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DarkFruitsRam7

Travelling in France

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Posted (edited)

As mentioned in the Holiday Plans thread, I'm looking at travelling solo around France to immerse myself in the culture and to improve my French-speaking ability. Has anyone got any tips on where to go, how to reduce costs, etc? I'm open to going anywhere. Thanks to @McRamFan and @EtoileSportiveDeDerby for their help in the other thread.

Edited by DarkFruitsRam7

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Really not much of a French speaker, but my understanding is that the accent and pace of language is really easy to understand in the Loire Valley. Might be a good place to start - take in some Chateau and wine. Get to grips with the language. Then head south to catch a tan and where every vowel sound sound like "ang."

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Posted (edited)

Just back from France. If you're an outdoor type... Hiking, wake boarding, swimming etc, the area around Annecy is stunning. Try camping to reduce costs. Camp sites in France are amazing. 

Food all seemed expensive to us... With the exception of red wine which was cheap and fantastic! 

 

PANO_20190616_133640.vr.jpg

Edited by therealhantsram

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3 minutes ago, therealhantsram said:

Just back from France. If you're an outdoor type... Hiking, wake boarding, swimming etc, the area around Annecy is stunning. Try camping to reduce costs. Camp sites in France are amazing. 

Food all seemed expensive to us... With the exception of red wine which was cheap and fantastic! 

Thanks for the advice. I'm not much into those sort of things but that picture looks great. I was thinking of camping, youth hostelling, air BnBing, etc, to keep costs down. I used to go to a campsite called La Garangeoire in Vendée (different area to you, I know) as a kid and it was great. I might even try and stop in there for a night if it works out, although it wouldn't exactly be the most cost-effective option.

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54 minutes ago, DarkFruitsRam7 said:

As mentioned in the Holiday Plans thread, I'm looking at travelling solo around France to immerse myself in the culture and to improve my French-speaking ability. Has anyone got any tips on where to go, how to reduce costs, etc? I'm open to going anywhere. Thanks to @McRamFan and @EtoileSportiveDeDerby for their help in the other thread.

Some French campsites are free.

The beer is best in the NE.

The cider is best in the NW.

The best scenery is in the SW and South.

It all depends on what you are into.  

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We really enjoyed Carcassonne, Toulouse and Nice down south. They didn’t seem to speak as much English down there but the missus can speak French so wasn’t too bad. Went into Nice and out of Toulouse with Easyjet and trained between the others.

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You're more than welcome to draw off my experiences of travelling around France and I really hope it helps.

When we were 19 my mate and I, having saved 500 quid each, decided to work our way around the world for a few years - starting with France. So we drove my piece of crap Seat Ibiza down to Dover, abandoned the car forever on the roadside, and got on a ferry. We actualy laughed when we saw that the ticket included a free return journey if it was within 5 days. We weren't coming back for 5 years or more!

We travelled on the trains (which are excellent) first to lille, then to arras and then on to Paris.

It was in Paris that we embarked on a huge bender and woke up the next day in a hotel called La Belge (that stank of piss) having spent pretty much every cent we had.

Within 4 days we were back in the Seat Ibiza, ringing my brother up to pay for some petrol over the phone, and on our way home. We slept in a car park in Canterbury for 2 nights so we could at least tell our mates that we'd managed a full week.

Anyway good luck with your experience and if you want any more advice you know where I am.

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13 hours ago, Stagtime said:

We really enjoyed Carcassonne, Toulouse and Nice down south. They didn’t seem to speak as much English down there but the missus can speak French so wasn’t too bad. Went into Nice and out of Toulouse with Easyjet and trained between the others.

I’ve got a mate with an apartment in marseillen.. at the end of the canal de midi. It’s where all the oysters come from. It’s not super posh and has a real traditional feel. Close to both Carcassone and Montpellier. Only been once for new year. Got fat, drank a lot of wine and wandered through some great market towns a bit off the headline grabbing trails. Going back I hope, in October ( fixture list depending 🤣

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8 hours ago, Stagtime said:

That’s what I liked about the area, the beautiful people haven’t got in and spoiled it. 

It felt like a step back in time. It was a living place where tourism was just one of the things that went on, not the only thing.

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On 22/06/2019 at 16:06, Parsnip said:

You're more than welcome to draw off my experiences of travelling around France and I really hope it helps.

When we were 19 my mate and I, having saved 500 quid each, decided to work our way around the world for a few years - starting with France. So we drove my piece of crap Seat Ibiza down to Dover, abandoned the car forever on the roadside, and got on a ferry. We actualy laughed when we saw that the ticket included a free return journey if it was within 5 days. We weren't coming back for 5 years or more!

