Has anyone driven overnight to the Dordogne?(16 Posts)
We are on our third trip to the Dordonge but to a villa rather than camping this time, DH wants to save money by driving overnight as we won't have to put up a tent etc when we arrive. I'm worried we'll both be shattered and grumpy for the first few days of our week long holiday, and we're with all my family... However I can see the attraction, it would save us approx £200.
Has anyone done this? We would be travelling on the 29/30 July so the really busy period and thinking of getting a 11pm train then driving straight through stopping regularly and sharing the driving while the other sleeps. We've never done the journey on a Saturday before. Will it all be ok? Am I being ridiculous worrying about the traffic etc?
We did London to Dordogne in a dasdasy, got early ferry, shared driving, and asrrived about 9 pm. Plenty of stops as had 2 toddlers with us. The adults not driving were in charge of entertaining the babies. It worked fine..
Enjoy the trip!
Yes. Do you mean you are driving on Black Saturday?
I hated the night driving personally - those long long roads with no lighting just made me feel ill. We got off the ferry at 11, and drove to Le Mans and got there at 3am thinking we would beat the rush on the Saturday morning but no. Got no sleep [up again at 8] and very very grumpy on the forward journey. Not doing that again. Wouldn't even consider driving through the night to be honest.
We are going the week earlier this year and flying. If you are in a villa and not having to take all the camping gear, can you do that and hire a car when you get there [like we are]? We are also in a villa this year. 10 weeks today [right now actually] I will be at the airport checking in.
Where do you start from? Southampton or Aberdeen? We go to the Lot (v near Dordogne) and have friends who drive it in one go from London. 14-15 hours. But they go to the same place each time so they and their kids know the set up and there are ready meals on site that you can bung in the microwave when you arrive etc. Makes a difference. It is a big cost saving and you don't have to worry about how much you can pack. That said, we've looked at it and decided against. I'd only do it if I could have at least one day off afterwards before I had to go back to work.
I don't mind doing it in a day but don't think it will be possible to get first ferry, at 6.20 and then still drive through the day in the busiest Satruday in the roads and still get there before midnight. Hence thinking about going overnight.
Is black Saturday really bad? We've always gone midweek before and never had any problems so think we might be kidding ourselves how easy the drive is. DH says it will all be fine!
Leaving from SW London so only just over an hour to Folkestone. Other family may manage to get food easy for us but they both have v small children and my parents are flying in and want collecting from the, local, station.
To be honest the worst traffic is in England. French motorways are awesome! There are some cheap places to stay. We got 2 rooms for under a 100.00 in one place (it was a weird hotel, looked like a temporary structure with caravan style bathrooms!), fine for a stopover though. Personally it would ruin the beginning of my holiday to drive overnight as I need a lot of sleep, as does my dh, but my BIL is always driving through the night and then just getting on with it the next day. Won't you arrive far too early to check in though? The extra day of hol driving can be really fun, stopping in French service stations, staying in a 'hotel' (however grotty) etc.
Black Saturday is a really bad day to travel in France. We live about 100 miles south of Paris and it still took us 14 hours one Black Saturday to get to Narbonne (Languedoc-Rousillion). And that was leaving at about 4am! If possible I would advise you go on Friday or Sunday. Going overnight on Saturday will make no difference to the traffic, as everyone has the same idea.
Ok... I suppose my next question is is the 30th July definitely 'black Saturday'? I had assumed so as was told it the first weekend in August and August starts on the Monday but maybe it's not? Anyone know?
Thanks for all your insights!
Hairy, where in the Dordogne address you staying?
I have driven to France quite a few times now and wouldn't ever consider doing that amount of travel in one go.
I know some can do it but to me it's just too much.
Where is your UK departure? We live in E Yorkshire so just to get down to the south coast for a ferry/tunnel can take us 5 hours.
Me and DH share the driving but still we have to factor in an overnight stop.
We are recently back from a break in the Vendee which is a few hours less driving than you would be doing but we were both still knackered.
Check out Ibis Budget or B&B chain. They can be v cheap especially the ones located right on the edge of town.
And yes. Black Saturday is a real thing. We avoided it last summer by crossing on a Friday morning and spending an afternoon and night in Eternal - then taking the back roads to our destination(Loire valley) to avoid traffic. Worked a treat. We spent more but saw a new place and enjoyed the travel.
Don't forget you probably won't be able to get into the villa until 4pm so no point in planning an overnight drive to arrive at 10am if you then have to hang around all day.
Yes the traffic will be bad that day, especially if you are planning on going anywhere near Paris. If you take the longer crossings and drive down from Brittany you should have much less problems with traffic - but the crossings are more expensive.
Be very wary of French motorways at busy times. We had a ridiculous journey home from skiing one year as it was Easter I think and every single French person was on the motorway along with all the British trying to get home. Despite tolls, the motorways were all like the M25 most rush hours, we missed our tunnel so were charged extra and the journey took about double the normal time. Horrendous experience with small children
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