We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

French Road Trip July 2018

Birmingham, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
19 reviews
Save Topic
French Road Trip July 2018

We are travelling from the midlands, UK, to the west of France by car for the first time. Trip is for 2 weeks in July. Not restricted to how short or long the trip ends up being but would like to get to Bordeaux and back if possible.

First time driving on the continent.

Looking for advice on;

- best value channel crossing options for 2 adults and normal saloon car. Also is it a better option to travel out to one port and back from another.

- accommodation recommendations (hotels/hostel/gites). Must have a private bathroom though.

- ‘must see’ sites along the west of France

Would appreciate any time and advice anyone can offer. Thank you

Mentioned in this post
France
France
Europe
Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Gironde, France
4 replies to this topic
Barcelona, Spain
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Berlin
Level Contributor
21,600 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: French Road Trip July 2018

We were in Bordeaux recently, but without a car as we'd dropped off the rental car at the airport and from the forums I see that was a wise move, it seems driving in central Bordeaux is not easy (one way system etc) and the ring-road is really busy too. La Rochelle on the other hand was fine (being much smaller helps!).

In La Rochelle we stayed in the Ibis at the port (rather nicer than the standard Ibis). In Bordeaux we had a studio apartment in an Adagio aparthotel (a chain with the same hotel group as Ibis, Accorhotels. Those two I booked on accorhotels.com but other accommodation on the trip I found on booking.com You can put your budget to refine the search (and parking, free wifi etc). Most places have an ensuite bathroom, it's very cleared marked when they don't

Edited: 11 June 2018, 04:13
Mentioned in this post
Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Gironde, France
La Rochelle
La Rochelle
Charente-Maritime, France
England, United...
Level Contributor
8,816 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: French Road Trip July 2018

If you are travelling during school holiday time, the West of France is likely to be very busy. The west coastal area is very popular with families.

As for ferry crossings, the shortest is from Dover to Calais. Take a look at the P&O website for timetables, prices etc. www.poferries.com/en/dover-calais.

For the route once you arrive in France, have a look at www.ViaMichelin.com or google AArouteplanner. You will be able to find out driving times, distances, fuel costs, etc.

A word of advice: add at least 10% onto the driving time as I find that the distances are often understated, especially if you come off the motorways and drive through towns and villages.

This might help to get you started: https://www.viamichelin.co.uk/.../Routes/Rou…

If you also google "Calais to Bordeaux" you will find a lot of other informative sites to research.

Mentioned in this post
France
France
Europe
Dover
Dover
Kent, UK
Calais
Calais
Pas-de-Calais, France
Le P.O.
Le P.O.
413 Reviews
Le Plessis-Robinson, France
Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Gironde, France
Chateaurenard...
Level Contributor
8,791 posts
93 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: French Road Trip July 2018

Although longer ferry crossings are usually more expensive (sometimes Newhaven-Dieppe is cheaper than crossings from Dover) they can cut long distances from driving - the cost of which is far from being limited to fuel & maybe tolls. I did a recent calculation and found that fuel represents about 30% of driving costs. A crossing from Portsmouth to St-Malo would not only take you directly to western France, but also avoid most of the traffic bottlenecks on both sides of the Channel.

Mentioned in this post
Dieppe
Dieppe
Seine-Maritime, France
Dover
Dover
Kent, UK
Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Hampshire, UK
Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
Ille-et-Vilaine, France
France
France
Europe
Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
1,948 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: French Road Trip July 2018

Birmingham to Bordeaux and back in two weeks ? That's short... At best you're looking at an average of 2h30 of driving per day. I'd limit myself to either Brittany/Normandy/Loire Valley or Alsace/Champagne.

Mentioned in this post
Birmingham
Birmingham
West Midlands, UK
Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Gironde, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Alsace
Alsace
Grand Est, France
Reply to: French Road Trip July 2018
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted