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Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Old Mar 21st 2020, 8:00 pm
  #16  
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

We booked a hotel near Bordeaux through booking.com as it was approx. 500 mile drive and a mid point to Calais. The hotel was very quiet and they are prevented from opening the restaurant and bar so could not serve us food in the evening but were allowed to offer us a continental breakfast in our room.

I suspect that the French hotels will follow Spain into full closedown in the near future as not enough bookings.

Stayed at Holiday Inn Express Folkestone as it is directly outside the Eurotunnel terminal as I had driven nearly 9 hours already. This was about to go into UK lockdown for restaurant and bar and breakfast had to be taken in the room.

I think the longer you leave the more restrictive the situation will become, we have a son who lives in Beijing and he has been in isolation for 7 weeks and Beijing is just starting to open up but the whole state has been in lockdown. I suspect Europe will be on a longer lockdown than China
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Old Mar 21st 2020, 9:05 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Originally Posted by terrygriff View Post
well, we managed to finally get home, 1,500 miles later and a excellent trip on Eurotunnel and 2 nights in hotels. Motorways in Spain and France were empty, French police verbally checked we had a ticket booked to sail home at the border , nobody wanted to touch our passports.

Arrived at Eurotunnel at 6.15pm last, checked in 3 dogs, drove car onto train at 6.35, train departed at 6.50, arrived and disembarked at Folkestone at 7.20pm ( Euro time ), excellent service.

Never saw any police on roads in either Spain or France

Glad you made it!!
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 11:55 am
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Wed 29 Apr.
Hi everyone. This is my first post on here so be gentle!
We are at the point where due to personal circumstances we are having to consider driving from Cadiz direct to Calais (driver + co-driver + dog). We have a tunnel ticket, and have downloaded the Spanish and French 'letters' for travelling. Is there any up to date info or advice that you can give us? I see that a home run was made by Terrygriff in March, but are fuel stations still open on the route Cadiz/Salamancar/Burgos/Bordeaux/Rouen/Calais ? Any other info gratefully received.
Thanks

Last edited by DunFlying; Apr 29th 2020 at 11:59 am. Reason: spelling
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 1:21 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Personal circumstances havent stopped for Corona Virus.

My other half is trying to get the Bilbao ferry over to UK to help here and escape the olive pollen season which could be lethal this year.

You are advised to get in touch with the authorities. Guardia Civil havent been helpful. Havent so far had much help from British Enbassy. That may be due to being habitually resident in Spain. Maybe Spanish Embassy would be more interested.

Fuel stations , especially on main routes must still be open for essential workers and lorries. I cant imagine you would be turned away.

have you got a link for the downloadable Spanish travel document please?

what are you planning on doing with overnight stay(s).?
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 1:42 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Go to gov.uk/foreign travel etc for Spain (sorry, I am not allowed to post URLs until I have made 5 posts). Scroll down to Driving and click on the highlighted word 'letter'.
We are not planning to stay overnight, we shall drive in relays.
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 2:27 pm
  #21  
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Hola,

One suggestion; fill up more often. In case a fuel station isn't open then don't run your tank low, i would suggest fill up every time you get down to half a tank - especially if driving at night

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Old Apr 29th 2020, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Hi Davexf.
Good advice, thanks.
I use a mix of Microsoft Autoroute and Michelin to work out my routes. I have factored in comfort breaks (for us and the dog!) and splan to stop at Motorway Services every 2-3 hours, swap drivers, and top off the tank each time. I have an 80 litre tank, but it is the overnight drive that concerns me if the fuel is not available 24hours. I may have to get a fuel can to see me through.
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Also take a wad of euros for toll motorways. Ironically the alternative roads wont be that busy.
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Thanks Olivefarmer.
I have a transponder attached to the windscreen that allows me to drive straight through the 'T' barriers and in France there is often no need to stop (well slow to 30 clicks).
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Originally Posted by terrygriff View Post
My wife and I plus 3 dogs and car need to get back to UK sharpish and Brittany Ferries keep pushing back out sailing date. Thinking of driving to Calais to pick up ferry or tunnel , do people think it will be possible to travel ok through Spain and France or might we be stopped and blocked from travelling by the authorities.

We are UK residents heading home to our main residence and we have elderly relative who needs our support in UK, we have been in Spain since early January and planned to head home soon but the Covid-19 has forced our hand. Concerned if we wait we might not get home for some time.

