Anybody ever driven across France? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 09:34 AM
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matthew m
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Anybody ever driven across France?

Mostly directed towards the Euro-dwellers but....

Next week I'm flying to the UK to retrieve the 130. I'll be driving her back here to Vicenza, Italy (taking the tunnel from England to France; then across France into Italy). Has anyone ever driven through France in its entirety? If so, can you give a fella some advice on some more scenic routes? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 09:37 AM
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Check JimC's old thread when he picked up his newer 110.
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  #3  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 10:20 AM
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We have done it a few times. Though in reverse to what you are doing for this particular trip, via ferry in Cherbourg. We have never used the chunnel so that portion I am not farmiliar with. Cherbourg to Paris is not that exciting of a ride but still beautiful. Always quite educational to stop in Normandy or any of the various historical WW2 locations. Paris toward Dijon, then Geneva, Chamonix is a great stop and is tons of fun even in the summer, then head through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Courmayeur. I love the Alps and any trip through there is amazing.

It is a law in France that every 20-30ish KM there has to be a location for drivers to pull off and rest. This is very helpful with kids and servicing your Landy. It is always nice to get the friendly waves from all the other Defender owners along the way. Have a great trip and post up some photos when you can.
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  #4  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 10:41 AM
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We have, but mostly used the Autoroutes & ferry as this gave a more relaxed & slightly cheaper journey over. Currently about 50(UKP) saving over the Chunnel which is about 150(UKP).

About eight years ago, before small & noisy arrived we drove to Northern Italy, Pisa, Venice, the lakes in a 91 RR 3.5. It did not like the Swiss alps.

Have you tried http://www.viamichelin.com/ you can see on the Michelin maps green lined roads which are scenic. This is the same as the paper maps. It also calculates mileage, MPG, tolls (if you choose them) etc. Have a play with it. there are several options to tweak a route

I am using it to plan our 1st (with child mounted externally from mother) a camping trip route to the south of France in August.

Cheers,

MilesHC

PS. when t'other half returns I will ask if she can recall anything. We may have our old (8yrs or so) Michelin maps which we annotated. I think?

PPS. You might want to go via the Milau Viaduct, I am incorporating it. Last time we went you had to drive through Milau, which was a bottleneck I seem to think.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millau_Viaduct
http://www.leviaducdemillau.com/en_index.php (official site, webcam etc.)
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Old June 23rd, 2013, 10:56 AM
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It's all pretty scenic especially the wind up the mountain to the Mont Blanc tunnel if you are going that way!

Paris is worth seeing if you have time but a pretty crazy place to drive.

GPS will be your friend.
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  #6  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymo View Post
Mostly directed towards the Euro-dwellers but....

Next week I'm flying to the UK to retrieve the 130. I'll be driving her back here to Vicenza, Italy (taking the tunnel from England to France; then across France into Italy). Has anyone ever driven through France in its entirety? If so, can you give a fella some advice on some more scenic routes? Thanks!

I will take the longer route ( unless Paris is on your sight ), through Dover - Calais, then aim to Belgium, Bruxelles, then Luxembourg, down through Switzerland / Geneva, then into Italy to either my home Torino or Milano , then your final destination
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Old June 23rd, 2013, 12:36 PM
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When I lived in France and had a 110, I would always prefer the national roads (N roads) rather than the highways (A roads). They are mo scenic, but also the lower speed (90 - 100) is more in tune with the Defender. People drive 130 - 150KMs on the highways in France. Also, if you have some kind of mechanical problem, these are less problems stopping, doing repairs and getting help. With a new truck, you are bound to have some quirks to work out. BTW landmania.com is the french equivalent to d-90.com, in case you need help along the way, you can given them a shout.
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Old June 23rd, 2013, 01:32 PM
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I drove across france twice.

Once in a Citroen GSA from Calais to Bayonne on the Spanish border via Autoroutes paying tolls through the nose.

A second time Calais to Annecy in the Alps in a 73 Morris Marina.
Best part of the first drive 1000 km in under 12 hours door to door. The second was the truck drivers strike forcing everyone off the Autoroute into Champagne Country in the early morning hours. We made it to the destination without maps or GPS just trusting on others to know the way to Lyon.
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  #9  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 02:58 PM
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Thanks guys. You've provided a lot of good information. I too would rather avoid the "A" roads, as I don't gather the 200tdi will appreciate that pace.
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  #10  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 04:12 PM
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Screw France, the roads have too many tolls. Come across the Chunnel, across Belgium through Ghent and Antwerp (avoid Brussels because of traffic) and drop into Germany at Aachen. Can you buy fuel tax free in Germany? Let me know, I could get you one tax-free fill up with my 4x 20l Jerry cans (just drop past my place for a fill-up - I'm in Weinheim, Germany just off the A5 about 80km south of Frankfurt). Anyway, keep heading south and head through Switzerland, break east or west depending on where you want to cross the alps.

You can still take as many back roads as you want, but the Germans and the Swiss actually do road maintenance, unlike the French and the Italians.

BTW, you can't buy tax free fuel on base in the UK unless you're assigned there. Don't pump first like I did one time when I was a dumb lieutenant.
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  #11  
Old June 24th, 2013, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Screw France, the roads have too many tolls. Come across the Chunnel, across Belgium through Ghent and Antwerp (avoid Brussels because of traffic) and drop into Germany at Aachen. Can you buy fuel tax free in Germany? Let me know, I could get you one tax-free fill up with my 4x 20l Jerry cans (just drop past my place for a fill-up - I'm in Weinheim, Germany just off the A5 about 80km south of Frankfurt). Anyway, keep heading south and head through Switzerland, break east or west depending on where you want to cross the alps.

You can still take as many back roads as you want, but the Germans and the Swiss actually do road maintenance, unlike the French and the Italians.

BTW, you can't buy tax free fuel on base in the UK unless you're assigned there. Don't pump first like I did one time when I was a dumb lieutenant.

Sadly I only get tax free fuel in Italy, unless on TDY orders elsewhere. I may take you up on that offer (!) and thank you. I think either way I'll hit a lot of vacation traffic, but I'd rather not hand out my money to the Frenchies and their tolls!
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  #12  
Old June 24th, 2013, 07:15 AM
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I'm driving a 110 to Italy from the UK in early october to deliver it to a client there, looking forward to doing the trip again, i wont use the auto routes, i'm going the slower scenic way.
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  #13  
Old June 30th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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Don't forget you're legally obliged to carry a warning triangle, first aid kit, spare bulb kit, hi viz jacket and alcohol breath test kit in your car at all times.
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  #14  
Old June 30th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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Whatever route you choose, you won't regret.... I've driven across it a few times and always enjoyed it.
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