Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year - Bonne Année ! - 2011

In France, New Year's Eve is called La Saint-Sylvestre and is usually celebrated with a feast, called le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre. The feast tends to include special items like champagne and foie gras.

This year in France, there are to be an increase in numbers of police working over New Year's Eve, to avoid the usual problems with festivities and crowds, but also to deal with the additional threat from terrorism. No particular threat has been made to France but police numbers have been increased anyway to ensure safety. There has also been a ban on the sale of large fireworks and a ban on consumption of alcohol in certain public spaces.

We wish everyone a good New Year and as we continue to suffer cold weather here in the UK, lets look forward to some better weather as we look forward to our summer camping in the sun !

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Monday, 6 December 2010

Paris Guide for iPad App

Here is another new app which has been developed and would make a great Christmas present. Its the Dorling Kindersley Guide to Paris for your iPad !
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Top 40 Tourist Attractions in France !

Here are the top 40 tourist attractions in France along with annual visitor numbers to each. How many have you been to ? I have been to Notre Dame, the Sacré-Cœur and the Orsay museum in Paris, I've seen the Eiffel Tower although didnt go up it and been to Monte Carlo, Saint-Malo, the Pilat dune and Mont-Saint-Michel. So I've only another 32 to go ! What about you ?
1 Fontainebleau Forest and Castle 13 (million visitors)
2 Disneyland Paris 12,6
3 Notre Dame de Paris - Cathedral 12
4 Flea Market - Saint-Ouen 11
5 Château de Versailles Gardens 7
6 Georges-Pompidou center 5,9
7 Eiffel tower 5,72
8 Louvre museum 5,175
9 Sacré-Cœur basilica 5
10 Notre-Dame de Lourdes sanctuary 5
11 Saint-Cloud national domain 4
12 Monte-Carlo rock 4
13 City of the sciences in La Villette 3,5
14 La Rochelle old city harbor 3
15 Château in Versailles 2,9
16 Futuroscope in Poitiers 2,9
17 Island of Oléron 2,5
18 Mont-Saint-Michel site 2,5
19 Baux-de-Provence village 2,5
20 Étretat cliffs 2,5
21 Borély park (botanical gardens) Marseille 2,44
22 Orsay museum (Paris) 2,33
23 Aquaboulevard park (Paris) 2,2
24 Miraculous Medal (Paris) 2,2
25 Riquewihr village 2,1
26 Island of Ré 2
27 Honfleur harbour 2
28 Saint-Malo citadel 2
29 Astérix park (Plailly) 1,9
30 Pyrénées national park 1,8
31 Père-Lachaise cemetery 1,75
32 Notre Dame-de-la-Garde basilica 1,5
33 Strasbourg Cathedral 1,5
34 Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral 1,5
35 Pilat dune 1,4
36 Marineland park (Antibes) 1,2
37 Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière basilica 1,2
38 Reims cathedral 1,2
39 Gard bridge 1,2
40 Gordes village 1,2

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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

2 Books and a DVD to Curl Up on the Sofa With

Ignore the snow outside, make yourself a mug of cocoa or coffee, grab those chocolates and curl up on the sofa with a good book about France or watch a French movie. These would also all make great Christmas presents for Francophiles and lovers of all things French !


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Downloadable Brochures - Guides to French Cities and Regions

If you are researching next year's holiday then you will find lots of useful brochures that can be downloaded at

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2 Great Christmas Present Ideas for Francophiles and Lovers of French Holidays !

Here are some great Calendars as Christmas present ideas for people who love France. There's the 365 Days in France Calendar 2011 which is a Picture-A-Day Wall Calendar with full colour photographs from all over France accompanied by some texts. And if you know someone who is interested in learning more about French language and culture then the French Daily Phrases & Culture Desk Calendar 2011 would be perfect with a whole year of different phrases, cultural comments and trivia for each day of the year !


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Monday, 29 November 2010

French Christmas Markets

The French Christmas markets are listed at

or if you cant make it abroad at the moment why not see if there is a French or Continental market taking place near you in the UK.

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Monday, 22 November 2010

The France Show 2011

If you would like a "Taste of France" during the UK winter then why not visit The France Show at Earl's Court, London from 14th to 16th January 2011.

There will be exhibitors showing the best of French travel, holidays and food. And if you are thinking about buying Property in France you can find out more here.
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Beautiful Villages France Travel App

The Beautiful Villages France app for iphone looks like a must-have if you are planning on holidaying in France next year. It uses GPS to pinpoint where you are as you drive around and alerts you if there are any particularly nice villages nearby to visit. What a great idea !

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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Planning your 2011 Holiday ?

There's a good website looking at Brittany from the Brittany Tourist Board at

And if you would like to enjoy a glass of French wine while you are browsing the tourist brochures for next year then have a look at

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Friday, 22 October 2010

Touring by Car in France

There is an interesting website at

This seems to be for tours in classic or vintage cars but as there is a photograph of a "normal" car at the top, I suspect you can book on the tours with an ordinary car as well. There is also an opportunity for classic car clubs to book some of the tours.

Even if you are not planning on going on a car touring holiday, there is loads of interesting information about the local areas on the website.

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Learning French

If you would like to spend some useful time this winter learning French then there are some great pages from TV5, the French television channel at :

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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Tour de France Route 2011

Here is a nice video of the route of the Tour de France for 2011.
It starts at Ile de Noirmoutier then through Vendee and into Brittany so there is lots of action for us campers who like to camp in the North of France. We should be able to get to see this great spectacle of a race.

