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Around France 2016

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Around France 2016

We decided to just tour France this year crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe and spending a few days in Normandy before heading south to the Loire near Angers and across to the Île de Ré by La Rochelle. From there we continued south to the Pyrénées at Gavarnie, one of our favourite places in south west France. Heading east through the foothills we called in to Carcassonne then touched the Mediterannean coast. Ambling slowly north through central France we reached Monet's garden at Giverny before returning on the Dieppe to Newhaven ferry.
Campsites 2016
Aires 2016
From Normandy to the Île de Ré
Coast to Pyrénées
To the Med then Inland
From Millau to the CreuseDecorated churchesTo Giverny and the Coast

After taking a daytime crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe we turned west along the Opal coast to visit Étretat then across the Seine estuary to the popular resort of Honfleur. We then turned inland through the Calvados countryside with attractive half-timbered villages to reach Falaise where we discovered that there were fuel shortages due to industrial action at the refineries. Luckily we found some expensive diesel at a remote filling station  so were able to continue south to reach the Loire near Angers.

We then decided to visit the coast, skirting the Marais Poitevin in the Vendee and crossed the toll bridge to the Île de Ré for a few days. From there we drove through the rural Charente region to the western Dordogne around Monpazier then on to Marciac in Gers, famous for its jazz festival every August but a quiet town in June. The Pyrénées to the south were now visible on the horizon so we drove via Lourdes to the impressive snow capped Cirque de Gavarnie. Avoiding the Col de Tourmalet as there were so many cyclists on the narrow roads we instead drove over the Col d'Aspin, unfortunately shrouded in thick mist. Continuing along the foothills we passed the Cathar chateau stronghold at Montsegur on the way to Carcassonne, before reaching the Mediterranean coast at Gruissan Plage near busy Narbonne.

Now it was time to turn north visiting Pézenas and the Cirque de Navacelles on the way to Millau. From there we drove across the barren Monts d'Aubrac and Cantal to the Plateau des Millevaches in the Limousin region and along the river Creuse to the Loire valley. Mainly driving on empty rural backroads we reached Monet's garden at Giverny before the last leg of our journey to Dieppe.

Our route around France
Our route around France 2016

Etretat cliffs
Beuvron en Auge Normandy
 Cliffs at Étretat Beuvron en Auge Roquecor
Cirque de Gavarnie Carcassonne Monets garden at Giverny
Cirque de Gavarnie Carcassonne Monet's Garden Giverny

Ferry :  
Outbound and Return:  Newhaven to Dieppe Transmanche £131 return booked direct by phone for over 60's discount

Fuel : £503 for 3160 miles 103 gallons about 31 mpg.

 LPG three top-ups 47 litres €0.70/litre €33

Campsites and Aires
Fees 52 nights  €236 total  (+ 6 nights at CL's and a Caravan Club site in UK £117)
Campsites 10 nights €141 (€10.30 to €24.50)  6 nights using the ACSI low season discount Camping Card 

Aires  42 nights: €95  (€3 to €12 inc services)  30 nights free

From Normandy to the Île de Ré >>