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Best leisurely route from Spain up through France

Best leisurely route from Spain up through France

Old May 17th 2019, 4:00 pm
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Default Best leisurely route from Spain up through France

We have a campervan and want to make a leisurely trip back to the UK, starting in Madrid and ending in Dunkirk, fairly toll-free. There are some nice border crossings over the Pyrenees, which we prefer to the busy coastal routes. A few years back we tried to dodge the tolls by using parrellel RNs to the autoroutes and it was a disaster with 50 roundabouts and lots of pedestrian ways/speed bumps trafic lights, through every village and town. Don't wanna do that again.

So does anyone have a favourite route with some nice places to see en-route, eh we only have 6 days, but longer on the return journey.

A few nice dual carriageways would be nice given that we only have 6 days.

Cheers
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Old May 17th 2019, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Best leisurely route from Spain up through France

If you have time, as you seem to suggest, then try the following:
Madrid on A2 to Calatayud, near to whuch is Minasterio de Piedra if you feel inclined to visit. Continue on A2 and just past Paracuellos de Jiloca, turn off onto A1504 towards Fuendetodos & Belchite. Why? The former is Goya's birthplace and a museum & the 2nd is the village left in ruins after the Republicans & Nationalists fought it out in 1937. To visit Belchite you have to buy a ticket from the tourist office in Belchite "new village". Brings the horrors of a civil war into focus.
Then on to Zaragoza. You then have a choice:
1. A23 to Tudela, a very historic town & then Pamplona (Iruña in Basque and not to be confused with Irun, a town on the French Spanish border), then on to St Jean de Pied de Port, an important starting point for those doing the Camino de Santiago. Then on the D933 towards Orthez & Mont de Marsan.

Until about 4 years ago the N10 that passed through "les Landes" was toll free; now it isn't, but it does get you on the way north.
If you then head towards Marmande, you aren't too far from Montsegur, a very pretty walled town. And then there are several interesting places such as Aubterre sur Dronne (said to be one of the prettiest villages in France.....lots of Brits though!!!), St Emilion , a walled town important for its wine, & maybe Bergerac.
After all that, I'd head for Angouleme, Saumur, thus avoiding Tours which I've never found easy to circumnavigate. Saumur is smaller & thereby more manageable than Angers. Vendome is also pretty, and of course Chartres.
After that, it's take your pick, though I'd try to avoid Paris.

Buen viaje, or as they say here in Basque "ondo ibili".
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