Myrtle The Motorhome

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Days 4 to 5
Mont Saint Michel,
La Rochelle, Beauville.

Days 6 to 8
Beauville,
Marsiellan Plage.

Days 9 to 11
Marsiellan Plage, France.
L'Escala, Spain.

Days 12 to 14
L'Escala,
Sant Pere Pescador

Days 15 to 17
Sant Pere Pescador, Spain.
Argeles sur Mer, France.
La Roque-Gageac

Days 18 to 20
La Roque-Gageac,
Orleans.

Days 21 to 22
Orleans,
Boulogne sur Mer & Home.

Myrtle The Motorhome's

European Tour 2012

30th September to 20th October 2012

When we originally did the blog/web thing-a me-bob and compiled the ‘Where We Are 2012’ page, at the very bottom we put France and Spain in mid October to mid November or possibly for March time 2013. We’d also put ‘it’s a dream’ as in reality neither of us seriously thought we’d be able to take the required amount of time off work, which incidentally we’d decided needed to be a minimum of three weeks to make such a trip worth while.

Well a lesson learnt, for me at least, not exactly a reach for the stars moment but it proves things aren’t always as impossible as you may originally think especially when you have good work colleagues.

So just over a week before the start date we searched the internet for a cheap return ferry crossing and by far the cheapest was with DFDS Dover to Calais. The return crossing was just £76.00 and so we booked it but still at the back of my mind was the proviso, if something crops up at work and we can’t go we’ve only lost seventy six quid.
So these would be the dates, ferry Dover to Calais Sunday 30th September and a return booked for Saturday 20th October.

As for our route, well apart from the ferry crossings we’d booked nothing and although we had a rough idea of where we wanted to go this would be flexible and dependant on the weather forecasts, the places and the people we met as well as any recommendations we got along the way which could be either a ‘you must go here’ or an ‘avoid at all costs’.

As for where we would stop we’d put our faith in the ACSI Camping Card scheme.

For those than aren’t aware this is a low season discount camping scheme. We’d bought the pack back in March at one of the Motorhome shows and when all this was still in the ‘It’s A Dream’ stage but at just £18.00, I think it was, we‘d thought what the hell. For that amount you got two books with details of campsites all over Europe, a Map and a CD for the computer to help plan your route etc plus a membership card which entitled you to the low season discount rates at participating sites. Low season usually means anytime other than July and August and at participating sites you pay a fixed tariff of either: €12, €14 or €16 per night. In addition to the standard tariff some sites also apply a tourism tax on top of their standard tariff. We worked this out to have cost us about 7% on top of the normal rate but aren't really sure how they calculated it and it meant the standard tariffs only increased to €12.84, €14.98 and €17.12. Of the nine sites we were to stay at we were only charged this additional tax at three of those.

There was however one slight drawback with the ACSI Camping Card scheme, for us at least.

As work had dictated we couldn’t take the required time off until the end of September and as many French and Spanish campsites shut their doors at the end of September our choice of sites was severely restricted. In reality, though using a low season discount card scheme we were to some extent actually travelling out of season or at the least very close to it. This in turn meant that when planning our route the first thing we had to do was search for open sites before taking the usual considerations of location, amenities, facilities etc. On a plus side though, with all sites charging just about the same price, cost is taken out of the equation when going through your site selection process.

As well as campsites of course we always had the option to stay on Aires De Camping Cars as we did on one occasion, but generally we found campsites with their full facilities and discounted low season ACSI rates were a much preferable option, for us at least.

The one Aires we did stop on helps demonstrate this very well. This was at Beauvoir and was an excellent site, it was spotlessly clean and tidy and at just 5km from Mont Saint Michel it was ideally located and considerably closer to Mont Saint Michel than any of the open campsites we could find in the ACSI book. The only downside was the lack of any toilet facilities yet at €12.50 per night it was all but the same price as the lowest rate ACSI site and only slightly cheaper than the higher ACSI tariffs. Given the choice we’d have preferred to pay €12 to €16.00 and stayed on a campsite with loos.

If however, unlike us, you were travelling during the high season an Aires De Camping Car could represent a huge saving on the non discounted campsite rates. The same Aires could very easily save you up to as much as €40 and possibly more per night against the cost of a campsite during July and August.

The out of season element to our trip may also have influenced our opinions of certain places and while we really liked some and would definitely like to revisit these again some day others weren’t so nice. Again though this may have been because they were practically closed down for the season and while we wouldn’t say we’d never return to these places again, any return would need to be closer to the high season to make it worth reconsideration.

One place, or campsite at least, we definitely wouldn’t want to return to ever again would be Et’ Indien at Boulogne sur Mer and if you take nothing else from this review other than this warning then we would be satisfied as in our considered opinion this site is not safe. While there for our last night in France there were several break-ins and we were even shot at (See Day 22 Boulogne sur Mer).
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Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2012

Days 1 to 3
Folkstone, Kent.
Mont Saint Michel, France.

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