Author Topic: Negotiating the ferry and France...  (Read 8397 times)

urban_biker

  • " . . .we all ended up here and like lads in the back of a Nova we sort of egged each other on...."
  • Known in the real world as Dave
Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2009, 09:35:28 am »


Quote
Sat Nav - TomTom One Europe is good value and easy to use.
Seem to go fro £140 ish - quite pricey, but perhaps is a good 'investment'.



I got my Garmin Nuvi 250 with European maps from Amazon a few months back for £79. It has a few less functions than the TOM TOM but its good. There may still be a few of these about if you look hard. Otherwise there is a widescreen version of the same model that sells for around £100.
Owner of a languishing Langster

robbo6

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2009, 12:59:29 pm »

...spot a local (i.e. Southend based) coach and follow it out of Paris  ;D




Lucky it wasn't going to Bordeaux.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2009, 01:20:50 pm »
I knew the company and knew they always use Calais - Dover.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2009, 02:05:39 pm »
Sometimes yiou can get a refurbed one. I have a "one" at home, but can remember if it's got european mapping on it. I'll check and if it has I can loan it to you.

OK cheers raf.

You're in luck, it does have the European mapping on it (though not updated for a couple of years, not that that means a great deal)  so you're welcome to borrow it. Comes with windscreen sucker and ciggie lighter (sorry, accessory socket) power lead.  One tip - NEVER leave the sucker on the screen when you leave the car parked up, and preferably make sure yiou use a duster to remove the tell tale circular marks from the screen too - scrotes look for these tell-tales and break in anyway just on spec!  Let me have your address and I'll get it off to you so you can have a play before using it in anger.

Nice one.  YHPM   :)
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

andym

  • Expat Cyclist
    • AndysRockets
Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2009, 07:34:27 pm »
Euro Map SatNav was great last year.  Road signs are fine on Autoroutes but, until you get used to it, their "A & B" roads can get messy (they can have 2 numbering schemes overlayed on same stretch of road).
Only time I've seen the 2 numbering schemes overlaid is on mainland EU equivalent of Motorways and A roads.  The "E" routes can be handy.  Some places tend to list both, others list one or the other.  UK has the "E" routes allocated as well, but just chooses not to use them.
eg. from here to Calais, I follow E35 then E40 (which is: A67, A3, A4, A44 in Germany, then A3, R0, A10, A18 in Belgium, then A16 in France!), followed by E15 to Calais Port and E15 from Dover up to London.  SatNav will indicate whatever is indicated on the overhead signs locally.

One other point on SatNav on mainland Europe - if travelling in France or Switzerland, make sure there's no Speed Camera POIs installed, unless you want a fine and the device confiscated.
AndyM

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2009, 07:51:23 pm »
You'll have a grand time.  With one notable exception (won't bore you with the details and I am still emotionally scarred) we've never had problems with the ferry.  Get there early like others have said.

Driving is France is a joy.  Stick to the tolls roads (sod the expense), they are direct, very little traffic compared with UK motorways and there are plenty of places to stop.

Having sat nav really helps though we always keep track of where we are on a good paper map too.

If two or more of you share the driving you can cover about 500 miles a day with no fuss.  DVD players and Nintendo DSs keep small people so happy you'll forget they are in the car and they have a really nice time!

Have a good trip.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2009, 11:43:02 pm »

If two or more of you share the driving you can cover about 500 miles a day with no fuss.  DVD players and Nintendo DSs keep small people so happy you'll forget they are in the car and they have a really nice time!


More than that :)

I've just put our last journey into google maps (went near Perpignan)

We left Southend 05:45 / 06:00 ish (from memory).  85 miles to Dover, onto the ferry for the first break, then (going through Evreux to avoid Paris) just drove and enjoyed the scenery.  We do 2.5 hours then stop at a "small" services (just a loo and car park) for a loo break and change driver.  After that next 2.5 hours we stop at a proper services for fuel (if required) and a food break.