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Monday, 18 October 2010

Continuing Strikes in France leading to Petrol Shortages

There is further disruption today in France from Strikers and there seem to be petrol shortages with at least 1,000 filling stations closed. There are also students striking outside schools and transport has been affected as well - please see this article in Le Monde -

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Tour de France 2011

Why not plan your campsite this year so you can have a day watching the Tour de France ! We did this two years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the great carnival atmosphere surrounding it all. There is a parade beforehand -"the Caravane" which travels an hour ahead of the Tour and throws out various goodies to the crowds. All good fun. We nearly missed the actual cycltists in the end as they went whizzing past !
The tour this year starts in the Vendee on the Ile de Noirmoutier ! The cyclists will travel over the narrow causeway which should be a great spectacle. So why not camp this year in the Vendee or find out the route of the rest of the Tour !

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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Adventure Travel Magazine

Here is an excellent magazine which you can also have a look at online. It has some articles about France :

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Ryanair to Leave Marseille Base

Ryanair are to leave their base at Marseilles, according to France-Soir News. I dont know if this might affect the number of flights to regional airports in France but it seems to me that it may do.
The low-cost airline said on Wednesday that the closure in January of its unique French base in Marseille, is in response to his indictment for "concealed employment".

In Marseille, Ryanair is the second carrier behind Air France © SIPA

At a press conference on Wednesday at the airport of Marignane (Bouches-du-Rhone), the CEO of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, has criticized "the decision of French authorities to prosecute against the Ryanair base in Marseilles, which fully complies with the regulations of the European Union for mobile workers transport". In fact, Ryanair will close its only base in France in January 2011.

"It's a very dark day but we can not wait a year or more to risk any more significant fines if the court proceedings were not favorable," said Michael O'Leary. Ryanair has been indicted by prosecutors in late September in Aix-en-Provence for "clandestine work" following the complaint of several personal unions. The company, based in Marseille from October 2006, challenged the decree of November 21 of that year subjecting flight crews of foreign companies operating in France to French law. Its approximately 200 employees are subject to regulation by the Irish labor.

As of 11 January 2011, four planes of the company and its employees based in Marseille will be transferred to other European airports, perhaps in Kaunas, Lithuania, Barcelona, Bari, Brindisi and Milan.

According to its CEO, Ryanair "loses nothing in this operation, but Marseille loses tourists, visitors and jobs." A view shared by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille Provence which manages the airport. "This departure is very bad news for companies and businesses" and "constitutes a setback for the development" of the territory, responded President Jacques Pfister.

For the Marseille Provence airport, where Ryanair is the second carrier behind Air France, with 1.7 million passengers expected in 2010, closing 13 of its 23 lines could lose one million passengers a year.
The mayor (UMP) of Marseille, Jean-Claude Gaudin attributes the departure of the company to the "irresponsible behavior of unions."

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Friday, 1 October 2010

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Some Interesting News from France !

Three interesting pieces of news !
Firstly, the not surprising news about a positive drug test for this year's Tour de France winner.

There were more protests against cuts yesterday across Europe :

and finally some thieves have stolen 30 tonnes of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from a vineyard ! I wonder if they will try to make them into wine ?

(Picture of grapes by Stasi Albert from Stock Xchng photo site)

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Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Choosing a Motorhome for Next Year ?

If you are hoping to buy a motorhome for next year's camping holiday then why not make use of all the fantastic internet resources out there.
Here is a website which outlines some of the main models :

and why not watch some video footage to get a look round your motorhome. Once you have narrowed down your choices that sounds like a good time to head to a showroom or outdoor show to have a look at the real thing !
For example here is one with some nice music and doesnt this look like a luxurious motorhome ! Would you keep it this tidy though !!!
and here is a motorhome hire company showing their 6 berth model
I wonder if it has seating for 6 though when driving along. I'm not sure if they all do even though they call themselves 6 berth.

or here is some information about "The Caravan Channel"

Mind you I think we'll be sticking to our tent for holidays in UK and mobile homes in France for a bit of luxury for the time being !
Let us know what your experiences are with motorhomes etc and would you recommend particular models ?

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Our French Camping Holidays and Planning for Next Year !

Our First Camping Holiday in France was when we visited a great campsite "Le Chatelet" right on the northern coast of Brittany at St Cast, which was only a half an hours drive from St Malo. That was a great holiday and we were lucky to see the 2006 Tall Ships race at St Malo. Also memorable from that holiday was watching the World Cup final at the campsite bar, sharing with lots of nationalities as we watched the now infamous or famous head butt incident !

The next year we ventured to South West Brittany and Benodet where we stayed at La Pointe St Gilles Campsite. The memorable moment from that holiday was watching the fishing boats racing in to land their catch at Guilvinec ! What a moment ! At least 30 small boats race into the port at 4.30 to land their catch. Thanks to the Canvas holiday reps on our campsite for letting us know about this !

I had always wanted to see the standing stones at Carnac, so the following year we finally made it to Carnac, or more precisely to Trinite Sur Mer which is adjacent to Carnac. We stayed at La Baie Campsite. What a great holiday destination that is. So much to see ! We viewed the miles of standing stones both on foot and from "Le Petit Train" which takes you around Carnac. We visited the very interesting museum which was co-founded by a Scotstman and a Frenchman and bears their names. We went on some great walks from that campsite and discovered a very old church which is dedicated to the memory of St Columba, who visited this area. Our guide for these walks was a multi-lingual Russian student who was in France to learn (or perfect !) her French. But this was a great opportunity to mix with some others from the campsite so we met some lovely French, Belgian and English people who were on the walk.

In following years we have stayed on a lovely spacious campsite Les Deux Fontaines near Nevez with probably the nicest beach we have seen - Tahiti Plage - a well named beach ! From Nevez we visited the lovely artist's town of Pont Aven - famous for paintings and crepes and also for a fantastic glass blowing workshop where you can watch the glass blowers at work and also buy some lovely glassware. We also managed to watch the start of one of the stages of the Tour de France that year in Auray which was not too far from Nevez. That was great fun if you ever get the chance to watch that.

