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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 11 Mar 2008
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St. Mallo to Santander.

Hi folks, i have wanted to take a trip in Europe on my V-strom for quiet a while now, originally i was going to take in about 7 countries in 2 weeks but decided against it as i would be spending to much time in the saddle and not enough sightseeing etc.
I think i have narrowed it down to France and northern Spain, so here it is...
Ferry from Weymouth to S.t Mallo,
St. Mallo to Le Mans, spend a day checking out Le Mans.
Le Mans to Limoges, spend a day in limoges so i can visit Oradour sur Glane etc.
Limoges to Millau viaduct.
Millau to Toulouse.
Toulouse to Andorra, spend a day here checking out the roads!
Andorra to Lleida.
Lleida to Pamplona, maybe spend a day here too.
Pamplona to Santander.
Ferry from Santander to Plymouth.
I plan to be back in the Uk on the 14th day of the trip, i dont want to use motorways or toll roads if possible and hopefully not more than 250 miles per day, and ill be camping aswell.
This is a very small trip compared to what some of you have done but its my first trip and id like to ask some of you seasoned travellers your opinions!
Thanks in advance
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  #2  
Old 12 Mar 2008
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It's always a trade off between putting in the miles and seeing what you want to see

"visit Oradour sur Glane"

This takes at least a half day, assuming that you have anything more than a passing interest in the subject. You could, quite easily, spend a whole day there. It has the whole village to visit, on foot only, + an indoor museum: at the museum reception, the staff will let you put your biking kit in the cloakroom, once they see you carrying it in to the entrance (at least, that was my experience there).
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  #3  
Old 12 Mar 2008
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St-Malo to Le Mans is quite straighforward.

Assume you land from the ferry in the morning at St-Malo, you'll get quite fast in Le Mans (half a day, I guess, if you take the small roads). To my knowledge, nothing much to see in Le Mans (been there one time, did I miss something ? At least, should not worth to spend a full day there).

Best is to drive whole day down to Tours, taking the small roads at a very cool pace. Tours is a nice place worth to spend a half a day in the historical center, and riding the afternoon in the vinicity (famous for its wine: Vouvray, Chinon and around the Loire river).

you can prepare your trip online with http://www.viamichelin.fr
that will give you distances in kms and more importantly travel time in hours.

Have a nice trip !
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  #4  
Old 12 Mar 2008
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Trip sounds good, I would just suggest that you look into Bordeaux in France and San Sebastian and Bilbao in northern Spain. All are on your route, and I have enjoyed all three immensely.

The roads in Northern Spain where you will be are wonderful to ride. The mountains are beautiful and the scenery is spectacular. Just beware, I am unsure if it was just my timing or if it's like this normally, but I have never encountered winds as strong as the ones in Northern Spain. It was literally a battle the whole way through.
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Old 12 Mar 2008
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Le Mans itself isn't that exciting, there's not a lot to see. There is a museum at the circuit and of course the fun of riding the half of the 24hr circuit that is public roads, just watch out for the rumble strips on the corners they're slippery when wet (I know I once spent a happy hour digging a Mini Cooper out of the gravel trap). Other than that it's a French industrial town. I'd also suggest heading pretty much for Tours.
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  #6  
Old 15 Mar 2008
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Road i.d. in France

Thanks for the replys, I plan to do the trip in late September,ill be arriving in St. Malo at about 4.30pm so i might just go as far as Le Mans on the first night, a few people have said there is not much to view at Le Mans so maybe ill just head for Tours and Limoges the next morning.
I should be able to get to San Sebastion enroute to Santander from Pamplona.
I need to get myself a Michelin map tommorow and plan my route properly,
Im trying to stay away from motorways and toll roads so i was wondering can anybody tell me what the road number/letter system is in France?
Thanks again everyone.
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Old 15 Mar 2008
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It goes like this.

A = Autoroute (toll), equivalent to a UK motorway (although some can be dual carriageway only) speed limit 130kmh in the dry 110 in the wet.
N = Route Nationale (occasionally refered to as RN) usually a main road, equivalent to a UK A road, speed limit 110kmh on the dual carriageways and 90 kmh on single carriageways, unless signposted.
D = Departmental can be anything from a beautiful main road to a piddly twisty poorly surfaced single-lane thing equivalent to a UK B road I guess. speed limit anything up to 90 kmh.
C = Communale usually fairly twisty, might be two lanes might be single lane with passing places, could be smooth as a baby's bottom, might be potholed like the Somme, equivalent to a UK unclassified road. speed limit anything up to 90kmh.

