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General Category => Off the Record => Topic started by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 02:29:46 am

Title: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 02:29:46 am
So, now that my parental leave is coming to an end we thought we would end it with a nice trip. The plan is to do an 8 week trip in France, from about May 1st in out motor home.

We plan on going to Bastogne first (Yes, I know, Belgium) and then enter France and stay a first day or two in Verdun. Then on to Champagne, see some castles and buy some Champagne. After that it's Eurodisney, apparently they have a nice motorhome parking place. We will not be going into Paris, that is an entire trip itself.

After that it's out to the coast, somewhere in Normandy and then follow the coast down (perhaps a detour up the Loire) to Bordeaux and then we turn east, tor Carcassone. And if I get my will through we'll also go to Avignon. We plan on staying well clear of Marseille.

And then trough Massif Central up north and back to Sweden through Alsace perhaps, we haven't really decided.

What do you guys think? What should we visit on the way? What is not worth it? Will the dastardly yellow vests destroy everything?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Zanza on February 03, 2019, 03:50:32 am
Sounds like a great trip. The Bretagne is worth the detour in case you did not have that planned after Normandy.
 
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Brain on February 03, 2019, 03:57:00 am
Verdun is great. I loved Carcassonne. I'm sure the rest is awesome too, but I have no personal experience.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 04:06:50 am
Sounds like a great trip. The Bretagne is worth the detour in case you did not have that planned after Normandy.

Oh, yes, Brittany is planned for, at least visit some fishing village and eat some oysters and fresh fish. I don't know how far out we'll go.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 07:22:46 am
Oh, and we'll be travelling with the kids, 2.5 and 5 years old, so any nice kids stuff recommendations are appreciated.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on February 03, 2019, 08:42:16 am
Oh, and we'll be travelling with the kids, 2.5 and 5 years old, so any nice kids stuff recommendations are appreciated.

Some castles?  :D

Sounds like a lovely trip and hope you have good weather.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Maladict on February 03, 2019, 09:07:03 am
Oh, and we'll be travelling with the kids, 2.5 and 5 years old, so any nice kids stuff recommendations are appreciated.

Parc Asterix near Paris, then visit the menhirs in Britanny.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 09:34:15 am
Oh, and we'll be travelling with the kids, 2.5 and 5 years old, so any nice kids stuff recommendations are appreciated.

Parc Asterix near Paris, then visit the menhirs in Britanny.

Man, that would be awesome, 10 year old me wold have loved that. It's even on the way we have chosen around Paris. Unfortunately the kids are a bit young and they have no clue as to who Asterix is.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 10:55:11 am
Ohh, and I really want to see some good Roman remains. Any tips not around Marseille?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Berkut on February 03, 2019, 11:42:38 am
Wow I have no advice but 8 weeks in France? That sounds freaking amazing.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Brain on February 03, 2019, 11:45:45 am
Wow I have no advice but 8 weeks in France? That sounds freaking amazing.

But no night in Paris. :(
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Maladict on February 03, 2019, 11:48:22 am
Ohh, and I really want to see some good Roman remains. Any tips not around Marseille?

Sure  :)

Possibly on your route from Paris to Normandy/Britanny:
- intact late Roman city walls in Le Mans

Possibly on your route from Normandy/Britanny to Provence:
- Vesunna roman villa near Périgueux

In Provence, the most important ones:
- Orange
- Arles
- Nimes
- Pont du Gard
- Glanum
- Vaison-la-Romaine

Possibly on your way back north:
- Lyon (don't miss the museum)
- plenty of cool sites in Burgundy, probably somewhat off course: Autun, Bibracte, Alesia

Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Zanza on February 03, 2019, 12:17:13 pm
Alesia
(https://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/sites/default/files/styles/asset_in_body_full_width/public/assets/images/2015/04/alesia.png)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 12:26:33 pm
Wow I have no advice but 8 weeks in France? That sounds freaking amazing.

Well, we have a few days to travel to and from France from Sweden. We plan on going around may 1st and I start work 22nd July and want to be home a few weeks before that.

Anyone know what the yellow vests are doing? I do not want to get stuck on some highway because the silly french are being silly. Plan B is Italy instead, if France should be to unstable.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Berkut on February 03, 2019, 12:31:23 pm
Isn't 8 weeks enough time for both France AND Italy?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Maladict on February 03, 2019, 12:39:29 pm
Isn't 8 weeks enough time for both France AND Italy?

A lifetime isn't enough for France OR Italy.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 12:48:05 pm
Isn't 8 weeks enough time for both France AND Italy?

A lifetime isn't enough for France OR Italy.

Reading up on France I have realized that 8 weeks is not enough for Normandy and Bretagne, never mind the rest of France.

We also plan on taking it quite easy, we have two small kids and the main point of the trip is to be with them and for us all to relax and have a good time, not to burn miles and see all the sights.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on February 03, 2019, 01:00:49 pm
We plan on going to Bastogne first (Yes, I know, Belgium) and then enter France and stay a first day or two in Verdun. Then on to Champagne, see some castles and buy some Champagne. After that it's Eurodisney, apparently they have a nice motorhome parking place. We will not be going into Paris, that is an entire trip itself.

Depending on what you wish for, Champagne isn't the greatest region for castles. Many of them were replaced by 18th century Chateaus.
Still, I'd visit Chantilly, the seat of the Conde family. Provins is a nice medieval town, which you can even visit when they have their reenactment days, if you enjoy these things. https://provins-medieval.com/en/ In any case, Reims for the Cathedral, and for champagne.

Quote
After that it's out to the coast, somewhere in Normandy and then follow the coast down (perhaps a detour up the Loire)

Many nice things to see there. I like Rouen, and the Normandy coast is gorgeous. Have a stop at Etretat to see the needle. At Lillebonne, you'll find some of the most northern  roman ruins in France: a theater.

 Caen will also have good stuff to visit, and the Bayeux tapestry is amazing. On the boundary between Brittany and Normandy, you'll find Mont Saint Michel. It's not too far from there to Cancale for famous oysters, and Saint-Malo for a 17th century town. Granted it was rebuilt after WWII. If you are a fan of medieval architecture, you can also get to Dinan.

The Loire Valley is worth it for the great 16th century chateaus and nice little towns. Chambord and Chenonceaux were my favorites. For kids and SCIENCE! you can go to the Futuroscope. I also like the Clos Luce, where they have hands-on replica of da Vinci's inventions. I'd follow the Loire to Nantes, then head south. La Rochelle, Rochefort (17th century arsenal) and Bordeaux are nice. You can then follow the Gironde, and the Canal des Deux-Mers. It's really pretty.

If you go to Avignon (the Pope's Palais is worth it), go north to Carpentras, and from there, to Sault. Heart of lavender country. Beautiful.

As others have said, Orange, Vaison-La-Romaine, Nimes and Arles will have some good roman ruins.

FWIW, I really like Marseille.

I haven't spent too much time in the East, except for Burgundy, which is again a great place for wine. There are some great days to be had around Fontenay, Flavigny, Alise-Ste-Reine.
 
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 02:18:19 pm
Thanks guys, some really great tips here that I haven't heard about before. I will be investigating them thoroughly.

Etretat is a good example of why 8 weeks is a short time. I haven't heard of it before and it seems like a nice place I want to visit, and around it I have 2 or 3 places I also want to see. And that is before we get to the area around Caen and the invasion beaches. And then there's Rouen...  We could probably spend 4-5 weeks just in Normandy. We actually plan on going straight to the area around Caen, reasoning that Normandy can be visited on a shorter trip, we want to focus on southern France and the parts that are not easily reachable in a normal 2-3 week vacation. But there sure are some nice places we'll be missing, just look at Saint-Valery-en-Caux, it's ridiculous.
Edit: Google images are apparently not easy to put in a post, go here: https://goo.gl/maps/qTb4uKyJyAq (https://goo.gl/maps/qTb4uKyJyAq)

We will also be playing it safe, checking in on official motor home parking places or camping places and not freecamping in any way, no risks with the kids in the car. The coastal strip between Barcelona and Marseille have a bad reputation around here, so we will be avoiding it.

We would have had the UK as plan B, it's after all in the same general direction and if France sucks it's just a ferry from somewhere. But with Brexit and the unceirtanty with that we'll probably not go there. But on the other hand, in May it should have cleared up.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on February 03, 2019, 02:43:08 pm
Btw, maybe you know this but, just in case: https://park4night.com/
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 03, 2019, 03:01:52 pm
Btw, maybe you know this but, just in case: https://park4night.com/

Are you perhaps also a camper? Do you happen to know the area around Verdun? I would very much like to visit Fort Douaumont, but I haven't really figured out where to stay, this place https://park4night.com/lieu/16430//arrondissement-of-verdun-chemin-du-d%C3%A9pot/france/meuse#.XFdWOs9KjUI (https://park4night.com/lieu/16430//arrondissement-of-verdun-chemin-du-d%C3%A9pot/france/meuse#.XFdWOs9KjUI) seems dreadfully boring. Apparently you can stay at the Ossuary, but that feels a bit on he wrong side. We don't want to go to camping place either.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on February 03, 2019, 03:21:52 pm
Are you perhaps also a camper? Do you happen to know the area around Verdun? I would very much like to visit Fort Douaumont, but I haven't really figured out where to stay, this place .

Unfortunately no, but my father was a truck driver, and on the roads, truckers and campers share a bunch of resources, at least in North America. I have travelled a lot in France but that is because it’s the object of my research.

For Verdun, try this: https://www.tourisme-verdun.com/en-camping-car-dans-le-grand-verdun

Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Admiral Yi on February 03, 2019, 04:40:12 pm
The Academy gave "camping car" a pass?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on February 03, 2019, 05:03:19 pm
The Academy gave "camping car" a pass?

Probably not, but that's the widely used expression in France for self-driving RVs (as opposed to trailers, which are usually called "caravane". In Quebec, uses vary, between use of the the brand Winnebago as a generic, and others like "campeur" or "roulotte".
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Minsky Moment on February 03, 2019, 10:21:27 pm
Loire is definitely worth going to, lots of interesting towns and villages
In addition to Chambord and Chenonceaux, there is also Chinon, which: (1) is the setting for Lion in Winter (though filmed elsewhere), (2) served as the prison for Jacques de Molay, and (3) was the site where Charles VII met Joan of Arc.
Plus the country around the castle grows the best reds in the Loire -and still an excellent value.
The whites in the Loire are even better of course.

In Champagne the big marques put on a good show and the caves are a good visit; the vineyards themselves are not as fun to visit as Burgundy.

For my 2 (euro) cents you can't ever go wrong with Burgundy --> Rhone.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 04, 2019, 06:06:01 am
Dang, Loire sounds like something we really ought to visit. So much to see everywhere

Are there no frenchmen here? What's the status with the yellow vests? Are they disruptive outside the mayor cities?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Larch on February 04, 2019, 06:12:08 am
Are there no frenchmen here?