This year we ventured further south to the Vendee. We stayed inland at a lovely site called La Garangeoire. Our highlight of this holiday and definitely worth a visit was the fantastic theme park "Puy du Fou" ! What a place ! There are five main shows to see during your day at this park and these include a Gladiator show in an amphitheatre with a chariot race. There is a Knights, (Chevaliers) Show and a spectacular Birds of Prey show with birds swooping just above your heads ! Be warned though, at the bird of prey show the warning to "keep sitting, don't wave your hands around and pack all cakes away" is only announced in French !

We have loved most of the campsites we have visited although we always make sure and do lots of research beforehand. However at least one of the sites was not particularly busy last year whereas other campsites which are not so nice were full of people so we decided to spread the word about some of the lovely campsites we have visited and for this reason we started a website We have also included details of some of the great places we have visited from each site. And to make sure we all stay as "happy campers", we have started this blog so we keep track of any useful websites and we have also translated any relevant news items from France.

We haven't booked up yet for next year. We have loved all the places we have been but it is also good to see new places. We will possibly visit the Alps for a change of scene or perhaps even visit in early or late season. As the weather turns increasingly chillier at home, we are already looking forward to next year's holiday !!
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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Velib Bike Network in Central Paris

You might like to try out the excellent Velib bike network in Central Paris if you are visiting Paris this year. There are over 230 miles of cycle lanes in Paris. For more information have a look at their website at

Have any of you tried this and how did you get on ? We'd love to hear whether it all went smoothly ! (not intended as a pun!)
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Monday, 6 September 2010

Transport Strikes in France

There are to be transport strikes in France from today until Wednesday, affecting air travel and train travel. To read more :

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Top 10 Reasons to Visit South of France !

Top 10 reasons to visit the Southern French regions of Ardèche, Gard and Vaucluse-Provence !
And if you are going to Orange this weekend then you can go to some authentic Roman Theatre ! Children get in free if they go in disguise !! So get your togas on !

Have you visited this area and what would you recommend to visit ?

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Friday, 3 September 2010

September is last month to Visit Puy du Fou Theme Park this year

September is the last month for 2010 when you can visit the fabulous Puy du Fou historical theme park. It opens again April 2011 for summer 2011.
Its definitely worth a visit !
If you want to see all our photographs please visit our flickr site at

So if you are camping in the Vendee or Loire areas then this is definitely worth a visit ! You can also stay there in either a Roman Villa Hotel or some huts on stilts over water. So that might be an option - combine a couple of nights stay there with a camping holiday.

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Bargain Hunters Going to France

If you are heading for France on holiday and would like to find out where there are various "flea markets" or marchés aux puces, bourses, braderies, brocantes et vide-greniers going on near where you are staying then check out this website !
For a translation of the various terms into English :
marchés aux puces are "flea markets"
braderies are fairs
vide-greniers are like "yard sales"

Maybe others can help out here with some comments as I'm not quite sure what types of fairs or car boot sales etc they all are !

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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Wildfires Near Montpellier

Read this report about wildfires in South of France near Montpellier :

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German Trains to try out Channel Tunnel !

German trains are to try out the Channel Tunnel in October, possibly ending the Eurostar monopoly. Hopefully this will mean more competition and reduced fares for passengers.

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Very Funny Holiday Phrases

This article contains some very funny holiday phrases. Particularly funny are the list of Things we wish kids said on holiday and the "Laws of Camping" !
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September Sun Selection from Eurocamp

September holidays are becoming more popular for Eurocampers every year. It's a great time to get away. For exploring, excitement or escape, whatever your reason for getting away you'll find some great options in Eurocamp's September Sun Selection.

More details of this offer can be found here:

Link to Eurocamp

Don’t forget there are great savings to be made if you book your 2011 holiday or at least reserve it. You can make savings of up to 30% off next year’s holiday.

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Oldest Champagne to be Salvaged !

The oldest bottles of champagne in the world are to be salvaged from the Baltic Sea Bed - apparently they will be drinkable and very expensive !
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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Loire à Vélo Cycling Route

"Loire à vélo" has excellent information about cycle routes on the Loire as well as very reasonably priced organised trips, including a 3 day cycle tour of vineyards which sounds great ! It also has information about cycle friendly campsites and hotels which welcome cyclists and help with things like storage facilities.

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French Ortolan Songbirds

French ornithologists are fighting against the hunting of the ortolan, a songbird which is regarded by gastronomes – when eaten beak, bones and all – as the ultimate delicacy.

Over the next two weeks, bird lovers in south-west France will be springing "live" traps set to capture the tiny ortolan buntings as they migrate from northern Europe to Africa. Over 5,000 are caught each year.
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Friday, 27 August 2010

Cross Channel Ferry Services

Radio 4 You and Yours had an interesting piece about the Cross Channel Ferry market between the UK and France. Over-capacity on the Dover-Calais route, two new ferries from P&O etc were some of the topics discussed. To listen, click on this link and listen to the start of the programme as its one of the first items on the programme :
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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Hidden Lake Under Mont Blanc to be Drained !

I'd heard about the hidden lake that had accumulated under a glacier at Mont Blanc. The good news is that it sounds like they are going to try and drain it. Very interesting news if you are holidaying or planning to holiday in that area of the Alps.

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Monday, 16 August 2010

French may be Cheesed Off !

The Swiss have won the right to keep the Gruyère label for their cheese, with the AOC (Appelation Origine Controlle) certification.

There had been an agreement since 2007 where the French could produce a Gruyère cheese but the two products were very different and now Switzerland has been granted exclusivity !
To read more : So if that was you favourite cheese you may have trouble finding it in "le supermarché" this year !

