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Calling France experts! Where is good holiday 3-5 hours drive from Calais?

(12 Posts)
zeebee Sat 12-Jan-13 13:39:49

That's it really. On the verge of booking a gite in Normandy when it occurred to me that there may be somewhere good - and a lot warmer - if we drove south instead. I am desperate for some sun and warmth this year after staycationing the past few years.

Normandy appealed as didn't initially seem too far to travel, lots of possible day trips and also found a good priced gite in a small group with a shared pool, don't want our own.

We will need to travel via Calais due to cost and practicality of overnight ferry (6 of us).

Any advice or ideas gratefully received as I only know a little about Brittany, Normandy and the Vendee. Thanks.

MrAnchovy Sun 13-Jan-13 01:01:58

3 hours will only get you as far as Paris, but 5 hours will get you to the Loire valley at Orleans, where it starts to get warm in the summer.

If you want to avoid Paris (huge queues getting on to the A10 and at the payages on a summer Saturday), take the A16 down past Boulogne, Rouen, Evreux, Dreux and Chartres. Use for directions before you go, a sat nav can be handy but if you follow signs for those towns you will be fine. Unless you have a caravan (no gas bottles allowed in the tunnel in Rouen).

Alternative would be around Troyes further to the East - easy to avoid Paris on the A26 and cheaper than the Loire Valley to the West, Champagne to the North and Burgundy to the South.

If you want the coast then the Vendee is warm (when it's not too windy), but you are looking at 7h+.

If you book ahead you can get a good deal on Eurotunnel which gives you an extra hour and can avoid waking sleeping kids.

MrAnchovy Sun 13-Jan-13 01:04:39

Just thought, we are talking about July/August? If you want warmth outside these months you need to go a lot further South.

ADealingMummy Sun 13-Jan-13 17:51:41

The Vendee is a brilliant place to go in France. We have booked to go in August with Eurocamp, the campsite is within walking distance to the beach, lots of choices in places to eat brasseries etc. I can highly recommend the Vendee.

zeebee Sun 13-Jan-13 22:40:38

Thank you both for replies. I think Vendee a little far this year as have long drive in UK too, but hopefully one for the future. Have good memories of childhood holidays there. I have also been surprised at price of mobile homes compared to some gites. But will be more of an option when the kids are older and we don't have to split ourselves many ways with v young kids at a big pool complex!

Mr Anchovy - that's fab detailed info, thanks. Just the kind of thing you really need to know. I will have a look into the Troyes area. Had a quick look at Burgundy (was drinking Macon Village at the time!) but similar accommodation is a lot more expensive. Budget is a real consideration this year.

Yes, talking about August, I wasn't very clear was I?! Hope if we do go to Normandy there will be some sunshine and summer dress/shorts weather!Euro tunnel definitely an option - need to boost my Clubcard points!

Ponders Sun 13-Jan-13 22:42:43

fwiw we've had fab weather in Normandy in May/June in the past - we love it there - August should be even better smile

Ponders Sun 13-Jan-13 22:47:04

(we have stayed around Houlgate. friends/relations have stayed further west, around Granville, & Barneville Carteret - on the Cherbourg peninsula - they've had pretty good weather too)

MrAnchovy Sun 13-Jan-13 23:20:11

Try ownersdirect, Chez Nous and Clevacances for budget accomodation.

Normandy gets more or less the same weather as our side of the channel, so no guarantees of anything (except excellent food, cider and calvados of course)!

Mandy21 Tue 15-Jan-13 20:04:39

We've been to Normandy in August and it was sunny - not sunbathing hot, but "pleasant" (crikey, I sound like my mother wink).

Portofino Wed 16-Jan-13 09:09:55

We stayed in the Loire last year in July and it was warm enough for sunbathing most of the time. here

zeebee Wed 16-Jan-13 14:23:32

Mandy21 - ha, ha, sadly I sound increasingly that way too! 'Pleasant' sounds like dresses and shorts might get an outing so that would be fine, not looking for scorching.

Porto, had seen that one and looks fab but sadly out of price range, sigh.

Decided to try our luck with the weather and try Normandy in the end. Staying near Vire (I think). Had to make a decision quickly in the end. It does sound like there is lots to see and do and if it is cold and wet then I can seek solace in cider and lovely food! Thanks for all your help, it really has done.

Ccsgold Thu 17-Jan-13 18:10:01

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