Nope. This forum is Americans plus a few weirdos from here and there.  :P

In any case, my impression is that the yellow vests are active mostly in Paris. And yes, the Loire is great, and also very touristy, so it should have plenty of places for you to set up your motorhome.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Syt on February 04, 2019, 06:22:55 am
I assume Duque de Braganca is compiling a detailed travel guide at the moment.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on February 04, 2019, 06:25:27 am
Are there no frenchmen here?

Nope. This forum is Americans plus a few weirdos from here and there.  :P

In any case, my impression is that the yellow vests are active mostly in Paris.

Wrong, they are only active in Paris on Saturdays and less so since a few weeks.
Actually, small towns are more likely to be blocked by yellow vests than Paris. Btw, just put a yellow vest behind the windshield and they will let pass you since you show a token of support for the movement.
By the end of May, it will time of European elections so expect some campaigning but it's not the most followed election.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 04, 2019, 06:34:57 am
Are there no frenchmen here?

Nope. This forum is Americans plus a few weirdos from here and there.  :P

In any case, my impression is that the yellow vests are active mostly in Paris.

Wrong, they are only active in Paris on Saturdays and less so since a few weeks.
Actually, small towns are more likely to be blocked by yellow vests than Paris. Btw, just put a yellow vest behind the windshield and they will let pass you since you show a token of support for the movement.
By the end of May, it will time of European elections so expect some campaigning but it's not the most followed election.

Ahh, so a yellow vest in the windshield and a thumbs up where appropriate and the silly buggers will let us be? Are there a lot of queues because of them? None of us speak a word of french so I hope that we can get by with a smile and a badly pronounced bonjour.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 04, 2019, 06:37:07 am
Wait a minute, won't a yellow vest in the windshield cause the police to look sideways at us? We have a weight issue with the car, so we do not want the police to notice us.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on February 04, 2019, 06:49:39 am
Wait a minute, won't a yellow vest in the windshield cause the police to look sideways at us? We have a weight issue with the car, so we do not want the police to notice us.

I doubt police are going to bother Swedish motorhomes, but just use the yellow vest if necessary (road block with yellow vests around).
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on February 04, 2019, 06:51:06 am
I assume Duque de Braganca is compiling a detailed travel guide at the moment.

Most of the recommendations are excellent. I second the Loire Valley, the RV trip is perfect for that. Make sure to visit Mont Saint Michel.
RV parking will have to be a some distance from the site though. Saint-Malo, the gate of Britany, is not far from Mont Saint Michel so it would make perfect sense to visit those two sites in succession.
Rouen has a small medieval part, the rest is ugly though not as bad Le Havre.

Yi

The Académie may correctly point out that camping-car does not even exist in English, i.e classic franglais, Macron-approved, but can't do much about it. Unsurprisingly, the word is not in their dictionary.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 04, 2019, 07:00:49 am
The Académie may correctly point out that camping-car does not even exist in English, i.e classic franglais, Macron-approved, but can't do much about it. Unsurprisingly, the word is not in their dictionary.

It's like the Germans calling mobile phones "Handy" or Swedes called Walkmans "Freestyle". No such english words and it sounds absolutely silly. Ich habt mein handy und mein komputer in das camping car.

Do you have any tips for central France? Nature areas in Massif Central or nature areas in general? Any especially beautiful forests or canyons or whatever?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on February 04, 2019, 07:52:57 am
The Académie may correctly point out that camping-car does not even exist in English, i.e classic franglais, Macron-approved, but can't do much about it. Unsurprisingly, the word is not in their dictionary.

It's like the Germans calling mobile phones "Handy" or Swedes called Walkmans "Freestyle". No such english words and it sounds absolutely silly. Ich habt mein handy und mein komputer in das camping car.

Do you have any tips for central France? Nature areas in Massif Central or nature areas in general? Any especially beautiful forests or canyons or whatever?

I don't know well the area really. It's very popular for hiking (randonnée in French) but with I don't think you can hike that much with children around. I'll ask around. The Grande Randonnée (GR 30) Tour des lacs et volcans d'Auvergne being a classic.
Long ago Massif Central had volcanos so there is also a Vulcania park, one of a kind volcano theme-park, which may appeal to the kids. 15 km NW of Clermont-Ferrand, home of Michelin tyres.
https://www.vulcania.com/en/ (https://www.vulcania.com/en/)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Zoupa on February 04, 2019, 10:50:45 am
Are there no frenchmen here?

Nope. This forum is Americans plus a few weirdos from here and there.  :P

In any case, my impression is that the yellow vests are active mostly in Paris. And yes, the Loire is great, and also very touristy, so it should have plenty of places for you to set up your motorhome.

 :glare:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Barrister on February 04, 2019, 11:06:34 am
Are there no frenchmen here?

Nope. This forum is Americans plus a few weirdos from here and there.  :P

In any case, my impression is that the yellow vests are active mostly in Paris. And yes, the Loire is great, and also very touristy, so it should have plenty of places for you to set up your motorhome.

 :glare:

You're a canuck, just face it. :hug:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Minsky Moment on February 04, 2019, 06:07:12 pm
Dang, Loire sounds like something we really ought to visit. So much to see everywhere

Are there no frenchmen here? What's the status with the yellow vests? Are they disruptive outside the mayor cities?

Potentially but their beef is with Macron not with motoring tourists. Since you will be paying hefty gas taxes to fill up you can even claim solidarity.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Minsky Moment on February 04, 2019, 06:10:28 pm
Ahh, so a yellow vest in the windshield and a thumbs up where appropriate and the silly buggers will let us be? Are there a lot of queues because of them? None of us speak a word of french so I hope that we can get by with a smile and a badly pronounced bonjour.

If you can make an effort to learn a few basic phrases and the like. A sincere effort is often appreciated, then you can switch to English.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on February 04, 2019, 06:10:32 pm
Dang, Loire sounds like something we really ought to visit. So much to see everywhere

Are there no frenchmen here? What's the status with the yellow vests? Are they disruptive outside the mayor cities?

Potentially but their beef is with Macron not with motoring tourists. Since you will be paying hefty gas taxes to fill up you can even claim solidarity.

You wouldn't make a great demonstrator,too much rationality and thinking beyond the placard.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: crazy canuck on February 04, 2019, 06:40:42 pm
If you go to Avignon (the Pope's Palais is worth it), go north to Carpentras, and from there, to Sault. Heart of lavender country. Beautiful.

As others have said, Orange, Vaison-La-Romaine, Nimes and Arles will have some good roman ruins.

I love that area - I could easily spend 8 weeks just there.

While in that vicinity and in keeping with the castle theme, you could spend a day at Les Baux.

http://www.lesbauxdeprovence.com/en

Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 01:03:06 am
Ahh, so a yellow vest in the windshield and a thumbs up where appropriate and the silly buggers will let us be? Are there a lot of queues because of them? None of us speak a word of french so I hope that we can get by with a smile and a badly pronounced bonjour.

If you can make an effort to learn a few basic phrases and the like. A sincere effort is often appreciated, then you can switch to English.

Yes, I know some small basics. Je nu parlez francais, parlez vous anglais? Allemagne? Suedoise?

I imagine that a smile and a bonjour goes a long way. Otherwise it's just english pronounced in a silly way. Je suis fatige = I am fatigued.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 04:07:03 am
By the way, this will be our home during the trip: https://www.camptoo.nl/camper/8480/Luxe-Semi-integraal-Dethleffs-4-pers-2x-enkel-bed-achterin-en-een-2-persoons-hefbed (https://www.camptoo.nl/camper/8480/Luxe-Semi-integraal-Dethleffs-4-pers-2x-enkel-bed-achterin-en-een-2-persoons-hefbed)

Or rather, a very very similar car. The longest we have been away is a two-week trip last year, we only bought it in April last year. So it will be a challenge to be away for 8 weeks. We don't really have any place to dry clothes for example, so I imagine that we will do some manual laundry each day and dry it in the shower. And then sometimes we have to find a washer and a dry tumbler for underwear and bedclothing.

I also imagine food will be a challenge. We can't really afford to eat out every day and besides, it isn't fun with the kids. Life without an oven and a microwave will be a challenge.

Bu the toughest of all is probably coffee. We are both coffee-abusers and 8 weeks with Nescafe will be hard.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Zoupa on February 05, 2019, 09:00:41 am
Coffee is 1 euro and there are cafes everywhere. Just buy food at local supermarkets. Food is cheaper in France than Sweden.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Zoupa on February 05, 2019, 09:01:51 am
Just buy a hotplate and or microwave
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on February 05, 2019, 09:10:07 am
By the way, this will be our home during the trip: https://www.camptoo.nl/camper/8480/Luxe-Semi-integraal-Dethleffs-4-pers-2x-enkel-bed-achterin-en-een-2-persoons-hefbed (https://www.camptoo.nl/camper/8480/Luxe-Semi-integraal-Dethleffs-4-pers-2x-enkel-bed-achterin-en-een-2-persoons-hefbed)

Or rather, a very very similar car. The longest we have been away is a two-week trip last year, we only bought it in April last year. So it will be a challenge to be away for 8 weeks. We don't really have any place to dry clothes for example, so I imagine that we will do some manual laundry each day and dry it in the shower. And then sometimes we have to find a washer and a dry tumbler for underwear and bedclothing.

I also imagine food will be a challenge. We can't really afford to eat out every day and besides, it isn't fun with the kids. Life without an oven and a microwave will be a challenge.

Bu the toughest of all is probably coffee. We are both coffee-abusers and 8 weeks with Nescafe will be hard.

 :cool:

Look like a nice drive, for some reason i was imagining you were going to be using one of those hue things from the states;  you choice looks really practical and fun. Good luck with the trip.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 10:12:27 am
Coffee is 1 euro and there are cafes everywhere. Just buy food at local supermarkets. Food is cheaper in France than Sweden.
Just buy a hotplate and or microwave

We are quite used to this: (https://images.pricerunner.com/product/600x600/1635001418/Moccamaster-H931-AO-MS.jpg?c=0.7)

Swedes are normally quite peculiar about coffee, and that kind of coffee is hard to get by when we're abroad, it's my understanding that that kind of coffee is mostly used at home for breakfast in France. In Cafés I usually buy an Americano or somesuch, but it's not the same.

I'm quite looking forward to french supermarkets, i have an romantical idea that the products will be of a higher quality than in Sweden. The dairy especially has a good reputation.

Because of size and weight limitations we will only have a small gas grill and of course the gas stove in the car for cooking.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: crazy canuck on February 05, 2019, 10:19:04 am
Coffee is 1 euro and there are cafes everywhere. Just buy food at local supermarkets. Food is cheaper in France than Sweden.