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Sunday, 15 August 2010

Le Quinze Aout

The traditional month of French holidays ends today and is commonly known as "Le Quinze Aout" or Assumption Day. This religious festival finishes the tradional month long French holidays which start on Bastille Day, the 14th July.

To hear a little more of the history of this festival and how it is often celebrated with fireworks, please listen to Lisa Jardine's "Point of View" piece from Radio 4 which can be accessed from this webpage :

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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Keycamp Celebrates 35th Birthday !

Keycamp are celebrating their 35th Birthday by allowing you to reserve your 2011 Holiday for only £35 !!

There may also be lots of last minute summer bargains as according to the Radio 4 news this morning holiday companies are reporting low bookings in Europe for this year.

Click here to book a last minute 2010 holiday or look at holidays with Keycamp for next year !

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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Seaside Still Favourite Destination for French holidaymakers

French holidaymakers still prefer to holiday at the seaside, with 60% choosing it as a destination this year. The next most popular destinations are towns (19%) and the countryside (15%). Only 8% choose the mountains as their holiday destination, possibly as people think this might be too energetic a holiday ! And only 1% go on a wild camping/walking holiday. However if you really want to get away from the crowds, the mountains could be an excellent choice of holiday destination. During the very hot summer weather, you can expect a cooler night high up in the mountains so you might actually enjoy a good nights sleep after all that walking !

There are some excellent campsites up in the mountains, with beautiful swimming pools with mountain views. We will be reviewing some of these mountain destinations on our website at or if you would like to look at campsites in the meantime please look at

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

Busiest Weekend for Travel in France

This weekend is expected to be the busiest weekend of the year for holiday travel in France. From Friday to Sunday 1.6 million travellers are expected through Parisian stations and 2,850 trains. The roads are expected to be very busy and drivers have been warned to make sure to take a break at least every two hours. And the Parisian airports are expecting 900,000 passengers from 30 July to 1st August !

The weekend is so busy as those who take their holidays in July, the "juilletistes" will be crossing paths with those who holiday in August, the "aoûtiens" !

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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Channel Tunnel

If you are travelling via the Channel Tunnel to your French camping holiday this year then you might be very interested in this episode of "How do they Do It"
I couldnt believe that there are up to 500 trains and up to 50,000 passengers a day go via the tunnel !
The programme also tells you how escalators work !

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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Taking a Motorhome to France

If you are going to try and take a motorhome to France this year then you need to do a fair bit of planning ahead ! Here are some good links to help you out.

There was a lovely stopover carpark at Tahiti Plage where we stayed last year - at Raguenes Plage/Nevez in Brittany. So that might be worth finding out more about. You could park your motor home overnight and get a sea view over a lovely beach if you were on the right side of the car park !

This is also an excellent website with a map showing all the stopover "Aires" for each region :

We saw some very long 30 foot motorhomes this year so it is possible to navigate these around France, but one of the problems in the Vendee area this year seemed to be that there was a lot of road building going on and new roundabouts and these hadnt been updated on Sat Navs, so people were being sent strange routes through small villages when there were better alternatives for large motorhomes.  Has anyone got any good recommendations for us about taking a motorhome to France and good sites to stay at ? Certainly La Garangeoire in the Vendee which you can find on our Best French Campsites website seemed a good site for motorhomes as the plots are a good size.

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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Camping Recipes and Cookbook

Here is a link to a review of a great book - "The Camping Cookbook" by Annie Bell. There are some great recipes in the article to try out.

I like the idea of the chicken casserole and will try that out, but please remember to be careful when handling raw chicken while camping - you need to wash your hands well to avoid getting possible campylobacter food poisoning. I think salmonella is almost clear from our chickens now but you can never be too careful when handling raw meat.

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Review of Dried Camping Food - TravelLunch Bacon, Potato and Onion Breakfast

We tried out the dried camping food TravelLunch Bacon, Potato and Onion Breakfast.  Here are photographs of the packet and the contents and then the final cooked product !
One advantage of this dried camping food mix is that it only weighs 100g so if you are carrying all your camping gear this could be an advantage. However actually cooking it all proved slightly problematic as you had to measure out 300 ml of boiling water but this could mean you need to take your measuring jug ! It would be helpful if they had said, for example, use two mugfuls of water. Also the meal was supplied with a sachet of hydrogenated vegetable fat which is not the healthiest thing so I coooked it instead with olive oil which I had handy in the tent. The instructions indicated that you had to cook it until crispy but this was not esay as the potatoes stayed moist or else burned to the pot ! It would have been much easier cooking for example a casserole or else just actually frying some bacon and boiling potatoes !
I asked five people to comlete a taste test and the average score for taste ended up at 3 out of 10. 2 said they would "Maybe" use this meal again when camping but 3 said they would not. Everyone agreed it was not good enough to eat at home !
 We felt the portion size was on the small side. One packet, costing £4 at Cotswolds was not quite enough for an adult to eat although it would have been very monotonous to eat this without adding for example beans. The test group were then asked to describe the meal in one word and they described it as "Smoky", "Baconless", "Tasteless", "More Meat..." and "OK" !

So to sum up, this is only good if the weight is absolutely crucial and you can only manage to carry 100 g. After a long day's walk this meal should taste good !!

We also tried the new Ainsley Harriet dried foods which are available at Tesco - the Risotto with tomato and cheese flavour weighed only 120g in the packet and was very tasty but probably best taken with something. If there are two of you you could buy two different flavours and carry a packet each ! 

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Wild Camping - UK, France and Europe

This article summarises the laws about wild camping in the UK, France and the rest of Europe. 

