A Travellerspoint blog

Three Go to France 22 - The run home!

The campsite at la Grande Côte is about 750 miles from home taking the quickest and shortest route using the autoroutes/toll roads. We have three nights left to consider.

Another consideration is having Reggie's documents checked and him given the deworming pill between 24 and 120 hours before we return to the UK. I have contacted a couple of vets in Bayeux and Abbeville about this. On a previous visit we did to go a vet in Abbeville and it cost us €35 to have the paperwork signed and stamped on his passport as we actually had the working pill from our own vets! I checked in the expired EU pet passport and it was way back in 2016. I have emailed them too.

So why Bayeux and Abbeville? Both are conveniently placed to overnight stops on the way from the far west of France. Bayeix is in Normandy. The home of the famous tapestry depicting the last invasion of England by a foreign power, the Duke of Normandy who became William the Conqueror in 1066. It is also handy for the Normandy D-Day beaches. It's way back on 2009 when Claire and I had a visit on the bike there and stayed in Caen.

This time I have booked again through pitchup.com for one night only nearby. The campsite is Camping Municipal des Bords de l'Aure and is only about half a mile walk into the town. I think for one night we'd prefer to eat out rather than fire up the over or the microwave.... ;)

It's another site that gets a good review from Tripadvisor.

I have emailed the vet locally to see if they can do the worming and paperwork on the afternoon of the 11th or morning of the 12th. Well before the 24 hours minimum before we travel. Just in case I might see if there's one in Rennes and email them to see if they can do it. It will take the pressure off if they can do it in the morning of the 11th.

Anyway. That will leave two overnights left to book. It needs to be in range of the vet if we need one in Abbeville, and so I booked probably the most expensive site of the entire trip (per day!) at Domaine Chateau de Drancourt near St Valery sur Somme. Close enough to the vets if we need them in Abbeville and also in a nice area where we have been many times before. I like St Valery. We were there the last time Reggie came with us. How he hated the steam train that travels around the Somme bay!

It only gets 3.5* from Tripadvisor, but it has all we need and we can park up and see what they have to offer. Two nights and then on the 14th, Bastille Day, we will head for the Shuttle home. We don't have to rush as the train isn't until 3.50pm but we don't know what the check in wil be like. With Reggie we need to be early enough for him to have his paperwork and chip checked before we get through the check-in and passport faffing about.

And that will be it. It's still two and a half months left before we go. I didn't expect to have to book so much in advance but it seems that all forms of holidays are in demand as all the world emerges from the dark days of lockdowns and the Covid pandemic.

The next update on this should be when we ae on the way! Until them "au revoir"!

The route we are taking will look a bit like this image from Google maps. Give or take depending on whether we go by toll or non toll roads. And not counting excursions from the campsites, which we will of course do!

Rough Trip Plan

Rough Trip Plan

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:56 Archived in France Tagged france three_goto_france Comments (0)

Three Goto France 22 - Westwards Ho!

Two nights booked - where next?

So where do we go from here. Currently at the start of the fourth day we are in the Burgundy wine region. I have extended the stay here to two nights so that we can go and have a look around the vineyards. Maybe invest in some wine to drink over the holiday. But dégustation is essential to ensure the right wine is bought.

I gave up the idea of Annecy as I simply couldn't find a site that suited me. I wanted to be on the lake and the only one wasn't dog friendly. So I began to look elsewhere.

We decided that although the Cote d'Azur would have been nice, it might have been a little too hot for Reggie. So that was knocked on the head

Auvergne? Dordogne?

Using pitchup.com I had a look and found a few sites near Sarlat la Canada. An area we have been to before and so is pretty well known to us. It's at Camping Le Bourniou, Saint-Julien-de-Lampon. Some good reviews on Tripadvisor.

I have booked five nights here so we can chill a bit. The campsite is right alongside the river and it has a pebble beach. That leaves seven more nights to plan for.

Claire is worried that if we leave the site that when we get back we'll find someone else has parked there! I have to say as I haven't been camped for over 20 years I can only remember coming back to a site in France to find a car from a neighbouring pitch had parked on our pitch! We were there with a tent and two motorcycles, and yet with one locked up on the pitch and the rent there and clear to see the English prat parked across on out pitch! I couldn't locate which prat it was and had to get the campsite management to get it shifted so I could park my bike! Pitches are allocated FFS!

As for the Loire valley, I have been this way several times before. It is pretty much non-toll all the way. Maybe a few days on the coast to chill and relax near a beach, and then spend a few days with overnights as we travel back to Calais and the Tunnel home?