There are also all kinds of great village markets, just plan your trip to hit the town you are staying at during a market day  :D

Lots of small inexpensive places to eat and you get the benefit of french cooking  :mmm:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 10:44:33 am
Coffee is 1 euro and there are cafes everywhere. Just buy food at local supermarkets. Food is cheaper in France than Sweden.

There are also all kinds of great village markets, just plan your trip to hit the town you are staying at during a market day  :D

Lots of small inexpensive places to eat and you get the benefit of french cooking  :mmm:

How would I go about to find out if it is a market day anywhere? What phrases would I be looking for? And where would I look?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Larch on February 05, 2019, 11:00:44 am
Coffee is 1 euro and there are cafes everywhere. Just buy food at local supermarkets. Food is cheaper in France than Sweden.

There are also all kinds of great village markets, just plan your trip to hit the town you are staying at during a market day  :D

Lots of small inexpensive places to eat and you get the benefit of french cooking  :mmm:

How would I go about to find out if it is a market day anywhere? What phrases would I be looking for? And where would I look?

https://www.completefrance.com/travel/market-days (https://www.completefrance.com/travel/market-days)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 11:08:31 am
Coffee is 1 euro and there are cafes everywhere. Just buy food at local supermarkets. Food is cheaper in France than Sweden.

There are also all kinds of great village markets, just plan your trip to hit the town you are staying at during a market day  :D

Lots of small inexpensive places to eat and you get the benefit of french cooking  :mmm:

How would I go about to find out if it is a market day anywhere? What phrases would I be looking for? And where would I look?

https://www.completefrance.com/travel/market-days (https://www.completefrance.com/travel/market-days)

That is an excellent site, thank you.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Zoupa on February 05, 2019, 11:09:56 am
Coffee is 1 euro and there are cafes everywhere. Just buy food at local supermarkets. Food is cheaper in France than Sweden.

There are also all kinds of great village markets, just plan your trip to hit the town you are staying at during a market day  :D

Lots of small inexpensive places to eat and you get the benefit of french cooking  :mmm:

How would I go about to find out if it is a market day anywhere? What phrases would I be looking for? And where would I look?

https://www.completefrance.com/travel/market-days (https://www.completefrance.com/travel/market-days)

That's not bad but not complete or updated much. Best thing is to ask the locals in the area or the local office du tourisme
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 11:22:17 am
Coffee is 1 euro and there are cafes everywhere. Just buy food at local supermarkets. Food is cheaper in France than Sweden.

There are also all kinds of great village markets, just plan your trip to hit the town you are staying at during a market day  :D

Lots of small inexpensive places to eat and you get the benefit of french cooking  :mmm:

How would I go about to find out if it is a market day anywhere? What phrases would I be looking for? And where would I look?

https://www.completefrance.com/travel/market-days (https://www.completefrance.com/travel/market-days)

That's not bad but not complete or updated much. Best thing is to ask the locals in the area or the local office du tourisme

Do they speak English or German? Many web sites of stuff (museums and other stuff) are only, or almost only, available in French. Would the same be true for brochures?

Last time I was in rural France, Normandy to be precise, in 2002 or something, no-one, or at least barely no-one spoke English and the old-timers that learned German during the war were dying off. In Germany there has been huge improvements since, is the same true for France? My Paris experience a few years ago implies so, but that's Paris.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Zoupa on February 05, 2019, 11:26:17 am
It's not better with the locals but the tourism kiosks should have Anglo speakers and brochures.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 11:31:30 am
Should I expect to be ripped off at markets or can I trust sign language and then give the guy some cash and expect a proper price?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: crazy canuck on February 05, 2019, 11:36:30 am
Do they speak English or German? Many web sites of stuff (museums and other stuff) are only, or almost only, available in French. Would the same be true for brochures?

Last time I was in rural France, Normandy to be precise, in 2002 or something, no-one, or at least barely no-one spoke English and the old-timers that learned German during the war were dying off. In Germany there has been huge improvements since, is the same true for France? My Paris experience a few years ago implies so, but that's Paris.

It certainly helps if you can have some basic vocabulary ahead of time so you can get a good sense of what is on a menu and such.  But as Zoupa said, the tourist information offices will be staffed with people who speak English, and likely other languages.   My wife and children could converse in French and so when I was with them we had no problems.  But even on my own, wondering through the markets etc, after I stumbled my way through attempting to communicate (much to the amusement of all) it was easy as most people have at least a smattering of English and many speak it very well.  Don't be afraid to speak French though, nobody will think the worse of you for your efforts and you are going to be there for 8 weeks and so your vocab is bound to improve over that period of time.  :)

Should I expect to be ripped off at markets or can I trust sign language and then give the guy some cash and expect a proper price?

Nope, prices are well marked.  These are towns where the locals go so not the same as tourist infested places where you will be fleeced.  One of the many benefits of staying away from tourist traps.  Most of the time you will get so many free samples as you go from vendor to vendor that you will be full just from strolling through the market.  :D
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 11:44:39 am
We both have an ear for languages, given time we can probably decode written french. We know three languages with lots of french loan words and if in panic there's google.

Talking is a whole other matter, but I have found that a smile and an earnest open attempt to communicate most often gives great results. Most people are after all decent good people that wants to be nice. If in panic I will talk louder and pretend to be american.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: crazy canuck on February 05, 2019, 11:57:36 am
If in panic I will talk louder and pretend to be american.

I hope for your sake you were kidding  :D
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Syt on February 05, 2019, 12:01:10 pm
Didn't Google have a translation app that lets you point your cellphone camera at text and have it replaced by a translation? Shouldn't that help with most written stuff?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: crazy canuck on February 05, 2019, 12:06:45 pm
Bah, part of the pleasure is becoming immersed in the culture.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on February 05, 2019, 01:32:39 pm
Markets are great, and will likely maintain your romantic notions that any visit to the local Hyper-Market would crush. Markets will also have pre-made food (like rotisserie chicken), as will "traiteurs", which may be a nice, in-between solution to your lack of cooking implements (I second the idea of a hotplate, especially for 8 weeks - that's not going to be too much weight, and I would pick a hotplate over other, presumably, non essential stuff).

You will find good cheese everywhere, I recommend the local specialties. Chaource in Champagne. Cure Nantais in Brittany. Selles-sur-Cher in Loire Valley. Good camembert in Normandy. Epoisse in Burgundy. Many goat cheeses in the South.  Picodon, in the Rhone Valley.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 02:47:49 pm
Good tips all around. Which Super-Market should I use? I imagine that Carrefour is a somewhat better one. I don't need a superdupergood, but which chains are better than Liedl and Aldi?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Barrister on February 05, 2019, 03:06:14 pm
Good tips all around. Which Super-Market should I use? I imagine that Carrefour is a somewhat better one. I don't need a superdupergood, but which chains are better than Liedl and Aldi?

If you're driving around in the countryside, use whatever one is handy.  Don't drive past an Aldi just to try and look for a different one.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 05, 2019, 03:25:01 pm
Good tips all around. Which Super-Market should I use? I imagine that Carrefour is a somewhat better one. I don't need a superdupergood, but which chains are better than Liedl and Aldi?

If you're driving around in the countryside, use whatever one is handy.  Don't drive past an Aldi just to try and look for a different one.

Well, yes, if I need milk I'll buy milk. But normally there's a choice, there might be a few that we are passing when moving from one place to another. If an Aldi and a Liedl are next door to each other it doesn't matter. But what chains makes a difference?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on February 05, 2019, 03:32:44 pm
Good tips all around. Which Super-Market should I use? I imagine that Carrefour is a somewhat better one. I don't need a superdupergood, but which chains are better than Liedl and Aldi?

Most of them.  :P Those two are cheap though, Leader Price is almost on the same price level as Lidl and Aldi.
Monoprix is pricey. Leclerc are good and cheap but are mostly hyper-markets. Auchan is not bad, not only hypermarkets, cheaper than Monoprix and with a good selection.
Others like Casino or Intermarché are fine too.
Franprix is cheaper than the local grocery but that's all.

About Auvergne and cheese: Saint Nectaire is a name of village in the volcano area so the real as in better may be found there and probably cheaper.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Syt on February 06, 2019, 12:15:56 am
Mandatory reading, btw:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix_and_the_Banquet
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 28, 2019, 01:37:00 am
Since we are going to go to Verdun I want to prepare properly. I know the general outlines of the battle, but can anyone recommend a good book on it? I was hoping to find a Peter Hart book on it, but he seems to only dabble where UK was involved, which is quite natural. I would like something from the french and/or german perspective, preferably some translated french or german author, but anything goes.

Any tips?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Malthus on February 28, 2019, 09:18:23 am
Mandatory reading, btw:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix_and_the_Banquet

The traffic jam has still not been cleared since then.  ;)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: fromtia on February 28, 2019, 01:18:44 pm
This sounds like an absolutely fantastic trip and a really wonderful memorable thing to do for your children as well. A friend of mine who lives in the French Pyrenees recently took his children to China by train. yep. Travelling with young children is really good for them I think.

I used to travel in France frequently in the late eighties and early nineties, back packing and riding trains and all that as an unwashed teen. I have only been back once, in 2017 as now I live in the US it isn't quite as convenient.

Avignon is beautiful I have vivid memories of staying there for a week during a theatre festival. amazing.

My French is horrible, but I always make a good faith effort to speak it at all times in France. I was surprised to discover in 2017 that Parisians were much more content to speak English than they were 20 years ago. Lots of really good language apps on the phone now.

Have a great trip. :)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on February 28, 2019, 01:26:02 pm
Since we are going to go to Verdun I want to prepare properly. I know the general outlines of the battle, but can anyone recommend a good book on it? I was hoping to find a Peter Hart book on it, but he seems to only dabble where UK was involved, which is quite natural. I would like something from the french and/or german perspective, preferably some translated french or german author, but anything goes.

Any tips?

Military history is really not my thing, and, as far as I know, the French language historiography is more concerned with the social/memory aspect of Verdun than with the battle itself. One book on Verdun in a prestigious collection is actually a translation of: Paul Jankowski, Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War (Oxford, 2014). It was well received by French specialists of the period (and Jankowsk is an American historian of France. I like his research on political corruption).
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on February 28, 2019, 02:10:20 pm
Thanks Fromtia, really looking forward to it.

Thanks Oex. That sounds even more interesting. Any tips on a good book handling the social/memory/psychological results of the battle? I don't really have the ability to centrate enought to read heavy academical works right now, so something on the popular side?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 01, 2019, 11:55:27 am
Tomorrow is the big day, on to adventure.

The campervan is fully loaded, probably overloaded, and the kids are hyped up.

The first day we'll take the ferry to Denmark and then another ferry to Germany, we'll be spending the night and possibly next day in Syt's old neighbourhood, a small seaside resort called Grossenbrode.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: crazy canuck on May 01, 2019, 11:57:55 am
Bon voyage.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Zanza on May 01, 2019, 12:14:00 pm
Have a nice trip!

