FRANCE ROAD TRIP UPDATES FOR 2021:
British Travellers must Check for the latest travel information to France on the Eurotunnel website or here https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19
The travel restrictions due to Covid 19 are changing frequently, so I will not list them here. However, click on the french Government website, english version, above for answers to all your questions including:
- Can you drive through France to Spain/Italy?
- Who can drive their car through France right now?
- Are the Ski stations opening?
- Are hotels open for stops en route?
January 2021 – What documents do you need to DRIVE in Europe?
Luckily things have not changed too much. However, you need to contact your car insurer and arrange for a GREEN CARD. This is not complicated, just give them a ring, inform them of the dates of travel and they will send you the card. Keep this with you at all times driving in France.British drivers can continue to use their usual British Driving Licence.
How long can I stay in France from January 2021?
Brits are allowed to stay in Europe for up to 3 months in a 6 month period. 3 months is long enough for most holiday travellers. Starting in 2022 all Brits will need to fill out a Visa Waiver Form for travel to all European countries. For now, 2021, we do not need to use a Visa Waiver Form
Pet Travel from January 1 2021 from the UK – Luckily things have not changed too much for Pet Travel! Contact your Vet 4 months before you plan a trip if your Pet is a first time traveller. But if your pets are up to date with their Rabies Vaccine, worming and tick treatments not much has changed. The old Pet Passports have been replaced by a Health Certificate. Your vet will arrange everything. Returning from France everything should be straightforward. Up to 5 days before your return to UK get a Pet health check, worming treatment and certificate of health from your french vet.
WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR YOUR BRITISH CAR?
- Car Insurance for Driving in France – Contact your Car insurer to arrange cover.
- A Green Card – As from 1 January 2021 you must travel with a Green Card, very easy to arrange with your Car Insurance Company. A quick call, just give them the dates of travel and voila!
- A GB sticker on the car. Available from Halfords or online.
- A breakdown kit including a breakdown triangle and a Yellow Vest for everyone in the car. Again, easy to fid in a Halfords store. Also it is compulsory to have a breatherliser kit, also available online or in Halfords.
- Breakdown Cover – always wise to be prepared just in case you breakdown.
- Snow chains. If you are going to a ski station, definitely pack a set of chains.
- Your regular Driving Licence. You do not need an International licence.
A Road Trip Through France can be fun! To be perfectly honest, I drive from England to my home in the South of France regularly, my dogs can come along, I can take as much stuff as will fit in the Range Rover and buy some wine along the way.
However, be prepared because it is a LOOONG JOURNEY! The best plan is to stop along the way. Here is my itinerary tried and tested of many years:
ENGLAND TO THE COTE D’AZUR:
- Eurotunnel to Calais takes 30 minutes and drive from Calais to Epernay. This drive will take you approximately 2 to 2 and a half hours.
- Stop overnight in the Champagne area
- Drive to Beaune approximately a 4 to 5 hour drive. Stopping in the Designer retail outlet in Troyes on the way.
- Stop overnight in Beaune
- Drive to the South of France approximately 6 hour drive. If you want another stopover I suggest near Avignon.
French motorways are a delight! Traffic free roads and pretty countryside all the way.
Tip: Pack a picnic for the journey and stop in one of the pretty Aires dotted along the route rather than a Service Station.
We stop in our favourite wine areas of France and enjoy some wine tasting and a degustation menu in the evening and then continue along our route.
WHERE TO STOP OVERNIGHT:
- Champagne – Stop in the famous Champagne region and enjoy a beautiful Chateau and Champagne tasting. Reims – I prefer to stop in the countryside, then I can leave everything in the car without worry.
- Troyes – Famous town which manufactures many top french brands. Enjoy the outlet stores and Black and white buildings in the town.
- Beaune – We often stop here, it is exactly halfway. Super choice of hotels both luxury and budget and also set int he heart of Burgundy, so some great Vineyards to visit.
- Lyon – Not my favourite place to stay, do not leave your possessions in the car if you choose to stay here! Be careful in the Petrol stops in the Lyon area, I avoid these.
Tips for travelling with your dog:
Dogs travelling from outside France will need a health Certificate from January 2021:
- Up to date Rabies Vaccination. Ask your Vet or look the Government
- Up to date Annual Vaccinations – this is not a legal requirement but obviously essential for your dogs health.
- Make sure your dog has a flea and tick Spot on treatment. Tick treatment is essential in France.