So if you dont want to camp with everyone else in a campsite and want to "get away from it all" for a while then this has some great advice. I havent tried wild camping yet - I like a few camping luxuries like running water! But I have certainly seen some lovely spots in Scotland where I would love to camp. I think this would also be much easier if you have a smallish tent which we dont.

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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Practise Your French !

If you would like to practise some French language about booking a camping pitch or a hotel room then try out this page from the BBC French language website.

If you select the section on the right which says
Narrowband options:
Finding a pitch on a campsite:
then you can listen to a French speaker booking a tent pitch on a campsite for a week !

There are also worksheets if you want to really get learning.

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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Bad News for Oyster Lovers

Oysters from the Mediterranean right round to Brittany have been hit by a plague for the third year running. This is bad news for all those who love eating oysters on their French holidays and may mean that oysters are either unavailable or very expensive.

I must admit I am not a great fan of eating seafood myself but I do love to see those great steaming plates of varied shellfish and lobsters. A real taste of summer in France !

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Camping Recipes

If you are fed up cooking the same old camping foods - like our usual of tuna and pasta ! , then there are some great camping recipes here at as well as tons of other camping information !
I think I will try the recipe for baked apples - it sounds great and also the macaroni cheese one sounds like a good one to use.  When we go for a short camping weekend I tend to take rice and pasta and some tins so it does feel like I am cheating.
We have also tried the dried packets of camping food - we found one brand was excellent and one was not at all good but I forget which was which so I will maybe buy some, try them out and review them for you !

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Monday, 14 June 2010

Le Mans

The Le Mans 24 hour race took place this weekend and there were lots of British people camping right next to the track !
If you love cars then why not plan this for next year  ! You probably wont get much sleep but if you are into your cars and racing then this might be for you. Or maybe you would prefer to camp somewhere nearby and just visit Le Mans to sample the atmosphere.
However if you like getting a good nights sleep and just visiting Le Mans then there is a great campsite in the Loire Valley at Chambord which is 1 hr 45 mins from Le Mans and another Chateau le Brevedent in Normandy which is 2 hours from Le Mans. Both these campsites are reviewed at

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

What Do the Beaches Look Like in that Area ?

To check out what the beaches are like in the area where you are planning your French holiday, have a look at this site :

You can also upload your own images of beaches. More photographs are being added all the time ! I dont think they have a link yet to Tahiti Plage at Nevez though which is the fantastic beach near our holiday last year and which can bee seen in this photo. It has to be one of the best we have seen in France. (Campsites nearby include Les Deux Fontaines and Raguenes Plage, which can be booked via Keycamp and/or Eurocamp) :

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Monday, 7 June 2010

Route Maps Etc

You may have used your AA route finder online which is an excellent facility. However I found that this Michelin route finder recognised the small French village I was trying to find and was able to give me the best route to it :
It also has a lot of other useful information for planning your French holiday !
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Thursday, 3 June 2010

D-Day Celebrations in Normandy

Normandy is busy this week as it prepares for the 66th D-Day Celebrations.

D-Day is the name given to the landing of 160,000 Allied troops in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. The success of the invasion of Normandy was really the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. The invasion, also called “Operation Overlord,” involved five separate landings by American, British, and Canadian troops and was commanded by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Camping Equipment

Do you find that the latest camping equipment is just not such good quality as the things they are replacing ? We have found that although the latest camping chairs we bought were cheaper, they were actually verging on dangerous as they werent quite strong enough and broke fairly easily.

We bought a new small gas ring camp cooker and I can only hope that the gas is all working properly, but the catch to open the storage box is just not as well designed as our old box.

Why cant they just copy the old design ? It is all very well getting cheap prices but there must be a certain quality. Has anyone else had the same experience ?

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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Young French Farmers Bring the Countryside to the Champs Elysees in Paris !

Young French Farmers brought a taste of the countryside into central Paris today.

They were emphasising to city dwellers the importance of French agriculture to the economy and also the importance of retaining the ability to produce quality food in your own country.
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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Camping Checklist !

Here is a good checklist for family camping !!

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Blue Flag Beaches in France

Here is a link to a list of the blue flag beaches in France. The blue flag is awarded based on :
  • water quality,
  • information displayed,
  • cleanliness of the beach,
  • toilet facilities etc
  • in addition there must be some environmental education linked to the beach.
It does surprise me to see that some of my favourite beaches aren't listed. Also, some of the supposedly "great beaches for young children" aren't listed which is disappointing.

If you haven't decided which campsite to stay at yet the list of blue flagged beaches might help you.

What do you think about the beaches listed ? Have you found a beach which seemed really nice or one that wasn't so great ? We were slightly disappointed with the beaches at Trinite Sur Mer last year. I was a bit suspicious about the amount of green seaweed which had to be removed all the time in the early mornings - I wondered if this might be a sign of pollution and the water wasn't always all that clear. The only place that has so far tempted me in for a swim was the beach at the St Cast le Chatelet campsite on the north of the Brittany coast.

Another useful site that I have found to check water quality is which allows you to search for water quality results at any of the beaches which have been tested. It's a slightly tricky site to use but its possible to get right down to some quite detailed information allowing you to check out the beaches before you book your holiday !

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Saturday, 15 May 2010

Cinema !

If you would like to visit the cinema while on holiday in France then this site lists the films that are on in your local cinema wherever you are holidaying.

If your French language abilities arent great and you would like to see a film in English then look for films which were originally filmed in English and which are marked VO for Original Version.
It may be that towards the High season you may get more of these sorts of films in cinemas in tourist areas.

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Channel Tunnel Services Disrupted

Channel Tunnel Services Disrupted. For more information :
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Monday, 10 May 2010

Further BA Strike Dates Announced

BA Cabin Crew strikes - new dates are announced for further strikes.
18th -22nd May, 24th May and 30th May as well as the 5th June.
So, I hope none of those dates were when you were planning your holiday travel. As if it isnt bad enough having volcanic ash to think about !

