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Posts Tagged ‘ferry’

Visiting Mont-Saint-Michel

Posted by dan on November 26, 2010

Mont Saint-Michel is the highlight of the region, but there is much more to see. The best way to visit the sights is definitely by car – this gives the flexibility and freedom to explore the area and stay wherever one decides to stay.

Organized tours are also a convenient way for getting to the main sights as you don’t have to worry about logistics in advance and worry if the trip will work out well.

You can rent a car and there are many tour operators in the regional cities, such as Cherbourg, Caen, Roscoff, St Malo, Bayeux or Rennes. You can get to these places by train within France and/or by ferry from the UK.

Although very infrequent, public transport is also an option, at least to some of the main sights such as Mont-Saint-Michel (MSM). You can arrange the tickets in advance for longer trips and you can take local services without  advance booking.

MSM can be connected to Paris using the combination of the TGV fast train and local buses. The whole trip can be booked online in advance on the http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/ or http://www.voyages-sncf.com websites. For further info see blog post: SNCF – booking trains in France .

Visiting MSM from the coastal town of Saint-Malo, itself a worthy destination, is even simpler. Saint-Malo can be reached by TGV directly (SNCF – booking trains in France) or by ferry from the UK on the http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk website. For further info see blog post: Brittany Ferries – crossing the Channel .

From Saint-Malo there are two buses a day to MSM, departing from the railway station (Gare TGV) at 9:40 and 16:30 – the bus also stops a few minutes later at the tourist information office (Saint-Vincent), which is 5 minutes walk from the ferry terminal. You have to change bus at Pontorson railway station but there are connecting buses. If you take the morning bus from Saint-Malo, you can get back the same day at 15:45 from MSM or 16:25 from Pontorson. If you take the afternoon bus, you can get back the following day at 9:20 from MSM or 9:55 from Pontorson. If time permitting, the overnight visit is better – you can see the mont at sunset, illuminated at night and early morning – the best colours and least crowds – and at different tides. There is a wide selection of accommodation in the area including MSM itself. The fare for the whole bus trip from/to Saint-Malo is 5.50 euro one way.


Travel TipBooking trains in France: http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/ or http://www.voyages-sncf.com
.

Ferry from/to UK: http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk

See also blog posts: Saint-Malo , Mont Saint-Michel SNCF – booking trains in France , Brittany Ferries – crossing the Channel

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Posted in France, Travel tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Connecting Paris and London

Posted by dan on November 18, 2010

Paris and London are some of the highlights for many visitors to Europe, along with other popular destinations such as Rome, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich and Vienna. While most of these cities are some distance apart and it is more convenient to fly between them if someone is constrained by time, London and Paris can be easily connected by different means.

Budget flights: There is a number of budget airlines which offer very cheap rates, but considering the time and costs of transfers, probably the best way to connect Paris and London is by the Eurostar train service.
Travel TipMore info on budget flights: see blog post

Eurostar at St Pancras railway station

Eurostar at St Pancras railway station. Image: Oxyman, Wikipedia

Eurostar train: One of the easiest and fastest way to connect the two capitals is by the Eurostar train, which takes a little less than 2.5 hrs. The biggest advantage is that you can start in the center of one city, and arrive in the center in the other one (St. Pancrass station and Gare du Nord), saving you time and money. Considering transfer times and costs, it is very competitive – and probably better – than the budget flights. You have to book as early as you can to get the best rates, but making a test booking today for only one week ahead (November 25) I found the cheapest rate, for the early morning service, was £39.00 – not bad at all.

Travel TipCheck rates and book tickets: http://www.eurostar.com/

About Eurostar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurostar

See also blog posts: Connecting Paris and London by Eurostar and Hotels around Gare du Nord

Euroline coach: Coach journeys tend to be more tiring than traveling by train, but this is not necessarily true for the Euroline coach. Although their buses are slower than the Eurostar train, you have the chance to get out on the ferry and breath some fresh air or have a drink in the bar. You will pass the White Cliffs of Dover, an impressive sight.

Travel TipCheck rates and book tickets: http://www.eurolines.com/

Brittany Ferries, connecting the UK, Spain and France

A Brittany Ferry sailing out from Portsmouth, UK to France

Coach-ferry-train combo: This is the slowest and probably the most expensive of the options – but this is the most interesting and it can still be done fairly cheaply. From London you can take a coach or train to one of the port cities in the south – Portsmouth, Poole or Plymouth – and take the ferry from there to either Caen, Cherbourg, St Malo or Roscoff. An interesting route would be London to Portsmouth by train or coach – the closest destination to London – then a ferry to St. Malo, with a side trip by bus to Mont Saint-Michel, and then onto Paris by train.

Travel TipCheck rates and book tickets for the ferry: http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/

See also blog posts: Brittany Ferries – crossing the Channel , Long distance coaches in the UK and Booking trains in France

Connection

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On the road again…

Posted by dan on November 9, 2010

Dan in Old PortsmouthAfter a 4-month break it was again time to go for a walkabout – first to one of my favorite locations, Paris, and then onto visiting friends in the UK. I’m staying in Portsmouth at the moment, but the plans don’t end here. Based mostly in Vienna these days, it won’t be difficult to revisit France, the UK, Italy, Spain or wherever I feel like to go – when I feel like to go.

Sitting in the harbour of Old Portsmouth from where the “first” Australians sailed out. The area reminds me of the Rocks and Circular Quay, and the striking modern structure of the Spinnaker Tower behind is like the Opera House in a way. Still, it is a long way from Sydney… and not even that close to Edinburgh. France, however, is just across the water.

Facts about Portsmouth

· Portsmouth is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1090 detailing Bocheland (Buckland), Copenore (Copnor) and Frodentone (Fratton).

· In 1775 Captain Cook arrived in Portsmouth aboard the Endeavour after circumnavigating the world.

· In 1787 Captain Bligh of the Bounty set sail from Portsmouth.

· In 1787 the first fleet of transport taking convicts to Botany Bay left Portsmouth in HMS Sirius – and the following year set up the first colony in Australia.

· Southsea beach and Portsmouth Harbour were military embarkation points for the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.

More info about the history of Portsmouth:

http://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/yourcouncil/6408.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsmouth

Posted in Australia, UK | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »