27 May 2021 by Jessica Boston
Did somebody say road trip?!
If it’s been a while since your last holiday you may find it hard to settle on just one destination for your next getaway. Should you choose a beach resort? Get back to nature with a rural retreat? Go for the glamour and culture of a big city? Or visit a famous place you’ve always wanted to see? Why settle for just one destination when you could plan an incredible multi-centre road trip through France?!
Going to France on the ferry is an easy and comfortable option, and it means you can bring your own car along too. This gives you the freedom to choose a holiday with several stages, and with the journey broken up into manageable pieces you can go further, and see more. Use our destination guide to help you plan the perfect route or try out one of our suggestions below…
The West Coast
Finistère – La Rochelle – Nantes
The west coast of France is a wonderful choice for a family road trip, get the ferry into Roscoff and start your break with a few days in Finistère exploring the charming fishing villages along the coast, crabbing and paddling in the sea. Don’t miss the wonderful aquarium at Brest and do visit the ancient and mysterious Carnac stones as a stop off on your trip as you drive further south.
Next stop is a week in the lovely Charente Maritime region, the Atlantic coast offers a wealth of sandy beaches with surfing and other water sports available to try. La Rochelle is a great place to spend a day with plenty of history, delicious seafood and lively street entertainment in the evenings. There is also an incredible aquarium here and a toll bridge to visit the exclusive ile de Re. After a week in the sun it’s time to head North; book tickets for the famous science theme park Futuroscope in Poitiers along the way.
The final stop is Loire Atlantique where a couple of days in the cosmopolitan city of Nantes will end your holiday in style. With tree lined squares, art, history and culture and a giant mechanical elephant wandering the streets it’s the perfect stop off before the ferry ride home.
The Wine Route
Loire Valley – Bordeaux – Angers
Wine connoisseurs will love the chance to discover some of the wine regions of France. Take the ferry into Caen and head straight to the beautiful Loire Valley where fairytale castles and famous vineyards are all around. Chinon, Vouvray and the raspberry liqueur Chambord are just some of the names produced here you might recognise.
Next stop is Aquitaine and the city of Bordeaux, renowned the world over for the fantastic wine made here including Medoc, Saint-Emilion and Entre deux Mers. There are eight Michelin starred restaurants in Bordeaux so why not treat yourselves to a world class dining experience whilst you’re here? More outstanding food and drink awaits on the next leg of your trip as you travel back up through France for the final destination in Maine-et-Loire where you’ll find more Loire wines including the famous Anjou Rose, and the deliciously dry white Muscadet and Sancerre. To get the best from your trip be sure to book tours and tastings with some small artisan wine producers as well as exploring famous names to really experience the passion and love for wine producing in France.
The UNESCO Trail
Lascaux – Nimes – Loire Valley – Mont Saint Michel
If seeing amazing and unique places is your thing then this is an exciting route for your French road trip that all the family will enjoy. Sail into Saint Malo on an overnight crossing and start your journey with a day’s drive to your first destination in the Dordogne. If you have time Nantes is a great place for lunch where you can see the incredible mechanical elephant in action! A stay in the Dordogne offers the chance to visit the recreation of the Lascaux caves filled with historic cave paintings, there are also fascinating villages like gravity defying Rocamadour and picturesque Sarlat that are not to be missed. The next stop on your trip takes you to Gard, a region of Languedoc Roussillon that’s steeped in history. The most famous sites here include the majestic Pont du Gard, an enormous Roman aqueduct, and the impressive Roman amphitheatre at Nimes. When you’ve finished exploring you can break up your drive back through France with an overnight stay in the Loire Valley. There are so many gorgeous chateaux to see, just pick a favourite like Chateaux Chambord or Chateau Chenonceau and take a peek into the glamorous past of the French aristocracy. It almost goes without saying that your last stop before the ferry home is going to be St Malo, this lovely port town has plenty of history to explore, but it’s the iconic Mont Saint Michel just a short way down the coast that’s the real star; plan a visit at dusk for a really magical experience.
Whatever you are into from art to history, nature to golf, food to fishing, you can plan an incredible multi-centre holiday in France. Why not let each family member pick one stage? There’s no better way to experience new things and make sure you all have a wonderful break – pack more into your next French escape and make up for all that lost travelling time!