What to expect when Camping/ Caravanning in France

What to expect when Camping/ Caravanning in France


hey guys welcome back to make way with the Morleys. I’m Andy and in this video we’re going to be talking about French campsites and taking a summer holiday in France. If this is your first time here consider subscribing, we’re trying to put uploads up weekly of our trips away, tips and tricks, of cooking videos and all stuff outdoors. So if that’s something you’re interested in hit the subscribe button and get notified whenever we upload. You can always come back to our channel on a Thursday and hopefully there’ll be a new upload for you. On to this week’s video, so we decided we wanted to make a video about camping or caravanning in France and in general what going to France, what a French holiday entails based off a conversation we had off Twitter. Now this was as a result of a message we had from Gilly Green I’ll read it, I’ll try and put it on the screen here so you can see what it was but it said, first year planning French summer holiday and no idea where to go, Ty Nadan was on my long short list. You been before? Now this is by no means a guide to say this is what you should and shouldn’t do because everybody’s preferences will be different and one of the first things you need to ask yourself is what sort of holiday you want because that will determine probably if it’s your first time going to France where you may want to go. Now for us it’s quite important that we don’t have to travel too far in France we’ve always been in the summer holidays and classically in this in the school six weeks holidays we’ve been at the start of the holiday at the end of the holiday midway through the holiday and each will have a different flavour to the campsite. The very first year that Kate and I went to France we went in the last week of August, now in that time a lot of the French kids the Dutch kids the German kids will be back at school but the campsites were quite quiet and in fact the first campsite we went to just the three of us it was we went for August bank holiday weekend and there was virtually nobody there it was actually the last week before the campsite we see too close and I think some of the campsites do close from the first week in September just because there is no demand. Now where to go really depends on which crossing you’re going to do there’s numerous crossings obviously that you can get over to front now again the crossing really depends on where you live now for us in the Midlands we’ve crossed from Portsmouth we’ve also done the tunnel when we went to the Alps for us you know with with three kids all fairly young we really want to make sure that the travel the other side isn’t too long generally speaking the crossings from Portsmouth you can travel from this area of the country after work don’t have to leave it you don’t have to leave too early you can get across in at sort of 10:30 – 11:00 o’clock time and that works really well because you don’t need to have a day off work you can travel after work get down there for a reasonable time get an overnight crossing and that will get you into France for sort of 6:30 – 7 o’clock in the morning which is absolutely perfect if you want to go to either Brittany or to the Vendee region. Now if you’re going from Portsmouth you can cross to Caen or to Saint-Malo. Typically speaking the crossings to Caen is cheaper than Saint-Malo, I don’t know why that is the difference between the two if you’re going to sort of the Vendee or to Brittany it’s going to knock about an hour off your journey time, now that’s a time without towing a Caravan but roughly speaking the difference between Saint-Malo and Caen adds about an hour if you weren’t towing so it’s obviously good night a little bit more if you are towing. This year we’re taking the crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff, we’ve never done that before we’ve sort of always discounted the ferry from Plymouth because it always seemed a much much longer journey than Portsmouth is from our neck of the woods. Realistically that only adds 40 more miles I think the distance from home to Portsmouth is about 160 sort of ish miles, the difference from home to Plymouth for us is about 200 so 40 miles is not a massive difference. However the difference it makes on the other side is massive the travel time, from Caen to Le Ty Nadan in Brittany it took us about four hours last year which again wasn’t too bad, it is manageable with plenty of things to do to occupy the kids but our transit time now, from Roscoff to the campsite is going to be roughly about an hour and a half to two hours there is a massive saving so that extra 40 miles is making a big difference to our journey time in France this year. What to expect to pay for crossings really depends on again which crossing you do, how flexible you are, do you want to go overnight and have a cabin? Obviously going overnight and having a cabin probably adds about 50 or 60 pounds but at least you do get the facility to have a shower. The first time we went, Kate and I with Finn it was a nightmare, we had reclining seats it was it felt like it was overcrowded the boat it was it was just it wasn’t great had virtually no sleep than the three