Syt's old neighbourhood, a small seaside resort called Grossenbrode.
Much closer to my hometown than to Syt's hometown.  :contract:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 01, 2019, 12:23:41 pm
Have a nice trip!

Syt's old neighbourhood, a small seaside resort called Grossenbrode.
Much closer to my hometown than to Syt's hometown.  :contract:

Ohh, I didn't know you were from around there. I thought Syt was from Grömitz or something, but apparently that's also wrong.  :blush:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Richard Hakluyt on May 01, 2019, 03:20:30 pm
Enjoy your trip, think you will have a tremendous time  :cool:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on May 01, 2019, 06:05:21 pm
Thanks Fromtia, really looking forward to it.

Thanks Oex. That sounds even more interesting. Any tips on a good book handling the social/memory/psychological results of the battle? I don't really have the ability to centrate enought to read heavy academical works right now, so something on the popular side?

For some reason, I had missed this!
In any case, I don't have any good general book about the effects of Verdun in English. Hopefully, the bookstore at Verdun will have something. Similarly, the Mémorial de Péronne acts as a bona fide research center on the matter: https://www.historial.fr/en/

Have fun!
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 04, 2019, 11:00:33 am
We’ve arrived in Coo in Belgium. It’s been three hard days of driving for the kids, but we plan on staying here for a few days.

The weather is absolutely horrible, entering Belgium there was snow on the ground and it’s very cold. I had not counted on this and we only have one bottle of gas in the car, there are lots of different connections and I plan on buying a french one, so no heating in the car. And I have lots of shorts, but no really warm sweater.

We could probably be out for a year or so, there’s so much to see. My greatest issue so far is that we couldn’t stop in Teutoburger wald and look at the missing three legions.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on May 04, 2019, 04:05:00 pm
We’ve arrived in Coo in Belgium. It’s been three hard days of driving for the kids, but we plan on staying here for a few days.

The weather is absolutely horrible, entering Belgium there was snow on the ground and it’s very cold. I had not counted on this and we only have one bottle of gas in the car, there are lots of different connections and I plan on buying a french one, so no heating in the car. And I have lots of shorts, but no really warm sweater.

We could probably be out for a year or so, there’s so much to see. My greatest issue so far is that we couldn’t stop in Teutoburger wald and look at the missing three legions.

 :cool:

Great adventure for the kids.

Having read Languish, I went out and almost the first vehicle I saw was a motor-home, might have been the first spotting this year for me, certainly the first with the optional towed car.  :)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 09, 2019, 11:06:52 am
The kids are loving it.

We’ve arrived in France, presently in Verdun. Driving around here really makes you see the gargantuan scale of things. And the kids love the playground on the campsite.

We went shopping today at a supermarket called Cora. It was excellent and really impressed me with the selection. Nice meat and vegetables. But apparently full cream is something not used in France. I tried to find a normal 40% cream without additives and I totally failed. Should I be looking for some special kind of cream? The same with milk, all I found was stuff stored outside the refrigerator, and some fermented stuff with arabic print on it. What should I be looking for if I want normal low pasteurized milk?

The french are very friendly, but it’s quite clear that I should learn french if I want to talk to them.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on May 09, 2019, 11:26:36 am
For cream, I believe you want to look for “crème fraîche”. It’s usually sold in a plastic tub, not a carton.

As for milk, the French more frequently have the ultra high pasteurized stuff, hence why it can sit outside the refrigerator. But you should be able to find “lait frais”, or usually in 1 l plastic or glass containers in refrigerators.

If you do a google search image for crème fraîche and lait frais (France) it should give you a visual for what you are looking for
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 09, 2019, 11:40:24 am
Ahh, I bought a Creme Fraiche in Belgium out of curiosity. Creme fraiche in Sweden is a sour youghurty thing, so I assumed it was somewhat soured here too, even though the Belgian one wasn’t noticeably sour.

I bought a demi ecreme milky thing. Thinking about it I believe it to be a half cream thing or something like that, I think the wife is going to be disappointed when she tries it in the coffee.

Oh, and as usual Belgium was charming but a silly country. A few of the Belgians we spoke to even joked about how backwards it is.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Malthus on May 09, 2019, 01:27:06 pm


Oh, and as usual Belgium was charming but a silly country. A few of the Belgians we spoke to even joked about how backwards it is.

That's what I learned from that documentary, In Bruges.

 ;)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on May 09, 2019, 05:09:39 pm
I bought a demi ecreme milky thing. Thinking about it I believe it to be a half cream thing or something like that, I think the wife is going to be disappointed when she tries it in the coffee.

Are you putting heavy cream in your coffee? Normalcy indeed is a variable quality  :D

It's going to be difficult to find something heavy to put in coffee, "as is". Café crème, in France, usually simply means with milk, and only rarely with a tiny bit of liquid crème fraîche. Crème fraîche can be more or less liquid. It is used for cooking, or, when liquid, to pour over desserts, or soups, or to whip ("Chantilly" is whipped cream) etc.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on May 09, 2019, 10:44:25 pm
Ahh, I bought a Creme Fraiche in Belgium out of curiosity. Creme fraiche in Sweden is a sour youghurty thing, so I assumed it was somewhat soured here too, even though the Belgian one wasn’t noticeably sour.

I bought a demi ecreme milky thing. Thinking about it I believe it to be a half cream thing or something like that, I think the wife is going to be disappointed when she tries it in the coffee.

Oh, and as usual Belgium was charming but a silly country. A few of the Belgians we spoke to even joked about how backwards it is.

demi-écrémé is just semis-skimmed milk, sorry. As for putting something in the coffee, not so long ago the working class put marc (grape brandy) or even cognac, though not XO or VSOP.
Weather should be back to normal patterns by the next week.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 10, 2019, 12:38:23 am
She uses milk in her coffee, I bought demi ecreme believing it to be milk. It made good pancakes at least. I will buy the strange super pasteurized stuff next time.

The weather has been awful, we had -4 one night in Belgium and there was a bit of snow. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we could have heated the car, but a combination of little gas, no electrical heating and a badly wired heating system forced us to turn off the heating at night.

In Verdun it has been raining almost ceaselessly since we got here, we extended our stay and hopefully we can go around outside a lot today.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 12, 2019, 09:51:35 am
Some observations:

French people are very friendly and polite. They are not linguists.

French people drive in a respectful and considerate manner. Always stopping at crossings and so on, in contrast to the Belgians that accelerate when they see a family with kids at a crossing.

French supermarkets are incredible, compared to Sweden the quality is superb. One example is that one of the two hypermarkets in Verdun, a smallish town, had 4 fresh ox tongues. I would probably have problems fjnding that in Stockholm.

French seem to not wash their hands after a toilet visit. Often the toilets lack a commode for washing hands.

The toilets often lack toilet paper.  :hmm:

They eat lots of white bread and fat foods, why the french don’t have an obesity problem escapes me. This visit will make me fat.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on May 15, 2019, 09:19:14 am
Some observations:

French people are very friendly and polite. They are not linguists.

French people drive in a respectful and considerate manner. Always stopping at crossings and so on, in contrast to the Belgians that accelerate when they see a family with kids at a crossing.

French supermarkets are incredible, compared to Sweden the quality is superb. One example is that one of the two hypermarkets in Verdun, a smallish town, had 4 fresh ox tongues. I would probably have problems fjnding that in Stockholm.

French seem to not wash their hands after a toilet visit. Often the toilets lack a commode for washing hands.

The toilets often lack toilet paper.  :hmm:

They eat lots of white bread and fat foods, why the french don’t have an obesity problem escapes me. This visit will make me fat.

I like this thread, please do keep updating it.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 16, 2019, 11:39:11 am
And here I thought I was boring.

I can really recommend Verdun. The place is wonderfully cared for and itus all vere serene and respectful. Walking in the trenches amongst the shell holes in a beatiful quiet forest is strange. Every square meter seems to have been hit by something. There are cycling routes through the place, but the weather and time stopped any of that.

Then we went to Epernay in Champagne. It had rained a lot so the car got stuck in the first camping lot. A guy had to come with a tractor and pull us out, bending a transverse metal bar in the process. By then it was late Saturday, so only a few champagne houses were open. At least we got to buy some. Driving out on a Monday every all house in the villages around was also closed, so no case of cheap champagne for me.

Next up was Disneyland. Now that cost a lot, entrance for us four, with the youngest free, would have cost 219€, since internet bought tickets have to be printed. Luckily we met a dane that just planned to buy online and then make a scene if there were to be any problems. So we did the same and got tickets for 153€ instead. There were of course problems with the tickets on the mobile, but instead of making us buy new ones they apologised profusely and gave us some fastpasses as compensation. So hurrah for merry-go-happy Danes. Disneyland proved to be very good value for money, the place was very nice and we will go back when the kids are older and can enjoy it more. Once inside every attraction was free unlike other amusement parks that I’ve visited.

On the way out of Paris we visited Chantilly, the wife has always wanted to be a jockey but is too tall. Since next stop is Honfleur in Normandy we had to stop along the way, we try not to drive over 2 hours every day. Semi-randomly we chose Les Andelys, since there was a camping there. Apparently we chose wisely, it lies on a bend of the Seine and over the camping looms Chateau Gaillard, a fortress built bu Richard Lionheart. We will probably remain here for three nights instead of one.

France is ridiculous, almost everywhere we want to remain longer.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on May 16, 2019, 11:44:20 am
Thanks for the update, Threviel.

It's a nice an relaxing read; whilst the Brexit stupidity continues here, Europeans just get on with living.  :)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 16, 2019, 12:32:17 pm
Some notes:

French produce is still excellent.

Finding milk products is still difficult.

I’m still baffled by the French behaviour in traffic, they are still nice.

The french eat crisps wit chicken and ham flavour.  :wacko:

There are lots of dutch around everywhere. My father jokingly calls them locusts, I’m beginning to see why.

I don’t understand when to start saying bonsoir.

Brits keep to themselves and barely recognises the existence of anyone else.

Cash registers are retarded. In Sweden the cash register has a large area where two customers at a time can load their wares in bags and thus there is a constant flow. Here there’s a tiny area after the cashier that I hurriedly have to empty, otherwise it fills up fast. Very much more stressful. At least French cashiers don’t start screaming insults like they do in Germany when we are too slow.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 16, 2019, 12:35:20 pm
Thanks for the update, Threviel.

It's a nice an relaxing read; whilst the Brexit stupidity continues here, Europeans just get on with living.  :)

Nice of you. I just like writing about it, nice way of meditating on the happenings. I’ll try to get some bike rides when en we get to the coast, the weather or schedule hasn’t allowed any so far.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Larch on May 16, 2019, 12:37:29 pm
I don't get the milk drama, but besides that it seems to be a pretty enjoyable trip. :cheers:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Syt on May 16, 2019, 12:44:54 pm
The french eat crisps wit chicken and ham flavour.  :wacko:

Austria has Bratlfett flavor (Bratlfett is lard that you create by frying fat meats and is quite flavorfull - popular with some people as bread dpread). :P

(The Bratlfett crisps taste very similar to grilled chicken crisps I had in Spain.)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on May 16, 2019, 01:04:14 pm
Finding milk products is still difficult.

