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France Tour 2013

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Our France Tour 2013

This year we decided to just tour around France after a few days travelling from Zeebrugge through Belgium and Luxembourg. We drove down the eastern side of  France to the Med visiting new places and some of our favourite old haunts. We then turned west to the Camargue and the Hérault before driving up through the Auvergne and the Loire  to the coast at Dieppe.
Campsites 2013 Aires 2013
Belgium, Luxembourg and Eastern FranceDown to the Côte d'Azur
A Week in ProvenceHérault to Cantal
Around the AuvergneThe Last leg North

We decided to travel from Hull to Zeebrugge this year and enjoyed a smooth overnight crossing. After a quick disembarquement we had a good drive bypassing Bruges and Korjtrik to reach a campsite on the edge of Tournai. We then drove via Durbuy with it's interesting topiary garden to Vianden in Luxembourg for a couple of nights and continued south into France stopping at Metz then down to the lakes and woods of the Jura region.

Continuing south we climbed up a narrow road through the Chartreuse Massive although it was too misty to enjoy the scenery. We ended up in the middle of Grenoble luckily on a Sunday morning but hit a mass of roadworks for new trams, and eventually found our way out into more mountainous scenery heading down to Gap and Sisteron and a stopover at Moustiers Ste Marie. As the weather was now sunnier but accompanied by the cold northerly Mistral wind which blew for several days, we reached the coast at Port Grimaud and took the water taxi for a day in St Tropez. Realising that the next weekend was the Monaco Grand Prix we turned north again to the Alpes de Haute Provence for a few pleasant days in the mountains before returning to the busy Côte d'Azur, staying at Antibes for a day trip on the bus to Nice. We then headed inland once more to one of our favourite regions of Provence around Aups and the turquoise Lac de Ste Croix, now sunny and getting warmer.
France 2013 route
Our route around France in 2013
We headed west via the colourful cliffs around Rustrel and Gordes to Les Baux de Provence and down to the Carmargue for a few days. From there we turned inland to Sommieres, a pleasant small market town then west again to the Hérault department staying by a couple of lakes. We were going to return to the coast near Sete but fearing it would be too built up and busy for us, instead drove across the yellow broom covered hills to Albi to look at the impressive brick built cathedral, and on to the hilltop village of Cordes sur Ciel. From there we again turned north to the Lot region and Entraygues sur Truyère for a couple of days and on to Puy Mary in the Cantal and a few days touring the Auvergne, another of our favourite regions. 

It was now Day 47 and only ten days to our homeward ferry so time to head northwards with longer daily drives across the flat agricultural regions of the Centre to reach Chaumont sur Loire and a visit the annual garden festival, which we felt was not as impressive as in previous years with too much quirky hard landscaping. From there it was an easy drive through the pleasant hilly area of the Parc Naturel Regional du Perche with many pretty villages to reach the Seine just south of the Pont de Brotonne, avoiding Rouen, and finally an easy last day's drive to reach the coast near Dieppe in familiar grey damp weather.

Ferry :  
Outbound: Hull to Zeebrugge P & O £310, booked through Camping & Caravaning Club

Return: Dieppe to Newhaven Transmanche booked direct by phone for over 60's discount

Fuel : £593 for 3237 miles about 28 mpg.

 Gaslow LPG 56 litres  €38 total : Initial fill in UK 16 Litres £10.45; three top-ups in France 40 litres €34 

Fees  £325 total
Campsites 23 nights €283 (€9.40 to €17.20)  14 using ACSI discount Camping Card mostly €16 + tax
 3 nights at CL sites in the UK £20
Aires  31 nights: €71  (€5 no services  to €21.00 inc services)  22 nights free

Part 1 - Belgium, Luxembourg and Eastern France >>