None of the above speed limits apply however to people in clapped out Citroên Saxos, Renault Clios and 5's etc which by law must be driven at 150 kph all the time.

That about covers it, but a Michelin map will give you a lot more detail of which road is which and how many lanes it has. Anything with a green "border" on one or both sides is deemed to be a picturesque road and they're usually right.

Don't forget in all towns, villages etc the speed limit is 50kmh unless otherwise posted, you'll know you're entering the speed restricted zone when you see the name of the place, on a rectangular sign with a red border to it, there may well not be any other signs giving you the speed limit till you leave the town.


Oh and the dreaded "Priority à droite" is something to have fun with, it can even apply to roundabouts.
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  #8  
Old 16 Mar 2008
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Hi
Im from Guernsey, channel Islands so St Malo is where I always stary my trips. There is camping in St malo, a nice spot over looking the old town seem to remember it being about 10Euro with a bike charge, there is a youth hostel thats only a couple Euro more and I now always use that as it saves unpacking and repacking the tent etc, alowing a early morning get away. Also breakfast is in the price at the hostel, so you can have a big breakfast and dont have to stop on the road.
St Malo its self it a lovely town and lovly to walk around in the afternoon, to drive straight through to Le Mans would be a mistake IMO.
Agreed Tours is a beautiful town in a very pretty area. The rest of the trip iv done too but am not going to tell you about it, that spoils the adventure too much!
Good luck and have a great time!
George
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Old 16 Mar 2008
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In my humble opinion give france a miss, it's full of trucks, it'll probably - no it will definately rain, petrol is expensive an it's full of frenchmen - just get the ferry to santander and spend 2 weeks riding around the picos de europa on cheap fuel, food and accomodation, in the sun
getting ready now for outraged francophiles response...
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Old 16 Mar 2008
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Thanks Alexlebrit, thats exactly the info i was looking for.
George I hadnt really considered staying in St. Malo on the first evening, but if its as nice as you say maybe ill give it a go!
Bikerz let me just say i grew up in Ireland and now live in the UK so im used to dodging trucks, riding soaking wet thru the rain and paying for expensive fuel, expensive accomodation?....2 man tent solves that problem, expensive food?... you should try paying for a meal in any major town in Ireland at the moment, it brings a new meaning to the word expensive!!
And as for french men? they ok, never caused me any problems, allways found them to be easy going and friendly, people are usually ok as long as you treat them with a little respect and manners especially as you are in their country!
The only ones i have found to be a little dodgy are those rhodesians,strange bunch those are, but Zimbabweans are ok
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Old 16 Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerz View Post
In my humble opinion give france a miss, it's full of trucks, it'll probably - no it will definately rain, petrol is expensive an it's full of frenchmen - just get the ferry to santander and spend 2 weeks riding around the picos de europa on cheap fuel, food and accomodation, in the sun
getting ready now for outraged francophiles response...
Nothing wrong with that as a suggestion for a completely different itinery, other than it ditches a large part of the planned route!

Agree with BikerfromSark (great place to come from no doubt, but not much "room" for a daily ride !) - St Malo is well worth a look - say another 1/2 days worth of walled town which all looks pretty old and impressive.
Talking of which, give Toulouse a miss and head for Carcassonne - tremendous walls!!!!
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Old 16 Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by adrian74 View Post
And as for french men? they ok, never caused me any problems, allways found them to be easy going and friendly, people are usually ok as long as you treat them with a little respect and manners especially as you are in their country!

French road traffic is very considerate of two wheeled traffic - a complete contrast to the UK. In general, you will notice that the car drivers have eye contact with you in their rear view mirror as you approach from behind.
Acknowledge/wave to them as you pass with your gear lever foot.
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Old 16 Mar 2008
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Acknowledge/wave to them as you pass with your gear lever foot.
How old is your bike?!

John
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  #14  
Old 16 Mar 2008
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Wink not that old

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How old is your bike?!

John

Just covering the options John!! (and the brake at all times of course).
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