This one really surprises me.

Quote
I’m still baffled by the French behaviour in traffic, they are still nice.

Try big cities like Paris if you want to see the opposite.  :P

Quote
The french eat crisps wit chicken and ham flavour.  :wacko:

A recent unwelcome development. :( Never seen or had those but then I am not a fan of crisps.

Quote
There are lots of dutch around everywhere. My father jokingly calls them locusts, I’m beginning to see why.

Pas de commentaire.

Quote
I don’t understand when to start saying bonsoir.

Late afternoon, when it starts to get dark. In theory, only at night.

Quote
Brits keep to themselves and barely recognises the existence of anyone else.

They even manage to do that when living for a long while in a country, not just when they are spending holidays. Colour me unsurprised.

Quote
Cash registers are retarded. In Sweden the cash register has a large area where two customers at a time can load their wares in bags and thus there is a constant flow. Here there’s a tiny area after the cashier that I hurriedly have to empty, otherwise it fills up fast. Very much more stressful. At least French cashiers don’t start screaming insults like they do in Germany when we are too slow.

I guess I was quick enough for Germany. :) OTOH, automatic pay station have started to appear.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on May 16, 2019, 01:36:05 pm
pparently we chose wisely, it lies on a bend of the Seine and over the camping looms Chateau Gaillard, a fortress built bu Richard Lionheart. We will probably remain here for three nights instead of one.

France is ridiculous, almost everywhere we want to remain longer.

You chose wisely. It's a nice area, and the castle is a nice visit.

You are also very close to Lyon-la-Forêt, a really cute village, and the gardens of Giverny who inspired Monet so much (20 km or so). 
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Grey Fox on May 16, 2019, 02:07:24 pm
Threviel, look for this in store : https://www.candia.fr/produit/grandlait-demi-ecreme/
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 16, 2019, 03:31:38 pm
Threviel, look for this in store : https://www.candia.fr/produit/grandlait-demi-ecreme/

That’s exactly what I bought today.  :)

In Sweden we have low pasteurised milk and cream. There are perhaps high pasteurised stuff in hypermarkets, but I wouldn’t know where to find it. Swedes generally drink lots of milk, the older generation even drinks it to dinner and as refresher. Milk is important.

Cream is important because I do a Pasta Carbonara (yes, I know how to do it properly, but it tastes better with cream) with cream that the kids love, and I don’t like the texture of artificial thickener.

The milk and cream issue is really a small unimportant issue, it’s just one of the things that seem most foreign to me.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on May 16, 2019, 04:06:26 pm
I understand now, some people travelling to Scandinavia told me they were surprised about the lack of pasteurised milk.

Lait cru (non pasteurised) is much less sold but can be found sometimes. It's actually an ingredient in several French cheeses.

https://www.monoprix.fr/courses/lait-frais-et-demi-ecreme-microfiltre-monoprix-gourmet-1109016-p (https://www.monoprix.fr/courses/lait-frais-et-demi-ecreme-microfiltre-monoprix-gourmet-1109016-p)

PS: this one is not pasteurised, except for the cream. So what you call low pasteurised, I guess.
Quote
Le traitement thermique classique de la pasteurisation a été remplacé (sauf pour la crème)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Grey Fox on May 16, 2019, 08:08:12 pm
Around here, there is no such thing has drinkable unpasteurized milk sold in stores.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on May 16, 2019, 09:12:13 pm
Around here, there is no such thing has drinkable unpasteurized milk sold in stores.

No, but Threviel is talking about low pasteurized milk, aka, what we have in Quebec. It is, indeed, harder to find in France.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 16, 2019, 09:19:18 pm
Unpasteurised is never sold in Sweden, or almost never. That is dangerous unless the farmer does everything perfect. Low pasteurised with a short shelf life and a need for refrigeration is the thing. Again, not very important, just different habits.

Giverny is the reason we ended up here, I navigated badly and looked at the wrong bend of the Seine. Good luck I guess. Giverny is the target for tommorow and then the Cider route, dry cider being a favourite of mine.

And another thing:

Baguette, wine and cheese after dinner is the best thing since sliced bread.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Grey Fox on May 17, 2019, 07:59:31 am
You can have it before dinner too.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 17, 2019, 08:08:46 am
I feel like having it all the time. This trip is not very good for my weight.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 18, 2019, 05:01:07 am
So, we did the cider route yesterday and today. Very nice area, though not that many apple orchards. The roads are lined by dense bocage and I really see why that is a tactical problem on the attack. We visited a few places and bought some calvados, pommeau and cider. Overall a touristy feel to it.

Now we’re on the way to a camping on Omaha Beach, at Vierville-sur-mer. War tourism and the Bayeaux tapestry on the agenda.

Some notes:

Normandy seems green, rich and fat.

There are buses of German school kids most everywhere.

My french is improving. I successfully ordered half a loaf of bread sliced in a bakery.

What does artisanal imply when boulangeries call themselves that?

French bread of high quality from a bakery is very cheap.

I wouldn’t want to be the first allied soldier going through a bocage.

There are lots and lots of really interesting books in the museums. Just a shame that not one of them is in a language that is not french. There were some English comics for kids in Verdun though.

We passed Caen after 16 days.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on May 18, 2019, 07:39:30 am
Artisanal means home-made, as in the baker is not supposed to just heat deep frozen flour to bake his bread.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on May 18, 2019, 08:44:11 am
Artisanal means home-made, as in the baker is not supposed to just heat deep frozen flour to bake his bread.

Over here it often means paying through the nose for a part burnt loaf, whilst the 'baker' proclaims himself as 'artisanal' rather than building a word of mouth reputation as a good baker.   :bowler:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on May 18, 2019, 09:00:45 am
 :lol:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 18, 2019, 09:10:56 am
 :lol:

Over here it seems to mean that you ay 1.00€ for a superior baguette than the already good one at 0.90€.

So far Omaha seems like a tourist trap rather than a solemn memorial.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 18, 2019, 12:10:18 pm
There’s a huge circus tent here claiming to be a travelling invasion museum with about 50 US flags flying of it. And that’s about 500 m down the road from a barn claiming to be an invasion museum. It’s like torture museums in Prague or something.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on May 18, 2019, 01:17:07 pm
1 € for a baguette is a common price in West Paris (classic bourgeois) but with gentrification/boboisation in the east, can't be much cheaper. More expensive probably for the gluten-free baguette.  :D
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 19, 2019, 01:02:33 pm
It was raining all day today, so we just lounged around until lunch. Then we went to the american cemetery. It was very beautiful and dignified. The white crosses really hanmered home the price that was paid for liberty. The kids liked the stars of the jewish graves. 

After that we went to La Cambe german cemetery. It was very solemn and much closer to my heart, being half-german and all that. My own grandfather could have been lying there if chance had gone another way. Wife and daughter was in the car since daughter was sleeping. I walked around with my son hand in hand and felt generally sad. Until my son asked me why there were no stars there. I tried to explain to him that this is the evil side compared to the previous guys and that some of the men in the graves here were really evil bastards that tried to kill all the guys with the stars. But that it’s still a place for sorrow since most guys were good guys just caught up in bad shit. And then we chanced upon Wittman and his crews grave. I suspected it was his from some distance since there were much more flowers around it. And boy, was there more stuff around his grave. Including lots of coins lying on it, mostly 0.20€ bit also Chinese yuan and to my great shame a Swedish 2kr. Now, Wittman was a nazi, he became a member of SS in 36 and was part of LSSAH before the war. He was one of the evil ones. That pissed me off something fierce. Fucking nazi-fanboys desecrating the memory of all those lying there that were not nazis and that died in a useless war.

Now, this brings up two questions:

Is there a specific reason that there were lots of 0.20€ and the equivalent 2kr? Does that specific amount hold any specific meaning?

Why was his crew four strong? What about a Tiger I demanded five crew members?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Maladict on May 20, 2019, 02:31:56 am

Is there a specific reason that there were lots of 0.20€ and the equivalent 2kr? Does that specific amount hold any specific meaning?


Brandenburger Tor? Assuming they were German 20ct coins.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Syt on May 20, 2019, 04:38:56 am
Never heard of the €0.20 thing. The Brandenburg Gate is also on the German 10 and 50 cent pieces.

Chances are a fair bit of the flowers etc. are not even from (neo-)nazis but from unreflected Wehrmacht/Waffen-SS fanboys (some people use the term "Wehraboo") who just love WW2 nazi stuff because "it's kewl".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Wittmann#Cult_status
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on May 20, 2019, 04:48:25 am


Chances are a fair bit of the flowers etc. are not even from (neo-)nazis but from unreflected Wehrmacht/Waffen-SS fanboys (some people use the term "Wehraboo") who just love WW2 nazi stuff because "it's kewl".



Good one!
Wehraboo, inspired by Weeaboo, the Japanese wannabee.  :lol:
Mostly for obsessive Japanese culture fans, such as anime but not necessarily only that.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Tamas on May 20, 2019, 06:08:32 am

Wehraboo, inspired by Weeaboo, the Japanese wannabee.  :lol:
Mostly for obsessive Japanese culture fans, such as anime but not necessarily only that.

That must be at least quarter of Western nerds.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Maladict on May 20, 2019, 01:04:08 pm
So, apparently this is a thing

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/coined-tradition/

Quote
A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier’s family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited. A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when he was killed.

Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on May 20, 2019, 01:09:19 pm
A modernised version of Charon's obol. Interesting.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 26, 2019, 12:52:23 pm
A few days more and now we’re in the middle of Bretagne, in Paimpont. A region claiming to be the center of Arthurian legend and the resting place of Merlin. I have my doubt, but it seems to be a nice forest.

Nothing especially interesting has happened. Normandy seemed to be a center for war tourism and war tourist profiteering. Lots of American and British tourists and the place seams to be geared up for the 75th anniversary of the invasion.

St Malo was nice, we were very tired and just rested there for two days. We tried shellfish of different kinds and it was nice and cheap.

Some notes.

The french are still very nice. Almost always kind, friendly, helpful and forgiving of our rowdy kids. Even waiters.

I’m cured of my francophobia.

They drive good. Considerate and not stressful, but perhaps to fast in parking spaces and camping sites.

Dead flayed rabbits look horrible and i don’t like it when they peer at me from the meat counter.