Our total mileage was about 850 miles, and we were there in time to chat to the evening dog walking locals.  I think we also stopped at a supermarket near our destination for food for the evening meal.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2009, 11:38:53 am »
Calais - Chamonix is about 550mls, and the equivalent to us going from Abingdon to Lands End-ish and back again in a day - so it will be a challenge, but seems doable, with two drivers, stops, DVDs, new scenery etc as people have mentioned. (& thanks OD)
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2009, 12:06:56 pm »
It will be much much easier that the equivalent distance in the UK. As Nutty says bite the bullet and pay the auto route tolls. There is far less traffic than in the UK (providing its not French holiday week and your on The Route de Sol). You can cover huge distances comfortably on French motorways. The services are nicer than UK ones too on the whole. Don't let your petrol run low though as there can be stretches where it's a long way between services.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

RainOrShine

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2009, 12:22:08 pm »
What do people think about going via Paris to take in the Eiffel tower (mini request) on the way back to Calais? 

We did that once, parked in a shoppers car park at the end of one of the metro lines.

Unfortunately there was a mahoosive queue for the Eiffel Tower, so we had a boat ride instead.  If you can book advance tickets for the Tower that might be worth doing.

Hope you enjoy Chamonix.  Do make sure you take the kids on the Summer Luge.  :)

gonzo

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2009, 12:27:54 pm »
I managed Gap (1 hour from Montpellier)- Lyons - Paris Perifique* - Calais in 10 hours 20 minutes (inc stops), so it's quite quick if you use the autoroutes which are, incidentally, absolutely glorious; I considered the traffic to be heavy when you had to move into the outside lane to overtake!

*Don't rely only on sat nav!

L Hedley

  • "Bring it on"
Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2009, 12:36:36 pm »
Paris - avoid in the car.

Sat Nav - TomTom One Europe is good value and easy to use.

If you use your satnav, if you get an option to avoid roads with a toll charge, don't say yes!  The toll roads are the fast ones and very easy to use.  Have change ready though.
Not just a cyclist's wife!

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2009, 12:40:37 pm »
You can use credit cards on the autoroute now, BTW total charge for autoroute Calais to south of France via Paris, Orleon, Clermobnt Ferrand would be about £60.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2009, 12:46:52 pm »
Thanks all.

On here autoroutes.fr ASFA (official site?) if you put in e.g. calais - chamonix, it shows toll tickets followed by toll payments points.  So I'm guessing this means one takes a ticket and then presents it at the next booth?  I read somewhere that the machines have difficulty with UK credit cards - anyone had this?  Perhaps it may be better to get a good crop of Euros.   :)

Strange that this site has the speed camera locations, when they are not allowed on the satnavs.  But the other thing I noticed was the variable speed limit.  Some A roads are 110kph others 130kph...
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

gonzo

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2009, 12:58:51 pm »
Thanks all.

On here autoroutes.fr ASFA (official site?) if you put in e.g. calais - chamonix, it shows toll tickets followed by toll payments points.  So I'm guessing this means one takes a ticket and then presents it at the next booth?
yup that's right
Quote
 I read somewhere that the machines have difficulty with UK credit cards - anyone had this?
I had no problems

Quote
Some A roads are 110kph others 130kph...
Generally, it's 130 in the sun and 110 in the rain.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2009, 01:02:59 pm »
If you have been tanking it down a nice empty motorway and speeding then consider planning your rest stop before the next toll booths rather than after as occasionally the police like to look at the time you went through the last toll booth (its on the ticket) and the time you have arrived at this one and if they can compute an average speed higher than 130kmh then you are nicked.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #41 on: July 03, 2009, 01:10:20 pm »
If you have been tanking it down a nice empty motorway and speeding then consider planning your rest stop before the next toll booths rather than after as occasionally the police like to look at the time you went through the last toll booth (its on the ticket) and the time you have arrived at this one and if they can compute an average speed higher than 130kmh then you are nicked.

