If like me you have driven the length and breadth of France to reach various holiday destinations in the past few years and fancy a change of scenery or you point blank refuse to drive long distances abroad, what are your options?
For instance, as the old adage goes, let the train take the strain, or the plane, or coach or even the autotrain (more information here).
In true I Spy Camping style, I have compared journey times and prices for the three main ways of getting you across France.
|French City||Plane Journey
(Time on Train)
|Marseille||5hr 15m (2hr)
£84 with Ryanair (Stansted)
|6hr 20m (5hr 30m)
£119 with Eurostar
140€ + 79€
|Lyon||4hr 55m (1hr 45m)
£103 Easyjet (Gatwick)
|5hr 45m (5hr)
£109 with Eurostar
98€ + 53€
|Bordeaux||4hr 45m (1hr 35m)
£87 with Easyjet (Luton)
|8hr (6hr 15m)
£109 with Eurostar
113€ + 70€
|Paris||4hr 25m (1hr 15m)
£75 with Easyjet (Luton)
|3hr (2hr 20m)
£69 with Eurostar
38€ + 20€
|La Rochelle||4hr 35m (1hr 15m)
£82 with Ryanair (Stansted)
|7hr (6hr 20m)
£109 with Eurostar
91€ + 48€
|Tours||4hr 30m (1hr 20m)
£85 with Ryanair (Stansted)
|5hr 20m (4hr 30m)
£89 with Eurostar
68€ + 39€
I have based flights departing around the London area and used Eurostar to organise train journeys to the cities below – prices for both are taken from their cheapest return tickets advertised for each adult.
Drive times are based on no stops and driving at the speed limit. The first cost is petrol, assuming unleaded, and driving a medium sized vehicle. The second cost is the tolls on French motorways for that journey.
If you are not planning to drive at all and going to a campsite or holiday park in France by train, you will need to check with the site which is the nearest train station and enquire if they do pick ups or how much a taxi would cost.
Which form of transport would you take next year?
As you can see from the table above, some journeys lend themselves to one form or transport or the other. Your own personal circumstances will largely determine, which is best for you. Driving with a family is cheaper, but don’t forget to add wear and tear to your vehicle and the extra mileage.
For us, we want to see more of France and create a different adventure for the kids (and for me!), so we’ll try the train next year.
Euroferries announce new express cross channel service between Ramsgate and Boulogne from February 2013.
The company has entered into an agreement with global ship manufacturer Austal to operate a newly built trimaran, measuring 102 metres and with a top speed in excess of 40 knots.
The service will offer four daily crossings, catering for passengers, cars and luxury coaches and a cross Channel journey time of 75 minutes.
The launch of the service by Euroferries comes three years after it was set to operate the same route between Ramsgate and Boulogne, but after a number of announced launches it turned out that the company was unable to operate.
Click for more Ferry crossings to France.
French Camping By Departments
The French Department with the largest number of campsites, 367 in total is the Vendee. It also has the most number of pitches.
The top 15 departments with the most campsites (sorted by number of pitches) is follows:
1. Vendee: 367 sites with 58,902 pitches
2. Charente Maritime: 348 – 50,387
3. Var: 260 – 46,485
4. Hérault: 235 – 46,332
5. Landes: 167 – 38,301
6. Pyrenees-Orientales: 208 – 35,325
7. Gironde: 157 – 33,117
8. Finistere: 283 – 32,865
9. Morbihan: 272 – 30,677
10. Pas de Calais: 238 – 24,661
11. Ardèche: 270 – 21,906
12. Loire-Atlantique: 157 – 20,159
13. Gard: 150 – 19,922
14. Dordogne: 237 – 19,538
15. Côtes d’Armor: 171 – 17,444
(photo: a typical campsite in the Vendee with the now ubiquitous Mobile home)
These 10 European campsites offer excellent facilities for children. They have been selected for their close proximity to sandy beaches; on-site facilities for young children; nearby family-friendly attractions and can be reached easily by plane, ferry or car. The campsites also offer families the choice to book a pitch for their own tent, a 2 or 3 bedroom mobile home, a ready-erected furnished tent or a wooden lodge/chalet.
Le Soleil, Argelès-sur-Mer, Languedoc, France
Le Soleil is a four-star campsite right on the beach so families can walk there without struggling to cross busy roads. The Mediterranean sea is crystal clear and warm for young swimmers in the summer and the views of the Pyrenees are stunning. Luckily you can reach this area of the south of France via a number of airports, including Perpignan, Carcassone, Beziers and Girona (Spain); Ryanair is the airline to try first for flights to these airports.
La Bien Assise, Nord-Pas-de-Calais
La Bien Assise, a 5-star French campsite located in the grounds of a beautiful chateau, is close to Calais and the Tunnel making it one of the easiest of our featured campsites to reach. The park has a stately feel with the shop and bar located in former stables and the restaurant set in a farmstead and boasting a first class gourmet menu to match. The pool is covered when the weather is iffy and there is plenty to do for everyone in and out. Perfect for anyone trying a camping holiday for the first time.
La Croix de Vieux Pont, Berny-Riviere, near Paris
La Croix de Vieux Pont in Berny-Riviere, is situated on the outskirts of France’s capital, and is perfect for a day trip to Paris and Disneyland Paris, France’s most popular attraction. The campsite’s own bus service* can take you directly to the centre of Paris or Disneyland, and pick you up in the evening. What makes this site special is its location, it’s just two and a half hours easy drive from Calais, and its on-site facilities that include a sandy beach, indoor pool and a pony trekking centre. * There is an additional charge for the bus service.
The Cote d’Azur is not just about sun, sea and sand, although as you can see above, they do that very well. Anyone who has spent time in the region will vouch for that there is so much to explore and real treats await those who venture off the beaten track. Reproduced from The Cote d’Azur Montagne website is this great 5km easy walk starting at the village of La Roquette sur Var that is perfect for families with children from the ages of 7 and up.
From Portalet Square go up past the church and on through the picturesque streets of La Roquette sur Var to the crossing between main road and the D.20 road towards area of the Valliere. A little after the cemetery, at the crossroads of the D.20 and Clot Dué, take the direction towards Trascoulet.
After 300 metres, turn right and take the road along the crest of the hill at Roques. It is a beautiful path with the valley Récastron of the left and the valley of Ubac on the right. Follow the path that leads to the cliff overlooking the village of St Martin du Var. Take the heather-lined path along the edge of the cliff, which offers stunning views of the old town and modern districts of St. Martin.
Take the road towards des Vignes, which descends down the hill and leave the road at Le Puy and turn right along the old road from Le Puy, which snakes down and along the old clay pit. Go through the village of St Martin du Var via Peter Grilli Street, the main square, rue de la Forge and the Chemin Neuf.
A few metres before the cemetery, turn left along a sloping path at first, but then levels out to be almost flat. Turn left towards the la Roquette, which rises almost 300m above. Cross the D.20 paying close attention to the traffic, continue climbing towards the high walls that give the village Roquette a castle-like appearance. Climb the staircase and enter Portalet square once again to admire the vast panorama and learn its history from the information provided.