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Saturday, 8 May 2010

Volcanic Ash may affect Cannes Film Festival !

As the Eyjafjöll volcano in Iceland continues to send ash ("cendres volcaniques") into the skies above the Atlantic, there are concerns that it might affect the Cannes Film Festival. It all depends on whether there is enough rain in the meantime to disperse the ash. If it did affect the Riviera airport and possibly transatlantic crossings then there would be fewer than expected dignitaries and VIPs attending the festival.

For a map of the spread of the ash :,32-0,40-1348459,0.html

For an article from Le Monde :

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Aftermath of Xynthia Flooding

Residents of the areas of the Vendee affected by flooding, around l,aiguillon sur mer and La Roche Sur Yon have won the right to have the destruction or not of their houses reviewed on a case by case basis. The state had decided that 1,500 houses would be destroyed, with the floodzone area basically being declared uninhabitable.

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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

High Waves seen on Mediterranean at Nice and Cannes

High waves of between 6 and 10 metres high have been seen at Nice and Cannes. The beach at Nice and the southern road at the Promenade des Anglais has been closed.

Outsized Waves at Cote d'Azur

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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Stopover Hotels, B+Bs and Chateaux !

If you fancy staying in somewhere a stopover hotel that is just a little bit different while en route to your holiday in France then have a look at the great selection on this website :
Now is your chance to stay in a chateau !

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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Counting Down to summer !

Are you counting down to your summer holiday already ? Have you counted the number of days and hours ? What are you looking forward to doing ? I'm looking forward to that moment when you can sit back in the evening with a glass of wine and listen to the quiet campsite around you with sounds of birds and the sun setting. I'm also looking forward to reading some of the books I havent had time to read so far this year. And I'm looking forward to a bit of sightseeing and making plans for where to visit this year.

What about you ? Have you managed to get your holiday booked up and what are you looking forward to ?

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Excellent Motorway Travel and Traffic Sites

There are some excellent sites for travel information in France. They allow you to print route itineraries and also some let you plan which service stations to stop at en-route.

The Society of Autoroutes

From "Autoroutes du Sud de la France" ASF there is a website for routes to and within the South of France:

The North and East of France has the organisation "sanef" which has this website :

For Paris and Normandy Routes

Has anyone else found any better sites, particularly covering the West of France ?

Blogging with information to help us enjoy our camping holidays from Best French Campsites

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Update on Situation in Southern Vendee after the Xynthia Storm flooding

If you are worried about whether the area you are planning to holiday in the Vendee is still being affected after the Xynthia Storm and flooding earlier this year, then please have a look at this website :

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Friday, 16 April 2010

Taxis Cash in !

Taxi firms across Europe are cashing in on the volcanic ash cloud stopping air flights in northern Europe. Someone took a taxi between Oslo and Paris. A Stockholm company is quoting 750E Stockholm to Oslo and 950E Stockholm to Copenhagen. And John Cleese who was filming in Oslo has allegedly taken a taxi from Oslo to Brussels at a cost of 3,800E !! If it means you get home for the weekend then its probably worth it !

For more information about affects of the volcanic ash cloud in France

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Continuing Travel Problems Hit Travellers To and Within France

Well I am sure we have all heard about the volcanic ash cloud by now. This is now grounding flights within Europe and in England and Wales and looks to continue to do so until well into the weekend and possibly beyond. Scottish Airspace is open and I think Irish airspace but at the moment I think this will just be to receive some North American package holiday flights returning from the Easter Break. Apparently Eurostar has had its busiest day ever today as people look for alternative methods of travel within Europe.

And also today the SNCF drivers and signalmen are voting whether to continue their strike which began on the 6th April. Each region is voting and some early returns indicate that some regions will continue with the strike.
For more information

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Thursday, 15 April 2010

No flights leaving UK and some of Europe due to volcanic ash !

Well its not a strike this time but volcanic ash of all things, which is being carried in the atmosphere from an erupting volcano in Iceland ! This has stopped flights today from the UK and some of Europe until 7 tomorrow morning. However it looks like the delay might continue. So if you are flying in the next few days you will need to find out more from your airline.

BBC News item:

The ash cloud photographed by Dundee University :

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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Further Train Strikes in France

The management of SNCF announced for tomorrow, Monday, an average of 83% of the TGV in circulation, 90% of Transilien (Ile de France) in peak hour, 78% of regional express trains (TER), and more a second train for the Coral or equivalent traffic forecasts last Friday.
However, no night trains will travel in France, but the routes to be insured abroad, says management. The strike extendable to the call by the CGT and Sud-Rail has been going on since April 6.

On international trains on Monday, it will be "normal "on Eurostar, Thalys, Artesia (to Italy) and the high-speed trains bound for Germany. For trains Lyria (France-Switzerland), 90% of trains will be provided.

All RER: normal service
except line B: 2 sets of 3
except line D: 2 sets of 3

Other links Transilien: normal service
except Paris-Nord: 3 trains 4
except Paris Montparnasse: 3 trains 4

Regional express trains (TER): 78% nationally


TGV Est Européen: normal service
TGV Nord: normal service
TGV Atlantique: normal service
TGV Sud Est 3 sets of 4 (normal Paris-Lyon 2 and 3 trains on the Paris-Marseille)
TGV province-province: 1 set of 2
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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Great Restaurant Review Site for Restaurants in France

This is an excellent site which has reviews and ratings as well as price range for restaurants in each area of France. So get planning for your holidays !
The word "avis" is French for an opinion and you can see restaurants which have been rated by a lot of customers so the reviews should be pretty genuine. Certainly the reviews for the restaurants we have tried seemed pretty accurate.
Bon Appétit !

