Whether you are a seasoned traveller or venturing out on your first trip abroad, it never hurts to have a few tips and reminders, so here are some of ours.

Route finder

Our nearest port was Portsmouth, so we found the Portsmouth-Caen route the easiest crossing. Once on French soil, we followed the Alencon - Le Mans - Tours - Poitiers route. We would stop at the Auchan hypermarket at Tours for a fill up of fuel and shopping (as well as 'comfort breaks'). Nowadays, the A28 links directly into the A10, eliminating the slow section north of Tours, cutting the journey time down considerably.

But to see what is best for you, try the viaMichelin site at:


Everyone travelling in France needs a valid passport. You probably won't have it checked on the way in but you may need to produce it when travelling around the country. You get so used to showing it that it becomes second nature - I have been asked to show my passport to support large purchases on my Visa card; when opening a bank account; taking out car insurance; when we were buying the house; etc. (Oh, and once when les Douanes stopped me on the N10, but that's another story.)

Getting to France...

By Sea

There are a number of ferry companies operating services between the UK and France. For a more exhaustive list, you might like to try: Direct Ferries

However, the major operators are:

Brittany Ferries Operating services between:
Plymouth and Roscoff
Poole and Cherbourg
Portsmouth and St. Malo, Cherbourg and Caen

Speed Ferries Operating services between
Dover and Boulogne from just £25!

P & O Ferries Operating services between
Dover and Calais

By Air

Air France is a leading European airline for international passenger transport.

With an expansive network covering 187 destinations worldwide in 84 countries and competitive fares, Air France is also very strong on long haul flights from UK and Ireland. Air France also operates from the regions, offering the possibility to book from 9 UK departure airports.

The nearest airports are located at Angoulême, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Poitiers and La Rochelle.

Budget airlines servicing these airports are:

easyJet for flights to:
La Rochelle from Bristol, and Gatwick
Bordeaux from Bristol and Luton

easyJet also fly from Bordeaux to Lyon - their new European hub for destinations in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

BMI Baby for flights to:
Bordeaux from Birmingham and Manchester

Flybe for flights to:
Bergerac from Exeter, Southampton, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Leeds Bradford and Edinburgh
La Rochelle from Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and Southampton
Limoges from Southampton and Newcastle
Bordeaux from Southampton

Ryanair for flights to:
Angoulême from London Stansted
Bergerac from Bristol, East Midlands, Liverpool and London Stansted
La Rochelle from Dublin and London Standsted
Limoges from Liverpool, East Midlands and London Standsted
Poitiers from Birmingham and London Standsted

By Rail

offer regular services between
Folkestone and Calais

but if you are coming as a foot passenger, you can take the
Eurostar directly from London to Paris or Lille where you change for trains to Angoulême and Poitiers.

Winter sun