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Getting to France

Brittany Ferries

There are many options for your travel to France – ferries, budget / scheduled airlines and train (with or without the car). There is excess capacity on most routes and so prices remain remarkably keen. You can usually get a good deal by booking direct, although some travel companies have the benefit of negotiating special rates, so it can pay to shop around.

By Air: If you are anxious to get there quickly then fly to France, especially if you are heading south. The budget airline industry ensures that many regional airports are served – arrange a hire car in advance. There are downsides – the convenience depends on how close the departure airport is, and on the distance from your arrival airport to your destination.  It does make travelling to France quicker.

By Sea: Taking the Ferry to France is excellent if you want a break to stretch your legs during the journey. In the summer the weather is usually calm so you can have a comfortable crossing. In our opinion, the nicest way to go to the west coast is to combine it with an overnight ferry, where you wake up in the morning close to your destination. Reserve a cabin – the cost is worth it!  Alternatively, when we travel to France we tend to go Eurotunnel Folkestone to Calais on the way out, then relax on a P&O Ferry on our return journey from France.

Taking your car: A host of advice on driving in France is found in our driving section. This includes how to stay within the law, how to find your way, how to avoid traffic jams, where to stop for a break….infact everything we could think of that you need to maximise your pleasure during your journey!

Autotrain: A train service for those wishing to travel to the south of France with their own car. The Motorail service is no longer operating. Autotrain offers a similar service, although you have to get your car to Paris from where there is a choice of 12 different destinations in the South of France. Autotrain doesn’t take passengers however – you have to make your own way south by seperate transport and collect your car within two days (otherwise parking charges are incurred).

Operation Stack:
Ever heard about Kent police putting Operation Stack into action? Well we heard about it several times and recently it was the day we were due to go to France on a 24 hour trip. But could we find any info about Operation Stack? No chance. We could find the occasional reference to it, but nowhere could we find what we needed to know – namely, if the M20 is closed at junction 11, then how the heck do you get to Eurotunnel?

Well now you can benefit from our experience – Come off the M20 at junction 10 and follow the A20 through Sellindge, either rejoining the M20 at junction 11, or continuing along the A20 to the next junction of the motorway where there is a back road into the terminal. It may not save much time, but when Operation Stack gets serious the motorway can clog up well back towards Ashford.

Of course you do have other options – depending on the reason for Operation Stack – for example, our problem was industrial action at the Calais ferry terminal, so Eurotunnel and Speed Ferries were un-affected. Surprisingly considering the problems Eurotunnel still had good availability and we were able to book our crossing with just 36 hours notice.

Read more travel in France: