Friday, October 10, 2014

Day 01: Motorhome holiday in the South of France

Today we start to document the fantastic times we had during our recent mini break holiday to the South of France.   Actually this was a test of the Bantam Van F600 DGA motorhome conversion.

Longer term we plan to buy and live in something.  This will be a holiday and a practical test.   Read on ...

Todays report then is from Saturday September 27th, 2014

We actually picked up the van early at 13.00 so we thought we would be ahead of schedule getting to France where we had planned to late night shop for food, buy an Internet SIM  (important) and then make it to a possible campsite.

How wrong we were! ....

Mounting our two road bicycles on to the Thule frame took literally hours.  Initially no matter what we tried we could not get 2 bicycles vertical and not crashing into each other.

Only our cats benefited from this delay.  Each time we went back to the apartment for tools, kitties requested another feeding.   I think they knew we would be away for some time

Literally hours later all is assembled and loaded but now we are very late.

Time to go!

What is an Aire?
France positively encourage Motorhomes.  Apart from a full service Campsite where you pay to rest your motorhome and expect toilets, showers, electricity etc,   an Aire is a basically a free or very low cost stopover.

An Aire might have electricity, and sometimes toilets and rarely showers.   Low cost means say 2 euros to stay for 1 night!  We were to find that some Aire's are free but have a station where you can put euro coins to pay for water, electricity hook ups.

On the French motorway system there are frequent, free Aire reststops which have at the minimum: a place to park and a toilet.

Travelling Light

We packed the Motorhome with all the clothes and kit we would need for our 1 week adventure.  But excluding food.  We would buy that in France.  However we were delayed and only just made the Annecy Carrefour Supermarket before it closed at 21.00

The Orange phone shop was already closed so we had to buy a Lebarra Internet phone and Data SIM from Carrefour.

A local Internet SIM is essential!  We will use it for all our online map navigation  via an Apple iPad.  We'll use it daily for surfing, keeping in touch with friends and family, even downloading our Daily Podcasts like the Archers!

Lebarra Internet

Internet Settings
user wap  pw <none>

Our plan was to goto an Orange shop in the Annecy Supermarket complex.  However when we arrived it had already closed.  Oops.

Carrefour has Lebara SIMS for sale and although the Data deal was not as good  (nor the coverage we hear) we did not have a choice.

We then found that we had to activate the SIM but the telephone activation closed at 20.00.  So we went back to the shopping centre and via the free McDonalds Internet we logged onto the and activated the SIM

Then using the special APN settings above the Internet can be configured to work.

 Bourget du Lac Aire
An hour or two of driving later we arrived at Bourget du Lac. It was dark so rather than make a noise we parked outside and stayed there outside all night.   

In the morning of Sunday September 28th we waited until somebody left then paid a few Euro to enter the Aire.

What a beautiful spot!

This is our current location at Bourget Du Lac

Video Diary Saturday, September 27

Learning Points for Today

  • Putting bicycles onto the Thule bicycle rack was a nightmare.  It took 2 hours and some bicycle disassembly.
  • Most Supermarket shops including close at 20.00   The Lebara SIM is for sale in Carrefour and can eventually be made to work when you setup the APN correctly


Lebarra mobile france
B&W Camper Vans, Vaud Switzerland