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Driving London-Loire with a 12 mth old - insane?

(17 Posts)
dorisbonkers Tue 08-Sep-09 18:21:43

I am hanging for a break and we were thinking about driving to France using Eurostar and getting a gite somewhere in the Loire. We picked that area as somewhere we've not been to and that isn't as bleak in late Oct as perhaps Normandy/Britanny/Ardennes.

She's will be 1 year when we go but still too light at around 8 kg to go in a forward facing seat.

We don't drive often but she was sleeping in the carseat on a recent trip to Whitstable.

If we stop often enough for lunches/coffees with the provision that if it all goes shitshaped we stay somewhere overnight to break the journey, is it doable?

Otherwise we have an option of a break with friends in Madrid.

It's both our birthdays on the same day and want to make an occasion of it in Europe (we've been living in Asia)

duckyfuzz Tue 08-Sep-09 18:26:17

we drove from Durham to southern brittany with 9mo twins and survived (and even did it again, although they were a year older by then!) let her sleep, it won't interfere as much as you think with bedtime

dorisbonkers Tue 08-Sep-09 18:30:07

Cheers, good to hear. Of course, I'd be stopping every two hours or so and for a lengthy time so she's not left in the seat for too long.

And she did well on a 14 hour flight from Singapore, but I managed that only with a tit in her mouth, can't do that from the front seat (although sadly with the state of my boobs now, probably could)

MrsBadger Tue 08-Sep-09 18:35:42

we made it to the Vendee with an 11mo, no worries, but we got the fastcat (or whatever it's called) from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, so the drive was much shorter than if we'd gone via Calais

if you are w of London I urge you to do the same

Scorps Tue 08-Sep-09 18:38:13

We went Cornwall - Perpigan by ferry/car with a 12 month old grin. Def do-able. French rest stops are excellent.

Littlefish Tue 08-Sep-09 18:40:34

You could always get the Portsmouth-Caen ferry which would mean much less driving in France. It would also give you a big break in the middle while you're on the ferry when she would be out of her carseat. We've booked cabins before now so that we could sleep.

minko Tue 08-Sep-09 18:44:41

We've been driving to Provence for the last 3 years with DD and DS. DS is now 3, but was 9mo the first time. We break the journey in Formula One Hotels but it's been fine.

We stop quite a lot, the services are great for kids - bouncy castles, play areas etc. And we have car tellies with the screens on the chair backs, which are a Godsend.

Ewe Tue 08-Sep-09 18:46:41

We did this with our 16month old DD and my SIL and BIL did it with 9month old and it was fine, only needed one stop.

Try the catamaran to Boulogne, shaves some time off journey as is closer to Loire Valley. What we did was get an 8am ferry, milk at home, pain au chocs and coffee on ferry and lots of running around, off ferry and DD slept for about 2 and a half hours and then we stopped for a break of about 40mins and had lunch. Back in the car, played for a bit, she listened to a CD and we did some singing, she had a few treats (chocolate shock) and some berries. Two hours flew by and we arrived in time for tea!

You'll be fine!

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Tue 08-Sep-09 18:51:29

We did similar journeys.

The only thing I'd counsel against is the catamaran. We used it when dd was a toddler. It's the only time in her life she's been travel sick. She puked all over her dad just as we were getting into Dover, there was no time to unpack the boot to find a clean shirt before we disembarked and we had to drive for what felt like miles before dh could change his reeking shirt.

dorisbonkers Tue 08-Sep-09 19:05:48

Ah, sadly don't think I can do a ferry (my father drowned himself in the channel from one)

And on that bombshell ...

No, thanks everyone. I'd have liked her in a forward facer but she's just too wee.

Any toys that are good for a year old to occupy them? She's probably too little for a portable DVD player, no?

Littlefish Tue 08-Sep-09 19:07:45

Sorry to hear about your dad Doris.

Eurostar it is then!

dorisbonkers Tue 08-Sep-09 19:14:11

Oh thanks Littlefish. I did think about it, and perhaps I'm being a bit silly but I think it might get me all upset and introspective. Maybe in a few years.

Oh, and if she's 7.5kg at 9.5 months she's not likely to be 9kg by 12 months is she, so still too light to go in a forward facer? They say 9kg or 1 year but if she doesn't make both criteria I shouldn't move her from the rear facer, should I?

4andnotout Tue 08-Sep-09 19:22:19

We drove from Norfolk to st cyr below tours with our 4 dd's the youngest of whom were 21months and 8 months. It took us 2 days coming home because our car blew up shock

Littlefish Tue 08-Sep-09 19:23:03

Maybe in a few years, and on a shorter crossing, in case its very uncomfortable.

No idea about car seats, sorry!

tvfriend Wed 09-Sep-09 14:04:50

We drove from London to Spain (and back)last year with a 14 month old. It was fine although she did cry as soon as she saw a car by the time we got home hmm.
My main problem was curbing DH's adventurous driving plans (eg scenic hilly mountain passes) and also making him realise that we weren't going to cover as many miles in a day as we normally would.
We did Kent to Loire the first day- no problems, just lots of stops.
Don't think the seat should be an issue.

tvfriend Wed 09-Sep-09 14:05:55

Used the shuttle btw (although had to come back by ferry due to the fire they had). Shuttle MUCH better

Kiwinyc Fri 11-Sep-09 17:04:02

we did london-amsterdam-cologne with a 9mth old and have done london-loire with an 18 mth old (did the Centre Parcs there)

ITs fine if you factor in regular additional stops every 2 hrs or so, which probably doubles your drive time. we stayed in Calais overnight on the way to the loire and on the way back, but we drove back to London from the border of Amsterdam and Germany in one go.

We always take eurotunnel - i puke at the sight of a ferry. Its great when they're younger cos they mostly just sleep.

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