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100 sites from 100 Departements

100 sites or views that are emblematic of the 100 different "Departements" or Regions in France. Can you guess the one for the "Departement" where you are going on holiday ?

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Monday, 5 April 2010

Further Strikes !

I was really hoping to bring you some good news about holidays but instead I have spotted on the French France Soir site that there is another travel strike about to start ! So if you are travelling to France this week and planning to use the SNCF trains then you better read this article. If you have a Google toolbar you will find that you can easily translate French articles if your French isnt quite up to translating this.
However it looks like there is to be at least a 24hr strike beginning this Tuesday 6th Arpil 2010 at 2000 hrs.
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Saturday, 3 April 2010

Friday, 26 March 2010

Information about Whats On Where You're Going on Holiday

If you have decided where you are going to holiday in France and would like to find out what events are on this summer then this is a good website to use :

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

A Campsite Review

Well so far today no further news of strikes ! I think every method of travel almost was covered with the news yesterday so lets hope this disruption wont head into the summer to affect us all. However I can sympathise with the strikers - a return to Victorian Britain with a few people taking all the money that the rest of us had made and then not paying the workers properly !

Anyway to get us back in the holiday mood, here is an interesting article from The Telegraph in 2007. It is pretty good at summing up the problems with some of the bigger campsites in the high season months of July and August - some of the big sites may be exactly what you are looking for but read the reviews in the brochures carefully to see if you can find out if the site you are planning to go to is really what you are looking for. He also discusses the advantages of booking a tent rather than a mobile home. I would agree that all the washing up and shower facilities in the sites we have reviewed were all spotlessly clean and its a great way to meet other campers, over the washing up !

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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

More Strikes !

Strikes by French Air Traffic Controllers for the next few days may affect your flights from France.
A National Strike in France may affect those holidaying in Paris who want to travel by train. About half the trains were running on Paris commuter lines on Tuesday morning 23rd March, while nearly two-thirds of national high-speed TGV services were operating, according to French news agency AFP.
National rail operator SNCF said services would be disrupted until early on Wednesday.

And British Airways have plans to strike again on March 27-30. For more information : However the ferry companies are hoping to gain some business from these strikes by bringing two new ferries onto the Portsmouth to France route !

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Things to do on Family Holidays in France

An interesting article about some things to do while holidaying with your family in various parts of France :

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Another possible Strike Affecting Air France !

Well so far my blog has listed a lot of strikes affecting tourists heading to France ! It wasnt intended to be such a depressing blog and hopefully I will find some good holiday news soon !
Air France Cabin Crew are threatening to strike if no agreement is reached with management, who wish to cut costs with efficiency savings, before 28th March. The strike looks like it would be around 1st April - more to follow !

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Monday, 15 March 2010

BA Strike to Go Ahead

BA is to go ahead with their strike on 20th, 21st and 22nd of March so check your travel plans if you plan to fly with BA to France or if you are flying BA on connecting flights. Flights from Scotland look like they are to be badly affected.

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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Holidays Hit as the Pound Falls Sharply

The value of the pound has fallen against the Euro so if you are planning to holiday in France this year then this will make buying things more expensive if the pound stays at this level. It is now sitting at £1 equalling 1.10 euros.
The UK’s currency has fallen by some 24 per cent against a basket of world currencies since 2007.

However if you are like us and planning to go on a self catering camping holiday and already cant afford to eat out then lets hope we are not affected too much by prices in the supermarkets.

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Monday, 8 March 2010

Snow Problems in South France Around Nimes

Extreme snowfall fell on the Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, southern Rhone Valley and the Midi-Pyrenees in the night from Sunday 7th to Monday 8th March, causing power outages and traffic disruptions. There were 30 inches of snow in the old Roman City of Nîmes which has never been seen since 1974! In total, eight departments were still on Orange Alert on Monday evening 8th March : Aude, Ariege, Haute-Garonne , Pyrenees-Orientales and Corsica as well as Andorra.

Also nearly 3,000 homes, mainly in the outskirts of Nimes, were without power earlier and 250 people were stranded on roads. Train services in the Gard and Herault have been affected and the TGV from Languedoc-Roussillon delayed. Flights were also affected. Perpignan airport has been closed and Nimes Garon diverted Sunday landings to the nearby airport of Montpellier but had no flights scheduled on Monday morning. Flights to Montpellier and Toulouse-Blagnac functioned normally but recorded some delays.

Orange Alert Snow Fall Warnings for Areas around the Rhone Valley

Orange Alert for Snowfall which may affect driving conditions in areas around the Rhone Valley.

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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Snow Causing Problems on Roads in Eastern France

More than seventy road accidents, one fatal, occurred on Saturday 6th March on the roads of eastern France after snowfall. In the area of Belfort, there were five accidents on Saturday morning, mostly in the north of the department, on the border between Alsace and Franche-Comte, where the snow had made movement difficult on the A36. Accidents have been reported in Lorraine, Moselle, the Vosges and in Alsace, but injuries from these were minor. After the disruption of the snow on Saturday, temperatures will drop below freezing overnight into Sunday, causing frozen pavements, so caution is recommended.
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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Pyreneen Hautacam Ski Resort Damaged by High Winds

The Ski Resort of Hautacam has had an early end to its season this year as a result of the destruction caused by the 200km/hr winds at the weekend.
Other Pyreneen resorts have also sustained some damage.

