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Old 10-30-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
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Travel to France

While I'm pretty sure no one has taken their RV to France, this forum is so diverse, I am pretty sure that if i ask any travel question, it would be answered.
My bride wants to visit Europe and particularly France, especially Normandy. I have been to France compliments of the U.S. Navy, but never as a tourist, and that was 100 years ago.
So, we are looking for suggestions. Criteria would be about 3 weeks, Interested in France, and possible another country or two. I am not real big on organized tours. Too much regimentation. But some assistance would be nice.
Any suggestions would help, especially do's and don'ts as far as weather etc. I'd really just like to rent a car and go where the road goes. I just assume that you can drive at will and stop at "Le Holiday Inn" each night. At least a week in France would be a must to see Paris, Normandy, Burgandy wine tour, etc.

Jim and Vicky, Belleville, IL
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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Being able to find accommodations without making reservations ahead of time, particularly in the summer months, won't be easy. Europe doesn't have the density of roadside motels that the US does.

You might want to consider staying in a hotel that's within easy reach of a couple of days sightseeing spots, then move on to another town for a couple more days.

Another option is to use trains and buses to get around. France, Germany and Spain have inter-city trains that run 180 mph, and, though not cheap, they often work out to be cheaper than a rental car, particularly with the high cost of gasoline (up around $9 a gallon these days). You can rent a small car locally for specific sighseeing trips, if necessary. Many of the car rental companies have offices at major railroad stations.

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Old 10-30-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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Look into the river cruises. We took one a few years back. Went from the south of France up. Food and accomadations were great. Several companys offer them. We have booked another from Switzerland to Amsterdam for next spring.
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Luckiest Dre View Post
Look into the river cruises. We took one a few years back. Went from the south of France up. Food and accomadations were great. Several companys offer them. We have booked another from Switzerland to Amsterdam for next spring.
+1...done it a few times now....let's you get close,in the back door, right downtown.....check out LeBoat for cruises...
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:12 AM   #5
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My daughter and her husband did a 2 week trip to Europe on the cheap about 7 or 8 years ago. They did not us a travel agent. They decided on the places they wanted to go and then made reservations online with Bed and Breakfast and bought a Eurail pass for travel there. They had a great time.

They would find the lcoal market where they were and pick up some wine, chees, bread or meat and find a nice park for lunch. Breakfast was at the B&B and dinner where ever the locals suggested.

A couple of years later they did England in a like manner.

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Old 11-07-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
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If you're a free spirit and want to go where the road goes I think a three week camper rental is a great way to go. Campgrounds are close to big cities or have easy access to public transportation right outside their doors. Paris has a great campground, Bois de Boulogne. As far as wine tours, driving the c and or d roads there are many many wineries and one can camp there if you buy a bottle or more. Europe is extremely civilized.
If this interests you Band W campers may be a good place to start. Good luck
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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It can be done easily. DW and i did it in 2001. Get a rental car ordered here. Much cheaper that way. Another option is one of the fly buy options offered by manufacturers. The biggest issue is foid. Hard to find except regular meal hours. We flew to zurich toured switzerland southern germany northern france including normandy. The cemeterries are not to be missed. Dropped the car at the airport in paris and flew home. Paris is not a drive friendly place but their rapid teansit system is good
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:47 AM   #8
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I've never been to Europe, but if I did...
The entire continent takes a month off for holiday in the summer. All of it, every business, country, and person (except I assume, those whose business is holidays?)
I imagine that during that month, the hotels, beaches, restaurants, wineries, & tourist traps are packed to the rafters.
I don't know the exact dates, but I would not go near the pace during that MONTH.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:45 AM   #9
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I've traveled several time to France. Car rental is a good option and will allow you a lot of flexibility. Use the small county roads to cross and visit small villages and have a good idea of the country,
Current regular prices are around $7.00 to $7.50 per US gallon or 1.45 euros per liter.
Avoid going there in August which is the most favorite vacation period in France. Best periods would be either from end of april to mid june or around september 7 to 3rd week of october.

As far as hotels there are several chains which offer no frills no fuss rooms. Those are clean. Such chains are: Formula one, Etap,B & B Première Classe, etc, Price range from 35 to 60 Euros per night.

Avoid american type breakfasts in restaurants, they are very expensive. On the hotel chains mentioned most of then offer a small breakfast buffet for around 6-$7 per person or find a Mc Donald that offers breakfasts similar to US Mcdos.
As far as hotel reservation we did not make any except in Paris. Otherwise we stopped in hotels around 4-5 pm and except once always had rooms available.
Most of the time for lunch we stopped at a grocery store around 11 am, ( a lot of them close between 12 to 2 ) to buy cheese, bread, meats, wine and made a picknik a one of the large number of small rest areas alongside the roads.
For dinner go to local small '' auberge '' and select one of the 3 or 4 special offered that night, It will cost you a lot less than à la carte menu, and food will be extremely good. Don't forget tips are included in your tab, If you had very good service add a few Euros.

Have a nice trip.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:04 AM   #10
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We have met Americans who have taken their RVs to Europe. All smaller Class C or similar types because of the narrow roads once you get off the main roads.

If you are going to hire a car, look into the French Government sponsored lease system for periods as short as 3 weeks. Brand new car, full roadside service and as cheaap per day as you will find anywhere.

Europass rail pass can be good value if train travel works for you.

Or, like us, you can buy your own RV and keep going back for three months every year. Plenty to see apart from Europe - Morocco, Turkey, Iceland ....

Oh, and please don't get the Europeans used to tips. They, like Australian hospitality workers, do get a proper wage from their employers so won't starve if the tips aren't forthcoming.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:36 AM   #11
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When we went to France we were told to rent a diesel cause the fuel is cheaper.Motels were not a problem.Finding food took a little adjusting.Everything but resturants close for lunch.When lunch is over all the resturants close till dinner.

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