If you’re heading south into France from the UK this summer and your journey involves Le Mans, Paris, Bordeaux or any part of the southern reaches of France, then we have to share with you our preferred method of crossing that water between the UK and France. And best of all, it doesn’t involve the M20, anywhere in Kent, or even a Tunnel. Instead, it involves a leisurely crossing from Portsmouth to one of a range of destinations along the coast of Northern France, using Brittany … [Read more...] about The Better Way to Drive South in France From England
The more Francophobic of my friends often ask me what’s my fascination for the old French farmhouse style? I’ve an affection for them that outpaces the inevitable rose tinted glasses of holiday memories so I guess it would be a good thing to give an explanation. Up there with the soft warmth of Scandinavian timber buildings and the sharp definition of Art Deco, Charente style farmhouses are one of my favourite buildings, here’s a few reasons why. They’re constructed almost like war … [Read more...] about Why I Have A Thing For French Farmhouses
Anyone who has visited the Le Mans Museum right alongside the circuit entrance will be left with a burning desire to go and investigate the Mulsanne Straight. The desire to own a grey Porsche 911, stop half way down and light up a Gitance while resting your backside on the ARMCO is a feeling that I’m sure many of us have felt. For many though, the Museum visit is just part of a drive further south. So if, like us, you won’t have time to drive the whole public sections of the track, there’s … [Read more...] about Le Mans to Tours via that Mulsanne Straight
On 1st July this year, it will be 100 years since the commencement of what became known as the Battle of The Somme. Today, as we enjoy travelling around Europe, we often pass by the roadside memorials to that period of conflict in our history. In any French or Belgian village, there will be a memorial to the people of that village that left and never returned. Its easy to become desensitised to these small stone placements. But this figure will perhaps bring home what happened in that period, … [Read more...] about 100 Years ago, 19,240 Fell In One Day. The Somme Began.
France has a rich history of motor racing and while the country did not have the huge number of redundant post war military airfields that started motorsport in the UK, if you're enjoying a driving holiday in France, they have some truly superb tracks for driving and competing. The walled town of Angouleme in The Charente is famous for the Circuit des Remparts street race. Each September, the town centre is closed as historic racing cars from all eras converge for a spectacular, maniac street … [Read more...] about On Track in The Charente – Circuite de Haute Saintonge in France
Hybrid powered cars have been around for more than a decade now. They're part of our daily lives, yet until recently, I'd never really spent any time with one. You can read here about the ten days I spent in France with the Lexus RX450h hybrid, but one of the things I was asked all too often was the driving techniques. "But I bet you had to change your driving style a lot, right?" "Well yes, of course" "Thought so, bet is was flat as a fart, right?" "Well no, actually. That's not what I … [Read more...] about Hybrid Driving Techniques – New Tricks Needed, or Simply Another Car?
This rather nifty and cost effective packet landed through the mail yesterday. There is an awful lot of smoke and mirrors right now about the latest legal requirements for carrying breathalysers when driving in France and coupled with our previous experiences with the Gendarmes, we thought it appropriate to comment on the laws as we understand them right now. It's now a legal requirement to carry an NF certified breathalyser when driving in France. NF is the French standards body, like our own … [Read more...] about Driving in France? Better Be Ready To Blow
You may have read elsewhere here about the relationship we developed a few years ago with the Gendarmes in France. It can be an expensive relationship, with little reward on your part if you're caught speeding in France. Each summer, the Peage becomes a hunting ground with tourists trapped like fish in a barrel. You could, of course, simply be good and cruise more slowly. Or you could try and find ways of avoiding the speed cameras. Here's a guest post by Neil Reeve, who can be found … [Read more...] about Want to Avoid Speeding Fines in France? Blame Your Dog
Anyone used to driving throughout Europe on UK plates smugly thinking you're immune and un-catchable would do well to think again if visiting France this year. I had a trip to Nice planned last spring in a Mercedes CL55AMG and had already heard mutterings of French police being much more rigid and vigilant these days, as well as rumours of reciprocal license endorsement deals between our respective police forces. Little did I know we were about to be enlightened.... Travelling south of Paris … [Read more...] about Andy Meets The Gendarmes