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Can anyone recommend an area of France within couple of hours of Calais ....

(22 Posts)
jumpyjan Tue 23-Aug-11 20:48:47

suitable for fairly relaxed holiday with DH and 2 DCs under 5. We quite fancy hiring a gite/cottage perhaps with a pool and would love an area with beautiful countryside, good for walking, bike rides, a town nearby and a few day trips within an hour or so.

Am trying to persuade DH to get the Eurotunnel as not keen on ferries but not sure if that means we will have to do a really long drive the other side to get to a nice spot.

AKMD Tue 23-Aug-11 21:01:44

Have a look around Strasbourg - it's a bit off the beaten track but beautiful with lots of great countryside and great activities on the Rhine, including a brilliant cycle path.

bibbitybobbityhat Tue 23-Aug-11 21:02:46

Strasbourg is 6 and a half hours drive from Calais.

jumpyjan Tue 23-Aug-11 21:12:53

sounds good kmda but if it is 6 hours its too far for us. I think we need somewhere about two hours drive from calais really.

jumpyjan Tue 23-Aug-11 21:14:24

sorry meant Akmd (tired)

GnomeDePlume Tue 23-Aug-11 23:17:07

ooohhh, I have just used the drive time tool on my route planner! Never used this before!

From Eurotunnel you are looking at Picardy. It is a nice area, quite quiet as most people just drive through. Not sure how many gites there are with pools as this tends to be more southern.

We always do Eurotunnel, much more efficient than the ferry and a lot more flexible. Much better with children as well because there is no need to drag all your worldly goods up on deck. You stay with your car. We always try to time the crossing in with lunchtime.

If you were prepared to stretch your drive time to 3 hours then you would also be able to include Upper Normandy, Paris and Northern Champagne in your searches.

AKMD Wed 24-Aug-11 11:37:27

Oh whoops, sorry!

belgo Wed 24-Aug-11 11:51:02

If you don't mind driving a little bit further, three hours or so, the Champagne region and Reims is very nice.

Lizcat Wed 24-Aug-11 13:24:16

The area around St Valerie Sur Somme is beautiful. It is on the coast about 1 hour south of Calais. Le Touquet is also nice again about 1 hour South.
The Meaux region just North East of Paris and Champagne all just beyond the 2 hours are both super.

Quenelle Wed 24-Aug-11 13:28:07

Montreuil and the Sept Vallees is just over an hour from Eurotunnel. There is lovely countryside with walking, kayaking, horseriding. It's 30 mins from Le Touquet and Berck sur Mer.

Eurotunnel is much quicker and less fuss than the ferry. Unless you prefer to use the ferry trip as a proper break.

NB It's called Montreuil sur Mer but it's actually about 30 mins from the coast.

LIZS Wed 24-Aug-11 13:30:55

Pas de Calais, Picardy, Normandy. Le Touquet has a lovely beach and trails through the forest, less than an hour from Calais.

Bonsoir Wed 24-Aug-11 13:32:30

Le Touquet (under an hour)
Trouville (just over two hours), or just inland

jumpyjan Wed 24-Aug-11 19:25:24

Wow only just managed to log on today - so many responses, thanks all.

Good to hear about the Eurotunnel, it does sound like the easier option even though we do have a bit of a drive to get there as we are based in Devon - but so much quicker than the ferry even factoring that in. How long exactly does it take - I have heard different times.

Quite liking the sound of northern champagne and not particularly fussed about being on the coast so that may be a good option. Off to research some cottages/gites.

lechatnoir Wed 24-Aug-11 22:37:28

Eurotunnel is fab - about 25-30mins journey time and best of all departure times are flexible which is great especially if you want to be a bit more flexible: we got to the French arrivals 2.5 hours before our booked departure & they waved us on to the next one that left 15 minutes later arriving home (we live in Kentwink) before we were due to depart!
Champagne region is gorgeous & we particularly like Reims which is c.3hours drive from Calais- there's an amazing Parc Naturel to the south which is great for walking, cycling etc.

rosy71 Thu 25-Aug-11 09:00:36

I'd agree with those who suggested Picardy. We've just come back from St Valery-sur-Somme and it was lovely.

We prefer the Eurotunnel to the ferry too. So much quicker and less hassle!

nothingoldcanstay Thu 25-Aug-11 10:57:09

You can get the CAT too - 3 hours to Cherbourg from Portsmouth or Poole. Bit further south and different areas to consider.

jumpyjan Fri 26-Aug-11 19:36:30

Didn't realise the Eurotunnel was so quick - thought it was more like two hours. Definitely think this is a better option than 8 hours on a ferry.

We have had a look at Champagne and Picardy and are actually preferring the sound of Picardy and its closer.

What is there to do in Valerie sur somme area? Is it quite relaxed?

GnomeDePlume Fri 26-Aug-11 20:13:59


It is quite relaxed. Try this link:

The tunnel is without a doubt (IMO) the way to get to France. There are many crossings each day so a lot more flexibility. You stay at the terminal until your crossing is called forward. This is better than the ferry queues. The actual crossing time is around 35 minutes. Once the crossing is over you are straight out onto the road system. There is no worry about weather impacting your crossing (we once spent several hours bobbing up and down outside Ramsgate in a ferry).

We did a ferry crossing a couple of years ago just to check and vowed never, ever, ever to go by ferry again. I would rather swim.

Babysamrocks Fri 26-Aug-11 20:50:47

Jumpyjan check out these for gite hire. We have used both in the past.

Babysamrocks Fri 26-Aug-11 20:52:02

Sorry I'll try again

Babysamrocks Fri 26-Aug-11 20:52:59

For some reason I can't do the second link. Try googling owners direct.

jumpyjan Sun 28-Aug-11 19:53:42

Thanks for the links babysamrocks. Definitely set on valery sur somme area now - just need to find ourselves a nice (and not too pricey) gite.

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