Which region of France is driveable from London but far enough south for some sun, and pretty?(19 Posts)
I'm not asking much, am I?
We'd like to avoid flying, would prefer to take our own car. But ideally it would be do-able in one day.
I was thinking Loire Valley. Any other suggestions?
Is it reliably sunny there in August or is it really necessary to go to Provence etc for that? My worry with Provence is that it's much further - would need to fly or Eurostar + hire car - and am also worried it would be TOO hot that far south. We have school age children so it has to be August. If not I'd definitely choose Provence.... but in June or Sept!
Hope I'm making sense! Thanks for any tips.
If you took the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen, you could easily reach the northern edges of the Dordogne within a day. The ferry arrives at 6am - I reckon you could be there by 4pm, depending on stops. Pretty area. A little further north, you could be in the region of Angouleme - sunny and pretty too. The Loire is lovely. Charentes/Charente Maritime worth looking at . Like us though, I think France has had a couple of rubbish summers recently, so no-where is foolproof :-)
Draw a line across the country at Nantes. Whenever we've driven through France we've found that the weather south of that line tends to be much better.
Having said that, the last time we were in the South of France the weather was so bad we were having to hang on to things to stop them flying or floating away.
Well it depends on how much you are prepared to drive in a day, we drove from Glasgow, stayed overnight in Folkstone and took the 620 eurotunnel, we then drove to the Languedoc, near Narbonne, arriving there at 830pm at night - long day but worth it! That was 2 years ago and we had gorgeous weather in September. Last year we were in the Vendee in July because it wasnt as far to drive and had hear it had a South France climate - it was nice and hot some days, but over cast and cooler more and we were lucky as the week before we arrived had been rainstorms every day!
Vendee or Charente Maritime. Can recommend the islands , Oleron or Re.
We're going to the Jura national park which is 6 and a half hours from Calais and has temperatures of 28 − 30C in the summer.
We went to La Rochelle last year in August and did have nice weather but it was also overcast for quite a few days when it wasn't any better than a British summer's day.
St Jean de Mont is do-able after an overnight ferry (we used to go to Le Havre). The weather was good, beaches long and beautiful and the sea noticeably warmer (even though it's Atlantic).
We have been to Charente Maritime twice in August and have had lovely weather. It is not guareented though!! We love that part of France.
Last year we took the Britanny fast ferry (3.5hrs) from Portsmouth to Caen and drove to the Loire Valley (Saumur), about 4hrs or just over. Warm & sunny all the time - this was August.
I'm with shesariver - Langudoc or even Rousillon, or Provence reachable by late afternoon if you have two drivers and can sleep well in the car. Ideally book on a Eurotunnel around 11pm as after midnight it can be a long wait if you get bumped (happens a lot in August). Eurotunnel much better than a ferry as not just quicker but means you can all stay in your "nests" in the car.
On the trip back make sure you hit the road at 10am and you'll hit Calais by midnight, although last year we left Frejus at 7am with croissants for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch in the car and were tipping the crumbs out in the hypermarket car park in Calais in daylight!
Another vote for eurotunnel in the evening and then drive thru the night. We have done it the last 2 years, to Narbonne area and also Dordogme.
Same return journey - oh and them we drive through England & Scotland or Wales and get a ferry and another drive back to NI.
All of France is drivable in a day. We drove midlands to Barcelona in a day, but you have to be prepared for long tag-team driving.
South of Limoges, you are guaranteed sunshine.
Provence could even be too hot
In August, especially the first half you will have no problem, but be aware that the whole of france is on holiday till the 15th August, so you will want to avoid the roads on that day and also on a saturday as it tends to be changeover day.
We live in the dordogne and can drive from eurotunnel to home in 10 hours swapping drivers.
I would recommend the vendee aswell, ile d'oleron is cheaper, as it costs 32 euros toll every time you want to cross the bridge over to il de re in peak season
Also second the Languedoc Rousillon, you can take the peages all the way down from calais. so very fast but may cost you 100 euros in tolls.
Huge sandy beach at Argeles sur mer, south of perpignan
take the eurotunnel as they are very flexible with times, you can get there 2 hours early or if you are late they will let you on. a 6pm crossing will allow you to drive through the night, the kids will sleep and you will be there for breakfast.
(also consider getting a roofbox so you have more room in the car for kids to sleep)
Second the roof box, it makes a big difference not being surrounded by stuff.
Forgot about Argeles sur Mer which has simply the most campsites I have ever seen. We had out first camping:caravaning holiday there.
My DC loved it and the weather was brilliant and great beach.
We had 9 degrees in the Jura last August. Shame because it seemed a lovely area. We had arrived in Calais 12 days earlier to a night time temperature of 20 degrees followed by a heatwave throughout France which saw hotter temperatures at our main campsite in the Drome than in Nice. When the weather broke with torrential rain we started heading back north and couldn't believe how cold it was in the Jura. We stayed there one night before setting off to Champagne where the temperature rose again and we enjoyed two last days of holiday at a perfect 27 degrees. Another year we went to the Vendee and had two days of miserable rain and then 8 of wall to wall sunshine. I don't think anywhere apart from Provence and the Languedoc can guarantee you good weather throughout July and August but eveywhere south of Paris gives you a decent chance. That said, during last year's Jubilee week, when it chucked it down this side of the channel we had lovely weather on the Picardie coast!
try not to travel on a sat as you will have loads of french people going south on their hols then as well. traffic to vendee added loads of time queuing at tolls when we did
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