I saw some yellow west dudes. It was in st Malo and a guy with a pirate hat started to talk to me. I thought he was selling some thin because of the hat, but then he asked me what I thought of Nigel Farrage. I sais that I was a Swede, but Nigel Fartage is a vicious evil cunt. He declared that he doesn’t speak swedish and walked away. It took a few minutes and the I noteced him in a group of yellow wested people and the I understood. Based on the yellow wests I saw there they are barely fit for the british army. True dregs of society.

Later on I saw a protest at the supermarket. Lots of Bretagne flags and barely more yellow wests than police. Was not close enough to se if there were any seemingly non-addicts among them. The police was very friendly and gave us big smiles when they directed our route.

Pommeau (sp?) is nice.

French women dress very nice. Style and class.

Is puree of potatoes tge same as mashed potatoes? I think I got firm potatoes when I wanted to mash and the bag sais it was potatoes for puree.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on May 26, 2019, 02:31:49 pm
Potatoes *for* purée are potatoes that will make a good purée (I.e. you buy the potatoes, you boil them, and you make the purée) (pommes de terre pour purée)

Purée *of* potatoes are mashed potatoes. (Purée de pomme de terre). They are already prepared. 
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 26, 2019, 02:53:24 pm
How do you mean prepared? I usually mash, well, potatoes that fall apart when boiling. Floury we call them, but what would I be looking for here? By mash I mean adding milk, butter, salt, pepper and possibly other spices and whipping it up to a soft light texture.

For purée, that is purely puréed potatoes, I would use firm potatoes that don’t fall apart. Like the one I bought without thinking it through properly. I very very rarely purée potatoes.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on May 26, 2019, 03:03:04 pm
The French will use purée de pommes de terre for mashed potatoes, and these will usually indeed be mixed with butter, milk (or cream), etc. And they also prefer floury varietals for mashing. Those you will find in France are Bintje or Marabel - they may behave differently than those you are used to?

Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on May 26, 2019, 03:15:43 pm
No no, I’m just having difficulties reading labels and therefore I feel a strong need to embarrass myself here. :blush:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 04, 2019, 02:31:02 am
I think my wife fell in love in Bretagne. We had the bikes out for the first time and went on a nice trip, visiting Merlins grave and the fountain of youth. Beautiful forests and nice bicycle routes. Unfortunately the forests were mostly private. At home there’s a law allowing anyone to enter any land as long as nothing is destroyed, we can pick berries and mushroom everywhere, around here there were big signs forbidding this and that.

We continued on to La Rochelle. Now that was a nice town, we had a shopping day and we took a boat around Fort Boyard, a 19th century fort made famous through a game show. We met a Swedish lady living there, apparently we were the first Swedish tourists she’s met since moving there ten years ago.

The flush on the toilet broke, so I had to spend an evening with my head in the hatch fixing it. Not fun.

From La Rochelle we continued down towards Bordeaux, presently we’re about 40 km from Cognac, in a town called Saint Jean-d’Angely. We checked in to a nice camping with a big playground cause the oldest boy has his fifth birthday on Wednesday and that’s what he wished for. The area seems like it’s made for canoeing, lots of small canals and boat clubs. For some reason the camping is full with Dutch. Unfortunately the car has broken down, probably a bearing in the right rear wheel. We could only get a time in the shop for Wednesday, so little Gustav will spend part of his birthday in the repair shop. Then we found some medieval theme park with a castle and all to spend the rest in.

Some notes:

In some campings and rest stops there are asian style standing toilets, more or less a hole in the ground with porcelain around. And no toilet paper.

South of Bretagne the houses changed again, no more slate roofing, now it’s ceramic tiles and white houses. More of a Mediterranean feel to it.

We couldn’t find a convenient stop in the Vendee made me wonder if it’s because of the revolution that ghe place seemed empty or if it’s our lack of knowledge.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Maladict on June 04, 2019, 04:50:55 am
Bretagne :wub:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 04, 2019, 04:58:36 am
I forgot, we stayed at Quiberon and visited Carnac. Quiberon was ridiculously beautiful. Carnac was impressive, although you can only walk amongst the stones in winter.

And we stayed at Larmor-Baden, planning to visit Gavrinis. Unfortunately there was some kind of festival, so the boat trips were all booked up.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 04, 2019, 07:28:52 am


Some notes:

In some campings and rest stops there are asian style standing toilets, more or less a hole in the ground with porcelain around. And no toilet paper.

South of Bretagne the houses changed again, no more slate roofing, now it’s ceramic tiles and white houses. More of a Mediterranean feel to it.

Turkish-style toilets!  :lol: They can still be found, but are disappearing I believe. Toilet paper should be there though.

I would not say south of Bretagne beings Mediterranean France, but yes, south of the Loire, central France begins, a transition area. Only the SE and Corsica would I describe as truely mediterranean. SW being close, though. If you plan to go to SW France i.e from Bordeaux to Toulouse roughly, try ordering a "pain au chocolat".
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 04, 2019, 04:31:59 pm
So, just as I was about to put dinner on the table Gustav, my oldest, fell very unluckily inside the camper. My wife was carrying him and he was fighting her and somehow he dropped and fell on a step and cut a huge gash in his forehead.

By chance there was a hospital five minutes walking from the camping, so once I got the bleeding under control I ran with him there. A few hours later and he’s got two stitches and a band-aid. He’s a hard guy, once the bleeding stopped he stopped crying and he actually seemed to like it when I ran with him in the buggy. He was back to his own happy self in the waiting room and he absolutely loved the anaesthetic gas. The doctor gave him the mouthpiece as a present.

And tomorrow is his birthday.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: KRonn on June 04, 2019, 10:28:06 pm
Poor kid, but glad he's ok from his little mishap.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 09, 2019, 01:14:14 pm
The kid is ok, the parents feel bad, but that’s life I guess.

We wnt to cognac. That was a nice city. We visited Otard and Hennessy and had a pizza. I learned that Americans apparently shot Cognac and use it as a party drink and Chinese drink it between meals. Pineau is nice, but pommeau is better.

We continued to Bordeaux, to Chateau la Peyraude. They had a place for motorhomes. Very nice place, camping in the middle of Bordeaux amongst the vines was very fun.

Now we’re at Lascaux. We have already visited Rouffignac and Font de Gaume. Highly recommended, now I finally see why they say that cave art is of high quality. Fantastic in 3d. Tomorrow we go to Lascaux. We went in with some American tourists, as always very friendly and polite. I eavesdropped and they were veterans of Vietnam and Korea. One dude was two weeks late for WWII. Very interesting and a nice contrast with the brits we’ve met, one of whom was friendly (presumably because he needed help) and the rest ignoring or dismissive of us. 

Some notes

Cakes and patisseries are really sweet, too sweet for my taste. Possibly because of the general diet of chocolate and brioche bread.

There is no or almost no rye or barley flour. Nor any flakes of oat. The french eat wheat and almost only wheat. They must eat too few fibres.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: The Larch on June 09, 2019, 02:11:19 pm
Still looking for Swedish groceries?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on June 09, 2019, 03:15:01 pm
The kid is ok, the parents feel bad, but that’s life I guess.

We wnt to cognac. That was a nice city. We visited Otard and Hennessy and had a pizza. I learned that Americans apparently shot Cognac and use it as a party drink and Chinese drink it between meals. Pineau is nice, but pommeau is better.

We continued to Bordeaux, to Chateau la Peyraude. They had a place for motorhomes. Very nice place, camping in the middle of Bordeaux amongst the vines was very fun.

Now we’re at Lascaux. We have already visited Rouffignac and Font de Gaume. Highly recommended, now I finally see why they say that cave art is of high quality. Fantastic in 3d. Tomorrow we go to Lascaux. We went in with some American tourists, as always very friendly and polite. I eavesdropped and they were veterans of Vietnam and Korea. One dude was two weeks late for WWII. Very interesting and a nice contrast with the brits we’ve met, one of whom was friendly (presumably because he needed help) and the rest ignoring or dismissive of us. 

Some notes

Cakes and patisseries are really sweet, too sweet for my taste. Possibly because of the general diet of chocolate and brioche bread.

There is no or almost no rye or barley flour. Nor any flakes of oat. The french eat wheat and almost only wheat. They must eat too few fibres.

Thanks for the interesting update, glad the trip is going well.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 09, 2019, 05:53:46 pm


There is no or almost no rye or barley flour. Nor any flakes of oat. The french eat wheat and almost only wheat. They must eat too few fibres.

Rye bread = pain de seigle is pretty much available everywhere. I like it, buy once in a while.  :hmm:
Barley bread = pain d'orge is more uncommon though

Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 10, 2019, 02:06:01 am
I was a bit unclear, I was talking about flour, being a home baker. And of course there are all kinds available for natives, but I did not see that much variety in the minuscule flour shelf in the otherwise well stocked hypermarket. The wheat flour I bought seems to be of very high quality on the other hand, makes excellent pancakes. 

There are some few kinds of not pure wheat bread in most supermarkets, but it is a distinct minority. Amongst the pre-packaged stuff I’ve found german style roggenbrot one or two times.

Bakeries are hit and miss, sometimes excellent, sometimes a very small selection.

In smaller shops there are american style toast or baguette available.

Natives that know where to go when might of course have a different experience.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 10, 2019, 04:58:21 pm
Understood
Supermarkets are not the best place for bread. But then I also do not buy flour to make by bread.

As for bakeries and pastries, that's true. The closest to my old home, I only go for éclairs ; another one 5 min on foot I go for croissants and bread etc.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 11, 2019, 02:16:58 am
We try to not spend too mich time looking for food items, so a supermarket when we move from one place to another is our solution.

And just to prove me wrong a small little shop here in Rocamadour had some excellent walnut bread, in addition to baguettes.

Today we’ll stroll around here and look at Durandal. I’ve somehow gotten the impression that Rocamadour would be an excellent start position for doing st James way, the camino or whatever it’s called.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 11, 2019, 02:40:51 am
The specialty here seems to be Foie Gras. I’m avoiding that because I’ve heard that it’s made by pushing a pipe down the throat of the birds and force feeding them until they by an enlarged liver.

Am I right? It would be nice to try it.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Tamas on June 11, 2019, 04:51:56 am
The specialty here seems to be Foie Gras. I’m avoiding that because I’ve heard that it’s made by pushing a pipe down the throat of the birds and force feeding them until they by an enlarged liver.

Am I right? It would be nice to try it.

Yes.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: garbon on June 11, 2019, 05:03:27 am
Apparently production is banned in all the blue countries/states.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Foie_gras_countries_map.png/640px-Foie_gras_countries_map.png)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 11, 2019, 05:37:44 am
The specialty here seems to be Foie Gras. I’m avoiding that because I’ve heard that it’s made by pushing a pipe down the throat of the birds and force feeding them until they by an enlarged liver.

Am I right? It would be nice to try it.

