How to get to France
You’ve chosen where you want to holiday, you’ve decided on when you want to arrive and for how long…. what you don’t know is how the hell do you actually get there?!
It can be overwhelming and time consuming to actually book the holiday, let alone factor in the travel time and expense. But we are here to help with your France dilemma! Votre Vacances is situated on the west coast of France, pretty much bang in the middle, making it a perfect holiday destination as well as stop off point if you’re driving further south, or west.
We need to talk about the great North South divide….no not the economic, political, or social one; the how do we get to France one!
The most common question I get is “What’s the best way to get to France?”, and the people asking it? They tend to be, you guessed it from The North!
Why? Because France is so accessible if you live anywhere south of Birmingham, you can be at a ferry port or the Euro Tunnel within a couple of hours, as well as having the option of several airports to choose from with regular (if not daily) flights to all the major airports.
Those of us (myself included!) who hail from The North need to factor in the cost, the time, and let’s be honest if you have little ones the least painful way to get from A to B (B being potentially over 800 miles away).
To make life easier, here are the Top 3 ways to get to us in the Vendee (or France in general!)
The classic way to start a vacances to France, the humble and steadfast ferry.
Catch a ferry with Brittany Ferries from the ports of Portsmouth or Poole and be in France within 5 hours on the fast ferry to Cherbourg (not great if you suffer from sea-sickness however!).
The night ferry is a great option if you’re travelling from The North because it means you can set off from home earlier in the day, and sleep on the ferry (saving on hotel costs!). A cabin is a MUST even on day crossings.
Day crossings are great if you’re only a couple of hours from the ports. With cinemas, restaurants and play areas on board, there’s plenty to keep you (and the children) entertained for the duration.
Brittany Ferries Le Havre economie service now offers dog friendly cabins meaning you can bring your four legged friends with you too!
After years of travelling by ferry, we suggest you bring a pillow on board with you, as well as fill up your car with fuel at the 24 hour Tesco on the way in to Portsmouth (follow signs for Port Solent off the motorway, and then pick up signs for Superstore).
Travelling by ferry is great option if you’re holidaying in France for more than 7 days, or if you are a family of 4 plus.
- Fly Drive
Ever increasing in popularity, and decreasing in price, the fly-drive is a great option if you’re not keen on long periods of driving.
With both Nantes and La Rochelle airport no more than a 90 minute drive away, and car hire available at both, this is a great option if you’re staying in France for a shorted period of time or you’re not a fan of long car journeys.
There are regular flights to both airports throughout the season with prices starting at from £30 each way if you book early enough.
You’ll be able to find flights from most large U.K airports to Nantes or La Rochelle. Use Skyscanner to help you discover the best route (and price).
When flying clear plastic wallets and packing cubes are a life saver and can help you find things in a hurry, as well as help with utilising all the space!
- The Channel Tunnel
Recognised as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the Chunnel is the fastest way to travel between the U.K and France in around 30 minutes!
This is the perfect option if you live in the south east, or don’t like flying or sailing.
With regular train times throughout the day (and night) it’s easy to get a booking time that suits you.
It’s ideal if you are staying anywhere in the north of east of France, and if you’re looking at staying with us on the west coast, or heading south, why not spend a night in the historic city of Rouen on the way, or perhaps DIsneyLand on the way back?
If you are travelling a long way remember to have cash or card at the ready for the motorway tolls and don’t forget to factor these in when costing up the various options. There are several websites that will help calculate the cost of tolls along your route.
It’s also wise when travelling for long periods to fill up your fuel before you get on to the motorway and fill up when the fuel gauge gets below half. (I’m speaking from experience when I had a very stressful last 100km to Le Havre when there were NO fuel stations along the way!!)
We would love to hear what your preferred method of travel to France is, and if you have any more travel tips!