Any thoughts / suggestions / advice welcome

Thanks
We got fed up of 3 cancelled crossings by Brittany Ferries. We drove back from Almuñecar on Fiday 17th April to Calais and got the 10.35pm Dfds ferry from Calais to Dover on Saturday evening. We were surprised how easy it was. I did pack enough sandwiches and water to last us 3 days. Froze the water and put everything in a lidl cool bag. We stopped in Burgos overnight in emergency hotel. We had booked one in Valladolid but this had closed and after phoning 6 more on the list with no success moved on to Burgos. This was our biggest problem. Many of these places are closing. The list from the embassy is here but I would phone to make sure they are open. The one in Burgos was closing on the Saturday and we had to vacate by 8am which wasn't a problem for us. https://t.co/H2uHCUhIu2?amp=1. We were stopped twice in Spain on leaving Almuñecar and then searching for the hotel in Burgos. Crossing into France at Irun with the downloaded attestation was no problem. We were checked at 2 tolls but no issues. The motorways were so empty we skipped our hotel booking in France and had a very easy drive all the way to Calais. The port is very much closed to all but freight but although we had a crossing for the Sunday we just gave the booking number and boarded with all the Polish lorries. Only 2 UK cars we could see. Everything closed on board but plenty distance between all the passengers. If we had known how easy the journey was going to be we would have left 3 weeks earlier and enjoy the freedom of walking outside.
Hope this helps.
Bridie

Last edited by Bridie55; Apr 29th 2020 at 4:10 pm.
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 7:16 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Fuelwise in France you can always detour off the peage where every petrol station will have a self service credit card facility, you'll save money too.

Most satnavs will guide you to the stations which involve the shortest detours, sometimes it can be as little a 4 or 5km all told.
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Old Apr 29th 2020, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Originally Posted by Notdunroamin View Post
Fuelwise in France you can always detour off the peage where every petrol station will have a self service credit card facility, you'll save money too.

Most satnavs will guide you to the stations which involve the shortest detours, sometimes it can be as little a 4 or 5km all told.
Not sure the police let you roam much off the motorways. We had no probs with petrol or toilets but I have heard from my friend who is a French resident you only go on motorways. It cost us over 80€ but was worth it to get home.
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Old May 12th 2020, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Update.
We left El Puerto at 0930 last Tues morning and arrived at the hotel in Castets, France at 10 pm. We saw no Spanish police at all, and armed with the required paperwork it took us about 1 minute to cross into France at the border. Booked through Booking.com, The Originals City, Hôtel Les Bruyères, Dax Nord (Inter-Hotel) Zac De Gazalieu - 190 Impasse Du Basile, 40260 Castets, France. Their Covid procedures were that all staff and guests to wear mask and gloves, and when we left we put the linen and towels into a laundry sack and opened the windows. We did not eat (self catered) but breakfast would have been left outside the room. All the fuel stops in Spain and France were open, but toilet availability varied, although we were not caught short! In France the people seemed to ignore all the rules, so we took extra care to mask, glove and distance !! At the tunnel the dog was checked OK and then we took the tunnel home. Passport control at Calais was only UK and was quick with no stop at Customs.
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Old May 12th 2020, 2:54 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

Hola

Brilliant, thanks for coming back as it will be a great help to others

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Old May 12th 2020, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: Driving through Spain and France to Calais

DunFlying, that is good to hear. Was that in a UK reg vehicle or Spanish reg please? I suspect it would be easier in a UK reg car. Thanks for the details on the Bordeaux area hotel. That may well be most useful.

My OH is currently in Northern Spain with permission from the authorities. She was stopped and waved through a number of checkpoints especially around Madrid. On the way, plenty of fuel available and cafes serving outside. You couldn't use their toilets but the service station ones were open and were immaculate.

We have a difficult decision in the next few days to make. The 19th May ferry from Bilbao has predictably been cancelled and nothing now for weeks- no doubt booked by other hopefuls! For her to sit out May and then return home to Andalucia and for me to make my own way back (somehow- cheap car or possibly fly) at the end of June or to travel on through France and Eurotunnel with dog and then self isolate for 14 days and then for us to share the driving back to our habitual residence in June. I suspect the longer she leaves it before trying for the Uk the better. i.e after 24th May as (hopefully) more restrictions come off. My guess is if you could get through the Spanish/French border that providing you stick to the main roads and have the French attestation you would likely as not be waved through Calais even on Spanish plates. Crossing into France in a Spanish reg car might be tricky though how would they know you weren't changing your country of habitual residence.

I didn't think things could get more trying here in the Uk but my nephew has had to take 14 days off work to look after their two year old and six month old baby while his wife is in hospital with a serious non Covid illness that could take weeks to resolve. No visiting her in hospital. We are trying to formulate a plan. Ironically he works at a plastics factory churning out parts for the health service.
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