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  #121  
Old 18.05.2010, 13:58
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

In terms of the crossings, are there any deals to be had if you just roll up (Tunnel or Ferries) or is it wise to always book on-line?
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  #122  
Old 18.05.2010, 14:03
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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In terms of the crossings, are there any deals to be had if you just roll up (Tunnel or Ferries) or is it wise to always book on-line?
With the ongoing ash issue I would book - you could end up stranded in Calais with X hundreds of others and no possibility of getting on a boat. Ferry crossings are usually flexible, so if you arrive with enough time to spare, you can change the booking via mobile to an earlier crossing if there is enough room.


EDITS:
  • If you don't get a Sanef card, then use Visa (carte blue) to get through the tolls. Usually the penultimate 1 or 2 lanes on the left (the last one being the Sanef only lane). For some reason these are nearly always empty, while numpties queue to pay cash. Go figure.
  • Tunnel vs. ferry - we tend to use the ferry as I am the only driver. Tend to do Basel-Calais guaranteed (well almost) 8 hrs - including a 1 hour break. But we've always travelled at anti-social hours, i.e. leaving BS at 4 in the morning. This means I get a break from driving on the ferry and the Mrs is in charge of stopping the children from going for a swim.
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  #123  
Old 18.05.2010, 14:05
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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In terms of the crossings, are there any deals to be had if you just roll up (Tunnel or Ferries) or is it wise to always book on-line?
Best to book well in advance, cheapest is LD Lines from Boulogne to Dover but I've stopped using them when I was almost refused on board because I was technically carrying freight. Freight booking cost was 4 or 5 times higher. They took over the old Speed Ferries route and now have a new terminal on the western side of Boulogne.

I've just booked P&O for Sunday afternoon for £160 return (for a van)
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  #124  
Old 18.05.2010, 14:15
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

Ferrysavers.com is a good starting point - but Tunnel is often cheaper booking direct.

Norfolkline are virtually giving away tickets at the moment!
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  #125  
Old 18.05.2010, 14:17
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

LD also run the old P&O route from Le Havre to Portsmouth at competitive prices. They also run a catamaran that does the route in about 3 hours. The 18:30 sailing gets in to Portsmouth at 20:45 (with 1 hour BST saved) making the south coast drivable in a day.

The distance from Zurich to LeHavre is only 30km further than Zurich to Calais...
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  #126  
Old 18.05.2010, 22:23
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

Interested in French motorway speeds.

Are you really safe to set cruise control in the car to 140k without risking cameras?

Also, should the French toll places take Swiss Maestro? Or am I going to have to resort to my unhappy UK MasterCard?

Fanks.
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  #127  
Old 19.05.2010, 04:30
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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Interested in French motorway speeds.

Are you really safe to set cruise control in the car to 140k without risking cameras?

Also, should the French toll places take Swiss Maestro? Or am I going to have to resort to my unhappy UK MasterCard?

Fanks.
The only time I drove it in a car with CC I set it to 140 and my Tom Tom said I was doing an actual 133, so pretty safe but you need to check your car. If you don't have a Tom Tom time yourself against the km markers to check your actual speed.
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  #128  
Old 19.05.2010, 08:23
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

140kmh - no problem on the cameras from Calais to Basel - I did it on Monday

Stick to under 170kmh and if they stop you then it is only a fine. Above that they will take your licence and post it home - which will leave you stuck on the side of the road if you are on your own.

Between Reim and Metz there have been a number of radar traps in recent months - tucked under a bridge with the radar, and a Subaru parked about 1km further up the road.

2 110kmh cameras to watch for - Forbach - in a dip between 2 hills; the North side of Strasbourg - just as the 110kmh zone starts (or ends if you are going South to North).
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  #129  
Old 19.05.2010, 08:49
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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Interested in French motorway speeds.

Are you really safe to set cruise control in the car to 140k without risking cameras?

Also, should the French toll places take Swiss Maestro? Or am I going to have to resort to my unhappy UK MasterCard?

Fanks.
140kmh - no problem on the cameras from Calais to Basel - I did it on Monday

<snip>

2 110kmh cameras to watch for - Forbach - in a dip between 2 hills; the North side of Strasbourg - just as the 110kmh zone starts (or ends if you are going South to North).
Speed limit in France is 130, so 140 is easily "safe" within the detection limits that they care about.

There's one fixed camera in the low speed zone between Colmar (?) and Strasbourg - dual carriageway section - is that the one you mean at Forbach?

I think you need a Carte Blue - i.e. real credit card like Visa or MasterCard - don't think Maestro works.
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  #130  
Old 19.05.2010, 10:29
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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There's one fixed camera in the low speed zone between Colmar (?) and Strasbourg - dual carriageway section - is that the one you mean at Forbach?
Nope - there are 2 there - 1 at each end of the 110kmh zone.

From Calais - it is about 40km after Metz - Fleyming/Merlebach is the junction. There are roadworks there at the moment - so you have to slow down.