Aha, merci, une autre version de la vitesse moyenne de vérifier. Mais, je n'ai pas l'intention de dépasser la limite de vitesse. Je vais relayer cette information à Mme andyoxon.  ;)

(had to be done)
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2009, 01:58:23 pm »
...Do make sure you take the kids on the Summer Luge.  :)

Looks like great fun... <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/kPJ1dQCXN1k&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/kPJ1dQCXN1k&rel=1</a>
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #43 on: July 03, 2009, 02:04:02 pm »
Just noticed that you're going to Chamonix.  When we went there the hotels were giving out free travel passes, which meant we could leave the car there and use the buses/trains for free to get up and down the valley.


Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #44 on: July 03, 2009, 03:29:20 pm »
We had an amusing little incident at a French motorway toll booth.  As you enter the toll section of the motorway you stop at a machine and it spits out a ticket (on the left hand side so the passenger grabs it). We drove up to one and no ticket appeared, much confusion.  We then noticed that the ticket had appeared about 1.5 metres further up the machine.  Sensors on the machine clocked the bikes on the roof, thought we were a truck and spat the ticket out of the lorry driver slot!  This happened a few times, the passenger just opened their door, stood on the door sill and grabbed the ticket.  It's all part of the fun  ;D

Regarding distances, I'm not surprised people are easily travelling over 500 miles per day in France.  The motorways are just brilliant and the speed limit is 80 mph even if you are towing (providing the all up weight of car and trailer is less than 3.5 tonnes).  We tend not to do more than 500 miles just because it's nicer for Twinkle Toes.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #45 on: July 03, 2009, 03:44:49 pm »
... Sensors on the machine clocked the bikes on the roof, thought we were a truck and spat the ticket out of the lorry driver slot!  This happened a few times, the passenger just opened their door, stood on the door sill and grabbed the ticket.  It's all part of the fun  ;D...

Did they charge you for Lorry or Car though?   (is there a difference?)

iakobski

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #46 on: July 03, 2009, 04:03:46 pm »
No you get charged for a car even if it's the size of a van and you've got a huge trailer. Unlike this country where they charge you the same as a lorry if you're towing any kind of trailer no matter how tiny.

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #47 on: July 03, 2009, 04:06:10 pm »
... Sensors on the machine clocked the bikes on the roof, thought we were a truck and spat the ticket out of the lorry driver slot!  This happened a few times, the passenger just opened their door, stood on the door sill and grabbed the ticket.  It's all part of the fun  ;D...

Did they charge you for Lorry or Car though?   (is there a difference?)

No idea!

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #48 on: July 05, 2009, 09:04:22 pm »
Hope you enjoy Chamonix.  Do make sure you take the kids on the Summer Luge.  :)

Oh yes, great fun - but do remember that "Freinez!" is French for "Brake!" not "Duck!" - unlike my mate Ben when we were there many years ago. The braking mechanism is operated by pulling back on the lever. Pushing forward, as you do when you duck, just makes you go faster...

On the positive side, Ben learnt several new French curse words from the person on the luge in front of him.

Annecy is also well worth a visit while you're in the area - in fact, Annecy-Chamonix is an outstandingly beautiful cycling route (including the Col de la Croix Fry - a challenge but not one of the tougher Alpine passes - not to be confused with the evil Croix de Fer).

Apart from that, I second the recommendation for the toll-roads. They all have perfect surfaces and are well worth a few extra quid.

I know it's too late this time, but I would definitely recommend the tunnel next time. It's not just the crossing itself where you save time (30 minutes compared to over an hour [IIRC] on the ferry) but there are trains every 15 minutes, which means turnover is much higher, you can check in later, queues are fewer and shorter, boarding and disembarkation are much quicker (not least because unlike the ferry you stay in your vehicle once you have boarded) and the whole experience is generally much more pleasant. Having used the tunnel a few times, I don't think I could ever go back to the ferry - the only thing I miss about the ferry is standing on the deck and feeling the sea spray on my face.

Yes, the tunnel occasionally closes due to fires and whatnot, but the ferry also occasionally closes due to French farmers and whatnot.

d.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #49 on: July 05, 2009, 10:15:19 pm »
I like ferries. It's part of the travel experience.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.