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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 25 Dec 2008
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Europe summer drive

Hi,
I am planning a family drive holiday with kids through Europe in summer 2009 for 2-3 weeks long.
We would like to cover some parts of the following couontries.
London-France-Switzerland-Austria-Germay-Holland-Belgium-London
I am finding it difficult to plan the routes because I am not familiar with any of these countries. We are basically trying to plan a reasonably good site seeing drive.
Any suggestions on where you believe are good places to visit? i.e. scenery, villages, towns or whatever you believe suits a young family?

Many thanks
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  #2  
Old 25 Dec 2008
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you dont give the ages, or whether camping, camping car or using hotels. But as suggestion at least for teh french part..
As you are leaving from London, if you take the overnight ferry from portsmouth (about two easy hours from London) to St. Malo it will get you to france fully refreshed early * 8.30) in the following morning. Then follow the route to Rennes, Nantes, Poitiers, Limoge to see the Milau bridge. Between Limoge and Milau there are water parks in both the Lot and Gers river valleys ( kids love water, these really just beaches bythe river, cheap and safe) and if the kids are happy all is well .
From there take the roads to APT via Avignon and pass through the Verdon gorge. This is beautiful, and again there is at least one water park there. From the end of the gorge it is easy to enter Nice and North Italy or Switzerland direct. I would be tempted to follow the rhine for a while ( at least to Strasburg). Then come back through Aachen and work your way to the Belgian coast. ( very good camsite in middle of Mons for tents/campervans) There is then a mostly free Auto route to Caen where you can take a ferry back to portsmouth ( again with Brittany ferries). Brittany ferries not cheap price wise, but you save on overnight accommodation and two days of your holiday by travelling when you are asleep.
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Old 26 Dec 2008
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Nice post from oldbmw. In addition i would add Bayeux for the tapestry (if you ferry to Le Havre instead), the volcanic domes at Le Puy, the Verdon Gorges, Chamonix for the Aguille du Midi cablecar, Stelvio Pass (Italy/Switz), Lauterbrunnen valley (Interlaken), Venice (camping on the mainland and watertaxi to the city), Neuschwanstein, Bad Tolz (south of Munich - awesome waterpark!), Black Forest... oh, the never-ending list...
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Old 26 Dec 2008
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europe trip

Hi,
The kids ages are 5 and 7
I believe hotels are easier because we have not done camping before although it may be a good start.
Thanks for the tip.

Last edited by arkiboys; 26 Dec 2008 at 17:11.
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  #5  
Old 26 Dec 2008
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Adventure playground near Paris

My sister and I used to love going here Gisors Infos - Parc de Loisirs d'Hérouval when we were little - it's northwest of Paris.

Apparently it has changed a lot since we were there though, it used to be a sort of cross between an adventure playground and a funfair, but with nothing electrical - you'd have huge boats that you had to set rocking by running from one end to the other, roundabouts on a slope so you had to balance everyone's weights to set them turning, massive water-filled trampoline type things, funny bicycles with one wheel bigger than the other or the pedals in the wrong place, etc. My sister's been there more recently than I have, and says health and safety has got in the way of a lot of it, but it may well still be worth a look!

Also Cordes-sur-Ciel, which is a village near the Lot, is built on a very steep hill, which you can take a little train up. It's a bit touristy in summer, but a pleasant place to wander round, with ramparts and old wells, and the Musee du Sucre, which has loads of amazing spun-sugar sculptures and displays of how they make them.

Hope that helps!

Laura
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  #6  
Old 26 Dec 2008
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There are some good suggestions there... what I would recommend for planning your route between these points of interest are the Michelin series of maps and/or road atlas (around 1:400,000 scale) - they show plenty of detail, and 'scenic route' roads are marked with green - allowing you to plan a pretty (and often breathtaking) route between points/destinations...

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  #7  
Old 26 Dec 2008
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routes

Hi,
You mentioned:
"Michelin series of maps and/or road atlas (around 1:400,000 scale) - they show plenty of detail, and 'scenic route' roads are marked with green - allowing you to plan a pretty (and often breathtaking) route between points/destinations...
"
Could you please elaborate on these?
I always thought t hat if I buya good sat nav, it does show the good places to see and it is much easier than reading maps.
Am I right?

