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How long to drive to the South of France?

(44 Posts)
BeachedWhale Wed 30-Mar-05 11:13:00

We are off to somewhere near Nice in August and have completely mucked up our holiday plans. We had hoped to go on the motorail from Calais with 4 yr old twins plus 8mth baby thinking it would be nice and easy. Tried to book today to be told that our car is too tall apparently to fit on. (a boring old Seat with no redeeming features other than the capacity to cram in a load of kids and related junk) Has anyone driven from Calais to Nice with a hoard of kids and if so, how many days should we plan for (allowing for the fact that DS's asking "are we nearly there yet" on a trip to Tesco and DH can't pass a motorway services without "just popping in for a quick pitstop".
Help! My nice relaxing holiday treat for producing a third sprog is fast turning into logistical nightmare

ggglimpopo Wed 30-Mar-05 11:27:03

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StuartC Wed 30-Mar-05 12:15:47

Calais to Nice is 765 miles (1230 km). For comparison, London to Edinburgh is 415 miles.

Motorway tolls for the single journey 85 Euro (toll link ).

Plenty of budget hotels (e.g. formule 1 ).

Blu Wed 30-Mar-05 12:17:42

Could you swap cars with a friend for the trip?

Blu Wed 30-Mar-05 12:19:15

Or get a cheap flight and hire a car when you get there?

JanH Wed 30-Mar-05 12:24:21

Flying and hiring would be much cheaper, I bet - I priced motorail once and fainted.

OTOH you do have to carry your stuff and can't take as much, but I know with the car we always take far too much just because we can. Worth thinking about (esp as car will be hot in August even with A/C.)

Sorrel Wed 30-Mar-05 12:25:47

The AA and Michelin websites can workout a route for you. It's quite good as you you can choose how you want to do it- stopping off at places of interest or gong straight thru. it will work out timings and tell you how much the tolls are on the autoroute. Its free to use too and you can print it off and sound superior when dh hasn't a clue where he's going( car journeys are such fun with my family...)

Tortington Wed 30-Mar-05 13:06:08

it takes me approx 4.5 - 5 hours to travel 300 miles - if the roads are ok - and i know the route very well. based on 765 miles therefore on a good day it could take you 13 hours. i have to say the french motorays are a lot better than here IME.

the guidelines i hear for driving without a stop should be 2 hours. which would mean that if every stop is only 20mins x 6.5 = 130 mins 2 hours and ten minutes to add on. bringing your journey time up to 15 hours 10 mins. thats presuming you don't get lost.

thats an awful long time to be stuck n a car both for you and the kids. - are you sharing the driving?

ggglimpopo Wed 30-Mar-05 13:09:21

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laneydaye Wed 30-Mar-05 13:14:30

my best mate lives in the south of france and her mum once drove to england i belive it took 24hrs no stops......

purpleturtle Wed 30-Mar-05 13:15:52

I work on the basis of 50 miles per hour for journies like that. So 750 odd miles is going to take 15 hours of driving, including stops, assuming you're mostly on motorway. We drove from Austria to Lille in a day last summer - approx 650 miles, 13 hours. 2 very lovely, well-behaved children, for whom I'm very grateful

Issymum Wed 30-Mar-05 13:33:19

Could you do what we've done a couple of times - I take the kids on the train/plane and DH does the drive? He gets to drive without interruption, can drive at night etc. and positively relishes a bit of peace and quiet zooming down the French motorways whilst I avoid dealing with whining and constrained children in the back of the car. The meet up at the French end takes a bit of logistical organisation, but is not impossible!

StuartC Wed 30-Mar-05 13:41:29

Beware of the zoom down the French motorway...

On some motorways, the toll ticket is (possibly invisibly) timestamped. When the operator at the exit tollbooth enters your ticket into the reader, the machine assesses your overall speed. If you've taken too little time for the journey (i.e. if you've been speeding) police (waiting behind the tollbooths) are summoned.

