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driving through France on the first Saturday of August - how bad will it be?

(32 Posts)
geekgirl Wed 23-Jul-08 19:28:52

We'll be driving from Zeebrugge down to Tours on Sat the 2nd of August - will the traffic be horrendous? Anywhere we need to avoid? The most direct route takes us via Paris...hmm

Marina Wed 23-Jul-08 19:36:28

Have you looked at maporama or viamichelin to see if they recommend any alternative routes (itineraires bis)
Without checking properly how many extra km this might add, have you thought of taking the A26 and dropping south near Rouen, thereby avoiding the whole Parisian region

ThePettyandIllinformedGoat Wed 23-Jul-08 19:38:02

it will be horrendous. do it over night. definitely avoid paris

Marina Wed 23-Jul-08 19:38:39

Voila! Except I had the wrong motorway, I meant the A16 blush
I love Bison Fute...let's hope he's right

geekgirl Wed 23-Jul-08 22:13:46

Brilliant, Marina! Thanks a lot!!

Lilymaid Wed 23-Jul-08 22:22:38

The road from Calais to Tours starts as the A16, but most of the way it is the A28. We went that way last year (but not on the first Saturday of August) and it was fine apart from driving through/around Rouen where you have to go on a narrow dual carriageway through the city - getting an excellent view of all the industrial estates! It looked as though a new autoroute was being built so one day this should be bypassed. Allow 5-6 hours from Zeebrugge.

Quattrocento Wed 23-Jul-08 22:25:49

This doesn't sound good - great link from Marina - avoid Paris.

Have you thought of becoming a Juillardiste?

geekgirl Wed 23-Jul-08 22:30:41

feel v. relieved now as I have presented dh with Marina's evidence and he has agreed that we'll go that way (before he wouldn't believe me that Paris would be a nightmare hmm)

Our ferry gets in at 8 am so we've got plenty of time...

Marina Thu 24-Jul-08 09:56:01

PMSL lilymaid, I remember the traversee de Rouen extremely well. That bumpy street, those railway sidings and sheds, both the dcs bleating for the loo, I was utterly convinced we had lost our way somehow...other than that the journey was excellent!
Glad to have helped geekgirl, bon voyage.
Agree with Quattro being a Juillardiste has loads of advantages if you can get away fast enough at the end of term

mand1963 Fri 25-Jul-08 20:50:16

Agree with everything said above. The 2nd August is the very worst day of the year to be driving South in France! (see link to Bison Fute calendar).

Anyone even thinking of driving anywhere near Paris on the 2nd August needs their head examined.

The A16/A28 is by far the best way, just don't forget the tolls.

Wordsmith Sat 26-Jul-08 11:36:38

Slight hijack - we're going to Center Parcs at Lac de L'Ailette near Reims on Fri 8th August - the route seems starightforward - down the A26 from Calais virtually all the way. This is the first time we'll have driven in France [nervous emoticon] and any tips on tolls, etiquette etc gratefully received (just about know the one about driving on the right).
Also if anyone has been to Center Parcs in France, would you recommend them? (Have been in the UK).
Apols for hijack.

PotPourri Sat 26-Jul-08 11:48:12

It will be terrible. Put it off to the 2nd, or travel through the night. If you do it, make sure you take plenty of water and food - one year when I lived there there were people stuck for hours on a motorway and casualties as it was unsurprisingly roasting hot.

PotPourri Sat 26-Jul-08 11:49:01

Sorry, I meant the 3rd - i.e. the sunday

Marina Mon 28-Jul-08 16:00:22

Just have some small Euro notes ready Wordsmith. I reckon you will need about 14 euros for that.
Make sure you also steer clear of Liber-T, or Telepeage gates at the tolls (these are for people who have paid up front).
IME unless you are travelling late at night there is usually a person you can pay rather than using an automated system
Will be interested to hear what you think of Lac d'Aillette. Have never been to Centerparcs in France. We once overnighted in Laon and I think we were at Calais only three hours later - it is really not all that far.

geekgirl Mon 28-Jul-08 16:01:49

absolutely no way of putting it off for another day!!!!! It's not that easy when you have to book the ferry nearly a year in advance etc.

3babesfull Mon 28-Jul-08 16:10:44

I am driving to France on Sat too. More worried about the ferry though!

geekgirl Mon 28-Jul-08 16:12:13

where are you crossing, 3babes? We're going from Hull to Zeebrugge overnight...

3babesfull Mon 28-Jul-08 18:33:23

Sorry geekgirl, I wandered off! Newhaven to Le Havre, I think. I hate ferries, I just want to shut down - no chance with three children! At least with overnight you get to go to sleep - do you have a cabin?

geekgirl Mon 28-Jul-08 19:16:04

yes, a lovely one with telly and fridge grin

Have to book ages and ages in advance though as there's 5 of us and they only seem to have a couple of family cabins big enough on the bloody ship hmm

And it costs £600 shock

Still cheaper than flying & car hire, I guess hmm

3babesfull Mon 28-Jul-08 20:44:36

Flipping 'eck that's alot. But how wonderful to have a telly and a fridge, I might even enjoy that trip. We will have 4 chairs put together to make a camp in the middle, 4 adults and 5 children. 6 hours on the ferry.
Hope you have a great holiday!

nappybrain Tue 29-Jul-08 12:30:21

Marina your alternative bison fute map is really useful - is there one for the north to the east too please? - I have checked the website but to no avail. would really appreciate your help - you are a star when it comes to all things french!

Wordsmith Tue 29-Jul-08 18:22:47

Thanks for the tips Marina - sorry about the delay in replying!

BriocheDoree Tue 29-Jul-08 18:39:04

I travelled from just outside Paris (where I live) to the Alps, on 19th July, supposedly a "red" day, and we were travelling on the A6, the main route from Paris to the South, and apart from queues at the tolls, it wasn't too bad. Worst things were queues for the loos at service station (my DCs are young, need to go quite often!) and queues for petrol. Better to have change for the tolls as usually the queue for the CB (credit card) line is much longer. However, would second avoiding Paris if you can as it's always busy. Would also try to avoid going through Rouen at peak times as the new autoroute is still not finished. I drive up to Dieppe quite a lot and Rouen is always OK at 10 o'clock ish and two o'clock ish but nightmare lunchtime and early evening! However, 2nd August will be bad...agree to take water and snacks because you never know. Have a lovely trip!

SqueakyPop Tue 29-Jul-08 19:04:17

We will overlap with you at Lac D'Ailette, Wordsmith

Wordsmith Tue 29-Jul-08 21:15:48

Should be good, Squeaky - a friend of mine went there at Whitsun week and he said it was great - everything shiny and new and the villas wonderful. I'm really looking forward to it. Only negative is that this will be our first hols with DS2 having coeliac disease (can't have gluten)and from my friend's rudimentary research when he was there, it seems that gluten free stuff is pretty thin on the ground.

Also apparently the villas have hobs and microwaves but not ovens - as we will be self catering most of the time we're taking our slow cooker!

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