Afternoon All at LB,
A few of us are heading down to The Millau Bridge tomorrow for a long weekend. For most of us it’s the first European trip so I wondered whether the fellow LBers could offer some advice?
Any tips, suggestions, good roads, B&Bs etc?
At the moment we haven’t planned our return trip - the suggestion is to come back via the train. 800 miles in two days may not seem like much but there are a few people in the group who are new to riding. Has anyone got any suggestions?
Its a cool trip to do (done it a few times before and after the bridge was there) some basic stuff:
take euros for the tolls - you can use visa cards on the “carte bleu” or “carte des credits” auto tolls as well. they do work.
Are you going via Paris or Chartres/Evreux/Dreux route? I’d personally go via rouen and then via Chatres/Evereux/dreux as its easy straight A roads.
Pick up the guide book “chateaus and Hotels de france” at the tourist place when you get over the chanel, they are stunning hotles which dont cost much (compared to UK prices) and are loads better than b&b’s)
The girls standing next to roads through Evereux\Chartres are NOT there to give directions
On the autoroute down to Millau there are not mant petrol stops so make sure you keep your tanks topped and carry a litre bottle of fuel in your backpack) I kept a 2 litre
Most petrol stations are not open on Sunday apart from the ones on the autoroute - the only way you can get fuel is to hope some friendly french person will lend you their carte-bleu (Visa doesn’t work on the pumps!!) and you pay them in cash.
Take a tent - the massif central region is huge/empty and has loads og good cmaping places BUT camp away from the road so you can’t be seen and dont go into areas marked with a red triangle - this is a hunting area.
Beware of bandits - not joking here but dont use the stops that are woodland stops with no petrol they do have criminals there who hijack cars etc this only happens late at night though.
dont stop if a trucker flashes you when you go past - its a signal in france that if you are a prostitute then they will stop at the next service station to meet you…
I’d check with Eurotunnel they will be happy with you getting a single from france - I think you’ll find this is more expensive than a return in the first place - they dont like people doing that for some reason.
If a driver flashes their lights at you at a junction this is NOT a signal for you to come out - flashing lights in france mean a warning not proceed like in England.
be careful of the very weird give ways laws - if you see a yellow sign before a junction the drivers have permission to just come out of the junction - you must give way to them even if you are on the main road. Check up on it if you dont know these laws - they are mad but still enforced…
The motorail is now VERY expensive. I looked into this earlier this year and found out that they no longer do 2 bed berths for bikes, only 4 bed berths. I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but think it was about £800 return (didn’t ask about one way).
Having come back over the Millau Viaduct recently I can say that it is a bit of a jog and it took the best part of two days most of which was on the Auto-routes and at least the legal speed limit. However that said we where in a car.
The route we took would take you through Rouen, Orleans, Clermont-Ferrand and I would say that Orleans is a good mid point to stop. I would avoid Paris as it my look like a more direct route but it is not for the first time traveller.
The A roads are great but if you are on a time limit you’ll have to use the motorways and you have to pay on most of them.
The best advice I or anyone can give you is plan you trip in advance a ride out to Southend on a Sunday morning is one thing a trip to the south of France is a bit more. I sure I don’t need to tell you to check you insurance docs, travel insurance and recovery cover.
We haven’t got a defined route plan, we need to end up somewhere near Aix-en-Provence which is where we are staying for a few days, so the Paris, Chartres, Dreux routes are probably out of the way. My initial thoughts were to go through Dijon and Lyon.
“The girls standing next to roads through Evereux\Chartres are NOT there to give directions”
We may not want directions!!
We’ve booked the Eurotunnel for tomorrow night and on Sunday at 13:00. So that bit is not a problem. I was talking about getting a train back from somewhere like Avignon but the costs are sky high.
Quick Itinerary to clear things up
Tue, drive to Eurotunnel, arrive Calais ~11.30pm stay in cheap Hotel(B&B booked)
Wed, drive SOUTH! Stay somewhere half way in to France
Thu, drive and arrive in Aix-en-Provence (B&B booked)
Fri, relax, tend to our aches and pains, drink
Sat, the Millau run, then attempt drive back or get on the train
Sun, more driving or arrive at Calais via motorail sleeper
Do this regularly, before and after bridge, the diversion as opposed to the completed bridge route is a far better bike road than a great big scenic bridge, avoid Paris like the plague, [like the Hilton…] go the Dijon/Lyon Rhone route
Watch out for bike thefts, france used to be far far worse than the UK is even now, and I havent heard its changed for the better, horror stories from the Bol d’or, LeMans etc. Remember the cheese eating surrender monkeys are limited to 100bhp so any brit sportsbike over 600cc excites the sort of attention a teenage Kylie would get in a max security prison wing full of rapists . . . .