BeachedWhale Wed 30-Mar-05 13:43:28

Tnankyou so much! Isn't MN so fantastic.we have eliminated fly drive option as there will be so much stuff to carry and the hassle of sorting out things like car seats in hire cars etc. Also I need several large G&T's to even contemplate boarding a plane!
So we shall probably work on 2 overnight stops to get us down there. Thanks for the tips on route maps and journey times and distances. Will do some research and impress DH with superior navigational skills.
I must be mad. The last time we did a big journey, the DT's slept in the car a lot, didn't have the vocabulary to whinge too much and could be bribed easily with sweets. Will keep reminding myself that we're off on lovely adventure when stuck in a tailback in 90 degree heat
ggglimpopo - I fear that we will undoubtedly hit those black Fridays you mentioned. We are going for the last two weeks of Aug.

BeachedWhale Wed 30-Mar-05 13:47:32

Stuart,Thanks for the info! We will probably have to do so many toilet stops that the police would be wondering why we took so long for the distance travelled

StuartC Wed 30-Mar-05 13:50:53

I suggest that you book nothing until ggglimpopo comes up with the forecasted dates of the "black days" (not just Fridays).
There are terrible and to be avoided at all cost.

StuartC Wed 30-Mar-05 13:52:04

BeachedWhale Wed 30-Mar-05 14:01:29

Too late Stuart! Committed to the accomodation dates now. Will be going on a day trip to Brighton for our hols next year.

ggglimpopo Wed 30-Mar-05 18:58:43

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ggglimpopo Wed 30-Mar-05 18:59:13

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ggglimpopo Wed 30-Mar-05 19:00:50

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Cam Wed 30-Mar-05 19:23:08

We drove from Calais to St Tropez about 3 years ago, stopped twice, first night at Reims and second night at a fab chateau just outside Lyons. Same hotels on way back. This was manageable but the last bit is the worst where you're on the 20-lane motorway (seems like) and can see the Alpes Maritimes for ever before you cross them onto that teensy weensy coastal strip known as the Cote D'Azur. Go and visit St Paul de Vence though.

crunchie Wed 30-Mar-05 19:35:40

My advice for a trip we did last year - 12 hour door to door inc ferry to the Vendee - Is to get an in car DVD player if you can. They are not expensive nowadays (less than £80), get two sets of headphones, with a headphone jack - do get the kids used o the headphones before and work out a way of rigging up the DVD player in the middle or so both can see We also go a load of story Cds and poems from the library. Little boxes of raisins and new sticker books went down well. One thing we found is that the first hour or so is hell - loads of are we nearly there yet etc - but after that they seem to fall into a travel stouper and fell asleep or just looked out of the window. We didn't stop unless we had to (potty in boot!) and drove as far as poss (dh likes driving) TBH it wasn't too bad. This year we are doing a shorter Loire trip and setting off in the evening (work issues) so will have a stopover. Seiously though we often find he longer the journey the better they are!!

crunchie Wed 30-Mar-05 19:35:50

My advice for a trip we did last year - 12 hour door to door inc ferry to the Vendee - Is to get an in car DVD player if you can. They are not expensive nowadays (less than £80), get two sets of headphones, with a headphone jack - do get the kids used o the headphones before and work out a way of rigging up the DVD player in the middle or so both can see We also go a load of story Cds and poems from the library. Little boxes of raisins and new sticker books went down well. One thing we found is that the first hour or so is hell - loads of are we nearly there yet etc - but after that they seem to fall into a travel stouper and fell asleep or just looked out of the window. We didn't stop unless we had to (potty in boot!) and drove as far as poss (dh likes driving) TBH it wasn't too bad. This year we are doing a shorter Loire trip and setting off in the evening (work issues) so will have a stopover. Seiously though we often find he longer the journey the better they are!!

crunchie Wed 30-Mar-05 19:36:42

oops

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