England to South of France advice

stevenrandall replied on 11/04/2018 00:18

Posted on 11/04/2018 00:18

Just wondering if anyone has any advice on travelling from the midlands to south of france in a vw transporter with no air con towing a twin axle bailey with 3 kids under 10 ie where to cross and how also best route and camp sites etc thanks in advance.


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Bakers2 replied on 11/04/2018 09:42

Posted on 11/04/2018 09:42

Hi I'm sure you'll get plenty of suggestions but a bit more info on dates, where you fancy, beaches, scenery, inland, history, you get the picture 😉 will help.

Lots of experienced folks post on here about 'over there'. I think there are some threads but you need to know the title and the search facility on here isn't great 😢😢

Kennine replied on 11/04/2018 10:03

Posted on 11/04/2018 10:03

Depends how much time you have. The quickest route from Calais to the Med is to stick to the Motorway  ( l'autoroute du Soleile)  Remember you will be paying tolls but it's a quick straightforward journey. When we used the motorways  from Calais to Argeles-sur-Mer we only needed one overnight stop. 

If you have plenty of time for the journey there are many non motorway routes meandering through the rural countryside and little villages ( very pleasant)  My preferred way to see France. 

Enjoy your French holiday.


eurortraveller replied on 11/04/2018 10:32

Posted on 11/04/2018 10:32

It's not going to be a problem. We took 4 children before air con and motorways were invented.

But "best route" can mean quickest, shortest, prettiest or cheapest route, and it would help to know where in the south of France you are making for.  

A tunnel crossing using  a stack of Tesco vouchers will always be the cheapest way across the Channel 

Have fun! 

DougS replied on 11/04/2018 10:39

Posted on 11/04/2018 10:39

I would flag up a warning based on the people you are travelling with. IMHO it is a very long way to go if you are only going to have a couple of weeks for your trip. How many miles per day are you thinking about? It is a trip of perhaps 1000 miles so at say 330 miles per day (which again, IMHO is quite hard going) you may need 2 stops on the way and if only overnighting, it could be wearing on everyone and not relaxing at all (unless you like that sort of thing?)  Also within summer/school holidays you will need to make sure you have sites booked especially at your final destination?

For motorway tolls, a SANEF tag may be worth considering (deal via Club or otherwise)

Obviously your choice and with more details, further suggestions could be made (there may be other threads with similar requests)

AnotherDavid replied on 11/04/2018 11:12

Posted on 11/04/2018 11:12

I too would worry about the journey if you only have 2 weeks because with time taken to the crossing (depending on where you are) and night halts the best part of a week  will be taken  for the return journey. I made my first foray abroad  nearly 40 years ago and did what you are proposing (I had 3 weeks) and knowing what I know now I would go just about anywhere else in France before the Cote D'Azure in high season. If its your first trip and you are pressed for time a Western Chanel crossing from Portsmouth to Caen  or St Malo followed by a short journey to Brittany or the Vendee would make  the best use of the time and be easiest on the children. 

Whatever you decide have a good trip and I am sure you will love it


ellemae replied on 11/04/2018 11:57

Posted on 11/04/2018 11:57


Do you want a beach holiday. If not would recommend Domaine de Massereau Sommières. We had a brilliant family holiday beautiful site. Access from campsite straight onto cycle path. You would reach it with one stopover south of Dijon. Pitches are huge. We had a pitch towards end of the site and had a 7.4m van + a 7m tent on the same plot overlooking cycle track. You won’t be disappointed. The staff are great.

comeyras replied on 11/04/2018 12:05

Posted on 11/04/2018 12:05

Assuming, as you have 3 children under 10, that you will be going in the school holidays I endorse AnotherDavid's comments.  Our experience is similar to his;  40 years ago we used to go to the south of France but always gave ourselves 3 weeks as this would give us 2 weeks there.  It used to take us 2 and a bit days to get there from Calais.  We would travel to Dover on day one stay near the port and get an early morning ferry - we now prefer to spend our first night in France rather than UK.  It will be very very busy on the coast in the south of France in July and August (and also the shoulder months), so will the Vendee and Britanny but maybe less so.  Why not - Day one to Portsmouth, afternoon ferry (?) to Caen and first night In France.  Day 2 travel to destination which may take a night stop, a couple of weeks at destination, then return getting morning ferry from Caen. At all costs try to avoid travelling on Sat/Suns in Jul or Aug - a Sunday ferry out might  be a good idea.

You will need to book ferry and destination site asap, also maybe Riva Bella in Ouisterham; any other enroute sites should be ok so long as you stop by 4pm.  Don't forget the various insurances (recovery, medical) EHIC etc.  Don't worry about lack aircon we managed for years without it and don't have it in caravan. 

Have a great trip

eurortraveller replied on 11/04/2018 12:10

Posted on 11/04/2018 12:10

When we lived in the Midlands we always needed three days from home to the Med. but didn't  go via Dover. 

Day 1.  Home to Portsmouth (200 miles) for the 1445 ferry to Caen and an overnight campsite near the ferry port on arrival.

Day 2. Caen to somewhere around Limoges (300 miles) and an overnight campsite in that area.

Day 3. Limoges to the coast in the Narbonne area (300 miles)


Tammygirl replied on 11/04/2018 13:35

Posted on 11/04/2018 13:35

All very good advice from the posts above so won't repeat that the only thing that I would say is that on some sites (not all) twin axles are no made welcome. Some sites will only take them if pre-booked and some sites will charge more (considerably more) for them. So maybe it would be best to think about where you are going to be stopping and check ahead of time to see if it would be an issue or not, oh and get it in writing (email) if I was you. Don't want to put you off just be aware, would hate for it to be a disaster with 3 children in tow.

Agree with Anotherdavid about Cote D'Azure, much prefer the Marsellian plage or Valras plage. However the West coast of France in the summer months will take a lot of beating.

hitchglitch replied on 11/04/2018 13:56

Posted on 11/04/2018 13:56

If you are determined to go to the South of France then definitely the shortest route is tunnel to Calais then Autoroute through Reims, Lyon, Marseille. You will pay tolls and you can check the cost on ViaMichelin (approx. 50% extra for caravans).

We never booked in school holidays but if you want to stay on the Med. coast then it is essential in the holiday period.

I would set off early, cross the channel that afternoon then travel for a couple of hours, maybe book for that night to give you peace of mind. Second night somewhere around Chalons sur Saône (plenty of sites around Sennecy-le-grand or Tournus on the N road parallel to the motorway and no need to book) then you can reach the coast the following day. Three long  days which I did many times when younger but not now.