Information about France is in abundance on the internet but it is my aim to provide you with a personal approach based on my own French knowledge. This page is the start of a road map to specific guidance on certain areas of both living in and visiting France.
France Driving Regulations
In France driving regulations are something you must be familiar with before you go, you don’t want to be hit with a hefty fine and the added complication of a language barrier. As well as the French road rules I have a few tips for you to make things easier, the most obvious? Don’t think of the gendarmerie as your enemy, plan to keep them happy and be compliant throughout. If you’re heading to France on a ferry you will quite likely meet with the authorities when you set foot on foreign soil. It differs from port to port but surely it’s easier to be prepared rather than get annoyed about it? I have written an article specifically about this which you can find at What Do I Need To Drive In France? as well as more generic musing at Driving In France. As exploring France in a car is my passion you will find I add to these pages regularly and will be including routes you can take and places to visit. I’m even writing a book about it!
Ferries To France
Crossing to channel to France can be part of the holiday. You can take the Dover Calais option which is quick and cheap but it does also depend on your departure location. For example, if like me you live in Bath, South West England and want to go to Brittany it would be completely pointless to drive to Dover then have a 7 hour drive (if I’m lucky!) back across to Brittany. When I was planning our trip last year I used spreadsheets to calculate every scenario; miles, fuel costs timing and ferry costs. Yes, I was on a tight budget and timeframe but let’s be honest, if you have 2 weeks per year for a holiday with your family you want to make the most of it.
Making sure you get the best ferry to suit your needs is something that many people don’t think about but it can effectively give you two extra days holiday and if you have children, give them an outlet after many hours in a car. Embrace the experience, learn more about this on the page I’ve created to help you work through this.
Accommodation In France
The world is your oyster in France. The quality of the accommodation whether it is business or pleasure is very good and I have to say, they really know how to do holiday parks. The parks, also known as campsites perhaps offer a brilliant solution to a self catering holiday with facilities. We have visited quite a few now and are even considering buying our own cabin for investment purposes and our own use. Many British Tour Operators such as Eurocamp and Al Fresco have cabins on major sites and reps on site to help you out but there is also Siblu, French owned and operated with their own staff employed throughout the site.
Does this make a difference? Yes, I think it does and I’ve written more about this here.
In terms of hotels, bed and breakfasts and Gites you also have quality affordable accommodation on offer. I’ve also included more information and resources about this on the same page as well as recommendations for accommodation in certain regions – these come from my own experience and currently I am able to share with you my reviews on Brittany, Aquitaine, Languedoc (Pyrenees Orientales) Loire, Provence and Picardie.
Touring in France
Yes, of course I’m going to talk about this as it is my passion. If you are interested in taking a car, campervan or even fly drive in France check out my resources. I can’t recommend it highly enough but be warned, I will be sending you off the beaten track! Yes, motorways have their place but if you’re driving in France you will miss so much if you don’t even try a little detour.
Moving overseas is a huge undertaking with France being a very popular location for both holiday homes and permanent ones. As Living La Vida Lola grows I am planning to develop this part of the site, it’s my own aim to have property in France and as I research the pros and cons of this (5 year plan) I will share my findings. I have already written a book for people who are considering a move abroad having made a fair few moves myself, which you can find here.
I have also researched alternatives to buying a property including the purchase of a mobile home with Siblu and I have written a post about this. To be honest, this is what I am going to do in the interim while I decide about a larger property in the future; it is a great investment. I have detailed the pros and cons and you can also download a sample spreadsheet of my cost analysis if you read this Siblu page.
Weather In France
There is so much to love about France including the ability to choose somewhere to visit that suits you; it is a big country which means there are huge differences in climate. One of the things I’ve found frustrating while I have been looking at comparing sun, temperatures and rainfall is that there isn’t an easy comparison tool. There are lots of resources but not one that I could look at to see (for example) the most sunshine hours but not necessarily the highest temperature across a number of regions. I say this because for me I don’t really want to be somewhere that is 30 degrees and rainy, but I’d like to be somewhere that has a high percentage of clear days, even in winter. The temperature for me is not so important – the blue skies are! So, it’s my plan to pull together a pros and cons comparison of different parts of France for your ease of reference,I’m not there yet but it’s in the pipeline.
Further Information About France
France is a wonderfully diverse country, so within the pages of this site I will be sharing my own insights into regions, towns, driving routes and anything else I discover along the way. Through blog posts and pictures it is my aim to share with you as much information about France as I can.