/ Driving to Cham - tips

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Dave McKechnie - on 21 Aug 2013
Our trip to Cham is almost upon us (leaving early hours of Sat morning) just wondered if anyone had any final tips on the route or places to stop?? We're aiming to arrive Sat evening.

As always, thanks in advance!!

Dave
Dave McKechnie - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

When I said to stop, I meant for a quick break not overnight!!
jonnie3430 - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

If you take the ferry, sleep under the stairs.
Tom Last - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

The French motorway services are much more frequent than our, although more often than not they're just a toilet block, tap and parking. They're always signposted Aire - such and such, the ones with further sevices like fuel will specify.
Only tip is, it's a hell of a boring drive, so just take plenty of music and prime your co-pilot to amaze you with interesting anecdotes for a great many hours!
Tolls currently total about 75 euro Dunkirk - Chamonix.
cragtyke - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: Just came back on Monday, went Calais, Troyes, Dijon, Bourg-en-Bresse, 9-10 hrs should do it without thrashing it. petrol's about 1.66 Euro a ltr on the autoroutes so fill up over here. if you're going through the tunnel there's a big Sainsbury's garage just off J9 on the M20 which is probably 24 hrs.
Mike Nolan - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: They don't like 50 euro notes in the toll machines!! We got away with it because one of the attendants sorted it, without him we'd have been stuffed maybe! Saying that, paying for them on card is miles easier!
Tom Last - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

The toll gates with the blue 'T' are the ones that take cash incidentally.
altirando - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: Was it on this forum there were warnings about extra police attention on the autoroute to Rheims, and that they had radar checks on the approach to tollbooths coming OFF the autoroute on the count down on signs in speed. Have to say I would never attempt the drive in one day, even just from Calais. Speeding is almost inevitable not to mention tiredness.
woollardjt - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

Done it many times

Calais
Reims
Troyes
Dijon
Bourg en Bresse

With little traffic and just sticking to speed limits, one fuel stop 8 hours, it is a long old drive. I always got an early ferry and was in Cham by late afternoon. If you are not use to driving long distances then I'd break it up a bit. Or stop at the services where all the trucks are and go get a truck stop espresso

Oh yes the police love stopping cars with UK plates
PeterBlackler - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

If stopping overnight enroute to Cham or return; these are excellent

http://ibisbudgethotel.ibis.com/

like Travelodge without all the frills :-)

Breakfast really good too

Peter

Kelcat - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: I'm just back yesterday.
If you're going through the tunnel then its worth a pull into Calais for fuel. At the big Carrefour its 1:33 for diesel.
Toll roads are far quicker, but 75 each way as said.
If you are on the toll roads then you must stop for food at the giant chicken services - if you've never been to Cham before then just keep your eyes open & you'll know when you see it. Was told on this trip that its rated as one of the 3 best services in Europe.
We saw a lot of police stops as you exited the paeges this year & true to reputation they did only seem to be stopping the cars with foreign plates. Just make sure you've got all the kit that you're supposed to carry. Also remember that you have to be able to put the hi-vis vests on before you get out of the car, so they're no good in the boot. You must have a vest for everyone in the car.
Oh & have fun!
K
walts4 - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

Macon area = WINE
ByEek - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to walts4: France = WINE.

But I have generally discovered more misses in French supermarkets than hits so stick with their beers.
alexcollins123 - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: Drive overnight... much less stressful!
Orgsm on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

Take picnic items for the many Aires
LP - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: Got back last week. On the way down there are plenty of Aires, most of which are pleasant enough (a couple aren't and I drove through). Tried to drive overnight on the way back and stay in the van but had been biking all morning and was weak. Ended up in the Budget Ibis in Laon - 6 hours from Chamonix, 2 from Calais - 3 person room cost us 30 for the night. Made it a lot more pleasant. Have a good trip!
shaymarriott - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

This...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23619783

and also remember your breathalysers!!

I did the drive a couple of years ago, in a 1997 Suzuki Vitara with off road tyres and a broken flappy soft top. Flooowing this 'experience' I recommend doing the drive in a large comfortable powerful car - do you have an Octavia estate... ?
AJM - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

There are no tolls between Calais and Luxembourg, and in May it was 1.18 per litre to fill up in the motorway services there.

Just a thought. We got down to Grenoble in a van for about 40 in tolls going that route and saved massively on fuel too - even if was only 10 cents a litre above French hypermarket prices you still save a bunch on a 70 litre fillup, and compared to uk prices you save a ton...
alooker - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: drive through the night. Take something good for the stereo, climbers are usually good drive partners. Until they fall asleep. Stock up on red bull/coffee and food. Have a good trip!
lowersharpnose - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:

Stop only for fuel & have a full tank before you get on the ferry. Take food with you for the journey, together with some caffeine drink like relentless etc.

Get an audio book or two. When you flag, discuss films.

I hope you get to do a route on Sunday, it is not a day of rest.
ads.ukclimbing.com
walts4 - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to ByEek:
> (In reply to walts4) France = WINE.
>
> But I have generally discovered more misses in French supermarkets than hits so stick with their beers.

Well, was suggesting you go straight to the vine yard rather than hitting the supermarket.
mkean - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie:
Don't do it in 7 hours fueled by half a dozen energy drinks, definitely don't drive back in the same fashion after a full day on the hill.
paul__in_sheffield - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: on the Payage autoroute, the services alternate between Aires with or without fuel and cafe. The ones without are much quieter and grassier, easier to get in the loos, and nice to sit at a picnic table with a Jetboil to make coffee. Set the cruise control for 130km/h and it takes bang on 8 hours plus stops.
Did an early morning euro tunnel last month, and we were bouldering on the Col de Montets by mid afternoon and pizza and beer at the Stone Bar in Argentiere in the evening.
We alternated two hour driving stints which worked well.
NottsRich on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave McKechnie: Second the idea of via Luxembourg for fuel and to avoid most tolls by staying further east on the drive down. May not be an ideal route for Cham as you're further east than you might want to be, but it won't be too bad. Check it out on a map. I've used it on every trip over the last 6/7 years to various parts of the Alps.

Don't leave it to the last minute on the way back. A proper traffic jam (common in the daytime near to cities) could set you back a few hours. I'd recommend heading back with plenty of time, with the aim of stopping off somewhere further north on the way. Bouldering or something for a few hours if you're ontime?

Have fun!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.