Thanks
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Old 26 Dec 2008
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Whether you get a sat nav or not I'd still buy a Michelin map like this one at AMAZON.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but maps (used with or without Satnavs) give you the flexibility to see what's around you and pick places to go see, whereas Satnavs due to their restricted screen size if nothing else, tend to show you how to get to where you think you want to go to ONCE you've picked the places.

Also European road signs are really quite good, almost all roads are clearly numbered, and if you're lost in a village it's far easier to go into the bakers with a map to find out directions, than it is with a Satnav.

Oh and it's about 90 quid cheaper.
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Old 26 Dec 2008
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map

Looks good.
Is there one that covers europe i.e. the countries I mentioned that I would like to travel to.
Thanks
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Old 26 Dec 2008
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Yup


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  #11  
Old 26 Dec 2008
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route

I will give it a try...
Any ideas on the routes and places to visit with the kids in the mentioned countries please?
Thanks
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  #12  
Old 26 Dec 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbmw View Post
you dont give the ages, or whether camping, camping car or using hotels. But as suggestion at least for teh french part..
As you are leaving from London, if you take the overnight ferry from portsmouth (about two easy hours from London) to St. Malo it will get you to france fully refreshed early * 8.30) in the following morning. Then follow the route to Rennes, Nantes, Poitiers, Limoge to see the Milau bridge. Between Limoge and Milau there are water parks in both the Lot and Gers river valleys ( kids love water, these really just beaches bythe river, cheap and safe) and if the kids are happy all is well .
From there take the roads to APT via Avignon and pass through the Verdon gorge. This is beautiful, and again there is at least one water park there. From the end of the gorge it is easy to enter Nice and North Italy or Switzerland direct. I would be tempted to follow the rhine for a while ( at least to Strasburg). Then come back through Aachen and work your way to the Belgian coast. ( very good camsite in middle of Mons for tents/campervans) There is then a mostly free Auto route to Caen where you can take a ferry back to portsmouth ( again with Brittany ferries). Brittany ferries not cheap price wise, but you save on overnight accommodation and two days of your holiday by travelling when you are asleep.
Hi,
I should have mentioned that I would like to definitely visit Paris and then drive towards Switzerland. Any suggestions on places to visit From London to Paris and then towards Switzerland?
Thanks
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  #13  
Old 27 Dec 2008
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My kids are in their teens now but when they were the age of yours we spent a lot of time touring by using eurocamp sites. Their tents are very well equiped and most sites have excellent facilities for young kids. You can also book different sites on different nights in different countries.

Just my tuppence worth
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  #14  
Old 27 Dec 2008
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We did a version of the following route a couple of times on our bike before we had children and have been back to most of the places of interest since with them:
London-Dover-Calais-Paris-Reims-Dijon-Switzerland around the east end of Lac Lemon-Chamonix-Grenoble-Gap-Grasse-South coast to Toulon-Arles-Millau-Aurillac-Dordogne river to Bergerac-Limoges-Futuroscope-London.

To do it justice that's a good three week trip. On one occasion we went to Brussells instead of Paris which was good but Paris is better if you've not been ther before. Holland and Austria would be hard to fit in in three weeks but Germany and Northern Italy would be good coming back into France via the Mont Blanc Tunnel or over one of the small alpine passes. City hotels are expensive these days but worth it if you want more than a drive by experience. You can save money by camping elsewhere but it can be hard to find camping along the south coast in July and August - best to pre-book. Try to plan to enter and leave Switzerland on minor roads and avoid paying the extra Motorway Insurance.

Maps and GPS. I'm new to GPS and it does have its uses especially in towns but there is no substitute for up to date Michelin maps (IMHO).
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  #15  
Old 27 Dec 2008
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Quote:
Also European road signs are really quite good, almost all roads are clearly numbered
Hmmm, i still find that it can be very frustrating finding the correct road should you want to stick to the back-roads (or even the main-roads, sometimes!). This i found even in Germany, and as for Italy...well - and i'm fine with maps! So satnav for a high-mileage trip has it's place IMHO.
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