or four hour drive the other side got the camera absolutely knackered so subsequent years after that we always booked a cabin. Now this year we do something different we’re actually driving down to Plymouth staying overnight in a campsite then getting the 8:30 or 8:20 crossing in the morning over the France which gets us there for a roughly two – three o’clock. With a relatively short journey the other side we shall be set up hopefully for tea time but on to cost our ferry, in peak season with the caravan is set to cost at 700 quid which is massively expensive but Peak Season, school holidays, unfortunately it’s just an expensive time for families. However there’s a number of things you can do to try and we’ll reduce the cost, if you’re a member of the caravan and motorhome club they do offer discounts, you book through them and they’ll give you a discount I think circa 10%. We decided to join the Brittany Ferries Club Voyage which is for frequent travelers of people who have maybe got holiday homes in France. Now that saves 30% off the booking price in the first year you have to pay two fees what it’s an admin fee I need to know the fee it worked out to about 70 quid so although we’re saving two hundred and ten quid ie a 30% discount off 700 pounds it cost us 10% so our saving is only 20% for this year which is still better than the ten off you probably going to get through the caravan a motorhome club. Subsequent years you only have to pay admin fee at 35 pounds so it will become it will become obviously better as years go on if you carry on your membership, if you obviously go more than once a year then it of course makes sense to do so. I guess now on to what to expect from a French campsite, the site this year roughly speaking is about 70 euros a night, you get hedging on three sides of the pitch, we have electric hookup, we have water and we have waste on our pitch. The beauty of going back to the same site that we went to last year is that we had a good walk around before we left picked out what we thought was going to be the best pitches then booked up from there. Now in terms of what is different from UK sites every sites, every site we’ve been to is always had its own pool there’s a bar on site, a restaurant there’ll be a takeaway place, loads of play areas, to be honest though the prices obviously much more expensive we think it’s good value for money. Now on to places we’ve been, we went to the Vendee region the very first year that we were together Kate and I we went to a site called Les Amieux which is near Saint-Jean-de-Monts which is a as I say a nice three four-hour drive the other side, lots and lots to do. Now the year after that we went to a place called camping la foret. The year after that we went down to the Alps that was because I had this ridiculous idea that I was going to try and do a Half Ironman Triathlon, in the end I didn’t end up doing it but we booked summer holiday around it which it didn’t go down too well that is in a place called Bourg D’Oiseans which is near Alpe D’Huez and actually the triathlon was due to go up Alpe D’Huez we were there the week after the Tour de France was there so that’s actually something worth considering, if you are looking to go to France in July it might be worth checking out the route for the Tour de France because everywhere gets horrendously busy, if you’ve never seen the Tour before it’s definitely worth it’s definitely worth it, it’s a fantastic event something to experience for sure. So the Alps maybe you wouldn’t think would be the perfect place to go for a summer holiday but actually it was fantastic, we have a great holiday to the Alps we went with some friends who actually towed a caravan all the way down there. The drive to the Alps is a Grueller, so if you’ve got kids make sure you’ve got something to keep them entertained we actually tried to break that journey up by staying in Dijon overnight, that was probably about a six-hour drive, on the way back we drove all the way back home, I had this idea that I want to play cricket we were due to come back on the Friday stay overnight in Dijon and then come back on the Saturday get home sort of Saturday tea time but I had this thing you might had I want to play cricket on Saturday so we left the campsite at about midday on Friday got home about two o’clock in the morning having driven 850 miles back from the Alps. I promptly got a duck and I don’t think I got any wickets when I bowled. So it was a complete waste of time and I was absolutely knackered but that’s another story for another day I guess. So that brings us up to the end of the video, if you enjoyed it please hit the thumbs up, subscribe if you’re into all things outdoorsy, caravanning like to see site reviews, see trip service away. Subscribe and get notified of when our new uploads are available if you’ve got any questions hit us up in the comments drop us an email at make way with the Morleys at outlook dot com. You can catch up with us on social media on Twitter at MWWTMs. We’d love to get your input for some future videos, thanks very much for Gilly for posting the question hopefully this has been use to you and to hopefully some other people. We’ll see you next week for our next video, thanks for watching!