I have done the journey too many times!!!
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  #131  
Old 19.05.2010, 16:23
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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Best Route? If you "Dunkirk" - do Lille and Luxembourg (for cheap fuel and road toll saving).

thanks for the info - very useful. what route exactly would you take via Lille and Lux? is it dual carriageway for the most part?

i've just driven the Reims and Metz route from Calais and, although it is pretty quick, it is certainly pricey. 40 EUR tolls each way and petrol at 1.59 EUR a litre certainly adds up. i'm sure the above route would make a noticeable saving.
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  #132  
Old 19.05.2010, 16:36
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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Nope - there are 2 there - 1 at each end of the 110kmh zone.

From Calais - it is about 40km after Metz - Fleyming/Merlebach is the junction. There are roadworks there at the moment - so you have to slow down.

I have done the journey too many times!!!
I think we are talking about different bits. So I'll just add to your cameras to say that there's a fixed camera just north of Colmar, in the built-up part where there is a speed restriction (100 kph from memory). Unless you are suggesting the red flash that got me at 120 kph was a figment of my imagination...
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Old 19.05.2010, 17:03
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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I think we are talking about different bits. So I'll just add to your cameras to say that there's a fixed camera just north of Colmar, in the built-up part where there is a speed restriction (100 kph from memory). Unless you are suggesting the red flash that got me at 120 kph was a figment of my imagination...
Carlos - the Colmar zone is 100kmh (not 110kmh - which is the cruise control speed) - there is a camera either end of the zone - IE South and North of Colmer.

As for the Lux route - Zurich - Basel - Strasbourg - Metz - Luxembourg - Namur - Charleroi - Lille - Dunkirk - look on Google and you'll find it. There are 2 service stations in Luxembourg - one near the French border - one near the Belgian - make sure you stop for fuel!!!

The road is the E42 - pretty much all the way - good road with a huge chunk resurfaced last year. However, the surface isn't great from Namur to Lille - and there are roadworks on the last section close to Dunkirk at the moment. It is dual carriageway style motorway all the way - and the run from Namur to Luxembourg is littered with speeders - both Belgian and Lux.
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  #134  
Old 19.05.2010, 20:50
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

I have taken to doing the monthly drive on a Sunday as there are no lorries allowed in France.
I use motorways and D roads and one thing on a Sunday is that the police seem to have nothing better to do than stop and check for drinking.
Also, if you go to Lausanne via Besancon, I go via Chaumont and fill up with Diesel at the Geant (really cheap) but if you go upstairs there is a really good priced restaurant - good for a stop.
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  #135  
Old 19.05.2010, 20:59
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

Shouldn't this be a sticky thread? MODS, do something useful

Are they like superman and always hear you when you call? I mean, surely they can subscribe to the word mod...or is it all just blind luck
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  #136  
Old 19.05.2010, 22:57
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

This is my tried and tested route
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...3,14.27124&z=7

Basel Mulhouse Epinal Bar-le-Duc Reims Calais

Considerably shorter than the all autoroute route, considerably cheaper in tolls and fuel, reasonably immune from traffic problems and a lot less boring. We did it on the Thursday before good Friday leaving Zürich at 13:00. Drive time from the Uetliberg tunnel East portal to the hotel in Calais was 7 hours 10 minutes without risking any tickets.

The section from Bar-le-Duc to the A4 south of Reims is an amazing Roman straight d-road with very little traffic, very easy overtaking and 1 village in 46km.

From south of Reims until Calais we take the autoroute. Trying to stay on the n-roads seems to cost a lot of time in Northern France. Tolls are around 20 euros one way.

We always take the ferry because the missus refuses to go on the tunnel. We go for a breakfast crossing on P&O and get a slap up breakfast in the Langans restaurant. On the way to the UK we overnight in Calais so we don't end up hanging around the ferry port for ages. On the way back we do it in one hit with a breakfast ferry again. I aim to get through the M25 before the traffic gets too bad.
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Old 25.05.2010, 12:04
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

Did Calais - Reims - Metz - Strassburg - Basel yesterday. Took 6h 35m. - 7h 30 min to Waedenswil.

No silly speeds, just beautiful flowing traffic. But I suspect this route can be heavily impacted by traffic around Strassburg.
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  #138  
Old 25.05.2010, 12:05
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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Did Calais - Reims - Metz - Strassburg - Basel yesterday. Took 6h 35m. - 7h 30 min to Waedenswil.

No silly speeds, just beautiful flowing traffic. But I suspect this route can be heavily impacted by traffic around Strassburg.
Sounds about right to me - guessing around 145-150 on the cruise control

And 55 mins from the border is good.
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  #139  
Old 25.05.2010, 12:42
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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Sounds about right to me - guessing around 145-150 on the cruise control

And 55 mins from the border is good.
Yep, pretty much spot on. Two splash and dash stops...
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  #140  
Old 31.05.2010, 23:53
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Re: Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

Thanks for the replies and recommendations. After reading numerous threads on here I stuck with the French Mway Calais - Reims - Metz - Basel route, driving Friday and Saturday. The roads were dead the whole way accept for a few miles around Strasburg, almost too quiet when driving alone, very boring!

I wanted to travel a bit further than Reims and after reading a few reviews elsewhere ended up staying in a Premiere Classe at Semecourt nr Metz. Would recommend - €30 for the night, cheap and cheerful, free WiFi and only 1 mile off the A4. Also near an Auchan and a few restaurants
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