I don't like it, but it's merely a taste thing.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 11, 2019, 07:12:43 am
So. I went into a store and the nice lady there claimed that she reared the ducks herself and she also prepared the cans. She was nice and I had had a little wine so I bought a few cans. According to the lady the ducks quite enjoy the pipe.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: garbon on June 11, 2019, 07:42:55 am
:lol:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Valmy on June 11, 2019, 08:23:00 am
Apparently production is banned in all the blue countries/states.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Foie_gras_countries_map.png/640px-Foie_gras_countries_map.png)

What does the red mean?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Grey Fox on June 11, 2019, 08:25:13 am
Top 5 producer is my guess.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 11, 2019, 08:26:37 am
Top 5 producer is my guess.

We have a winner here!

Quote
Main countries and regions producing Foie Gras
[54][55][56]
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Valmy on June 11, 2019, 08:27:32 am
China just has to be in the top 5 of producing anything.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: garbon on June 11, 2019, 10:28:36 am
Interesting that California has a ban while New York is a major producer.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 14, 2019, 03:51:28 am
We’ve had some tech problems, the gps in my wife’s iPhone seems to have stopped working. Previously she drove using her gos and I aided with mine, trying to avoid any stupid mistakes. Now she uses my phone and we fall for the not perfect choices Google map makes, like trying to go through the center of old towns with an 8 m long motorhome. In Albi it wanted to go over the 1000 year old bridge and through the cathedral square instead of going around on the big way around. Sometimes it’s quite exciting.

So. We went from Lascaux to Rocamadour and then to Albi. The cathedral and bishops palace in Albi was very interesting. They both looked like fortresses and were quite clear a big fuck you to the cathars. The church was very nice on the inside despite its intimidating exterior. The old bishops palace houses a museum with a huge collection of Toulouse-Lautrecs art which my wife enjoyed immensely. Unfortunately the motorhome area closed and we had to move, so now we’re in Carcassonne. It’s raining, but we can at least see the walls from inside the car.

We are at the the farthest point, next time we move it will be towards home.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 14, 2019, 03:53:39 am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_9rWH0p43A

Don't go this way.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on June 14, 2019, 07:01:41 am
We’ve had some tech problems, the gps in my wife’s iPhone seems to have stopped working. Previously she drove using her gos and I aided with mine, trying to avoid any stupid mistakes. Now she uses my phone and we fall for the not perfect choices Google map makes, like trying to go through the center of old towns with an 8 m long motorhome. In Albi it wanted to go over the 1000 year old bridge and through the cathedral square instead of going around on the big way around. Sometimes it’s quite exciting.

So. We went from Lascaux to Rocamadour and then to Albi. The cathedral and bishops palace in Albi was very interesting. They both looked like fortresses and were quite clear a big fuck you to the cathars. The church was very nice on the inside despite its intimidating exterior. The old bishops palace houses a museum with a huge collection of Toulouse-Lautrecs art which my wife enjoyed immensely. Unfortunately the motorhome area closed and we had to move, so now we’re in Carcassonne. It’s raining, but we can at least see the walls from inside the car.

We are at the the farthest point, next time we move it will be towards home.

Love the details, this is quite an adventure, thanks Threviel.

We need an American to do a semi-epic road trip across the US, posting in a new thread as they go along, it would make a nice companion to yours.


Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 14, 2019, 12:06:08 pm
Having been to Carcassonne I have three things on my mind:

It’s very touristy.

Cassoulet is very good.

Spanish tourists in general are ignorant rude ones.

Edit: In hindsight I was far too harsh. There were groups of Spanish tourists that behaved rude and disrespectful, but the huge majority I probably didn’t even notice.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 14, 2019, 03:02:30 pm
So. Midsummer is approaching. We brought snaps, herring, dill, parsley, and we need to do flower coronets for the girls and we also need new potatoes. What are new potatoes called in french?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 14, 2019, 05:55:15 pm
So. Midsummer is approaching. We brought snaps, herring, dill, parsley, and we need to do flower coronets for the girls and we also need new potatoes. What are new potatoes called in french?

Should be pommes de terre nouvelles/pommes de terre primeur

https://www.academiedugout.fr/ingredients/pomme-de-terre-nouvelles_792 (https://www.academiedugout.fr/ingredients/pomme-de-terre-nouvelles_792)

Only place in France I know celebrating Midsummer will be the Swedish Cultural Centre in Paris, plus the Embassy in some way I suppose.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 15, 2019, 12:59:11 am
And us, in our little corner. There’s a good probability that we’ll be celebrating it with beer and snaps in Chateauneuf-de-pape.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 15, 2019, 10:14:07 am
To be honest, I have not checked with the Swedish Lutheran church in Paris, which used to be some kind of Swedish cultural centre.  :P
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 15, 2019, 12:18:27 pm
 :lol:

We actually married in the Swedish lutheran church in Hamburg. They usually do all kinds of festivities for Swedes in exile.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 16, 2019, 01:04:36 pm
I found some potatoes primeurs, but they were very big and not small like the ones we eat for midsummer. Well well, I already had some very nice small potatoes, those will do.

After Carcassone we noticed that the Mediterranean was on the way to Avignon. So I found a nice camping with beach and everything and off we went. Apparently it was fully booked since it was a Saturday and the lady informing me used the full panoply of the legendary french hospitality. First rude encounter with any French during the while trip.

So instead we found a camping car parking place next to a bullfighting stadium in Villeneuve-les-Maguelone. Which wasn’t entirely bad, although there was no beach there was an island with a cathedral on it just outside. The cathedral (Maguelon) was built in the 11th century or so, and was the center of an arch-boshopric, on the ruins of a Visigothic cathedral built on a Roman church. Abandoned in the 16th century it is still cared for and used for all kinds of things. They even grew wine on the otherwise seemingly empty island. A causeway connected to it and it was a very nice walk.

Now we’re in Avignon, we had planned Nîmes, but couldn’t find any decent camp site. Here we are staying on an island in the Rhône just outside the old town. Tomorrow we’ll take a ferry into town and see what it’s about. We plan on staying here a few days since the camping is nice and we are a bit tired.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on June 16, 2019, 04:46:48 pm
I found some potatoes primeurs, but they were very big and not small like the ones we eat for midsummer. Well well, I already had some very nice small potatoes, those will do.

After Carcassone we noticed that the Mediterranean was on the way to Avignon. So I found a nice camping with beach and everything and off we went. Apparently it was fully booked since it was a Saturday and the lady informing me used the full panoply of the legendary french hospitality. First rude encounter with any French during the while trip.

So instead we found a camping car parking place next to a bullfighting stadium in Villeneuve-les-Maguelone. Which wasn’t entirely bad, although there was no beach there was an island with a cathedral on it just outside. The cathedral (Maguelon) was built in the 11th century or so, and was the center of an arch-boshopric, on the ruins of a Visigothic cathedral built on a Roman church. Abandoned in the 16th century it is still cared for and used for all kinds of things. They even grew wine on the otherwise seemingly empty island. A causeway connected to it and it was a very nice walk.

Now we’re in Avignon, we had planned Nîmes, but couldn’t find any decent camp site. Here we are staying on an island in the Rhône just outside the old town. Tomorrow we’ll take a ferry into town and see what it’s about. We plan on staying here a few days since the camping is nice and we are a bit tired.

 :cool:

Thanks for describing the beautiful scenery and monuments there; you should work for the SW France tourist board. 
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 17, 2019, 01:54:12 am
Well, although quite nice the Mediterranean parts we have seen are probably the least favourite part of France so far.

I’m thinking about buying one of those huge dried hams. I just don’t know if it will make it all the way home. Anyone know how well they would handle hanging in a car trunk  a week?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 17, 2019, 04:26:12 pm
Well, although quite nice the Mediterranean parts we have seen are probably the least favourite part of France so far.

I’m thinking about buying one of those huge dried hams. I just don’t know if it will make it all the way home. Anyone know how well they would handle hanging in a car trunk  a week?

Easy answer: have them wrapped in plastic. Should be enough provided the trunk is not an oven.
Otherwise, the big dried hams can handle some time in a dry and cool cellar (not a fridge), without any wrapping plastic.

I suppose you are going to visit the Palais des Papes in Avignon. Never been there, but it is the place to visit.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 17, 2019, 04:38:42 pm
Visited there today, very nice. We have been lucky with the weather so far on the trip, bit it looks like that is turning now. 30 degrees and a burning sun today, tomorrow 32 degrees forecasted. We were spent after the papal palace so we plan on going back tomorrow and do some shopping. The kids love the camping and we just take it easy now. There was a small café at the top of a tower in the palace, I liked that. The guide was digital and used AR to envision how it would have looked back in papal times, worked ok and improved the experience.

I had some ice cream with the kids in the city today and my wife had a beer. The waiter laughed and told me that ice cream normally is just for kids.  :Embarrass: :lol:

Some ham will be bought, a shame that I didn’t buy at the last supermarket where 5kg of ham cost 35€ and included a stand. We actually have quite a big “garage” in the car, it should be airy, dry and at least not super hot.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 19, 2019, 09:16:20 am
Our mechanical problems continue. Going off the highway today we heard a clonking sound from the rear right wheel on every revolution. We looked up the closest Fiat professional shop and went there. The sound was really loud and I drove nervously and slow. The staff was very helpful and nice, although they had much to do. Apparently the rim has cracked and not in a small way, we are glad to even be alive. Now we are waiting outside the garage, having to spend the night by the road just outside, tomorrow morning we get a new rim. We are hemmed in by the highway 5 m to the left, just over a fence, and a commercial road 10 cm to the right. I predict a bad nights sleep. The people in the garage claim it’s safe.

Some notes

In the middle of a group of American tourists in Avignon a little old lady was walking with a Trump pin with French text on. I didn’t get a very good look but I think it said something like: “Don’t blame me for Trump, I didn’t vote for him”.

And security for American sites, like Point-de-hoc and the American graveyard is very high. Is that a french thing or a global?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 19, 2019, 09:35:53 am


And security for American sites, like Point-de-hoc and the American graveyard is very high. Is that a french thing or a global?