We travelled on the trains (which are excellent) first to lille, then to arras and then on to Paris.

It was in Paris that we embarked on a huge bender and woke up the next day in a hotel called La Belge (that stank of piss) having spent pretty much every cent we had.

Within 4 days we were back in the Seat Ibiza, ringing my brother up to pay for some petrol over the phone, and on our way home. We slept in a car park in Canterbury for 2 nights so we could at least tell our mates that we'd managed a full week.

Anyway good luck with your experience and if you want any more advice you know where I am.

That's a good effort. If you're going to go on a budget bender anywhere then I'm sure Paris is your place......🤣

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I lived over there for 10 years.... my thoughts would be

Alsace, it is great, wine, beer and food all cheap and plentiful....you wont get much chance to practice your French though....they speak a messed up version over there.

Marseille and Paris are dumps, just don't go there, not even worth a day trip to either place.

If you want a big city, go to Lyon, it is awesome.

Hire a bike and ride around the country, most drivers are nice and respectful to cyclists.

Nice isn't nice

St Tropez is pretty cool, but not as nice as Monaco.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Lyon is brilliant.

Paris I didn't mind to be honest, but the nice parts are expensive and then it tails off quite sharply in the cheaper arrondissement's.  The people are also generally rude and have that standard Parisian "up ones own arseishness" about them that major capital cities attract. Elsewhere the people I found to be very hospitable, despite what most English people say about the Frogs.

If you find yourself on the south coast go to the smaller fishing villages and beaches rather than the major towns and absolutely do not go to Marseille. It's the khazi of Europe. Although if you find you're down that way smaller towns like Cassis and Bandol are worth staying.

The further south you get, the amount of English speakers reduces.

Lille and the towns closer to Belgium you get, the beer improves.

Enjoy the food!

Edited by JoetheRam

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I  think I put in the holiday thread about going to Narbonne, but in general the south of France is really nice. There’s a national park near Carcassone with loads of small fishing towns in that looks really fun. That’s defo my plan for next time i go.

What I found with the language is that I struggled for a couple of days but you soon start working it out if you throw yourself in to trying to understand. Atleast enough to order beers and food! 

Then if you panic just look scared and declare ‘Anglais!’, that usually helps. 

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Posted (edited)
On 21/06/2019 at 17:16, DarkFruitsRam7 said:

Thanks for the advice. I'm not much into those sort of things but that picture looks great. I was thinking of camping, youth hostelling, air BnBing, etc, to keep costs down. I used to go to a campsite called La Garangeoire in Vendée (different area to you, I know) as a kid and it was great. I might even try and stop in there for a night if it works out, although it wouldn't exactly be the most cost-effective option.

La G is more "Holiday Park" than camp site.  I'd avoid personally, particularly in July/August, where you will almost certainly not even hear a French accent!

Think campsites.  Take your own tent, and a bike if you have one!  
Most towns... and many villages... have "Municipal camp sites", which are usually basic but adequate, and cheap.  Anything from 8€ to 20€ (per night) should be the norm, and you should be within walking distance of any bars/restaurants/cafe's/shops etc that said town/village has to offer.

Take your own loo roll and soap, and treat any toilet seats you come across as a bonus!  (Oh wait... should I re-phrase that, given who I'm speaking to!)

 

http://www.camping-municipal.org/index.htm

 

Edited by Mucker1884
Added the "Muni" link

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Posted (edited)

Oh... By the way... unlike hotels, the star system for French campsites are about the facilities they offer, not the quality of the facilities. 
Ergo, whilst a 5* site could well include water slides/multiple pools, games rooms, on-site bars/restaurants etc, the showers/loos could still be a pig-sty.  Similarly, a 2* site may only offer one toilet, one hot shower, and one drinking water tap, but could be pristine throughout, with manicured lawns to pitch up on!

Thought it worth a mention.  Don't dismiss 2* sites!  

Edited by Mucker1884

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Booked the Eurostar to Dijon for Monday 29th July (post-Rangers away) and the return from Paris on 13th August (day before I go to Malia with my mates). Unfortunately, two weeks is the longest I can travel for due to the aforementioned commitments, but it will still be great.

I’m not going to make firm plans but I’m definitely interested in visiting some of the following: Lyon, Menton, Cannes, Montpelier, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley and Paris, as well as some of the smaller places that @EtoileSportiveDeDerby has recommended.

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