Driving to South of France - stopover recommendations & route advice?(10 Posts)
DH & I and our two boys (5 & 2) are doing our first ever driving holiday in a couple of weeks. First stop is Monaco visiting friends for a few days then onto to a week in St Paul du Vince (sp?) & I'm really hoping someone can advise on route, when/where/how to stop including overnight stays plus rough idea on toll costs. We quite like the idea of doing a leisurely drive with regularish stops so the children don't get too bored/irritable so definitely 1 possible 2 overnight stops & somewhere decent with a pool would be a real bonus. Do you need to book overnight stops in advance? What are the roads like? Any tips gratefully received.
PS Eurotunnel & villa booked so no '800 miles with 2 kids: you must be mad!' comments please
We regularly do trips like this (Le Havre to Bordeaux in 10 days time). Personally I would go via Reims rather than Paris. If only one overnight stop I would stay in Dijon, 2 stops I would do Reims and Lyon. You will be on peage (toll) roads nearly all the way at least 2 lanes often 3 fast good roads easy to drive on.
Yes I would book in advance we usually use Ibis cheap clean etc. If we are looking for more destination stopovers we use Alisdair Sawdays website.
We stayed in Beaune, just south of Dijon a few years ago. Nothing fancy, a motel on the outskirts of the town but the town is lovely.
You can work out the peage on the [http://www.viamichelin.com/web/Itineraires?strStartLocid=31NDJxdzgxMGNOVEF1T1RVNE1ETT1jTVM0NE5USTBNUT09&strDestLocid=32NDFzeHo1OTgwMDAxMGNORE11TnpNeU5UTT1jTnk0ME1UZzVNUT09&intItineraryType=1&caravaneHidden=false&vh=CAR&strVehicle=0&itineraryCarType=0&itineraryFuelType=0&isFavoriseAutoroute=false&isAvoidPeage=false&isAvoidVignette=false&isAvoidLNR=false&isAvoidFrontiers=true&dtmDeparture=28%2F06%2F2011&distance=km&devise=1.0|EUR&indemnite=&carbCost=1.3&autoConso=6.8&villeConso=6&routeConso=5.6 [michelin website]]
If you can, get a badge doodah for the tolls, someone linked to the British website. It makes the waiting time at the toll booth much shorter.
I forgot to say we always use AA route planner to plan our way.
I second the Alasdair Sawday web site. Please bear in mind that the traffic heading towards Nice/Monaco will probably be awful so allow plenty of time. The A6 Route de Soleil is not normally too bad. If you get the toll doodah as recommended by MmeLindor you might be able to avoid the worst of the queues.
Also for Motorway stop offs I always recommend Novotels - family rooms, kids menus, free kids breakfast and they normally have a playground and a pool. Here You can search by map, or route. We've stayed at Lyon Nord, Macon Sud and Dijon Sud before.
Our en route hotels on the way out this year (this weekend - yay!) are: La source des Fees in Burgundy and L'enclos des Lauriers Roses in Provence. Found both via the Alasdair Sawday website. I am SOOO excited.
Another long drive regular.
DVD players are really useful for DCs to pass the time. Mine have one each (it is simpler that way!)
Take regular breaks (our max is 2 hours) and be strict about it. It is for your safety.
Dont forget the essentials:
- european recovery
- EHIC & travel insurance
- Hi vis jackets for all in the car (and accessible)
- spare bulbs
Dont just rely on satnav, make sure you have good maps (my personal favourie is Michelin)
Enjoy, the journey should be part of your holiday.
Oh yes - do book your stops in advance. We have seen so many sad family groups going from one hotel to another trying to find somewhere to stay. The one time we didnt book we had to sleep in the car.
I second (or third) the toll gadget - we drove to Argeles sur Mer in the Languedoc last year and saved loads of time in toll queues. The total round trip came to around £125.
If you are going to endure the Paris
horrifique Periphique try and get to it as early in the day as possible - anything after 3pm is truly dire. Also check to see if the roadworks on the A6 out of Paris have finished (looked pretty major last July). The satnav saved us as the diversions were a nightmare...
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