View Full Version : Recommendations for a gap day stopover on the way to S of France

14-04-09, 20:48
We are driving back to the south of France next week and are looking for somewhere good to break the journey in half. Somewhere 100/150km south of Paris would seem to be the area. Following criteria need taking into consideration..

Somewhere interesting with something to see do for the day off.
Away but not too far away from the motorway (our route down) ie no long side trips.

As always budget is a consideration. (Wish it wasn't!)

Many thanks for your thoughts and ideas.


14-04-09, 21:02
Clermont Ferrand is sort of in the middle of France at a crossroads of the N/S & E/W motorway routes.
Loads of hotels of all types and its an interesting part of the country called Vulcania because of the geography there. Worth a couple of days sightseeing but most people just stop for a quick overnight break

14-04-09, 22:22
I'll second Blue Chip--beautiful area much underrated.Used to spend weekends there when trucking to Iberia.I carried a bike--good job it was a mountain bike though!!!
Also leads on to Millau and the'' viaduct in the sky''.

14-04-09, 22:40
Urg, i did the stopover thing , never again it feels like the trip lasts 2days (or 3 for you). Belt it from early hours and be on the coast for lunch. Ok, there's Beaune, wineries. Except no alcohol for you. Lyons is fine cept 250 sth of paris and clermont-f bout the same on wrong road...

15-04-09, 06:50
Hi Chas
Depending on your route, when we had to leap-frog the car back up last summer, I amused myself by checking out the 'old' bits of the Rhone. The sections that were by-passed by the pre/post-war canalised sections. Some interesting sights and towns that once were intimately connected with the river, now reduced (the towns and the river whose level is now much less) but with interesting tales from the past.
Like, for example, Pont St Espirit. Where in 1951 . . . check out WikiPedia for the <u> full story (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont-Saint-Esprit)</u>.
Lots of nice villages along the Rhone that are difficult/impossible to stop at by boat. Just off the A7 motorway.
Or, a bit higher up - Dijon. Big place, loads of cheap stopover hotels - e.g the B+B chain that we recommend - but the central historic bit is authentically interesting.
Nuits St George - cute village, cute wine!
Don't know the central north-south route so well, but the Massif does look interesting and I did have a short look at Bergerac when I caught the plane from there - worth a longer poke around.

Have a good trip and we'll see you later on. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

15-04-09, 08:05
The journey between Calais and Nimes is approximately 10 hours by motorway(12 if you have a well behaved dog!) - so if you want to arrive asap, then you can always stop over in Calais and make an early start, but if you are determined to break your journey and have a day or so rest over, Chalon Sur Saone is also a very good stopping off place,- interesting town, with an island off which has a variety of restaurants. It is close to the motorway and good reasonably priced hotels. If you want to continue down not using the motorway or paying for tolls, then from Chalon, down through Macon, you can drive by or explore if you want, the vineyards of the Beaujolais areas stopping off to stock up on the 15 varieties of its wines ( if you like that sort of thing?) You can rejoin the motorway more or less at any main town if you get fed up but the route down as far as Arles is quite pretty, but does add an extra 3-4 hours on the trip, not including stops (tolls between Calais and Nimes is about 90, more if going to Cote d'azur). If you are heading further than Provence area, then Aix en Provence is also a good town to stop.

15-04-09, 08:45
If you are going to Grissan why use the Paris Lyon route? You could always skirt Paris then use the A10 to Bordeaaux - via Toulouse and follow the canal de midi to the coats.
Or as already mentioned Clermont Ferrand and over Millau (fantastic )
I do not like to recommend anywhere to stop as doubtless the day you go - the chef will be away, or changed hands, or on holiday - or any of the other too numerous and varied reasons they will use to close hotels and restaurants without any notice.
But I do agree with doing it in one go, to stop anywhere overnight, to me, make the journey last forever, but if you want to make your journey part of your holiday then obviously that makes your trip very different.
But whichever and however - do it and enjoy it, but always remember proper France is never found on the motorways, but in the numerous small towns and villages which still exist on the old routes.

15-04-09, 10:35
Many thanks to all repliers for your input. Plenty of food for thought there. Keep ideas etc coming. All are appreciated.


15-04-09, 12:46
Beaune is just about half way; pleasant town lots of hotels including budget types; visit the hospice ; probably a lot of vineyards for tasting and touring

15-04-09, 15:10
Further to my last thread - earlier today I was told that the police stopped every vehicle leaving Arles on Easter Monday evening. They would breath test the driver and if there was any trace of alcohol he would be arrested, the local nick was apparently very full!!!
This happened to a friend of mine who had only had a couple of very light drinks. However on Tuesday morning he was informed as his reading was less than 20 he could go with no fine or anything further, not even an apology. But he was told that the police are going to be 'cracking down' on drink driving over the summer months....?
So as he said he lost a day's work from just smelling of alcohol.

16-04-09, 00:10
Yep, much better snooze on a ferry, thru lyons in 4-5 hours will get to cannes etc in 7-8 hrs and be done by the time it gets busy.

16-04-09, 10:32
Again, many thanks to all for your thoughts. Will make a decision closer to the date and let you know how we got on.