You should see the American embassy in Paris then.
I'd say both things.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 19, 2019, 09:47:11 am
Yeah, but those are embassies. At point-de-hoc we had to pass through a metal detector to get into a room that just had some info and folders, the stuff that normally isn’t even watched. At the cemetery we left a trolley for a few minutes and had guards running up to us.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 19, 2019, 10:56:03 am
Metal detectors have been common over here for a while now. Even the Cinémathèque has them since November 2015. Not to mention the Army patrols in the streets, not just airports, train stations and tourist spots.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 19, 2019, 11:37:52 am
Yeah, what’s the deal with those vigipirate soldiers? They seem to be patrolling everywhere, two cars were even in front of a carnival in La Rochelle.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 19, 2019, 12:11:23 pm
Opération Sentinelle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Op%C3%A9ration_Sentinelle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Op%C3%A9ration_Sentinelle)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 19, 2019, 12:37:02 pm
So. Two black guys, not looking like workers just off the shift just scared me. They walked together towards the car, 200m away one of them walked over to our side. They kept walking towards us staring intensely until they had passed. I photoed them and sat down in the driver seat so they could see us. How worried should i be? Is it just racist old me? How criminal is a small town like Valence?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: garbon on June 20, 2019, 03:24:59 am
I'm wondering why you needed to mention to black guys in that story. I'd agree it does seem like you are engaging in racism if you wouldn't have felt the same way had it been to white men.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 20, 2019, 04:27:35 am
Well, i don’t know if that was pertinent information or not, in unknown territory I only have preconceived notions to use. So, if black people here are generally poorer (which I have no clue about) their skin colour might imply lower social strata and therefore higher probability of crime. But I see your point and I feel foolish.  :Embarrass:

I would have felt the same way, it was their behaviour and dress only that triggered my suspicion, lots of other people of all kinds were about without triggering suspicions.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: garbon on June 20, 2019, 05:43:53 am
Well, i don’t know if that was pertinent information or not, in unknown territory I only have preconceived notions to use. So, if black people here are generally poorer (which I have no clue about) their skin colour might imply lower social strata and therefore higher probability of crime. But I see your point and I feel foolish.  :Embarrass:

I would have felt the same way, it was their behaviour and dress only that triggered my suspicion, lots of other people of all kinds were about without triggering suspicions.

Certainly wasn't my intention to make you feel bad but yes, always good to challenge our preconceived notions. Making race a salient detail in a story about criminal concern does support (in small part) concerns about black people and criminality.  Particularly when you haven't been pointing out the race of all the other people you've encountered on the journey.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 20, 2019, 05:49:33 am
Valence is obviously not Détroit (@Sav) given its size but not infamous by any means.
I suppose they have a rough area, as in most places.
It is also the gate of Southern France, with quite a lot of people transiting through it so probably above average criminality-wise.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 20, 2019, 11:56:57 am
Well, we made it. We’re in (checking google maps) Arbois in the Jura region. The family is getting homesick so we’re making good time towards home. The rim is switched and the car is ok, unfortunately I scratched the side of it on a hedge on the camping.

We plan on staying here a few days and celebrate midsummer. We’ll investigate local wine and just hang around. The lack of food is a problem, we are out if ideas and tired of not having a proper kitchen. 

Normally I post when in bed or when we are driving, but now I borrow the wife’s phone and she’s only got a swedish keyboard.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 21, 2019, 04:33:24 pm
Midsummer has been celebrated. The girls had flowers in the hair and singing of silly songs was done. Matjes herring, boiled potatoes, sour cream with chives, beer and snaps. Strawberries and cream for dessert. It’s the best meal of the year.

For lunch I had prepared crepes, we wanted to walk around Arbois. Fortunately there was a market going on and they had some stands with ready meals. We bought Paella for two and found a beautiful little mini park overlooking a stream going through town. It was a glorious lunch. We also found excellent strawberries and some levain bread.  Arbois is a very beautiful town, only marred by the fact that heavy traffic goes right through the center.

We had planned on staying longer, but there’s a huge heat wave rolling in, so we’ll hurry north. Tomorrow we go to Mulhouse. We want to go to a big supermarket one last time, so we’ll do that on Monday and then it’s full speed home.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 21, 2019, 04:44:55 pm
Mein Gott, Mülhausen! The French Manchester. :D
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 22, 2019, 01:22:47 pm
We couldn’t really make Alsace work in a good way, so we decided to go home directly instead. We went to a huuuuuge Carrefour and did our last shopping, onions, sause Algerienne, big spanishish ham and some other stuff. Then we went to Germany, now we’re at a camping just over the border. We will flee fron the heat wave as fast as we can.

The car is probably overloaded so we’re optimising weight balance and stuff. No real problem in Germany and Denmark, but in Sweden it’s calculated differently, so bye bye driver license if they catch us.

When we arrived here and had parked the car I went out to look around. The little old woman in the next car was looking at me, so I, used to French ways, gave her a friendly wave and a smile. She looked me dead in the eyes and then continued reading. Welcome to Germany.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 22, 2019, 02:53:08 pm
I guess you should have gone for Colmar and/or Strasbourg instead of Mulhouse.
I'm surprised you Swedes did not visit the Haut-Koenisbourg Castle, sacked by the Swedes during the 30 Years' War.  :P
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 22, 2019, 03:53:35 pm
We couldn’t really make it work with a hard deadline of being above Hamburg at Tuesday evening, due to the heat wave. Had it not been for the heat wave we would probably have spent another week in France.

The eastern part of France we hastened through, after Carcassone we sort of felt finished. What we saw made us regret not having more time, we will definitely return and do the east more properly. Jura was magnificent and so was the Rhone valley.

France in general has been a huge positive surprise, far far nicer than I would have thought, the people in particular.

Oh, an I’ve been to so many places sacked by Swedes, it’s almost the normal in northern Europe. :P
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 22, 2019, 03:55:35 pm
Did you apologize?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 22, 2019, 04:02:37 pm
For?
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 22, 2019, 04:04:07 pm
Sacking.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 22, 2019, 04:05:17 pm
Why should I? The papists had it coming.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 22, 2019, 04:12:43 pm
D'oh!  I thought you were talking about Vikings sacking northern France.  But of those those dirty mackerel snappers had it coming.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 22, 2019, 04:16:26 pm
Somewhere in Normandy my wife mentioned that we may be the first Swedes there whilst I was reading about how the place was sacked by vikings in 867 or something.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Oexmelin on June 23, 2019, 10:28:46 am
Normandy = Northmen-dia.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 24, 2019, 06:55:03 am
D'oh!  I thought you were talking about Vikings sacking northern France.  But of those those dirty mackerel snappers had it coming.

Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle was Imperial-held (Habsburg) back then.  :P
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 27, 2019, 03:15:01 pm
So. Now we are home, we went by the Grenå-Varberg ferry and then just a 15 minutes drive to our house. The last few days were just a boring autobahn slog. By scheer luck, owing to a camp site close to the autobahn, we stayed a night in Alsfeld. Beautiful old city centre and they just happened to have a big market. German pizza, whose name now slips my mind, was eaten, the kids liked them. Me and the wife had a schnitzel in the central square and had some Alsfeld beer. A nice positive on a boring trip.

We escaped the heat wave, but we would have liked to stay a few more days in Alsace.

The car was probably dangerously overloaded, we can normally load about 300 kg, which includes 100 l water and ourselves. We probably had in the order of 100 kg wine alone. And far too little pommeau.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on June 27, 2019, 05:19:01 pm
So. Now we are home, we went by the Grenå-Varberg ferry and then just a 15 minutes drive to our house. The last few days were just a boring autobahn slog. By scheer luck, owing to a camp site close to the autobahn, we stayed a night in Alsfeld. Beautiful old city centre and they just happened to have a big market. German pizza, whose name now slips my mind, was eaten, the kids liked them. Me and the wife had a schnitzel in the central square and had some Alsfeld beer. A nice positive on a boring trip.

We escaped the heat wave, but we would have liked to stay a few more days in Alsace.

The car was probably dangerously overloaded, we can normally load about 300 kg, which includes 100 l water and ourselves. We probably had in the order of 100 kg wine alone. And far too little pommeau.

And so the odyssey ends.  :D

Thanks for doing the thread, an interesting road trip and I enjoyed reading about your adventures. :cheers:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 28, 2019, 05:45:13 am
The car was probably dangerously overloaded, we can normally load about 300 kg, which includes 100 l water and ourselves. We probably had in the order of 100 kg wine alone. And far too little pommeau.

Back in the day, I would bring 10 or 20 l of Portuguese grape brandy (aguardente/bagaço) by train, in ad hoc jerrycans, held in travel bags or even a back pack.  :P

Starting in Puebla de Sanabria/Póvoa de Seabra, a place only known by The Larch in this forum. Yes, this is one place you can reach from Zamora, crossroads of the world.

Heat wave ends Sunday, where temperatures will be around a more tolerable max. 30°C.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 28, 2019, 07:11:19 am
I did get some niceish food in cans and stuff. Choc Route from Alsace, Cassoulete from Castelnauday, lots of duck in different shapes, fish from the atlantic, herbs and spices from Provence, onions and turnips for stock.

We are discussing improvements for next trip. I definitely want an oven and better pans and pots so I can make some proper good food.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 28, 2019, 11:06:55 am
Swedes or more generally Nordics, bring back mostly booze.  :P
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 28, 2019, 01:08:54 pm
We met some Norwegians in Bordeaux on a vineyard. We mocked them a bit when they bought fewer bottles than we bought cases, must be a bitch to not be in the EU.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 28, 2019, 03:53:19 pm
Are onions and turnips tough to find in Swedonia?  Or are these artisanal onions and turnips? :unsure:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 28, 2019, 04:00:11 pm
Greens in general had a much higher quality in France. I have no ready explanation for that except that we usually only have access to dutch industrially grown stuff, but why that wouldn’t be the case in France I don’t know. I would have bought cases of apples, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers and lots of other stuff if I I had a way to keep it fresh.
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Duque de Bragança on June 29, 2019, 05:49:49 am
We met some Norwegians in Bordeaux on a vineyard. We mocked them a bit when they bought fewer bottles than we bought cases, must be a bitch to not be in the EU.

Norway is still part of the EEA though.  Special, harsher Norwegian regulations on booze?  :hmm:
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Syt on June 29, 2019, 05:54:21 am
Thanks for the travel journal, Threviel. :)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: mongers on June 29, 2019, 08:33:50 am
Thanks for the travel journal, Threviel. :)

Can you imagine a version with several Languishites touring in an RV, call it 'Five go mad in Dalmatia'   :)
Title: Re: Motorhoming in France
Post by: Threviel on June 29, 2019, 11:59:12 am
I’m trying to do a nice final write-up, but not being Savonarola I’m having difficulties.

Some notes:

Biggest surprise: How utterly friendly and helpful the French have been. For example, a few times in supermarkets I have looked lost and people have walked up to me and tried to help. They actually noticed that I looked lost and despite the language tried to help.

Best experience: Rouffignac and Fon-de-Gaume, to actually see and appreciate rock art changed my views a little bit. It really is good art irrespective of age.

Most expected: People actually walked around with baguettes a lot.

Most overrated: Difficult, but provably Saint Malo or Mont st Michel.

Most fun: Definitely Disneyland.

Most moving: Walking in the trenches in Verdun. Damn what a horrible place that must have been.

Worst: The only not exactly positive experience was the Mediterranean coast, felt touristy and unfriendly. Also when Gustav split his forehead, he’s good now, but there’ll be a not very nice scar.

Also Germans are worthless drivers, fucking idiots should go to driving course in France.

I have gone from a francophobe to something of a francophone, it is a nice country filled with nice people, just a shame that their leaders have been such useless wankers.