As you may know if you have read my previous posts (if not why not, it’s not too late! Read them straight after this, you won’t regret it!) Monsieur Incidental is French. Like proper French, with an accent and everything. His family still live in France and we usually visit them once a year. These days we usually choose to drive. Driving in France isn’t as bad as it might sound. We like to make it a road trip. With two children it can be a *cough* adventure.
I often see requests for tips on driving in France or cries for help in keeping children occupied during long car journeys so here are mine:
First of all make sure your car is serviced
I usually get my local garage to give it a holiday check. Oil, tyres and so on, if new tyres are needed I pop to my local Kwik Fit.
Arrange break down cover or make sure yours covers you while away.
There are loads of comparison sites for this – it’s as simple as typing in your vehicle reg. Honestly, it’s well worth it especially if you have an older, less reliable car. The last thing you want do do is break down while driving in France.
On the ferry
Take a photo of the deck where you park. This might sound daft but once we lost our car and only just found it when everyone was driving off the ferry HAHA (the shame)
Give them a tablet (or iPad if you’re posh)
Make sure you take a charger, we have a 3 way adapter that plugs into the cigarette lighter (do new cars still have them?) so we can charge, well, 3 things at a time. We couldn’t live without it
Do not underestimate to power of a snack on a long car journey. As soon as we reach France we buy shed-loads of Haribo (it tastes different from there I am assured). We also buy pastries and so on – your car will never be clean again. Just roll with it
Don’t forget water! Especially if you have the aircon going it’s thirsty work all the driving in France, playing eye-spy or asking “are we nearly there yet?” As a special pick me up maybe a bottle of Lucozade but keep that for the adults…
Take comfort breaks! DO NOT listen to the kids if they say they do not need a wee. Children lie. Make them go anyway. We found out the hard way
“this is the last toilet before the ferry DO YOU NEED TO GO”
“Are you sure”
5 minutes later… “I need a wee”
We were then held up at passport control – poor kid held it for ages. For some reason he didn’t want to pee in the Fanta bottle in the back of the car (I can’t say I blame him)
We’ve always found the toilets at service stations to be really clean but the outside rest stops still have the stand up toilet jobbies. Be prepared! Most of the rest stops, both service stations and “plein air” have climbing frames and so on. These are really handy to work off all the Haribo the little treasures have been stuffing themselves with.
So there we have it – our top tips for driving in France. Give it a go – it isn’t that bad! Apart from around Paris, but that’s another story….