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Driving to France alone

(23 Posts)
Llareggub Mon 29-Dec-14 12:58:43

I'm browsing summer holiday ideas and quite fancy driving to France and heading to Eurocamp or similar.

I'm a lone parent with two boys aged 8 and 5 although the youngest will be 6 by then.

I fluctuate between thinking it would be a fun idea to thinking it is a bonkers idea, fraught with danger.

I've driven abroad many times with adult co-pilots so feel confident about the drive. I just have this lingering doubt.

What would you do? I suppose flying and then car hire might be the sensible option but I like the freedom of driving.

Flywheel Mon 29-Dec-14 13:17:16

I'd go for it. Maybe don't go too far south so the drive doesn't take too long. Good sat nav (phone) and you'll be fine

spinduchess Mon 29-Dec-14 13:20:31

It will be great fun! Where are you thinking of staying? I fully recommend St Jean de Monts! Had some great family holidays there!

financialwizard Mon 29-Dec-14 13:21:52

I took my son on the back of a motorbike at 7 to deepest darkest France it was great fun.

Llareggub Mon 29-Dec-14 14:40:00

The bike trip sounds fun!

I thought perhaps we'd stay in the north somewhere. I haven't a clue really. I know the south very well but can't face driving that far. I'm pondering a train though and doing a mini interrail type thing. I'm very undecided, can you tell?

spinduchess Mon 29-Dec-14 14:45:47

Honestly, the Vendee! Drive is doable, the beaches are lovely, nice and warm and an abundance of waterslides. Loved it there as a kid/teen. Went last year too, still as good as ever.

Llareggub Mon 29-Dec-14 14:52:50

I've just even googling the Vendee. It does look lovely. I'm not bothered about being by the coast as we live near the sea and an abundance of beautiful beaches so we are quite happy to do something different on holidays.

Fridayschild Mon 29-Dec-14 14:57:06

I drove on my own with two boys from London to the PGL place near Disneyland. It is a day's drive including time to get lost - see below. Cannot recommend it highly enough. Your boys are exactly the right age, there will be loads to do, lots of other kids and a good mix of single and two parent families. Oh, and one day at Eurodisney. Fantastic value for money if you book early (now - Feb) or at the very last minute.

The one thing I would say is that at French junctions they do not have a roundabout at the top where you can drive round in circles trying to work out whether you want to leave at that junction or not. DS1 was 10 and under pressure of helping to navigate got his left and right hopelessly confused.

SugarPlumTree Mon 29-Dec-14 15:00:04

We're near the coast and went to the Vendee last year and I wouldn't bother again.

What about doing Poole to Cherbourg then down to somewhere like Chateau des Ormes (I think it is called that)?

SugarPlumTree Mon 29-Dec-14 15:02:12

Didn't see Fridayschild's post, that sounds like a better plan than mine,

sophie150 Mon 29-Dec-14 15:05:31

As a uk resident You can now buy a pass for the tolls which allows you to sail right through without having to deal with getting out because you are on the wrong side. Google telepeage and I think that will tell you about it. Will make the drive easier!

Fridayschild Mon 29-Dec-14 15:35:43

oh, the telepeage.... got a really shirty look from someone when I had to get out. Even though they had clearly driven up behind an English numberplate hmm

I got DS1 to pay for some (he was on the left hand side) but that didn't seem to work for them all.

Llareggub Mon 29-Dec-14 16:16:14

Thank you for the tips, especially the payment method. That would really help. I'm feeling very up for this now and will spend this evening planning and costing.

dingit Mon 29-Dec-14 16:21:55

The Loire is lovely in summer and not to far. I can't link but we stayed at Pierrefitte (

dingit Mon 29-Dec-14 17:52:48


dreamingofsun Mon 29-Dec-14 19:15:47

chateux des ormes is good. there are lots of good sites in brittany - has reviews. wouldn't bother again with vendee which was also a bit of a treck for just one driver after ferry crossing, espec on a sat when traffic bad. south brittany is our favourite area - like cornwall with better weather which isn't much different from vendee. read distance from ferry crossing when choosing site - obviously

OnGoldenPond Tue 30-Dec-14 18:15:05

It's France not Afghanistan! grin

Sorry just joking! Seriously, driving in France is actually much easier than in the UK, roads much less crowded and well signposted. Get your satnav loaded with the latest French maps and you will not need a map reader.

Have driven through Spain solo with two teenagers and through France many times with DH. Found Spain very easy to navigate and would say France probably even easier. Motorway services generally plentiful and family friendly and lots of stopover hotels en route, more than generally found in UK.

Go for it and have a lovely time smile

Methe Tue 30-Dec-14 18:32:43

Driving in France is a pleasure compared to driving here. The roads are fantastic!

It's a sanef telepage tag you need for the tolls. We've had the one in out car for the last 2 years and it's doing 2 trips next years so the battery better not run out smile the money comes straight out of my current account a couple of weeks after you get home.

If you fancy driving down as far as the dordogne then I can heartily recommend la palombiere near sarlat.

Methe Tue 30-Dec-14 18:34:48


LIZS Tue 30-Dec-14 18:40:39

If you're nervous, take the tunnel/ ferry as near as possible to the location. Calais or Boulogne for the North Coast - Le Touquet is lovely for example, Dieppe or Caen for Normandy etc.

Llareggub Tue 30-Dec-14 22:07:38

Driving isn't really the issue, perhaps I should have been a little more specific. I love driving; I once had a job that involved 4 hours plus driving a day, pretty much. I'm confident when I'm on my own.

I'm feeling less confident about driving with the kids because I know that they'll be bored, grumpy and no help with navigation. :-)

Some great ideas here, thank you.

msb123 Thu 01-Jan-15 17:42:29

it costs a bit more but if you do an over night crossing from portsmouth to st malo you wake up with much less of a drive and well rested kids. It adds to the adventure of the holiday and you can be on a eurocamp site in brittany, unpacked and with a vino in under 2 hours! o n the way back you can do the day crossing or drive to another port like caen and do a faster crossing

feesh Thu 01-Jan-15 17:45:17

There are trains which carry cars over long distances in France, have you considered those? Could be fun!

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