Garonne Communities Concerned about future Flood Risks

Communities around the Tarn river which comes from the Pyrenees down to the Mediterranean are concerned about future possible flood risks. This map identifies possible areas. The Tarn river is notorious for rising very quickly when it is flooding. Toulouse itself has flood barriers or levees but in fact there has even been some concerns about these.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Les Sables D'Olonne Marina Devastated

The marina at Les Sables D'Olonne in the Vendee was devastated by the storm at the weekend. Three pontoons of yachts were damaged with one lot of yachts from Pontoon G entirely thrown onto the land.

Repercussions after Vendee Flooding

The flooding at the weekend which affected Faute-sur-Mer and L'Aiguille Sur Mer both on the estuary of the Lay is being blamed on an unusually high tide combined with increased rain and wind.

In both villages, with inhabitants of 3 500 people between them, there are 27 dead, mostly elderly residents.

The President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, went there on Monday morning to support the bereaved families. He has asked the government to set up an inspection team to report back exactly what has happened.

Unfortunately, there was a report from 2007 which highlighted this risk of flooding. It was signed by Pascal Company, of the "direction départementale de l'équipement de Vendée" (I'm not quite sure what that is but sounds like a government agency !). He said "The vulnerability of coastal Vendée to coastal flooding is in no doubt,".

The expert considered necessary to establish a plan of prevention of flood risks "in the estuary of Lay, where the combination of two phenomena - the rise of the Lay and marine flooding - could have a major impact on the populated areas to the rear of a network of aging levees. "The failure of levees would cause major damage to property and people," he insisted. That's exactly what happened in the night from Saturday to Sunday this weekend.

However local officials dispute this and say that the dams did not break but were overwhelmed. "Our levees were regularly maintained and in good condition", says Alain Barraud, Deputy Mayor of The Aiguille Sur Mer.

The prefecture had told us with certainty that the sea would rise at least of 1 meter. We must understand that we are the victims of a small tsunami, the sea is coming by the point of Arçay and it is rose much higher than expected. This is why people were not evacuated before the storm.

The new prefect of Vendée, Jean-Jacques Brot said it is now up to parliamentarians and councillors, to undertake work on many dams Vendee and help plan dykes.
The total length of these dikes, the oldest of which date back to Colbert and the more recent period between the wars is around 1000 kilometers in Vendee and Charente-Maritime.
The sea formerly went to Niort but brutally reasserted itself at the weekende. There have been measures to try and avoid building in the coastal areas but also recently the Administrative Court in Poitiers gave the right to the inhabitants of Port-en-Ré to oppose the raising of a dam because it would deprive them of the views of the sea. Perhaps now these residents will think again.

So these are perhaps issues to be aware of if you are camping in coastal areas of the Vendee.

Monday, 1 March 2010

New Three Star Restaurant in new Michelin Guide 2010

The Auberge du Vieux Puits, located in a small village in the Corbières, Fontjoncouse (Aude), and its leader Gilles Goujon, have been honoured with three stars in the latest 2010 Edition (101st Edition) of the Michelin Guide published today. This new award brings the number of three star restaurants in France to twenty-six. There are five hundred and fifty-eight starred establishments in total. The Red Guide 2010 has also decided to allocate ten new two-star (giving a new total of seventy-seven) and forty-seven new one-star (out of four hundred fifty-five).

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Aiguillon Sur Mer, La Flotte en Re on Ile de Re, Sables d'Olonne in the Vendee affected.

Flooding affected Aiguillon Sur Mer, La Flotte en Re on Ile de Re to name but a few and damage has been sustained at Sables d'Olonne in the Vendee.

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France Declares Storm "Disaster"

This news item brought to you by Best French Campsites

Saturday, 27 February 2010

High Winds Warning

High Winds are blowing in the Pyrennees and there are Orange and Red Alerts for various areas. The wind was blowing at over 100 kph with gusts up to 140 kph, said Weather France.

The orange alert has been established in 64 departments and 4 other red until Sunday 21h.

Charente-Maritime, Vendee, Vienne, Deux-Sevres were put on red alert on Saturday afternoon in anticipation of the arrival of the storm early in the night. Regions affected by the orange alert : Alsace, Auvergne, Basse-Normandy, Burgundy, Brittany, Central, Champagne-Ardennes, Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Limousin, Lorraine, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de Loire, Picardy and Poitou-Charentes, and the departments of Ain, Dordogne, Gironde, Isère, the Loire, Rhône, Haute-Saône and Territoire de Belfort.

Serious damage can be expected. Weather France recommends limiting travel and if possible plan to avoid the threatened areas. Traffic conditions may be difficult and some local disturbances may affect air, rail and sea travel.

It is best to check local weather conditions with Aujourd'hui - France - La météo sur - France 2
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Thursday, 25 February 2010

More Flight and Travel Misery

Four of the Pilot's Unions of Air France have voted to go ahead with their strike from 26th February to 1st March.

In addition, the strike by air traffic controllers continues today (Thursday 25th February) for the third consecutive day.
There was a cancellation of half the flights from Orly and 15% of flights from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. Disruptions are expected across the territory, said a statement.

There are also problems with strikes on Ferries from Marseilles to Corsica.

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Total Oil Strike Suspended

The Strike by Total Oil workers has been suspended after various Union demands were met. There is to be a review of France's energy needs and Total will review its refinery needs.

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Strike Hits Flights To and From Paris Airports

Flights have been cancelled at the two main Paris airports as French air traffic controllers begin a five-day strike. Half of the flights in and out of Orly airport and one in four from Charles de Gaulle have been cancelled.
Staff are protesting because of an agreement which was signed by six nations, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, to modernise air traffic control that may lead to job losses.

The strike is taking place during a school holiday in France. It is said by analysts that Union leaders were hoping to put pressure on President Nicolas Sarkozy's government ahead of regional elections next month.

So if you are flying to France in the near future it may be a good idea to check your flight with your airline.

This news item which may be useful for holidaymakers travelling to France has been found for you by
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