- Identity Chip – essential for identification and Passport
- Most French Hotels allow dogs, some charge 15 euros per dog, per night.
We take our dogs on the Eurotunnel. This is the quickest and least stressful travel for the dog. You all stay in the car together. On a Ferry the dog is left alone in the car. Beware: Eurontunnel charge £30 per dog
We always stop en route overnight. It is a 12 hour drive from Calais to Monaco! If you want to stay in the Champagne region:
First stop on this trip was the delightful Chateau d’Etoges. Read all about this stay in my blog post https://luxurytraveldiva.com/chateau-detoges/
PHOTO: Chateau d’Etoges, Road trip through France
A beautiful Chateau and such a delightful place to stay. It also has an excellent wine list and restaurant. Two vineyards are within walking distance, if you want to do a little bit of wine tasting and just walk 100 metres back to the Chateau!
PHOTO: Champagne Vineyards, Road trip through France
This is heaven for Champagne lovers! Make sure you leave room in the car for a few cases.
PHOTO: Explore the village. Road trip through France
Wake up refreshed and ready to continue the journey to Beaune via Troyes. We avoid Paris, although it looks a shorter route on the map. The traffic is appalling on the Peripherique and this route is much less stressful and pretty much the same time wise.
Follow the signs to Lyon and Troyes. Troyes is a good place to stop for lunch, especially if you like a Designer Outlet. The shopping outlet is 10 miles from the motorway at Troyes and well signposted.
After Dijon, keep going for about 20 minutes and you will see signs for Nuits St George. A great place to stop if you are a fan of this classic wine. There are many small Vineyards and winetsting places in the village.
PHOTO: Beaune. Enjoying drinking the contents of the vineyard!
Beaune is perfectly situated for an overnight stop. Not only does it have countless hotels for every budget, it is an interesting town in the heart of Burgundy. Also, it is right by the motorway. Wonderful wines and so many lovely places to eat.
PHOTO: Degustation lunch at Olivier Leflaive, Puligny Montrachet
Some favourites are Hostellerie Le Cedre in Beaune and Le Montrachet in nearby Puligny Montrachet. Puligny Montrachet is a favourite wine of mine. A degustation meal at Olivier LeFlaive is another favourite treat.
PHOTO: BEAUNE town centre in the heart of Burgundy region
Your journey then continues South, through Lyon (I ignore the bypass and go straight through the centre of Lyon). Try and avoid rush-hour times, which can be time consuming. I don’t really like Lyon and so never stop.
If you want to make a third night stop, I recommend Avignon or the area around Avignon. Such an interesting city and, of course, home to another good wine Chateauneuf du Pape is close by!
The weather always gets warmer after Lyon! If you don’t want to stop another night en route, it is only a five hour drive from Lyon to Monaco.
PHOTO: Saint Tropez on the Road Trip through France
Saint Tropez is a good place to stay once you turn left at Marseille and head along the A6. Although be aware that it will add an extra hour driving down to St. Trop and don’t do this in high season, the traffic is terrible! Read my separate blog for more information https://luxurytraveldiva.com/saint-tropez/
You are now in Cotes de Provence wine and Rose country. Not the quality of the other wines along the way but great for an aperitif in the sunshine. We often stock up on wines along the way!
Enjoy your road trip through France! Let me know how you get on!
Tips: Remember you must pay the toll fees if you drive on the Motorway. We have a TelePass, which you can buy online at https://www.telepass.com
PHOTO: Arrived at my destination! End of the Road Trip through France
COST OF DRIVING THROUGH FRANCE:
It is not cheap! I only drive if I plan a trip of at least 3 weeks or a month. The costs are as follows:
- Eurotunnel. Car with dogs costs approximately £90 for the car one way and £30 for each dog.
- Motorway tolls are approximately £100 for Calais to Nice
- Fuel costs, we fill up 3 times so that is £300
- Calais to Cote d’Azur is 1000 kilometres.
- Your car must have a GB sticker
- If you plan to drive to a large city such as Paris or Lyon, your car will need an emissions sticker.
- Legal requirements in France, A yellow Vest, Emergency Triangle, breathaliser kit, All these are provided in a french hire car. Available to buy in Halfords or AA shop in Folkestone.
- From January 2021 you need a GREEN card available from your Motor insurer.
Sanef: Buy a pass! It saves hours when passing through the tolls. Take into account toll costs, approximately 80 euros for the trip.http://www.saneftolling.co.uk