After Le Bourniou we still have 7 nights to book a stop at. The more I look the more I am finding that places are fully booked up. I expect like the UK, there are many people on the continent are having "staycations" even though we should be there before many of the countries' kids are on their long summer break.

So after giving up on the Landes area to be near the sea, I started to work my way up the west (Atlantic) coast. Several sites that looked promising either weren't dog friendly, or they had poor reviews. I like to see reviews from people that have been there without too many negatives or "dislikes". Its the same when I book a hotel. Why book a place with a review of 5/10 when there is an 8+/10 available?

So for the 7th to 11th July we are on the coast to the north of the Vendée at Camping Sandaya La Grande Côte. That gives us another four night in the Van and near the sea. There is direct access to the beach from the campsite. Nearer the time we can address Claire's worry about leaving and coming back to find someone on our pitch!

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It looks a peaceful site and the only one I haven't booked through pitchup.com. I have asked for a shaded site as July might be warm (we hope there is sun!) and Reggie will be able to not to get too hot!

So there we are some 750 miles from home and three overnights still to plan before we have to be on the train under the Channel. Where next.

Posted by InvictaMoto 11:07 Archived in France Tagged france sarlat dordogne three_goto_france Comments (0)

Three Goto France 22 - East and South?

Booking campsites... And other matters!

Wow. Who would have thought it was so difficult to find somewhere to go in a country as huge as France. It's me not them? There are so many places I want to go I simply can't make my mind up!

The first idea was to head south along the rough route of the A26 directly from Eurotunnel and make stops at scenic places and supermarkets (!) as we passed serenely by at 50 mph (80kph). That might seem slow but the non-toll routes are speed controlled to 90kph or worse, 80kph. The general rule across France until 2019 was 90kph. Then the dictat from Paris was for all single carriageway roads to be reduced to 80kph. This caused some outcry and then they changed it to allow different Departments to decided whether they would stick with the 80 or revert back to 90. What it does mean that someone earned a fortune making and distributing all the 80 speed limit signs.....

Anyway, it does mean that when we have the huge queue of cars behind us as we go 80kph it isn't our fault!

With that in the back of my mind I have been looking at the non-toll route down the eastern side of France. We arrive about 1150 CET, give or take a half hour depending on the efficiency of the trains under the channel. By the time we have dropped into the supermarket at Coquelles to vittles' up for us and for Reggie we are probably looking 1400 before we are plodding southwards. I might forget the no-toll stance for this leg of the journey and take us on the A26 towards the A1 for our first night at Péronne. I have been there several times before to visit the WW1 museum in the castle. The campsite is about half a mile from the town centre. We are only stopping for one night and so we can either walk into town or manger à la maison!

The second night as we plod south will be in the vicinity of the wine region of Burgundy. Names that used to trip off my grandfather Charles' tongue. He was in the wine trade for over 50 years until he retired. I have booked only one night as for us it is an "in-transit camp". This time at Camping de Santenay.

Two down and thirteen (nights) left to locate and book!

The original idea was to head for Annecy, then after a few days by the lake, to turn westwards towards the Auvergne and then north to head for home. At each major spot stay of three or four nights to look around the area.

My new idea is to head for the Côte d'Azur! It will be warmer there and I am looking for a dog friendly site near a beach. I'm not a beach person, but Claire likes a few days sunning and amazingly, Reggie loves the sea!

So that's my focus now.

Posted by InvictaMoto 00:00 Archived in France Tagged france three_goto_france Comments (0)

Three Goto France 22

A slight panic!

The internet can be a marvellous tool and unfortunately, filled with tools! I googled for information on taking LPG equipped vehicles on Eurotunnel. One discussion I happened across has "experts" discussing the situation with tanks of LPG. Vehemently arguing that there was no way would any vehicle with LPG get on the train.

By then I had already invested a large sum of money to pay for the crossings. The Eurotunnel site wasn't all that much better although it does say that the ban only cover vehicles powered by LPG alone or dual fuel with petrol. Back in the 70's my Uncle Frank had a petrol Volvo state car with a gas bottle in the back and he could could switch from one fuel to the other as he felt like it.

In a "belt and braces" move I got onto the chat with Eurotunnel. Their agent called Chloe was very helpful. Confirming that domestic LPG, i.e. for heating and cooking, was okay as long as the valves were shut. This is the normaol position anyway for all gas bottles in a motorhome. Phew.

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:03 Archived in France Tagged france three_goto_france Comments (0)

Three goto France 22 - Let the planning begin!

