France is travelling!

fakeblondie Sat 16-Feb-13 18:11:23

Thanks so much ive found a lovely holiday site and think i`ll just book it and use my clubcard vouchers to take the car across ! So excited !

MegBusset Sat 16-Feb-13 17:46:51

Definitely doable, then, as long as the DC are amenable! My parents do this journey at least once a year.

LadyPeterWimsey Sat 16-Feb-13 17:45:29

We've done it, and broke the journey staying in those super-cheap hotels. TBH, I would rather share the driving and just drive straight through - we got no sleep at all. If I were richer, staying overnight might have been better.

fakeblondie Sat 16-Feb-13 17:41:35

Hi thanks for reply. I was thinking about stopping overnight somewhere definately.

MegBusset Sat 16-Feb-13 17:33:07

I'm sure loads of people do it but most would break up the journey overnight somewhere. Or are you thinking of doing it all in one go?

fakeblondie Sat 16-Feb-13 17:31:42

Its a much cheaper option for our big family and dh has a flight phobia. Am i being unrealistic pls be honest x

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