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Thread: Travelling to Pyrenees

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    Really Bored fernando's Avatar
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    Default Travelling to Pyrenees


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    Hi

    In September, me and the OH are riding down to a place near Lourdes, family have rented a big house.

    We have booked the eurotunnel so need to plan a route from Calais to Lourdes.

    OH's bike is a CRF250 rally, and mine a Yammie TT600RE. We can sit at 70mph for long periods, but like a bit of variety.

    We have 2.5 days to get down there, and want to avoid tolls. We will camp en route.

    Any tips of whether the non toll roads will be rammed, whether we take back roads, etc? Where best to look for campsites online?


    Many thanks

    F

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    Really Bored fernando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    p.s I fancied staying in Rocamador on the second night as it only looks 177 miles from destination

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    I've done only D road routes and also Autoroute. Last time went down to the south we did half and half - we spent 3 hours on the Autoroute to get some miles behind us from ferry/ tunnel and then spent the rest of the day playing on the more rural routes. your going to have to do 500kms/ day so you might want to compromise! You've got a good choice of routes, but again, its fun vs. time vs. mileage. Toll roads are empty compared to the main non toll roads and in some areas the scenery is great even from the autoroute.

    Most towns have a municipal camp sites that should still be open in Sept - the bonus is they won't be crammed with holidaymakers so you shouldn't have to worry about booking ahead.

    Have fun

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Whatever you do stay off the main national non-peage routes - they will be rammed with trucks. D roads are usually empty, and far more scenic.

    Sorry I can't help with a route, I've always left Calais and headed for the Alps or the Ardennes

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Jack View Post
    Whatever you do stay off the main national non-peage routes - they will be rammed with trucks.

    This is true, where possible We always did D route or Autoroute (peage)

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Quote Originally Posted by fernando View Post
    p.s I fancied staying in Rocamador on the second night as it only looks 177 miles from destination
    If you can make time, visit the caves at Padirac. Phenomenal.

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Use the large scale YELLOW Michelin maps to plan a route. DON'T rely on the red map of France on one sheet - you'll miss some wonderful roads! I made that mistake on my very first trip to France and spent most of the time sharing roads with hundreds of truck. There's also a hardback book which covers the entire country at the higher scale.

    Check out the Viamichelin website if you want to see the difference... I hardly ever go anywhere near the main roads, sticking to the smaller D roads that bypass the big towns and can go 10-15 minutes without seeing another vehicle.

    Last trip, I made it down there in two days, even riding at my brother's snail pace.

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    Should Get Out More 1888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Are the Tolls that bad? Only did 80 miles or so and never moaned so cant be that bad for a Jock. Even a 50/50 mix due to having fun and losing time

    http://www.autoroutes.fr/index.htm?lang=en

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    It's quite a long way so you might want to knock off a few miles on motorways. But on your bikes I doubt that would be too much fun

    Non-toll big Routes Nationales will be quite busy, but France in general much much quieter roads than the UK, same population spread over twice the area and not concentrated like the UK is, where half the people live in a sixth of the area (so a twelfth of the area of France)

    Rocamadour is a stunning location but (as is the way of such things in France, especially where there's religion involved, see also Lourdes) very touristy. Nowhere else does shops full of plastic tat to quite such an extent

    You want to be heading to the west of Paris IMO. You can go past/round Paris on the Autoroutes but they are busy and unpleasant. I would save motorway mileage for elsewhere. Some large French cities are also pretty horrible to ride through but for these then the Autoroutes are a must IMO. Toulouse would be one example but you don't need to go there. Rouen is one place I would definitely avoid as all the routes through are nasty. Cross the Seine at Les Andelys or Vernon if you're not going the Paris route

    Most boring part of the journey is the flatlands north and south of the Loire. There are a few routes through this area that are nicer, eg the road up the valley of the Creuse from Touraine towards Le Blanc (north of Limoges)

    But yeah, plot a route on Via Michelin, don't be afraid to use short sections of motorway to knock off the miles but don't go believing that riding through France is boring if you're not in the high mountains either. Some of the best riding is in flatter areas

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Campsites: There are loads. Like, thousands

    Outside of August you should not have any issues finding places to stay without booking up, I wouldn't bother personally (eg you don't know what the weather is going to be like or how you will be feeling, so best to be flexible.......or even consider staying in cheap hotels, again there are loads that don't need booking up, esp if it's wet or showery, packing up wet tents never enjoyable)

    I would honestly just get to deciding where you want to stop and rock up around 4-5pm ish and follow the road signs that you'll find in country towns, most of which will have at least one "camping municipal" as well as private options, especially if you're in a halfway touristy area (eg Loire, Dordogne)

    http://www.camping-municipal.org/
    https://www.campingfrance.com/uk/which-campsite

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    It's a long way as others have said. Personally I'd sacrifice a day on the motorway "knocking the bollocks off it" as the expression goes then you can plan a shorter day on non-motorway roads.

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Yep thanks for the maps tips. I found this in Germany that I would do back roads in the morning, get bored with not making significant progress then hop onto the autobahn to get some kms under my belt. I suppose we'll have to wing the navigation.. OH uses google maps and chooses non tolls, this will take us on the N routes I wonder if he chooses non highways this will take us on the D routes.

    We are stingy and skint, so camping will happen unless tent gets blown away. I don't mind a soggy tent as we will only be camping for 3 nights, its a roomy tent, plenty of space for soggy bike gear. We will be staying in a beautiful house for 7 nights, then riding to Santander for the ferry back to Portsmouth. We plan on doing some of the Trans Euro Trail whilst down there.

    I will be popping into Lourdes to buy some kitsch gear.

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Quote Originally Posted by fernando View Post
    Hi

    In September, me and the OH are riding down to a place near Lourdes, family have rented a big house.

    We have booked the eurotunnel so need to plan a route from Calais to Lourdes.

    OH's bike is a CRF250 rally, and mine a Yammie TT600RE. We can sit at 70mph for long periods, but like a bit of variety.

    We have 2.5 days to get down there, and want to avoid tolls. We will camp en route.

    Any tips of whether the non toll roads will be rammed, whether we take back roads, etc? Where best to look for campsites online?


    Many thanks

    F
    The roads will be empty (France is empty) . Just use Google maps and change the options to no tolls, no motorway (you'll need 3G for this) and it'll throw you down all the back roads.

    It's the way we're navigating.

    Oh, also, taking the back roads is 3 times slower than motorway munching. Allow for that extra time.

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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    We did it three/fours years ago and I've also done it several times in a car. On bike we got an overnight ferry to Caen, but as your starting from Calais I would......

    Motorway to Le Mans then roughly it's all N/D roads Poitiers - Periguex - Bergerac - Agen - Pau.

    We were all on 1000+ bikes and did it in two days to the just over the Spanish border including a 3 hour delay waiting for a tyre shop to open after I got a puncture on the ferry in a brand new tyre.

    If you like, I could PM you the routes (we all use Garmin SatNavs) they are on my PC at home. There are no toll roads on it and some nice twisty routes but we tend to be some of the fastest traffic around and tend to set off several speed cameras each trip.

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    Should Get Out More TheEnglishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travelling to Pyrenees

    Join the Trans Euro Trail forum, download the France .gpx file and enjoy!

    https://www.transeurotrail.org/france/

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