In "The Van"

So we have committed ourselves to 15 days in France on a small tour. We cross around midday with Eurotunnel. It's a lot more expensive than the ferries from DFDS and Irish Ferries but allows Reggie to be with us as we queue up to get on a train and also with us as we cross under the Channel. As long as the trains are running on time (a rarity in my last 20+ years experience) we should be acros and in good time to get some shopping done for the next few days.

If we had gone on the ferries he would have to stay in the Van on his own and lord only knows how stressful that might be. He has been on the train a few times before in the car and was asleep or faking it each time. The ferry would have been about £100 less for the return journey! A plus is that the Eurotunnel entrance is about 5 miles from home!

Now that we have a start and end time, I can start to extend the search for somewhere to stay and effectively a destination once we get over there. This is a bit I like doing. Is it just me or is there an excitement to planning a trip. Sometimes I plan and don't even get to go. Especially when Covid was dropped on us!

Another consideration is that the UK left the EU over a year ago and as such we are now a third nation. Despite all kinds of crap, as well as the good stuff, from Brussels being enshrined in UK law we are now restricted in how long we can travel in the Schengen Zone. Although I suppose getting stamps in the passport will be a novelty usually reserved for more faraway places.

This is not to show your friends where you have been but so that they border guards can see how long you have been there. Not quite as bad as it used to be to cross into East Germany before the Wall came down (I did that several times!) but the same mentality looks to be being applied.

Reggie (or Snoop to give him his microchip name!) is on a raw food diet. When eating canned food he suffered from persistent bad stomachs and even diarrhoea/diarrhea. Unpleasant for him and us in equal measures.

But because we have been downgraded in the eyes of the EU we are no longer able to take meat products with us. What he eats is made from human grade meat. Made under the same conditions as it was in 2017 and 2018 when we last went over and took his food in a cooler.

So one of the jobs when we get over is to search for either a supply of dog food similar in construction to what he has now, or to feed him minced chicken or beef and add vegetables to it. He likes carrot anyway and we regularly give him a carrot instead of a biscuit or flour based treat. Apparently there is a name for raw food and it is "barf". In English to barf means to be sick or to vomit!

So now to look for some overnight stops and of course a destination to head for. I am all for a tour that takes us down the eastern side of France towards Annecy and then either further down on the Cote d'Azur or westwards to the Auvergne before looping back homewards.

Let the planning begin!

Posted by InvictaMoto 11:44 Archived in France Tagged france three_goto_france Comments (0)

Le Mans MotoGP 2022

Planning and booking stage!

After watching the MotoGP today on TV I thought about maybe another trip across next year to sit in the pissing rain trackside.... as we have done already in 2012 and 2019.

The dates haven't been published yet but gambling on the same weekend as this year for 2022 I had a quick look through the accommodation on booking.com.

This time I looked nearer to the circuit than we found last two occasions. Then we had been in Alençon, either in the Formule 1 or the Resto Novo. Both around 35 miles north of the circuit.

The GP race day was today 16th May 2021.

Gamble 1 is that it it will be the weekend of 13th to 16th May. Oddly, booking.com had a lot of places to choose from. With the filters set for free cancellation and no prepayment that was reduced quite a bit but came up with a reasonably priced Appart'City Le Mans Centre. It's close to the station. It's also only 6kms to the circuit.

Gamble 2! Changing the dates to the following week in case Gamble 1 was wrong, brought up a whole load of different options and fewer of them. It may simply be that it is more than a year away and not everyone posts their prices and availability. Rather than risk being in northern Alençon again, I have booked the Ibis Hotel opposite the station!

I can keep an eye on the situation and will have to cancel one of these anyway and maybe both during the year as plans evolve. Both of them are cheap.

At the moment my brother not looking to enthused. I have less time to spend on bike trips away than he does and Le Mans is the easiest to get to.

UPDATE 7th March 2022

This trip has been cancelled as we have decided to go to the Aragon MotoGP in September 2022 instead - Aragón is in Spain.

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:52 Archived in France Tagged motogp le_mans Comments (0)

Arassing About

A motorcycle service day in France

The original plan for Easter was to spend the day in Belgium with the GS Club UK at the GS weekend at Kasterlee. As it was only a week after coming back from the US, I had to cancel those plans.

But the bike needed a 20000km service before a much longer trip to the Czech Republic in May. So I decided to see about a service in France and use the ferry ticket for that instead. I searched on the BMW France site for a dealership in the north of France. Purely to see if it was cheaper than in the UK. It was much cheaper in France.

