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Calais to Vendee - drive in one day or stop off?

(37 Posts)
MegBusset Fri 29-Jul-11 18:35:16

What it says in the title basically - planning next year's holiday already <looks at grey clouds outside> and thinking of driving to the Vendee. Is it doable in a day or better to stop off, and if so where? DC will be 3 and 5, we can stay at my mum's near Dover the night before for an early ferry...

Portofino Fri 29-Jul-11 18:39:58

Where in the Vendee? Last week we drove from Cognac to Rouen (took about 6 hours with a stop for lunch) and from there to Brussels was another 3.5 hours. Calais would be slightly nearer. Personally I think 6 hours per day in the car is enough with little kids, even with dvd player and plan accordingly. I know lots are happy to do it at night and do 9 - 10 hours at a stretch.

MegBusset Fri 29-Jul-11 18:50:58

Was thinking somewhere around Les Sables, as I used to go there as a kid...

MegBusset Fri 29-Jul-11 18:52:24

DH hates night driving so don't think that would be an option really.

orienteerer Fri 29-Jul-11 18:56:33

Well the google route planner says it's 7 hours 30 mins, that's with no stops, traffic jams etc. With a 3 & 5 year old and no night driving personally I'd plan a stop.

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 29-Jul-11 19:05:35

I wouldn't. What time will you get off the ferry?

MegBusset Fri 29-Jul-11 19:07:23

I haven't looked at ferry times yet, but as I said my mum lives near Dover so could get one pretty early.

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 29-Jul-11 19:09:37

It's the equivalent of driving London to Newcastle, if not a little more.

Would you do that having already spent a couple of hours on a ferry?

chibi Fri 29-Jul-11 19:16:03

Tbh if you are staying near dover, why not? Mine would be ok with this, as long as you are prepared for regular stops, it is v doable

We did similar, but stayed over in rouen because we had a whole morning of ttravelling to dover then on the ferry.

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 29-Jul-11 19:17:35

I'd definitely break the journey if the children are that age. I'd make it part of the holiday - take the coastal road from Calais and enjoy quiet roads/nicer scenery.

chibi Fri 29-Jul-11 19:20:48

Then again i am from a biiiiig country so distances don't faze me. As long as you aren't going on some major french holiday, traffic should be ok- roads were v clear for us in kay half term

You can't really compare it to driving here, we are so much more congested. Today a drive from manchester-ish to london-ish (m6 to m40) took 4 hours, not including time stopped for lunch shock

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 29-Jul-11 19:22:04

How long are you away for? And what are your DC like in the car?

DaisySteiner Fri 29-Jul-11 19:24:48

Pleeeease everybody say this is a perfectly reasonable journey as we will be doing it in a few weeks shock wine

Portofino Fri 29-Jul-11 19:50:27

Last Saturday the roads north of Poitiers were clear and running freely. The roads south of Poitiers were wall to wall traffic. For traffic moving South I mean.

orienteerer Fri 29-Jul-11 20:01:39

I'd stop in Bayeux

MaryBS Fri 29-Jul-11 20:03:16

We've done it in a day, no problem, stopping in Dover and catching an early ferry.

MegBusset Fri 29-Jul-11 20:05:21

We would go for two weeks - just long enough to forget a horrific journey by the time we have to head home grin DS2 is most likely to be fidgety but I would imagine they would nap part of the way.

I just can't decide if the long journey would be worse than having to stop halfway, unpack half the car, entertain the DC for the evening in a hotel room, etc...

orienteerer Fri 29-Jul-11 20:09:44

7.5 hours journey time (as per google), plus ferry check-in time, plus ferry, plus time to get off ferry, plus stops.......will be a VERY long day for little ones.

blabalalalablabla Fri 29-Jul-11 20:13:33

We've done it non stop a couple of times and no problem really.
First time was overnight so dc's slepts the whole way - we arrived at our campsite at 7.30am before reception was open!

tbh I'd get a night ferry - get the latest/earliest possible and then by the time you arrive it's about 2-3am and it'll be getting light by the time you get to Rouen. You can always do the night driving if your dh isn't keen and then handover to him for the rest of the way.

Have also done it in the day and stopped off but tbh wished we'd done it in a day as I felt it was prolonging the agony grin. We were in St Jean so not too far from les sables.

MaryBS Fri 29-Jul-11 21:09:05

We've done it with a stopover and its a nightmare, what with unfamiliar rooms, and trying to feed the kids in restaurants when they don't fancy what is on the menu. Much easier to do it in one, if at all possible.

midnightexpress Fri 29-Jul-11 21:16:22

We did it from Cherbourg this year, but before the season proper started (mid June) and it took about 4.5 hours. I think I'd probably stop over, especially if the roads are likely to be busier. We'd already spent two nights in hotels before we even got out of the UK (we're in Scotland), caught a hideously early ferry, had two bouts of seasickness, so were all knackered. DP and I were about ready to go our separate ways on the Nantes ring road.

midnightexpress Fri 29-Jul-11 21:17:00

The stopovers were the least of it, tbh. Not really a problem.

MegBusset Fri 29-Jul-11 21:20:17

I guess the alternative would be to go to Portsmouth (4 hours' drive from home - about the same as Dover) - ferry to St Malo - then only 4 hours down to the Vendee from there? Has anyone done that? I'm guessing the ferry would be overnight?

MegBusset Fri 29-Jul-11 21:20:57

Now I'm starting to think maybe we should stick with the New Forest grin

Waswondering Fri 29-Jul-11 21:22:24

Have done it - well, Eurotunnel Folkestone to the middle of the Loire Valley, so similar distance. Dc were 5 (almost 6) and just 3. Did both journeys in a day with early starts, arriving late afternoon.

Eurotunnel was fantastic - dc were sooo excited to drive into a train.

Had DVD players and totally avoided the Paris area - went the other way (?Rouen?) and it was all very straightforward. Sat nav was worth its weight in gold though.

Have a good holiday! smile

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