18 thoughts on “What to expect when Camping/ Caravanning in France

  1. If you're "oop North" the Hull->Zeebrugge crossing is a great option. It's a bit more expensive but you get 2 nights accommodation, meals and entertainment included and it's a great experience for the kids to start and end the holiday. You also avoid having to drive on the congested southern English roads!

  2. Another great vid 👍🏻.
    Myself and the other half were only saying last night about going to France this August!! We are looking to sail from Portsmouth to maybe St marlo? I only want about a 2 hour drive from the ferry, can you recommend any areas? It's our first time in France and have two boys (10 & 5)
    Also wondering if it's worth me joining the ferry club thing you mentioned??

    Thanks Stuart & Kelly

  3. We did the Plymouth-Roscoff a few years back, in reality we could have gone a LOT further down in to Brittany as we were at Quimper mid morning. I completely agree on the "reclining" seats, i suffered on the way but got a cabin on the way back which made a world of difference

  4. hi mate, i live in Bromsgrove and thinking of doing france next year. i dont want to be too adventurous as it will be my 1st time abroad towing caravan so looking at Brittany? i have 5 and 8 boys, where would you recommend for a 1st time virgin like myself that wont be too stressful? thanks.

  5. Absolutely priceless info ty so much on a question traveling overseas can you cover at some point tolls/rough fuel costs in Europe is there any other silly charges that may occur we are considering our first touring trip with our caravan and this info would be great and ty again for your time and effort

  6. have you heard of people getting gassed in aries in france ? i just came across an article on it while researching inverters but i cant find any details via the internet.

  7. Just had a check and to sail Poole to Cherbourg in late July with 2 children and a dog was £596 on Brittany ferries site without discount. Our sailing in June would be only minimally less, about £6. These are to sail out on the Sunday morning and return on the Friday which works better for us driving from the north and doing a stopover at Poole each way. That said, we have booked our June holiday through the C&MC and have got the sailing and camping cheques for 2 weeks for £462 which is a bargain. To book separately and direct would have been £862. Its the campsite fees which rise considerably in school holidays….

  8. Hi Andy,
    Thanks for some great tips. I know it's almost a year since you posted this video, but as I'm planning our summer 2018 trip to Europe at present I found it very helpful. We are being a little more adventurous, as we are going to drive all the way down through France to the Mediterranean coast of Spain, about 75 miles down the coast from Barcelona! I was horrified at the cost of the Plymouth to Santander ferry, it's over a £1,000 return, in late July for 2 adults and our teenage son! Also my wiife hates sea travel, so we will be taking the Channel Tunnel and touring down through France over 3 days or so. It all becomes a nice part of the holiday. I can fully understand your preference with younger children, not to have to drive too far in France htough. One thing I've found really helpful when travelling the France is having one of the Liber-t tags from Sanef Tolling UK. www.saneftolling.co.uk It means not having to carry lots of cash for paying road tols on the journey. You can also, usually, get through the toll plazas much faster with a tag than having to queue and pay by cash or card. I think it's an excellent investment if you travel a lot in France. They now also provide a tag for the toll roads in Spain and Portugal.
    Again thanks for a great video.

    Jonathan.

  9. Thanks for uploading this video. This is only our second year caravanning, so still learning the ropes. We are seriously considering doing France next year, maybe to the Vendee in the hope we have more chance of better weather.

  10. Very informative.. Kate and I are going for our 1st trip next week – also staying at Camping les amiaux in St Jean de Monts!

  11. Hello, very insightful video. My question you may or may not be able to answer. However he goes! We are moving to France permanently. The plan is to buy a touring caravan and stay at Aires (not motorway ones as we have heard that can be dangerous). We will be house hunting and envisage being in the caravan for at least 3 months. We have heard that a lot of Aires don't allow touring caravans and only allow motor homes. Are you aware of any restrictions on touring caravans that may cause us an issue in France? Can you recommend any campsites that would be open during the winter in Brittany? Thanks

  12. I came across your video, now it give me an idea of price and crossing to defferent port from UK.. We are just waiting for our van conversion and ready for long adventure.

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