I chose Europ Touring in Arras as it is only about 75 miles from the channel ports.

Arras001.jpg

In France both 6000 miles and 12000 miles services are about 40% cheaper than the UK. Even with the cost of a cheap crossing over or under the channel it would be cheaper. And as I was less than happy at the standard of the service done at SPC at 6000 miles, plus the place was in the middle of nowhere and had no loan bike on offer (to me least!) despite buying the GS from them! So, a dealership in a town had to be better.

Patrice, the owner, lent us a Scarver 650 to get about. In the end the weather wasn't very good so we only rode into the city centre, met Mark and Julie from the SOC who were there for a hotel weekend, for coffee and as they had done most of the sights we wanted to see the day before we signed in for the A/T, had a chat, and then had lunch.

After lunch, with the weather still looking a bit naff, we wobbled on the Scarver up to Vimy Ridge. On this trip the monument was open (a later visit wasn't so lucky!) and we had a long walk around taking some pictures, however, we didn't have time to go in the museum.

Arras002.jpgArras003.jpg

Posted by InvictaMoto 12:50 Archived in France Tagged vimy_ridge arras europ_touring Comments (0)

Emovis Tag UK

Since Summer 2016 I have had one of these electronic tags fitted in the car. It fits on the top of the windscreen above the mirror.

What does it do? It's not quite magic!

But it does mean that as you approach one of the toll barriers on a French motorway you no longer have to stop and queue, and then fiddle for change or a credit card.

Simply slow down and approach the barrier and wait for the "beep" or the light to go green and the barrier to go up.

Of course it's not free. There is an annual charge for having it and then there are the tolls you incur as you drive around.

I have used it more often in the car, however I have tried it a few times on the bike. I was sceptical how it would know the difference between a car, charged at one tariff, and a motorcycle, charged at a much lower one.

On asking, they said it would know. Approach the barrier slowly as you would in a car and the barrier goes up. They suggest that you login to your account later and check that it got it right! That doesn't actually fill me with that much confidence. If I have to dispute it I assume they have video surveillance to check on?

I would recommend it to anyone that uses the French toll motorway often as it does save time, especially on busy dates when the "T lane" is often less busy.

There is even a video to show how it works! https://www.emovis-tag.co.uk/

Many countries have similar systems to make it easier to pay road tolls. There is the simple non-intelligent "vignette" system used in Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Emovis also has tags for Spain and Portugal. It's a shame they can't be merged into one tag and save messing about with more than one.

Of course there is the Sun Pass in Florida. I have never bought one as the hire cars seems to have then fitted already for retrospective charging! If someone can explain how to have my own then that would be great for my next visit. Although I tend to avoid the toll lanes around Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and use I95 for north/south trips.

Posted by InvictaMoto 08:31 Archived in France Tagged emovis_uk Comments (0)

Coupes Moto Légende 2021 - CANCELLED DUE TO COVID

Twenty years On....

We last went in 2001. The tale is elsewhere in this blog about my/our trips across the Channel to France.

With the same Suzuki GT750A away for refurbishment and hopefully back before the end of this year, I am looking to make another visit to France for Coupes Moto Légende.

It has been held at another circuit, further to the south than the outskirts of Paris, for a number of years. At Prenois-Dijon. Due to covid-19 it was cancelled in 2020, firstly in May and then again in September.

I am waiting for the date to see if I can get there and back in my holiday time at the end of May. If not, then it will have to be 2022 when I have retired from work!

In the meantime I have checked on how far it is by road on MyRouteApp.com. It is around 409 miles using motorways. Slightly less avoiding toll motorways. I think a mixture of the two would be okay.

The A26 goes all the way from Calais to Troyes. With the Emovis tag in my pocket getting through the toll barriers will be no problem.

From Troyes there is a no-toll route via Chatillon-sur-Seine. Google maps has that section as around 143kms. That cuts off a corner and reduces the overall distance to 380 or so miles.

It does follow the Seine for quite a while and close to the source of the river. So not all about riding a motorcycle and things to do with motorcycles.

We await the organisers with the dates for May 2021!

Posted by InvictaMoto 07:06 Archived in France Tagged suzuki_gt750a coupes_moto_légende gt750a Comments (0)

Tripnbike Website

A useful aid and free membership to Tripnbike for bikers anywhere to see if there are any deals and secure overnight parking in the area they are travelling too.

I am a member and do not gain financially or in anyway benefit other than t get discounts at places registered on the site.

https://en.tripnbike.com/

Posted by InvictaMoto 07:06 Archived in France Comments (0)

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