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Home to Serre Che on one tank of gas and fastest ever journey!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Took the Portsmouth Le Havre Ferry on Tuesday night (23:15) with a dog friendly cabin for les chiens.

Few drinks on board and a good nights sleep and then nice and relaxed in the morning not having to get up at sparrows fart, we were warned that the ferry would be docking an hour (09:15) later than normal (08:15) due to the exceptional big spring tides. We passed on breakfast which seemed good value at £4.95 for full English.

Great thing about Portsmouth is that it is only 40mins drive that time of night from home.

Eventually disembarked circa 09:50 - out of Le Havre. You don't have the immediacy of the auto-route like Calais though.

Closer to Paris I followed the signs for Lyon from rather than listen to the GPS and did seem to be very different to the route(s) I'd taken before. Basically A13, A12 (avoiding the tunnel), then A86, N118 and finally N104 before picking up the A6 a couple of km before the start of the Peage.

All the above had me thinking that must be cheaper as I was not on a peage for that long from La Havre.

Lyon was around five and a half hours and so much faster than Calais it seemed.

Hit Grenoble at 17:00 in time for rush hour so lost half an hour there but parked up in Serre at 18:30 on one tank of gas from home in the UK which was amazing!#

So what with the petrol and not so much peage must be cheaper, though obviously ferry costs more, but if travelling down from up North would be a good way of doing the trip ?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You should have joined us for a curry night .
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
We've done Rotterdam to Hull (from Radstadt, Austria) to visit friends and relatives up north.
Apart from the beautiful greeting from Hull prison as soon as you drive off of the ferry (and the long waits in port when you are on the boat... not a big problem for us but the time adds up for the doggy!) it was a good option for us.

It took us only 9 hours to drive to Rotterdam (as it was a Sunday there were no HGV's through Austria and Germany).
Then we had a sleep and rather than the long schlep up from Dover we were only an hour or so away from our final destination.

I think it may open up many doors for people that do drive down to Austria as if you need a sleep enroute why not take one whilst still travelling?

(Although when I do that whilst driving, the wife does get a tad annoyed)
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If we had to leave dogs in ourcar or onboard kennel on an overnight ferry, it wouldn't be an option, and to get to Le Havre (and the ferry with dog-friendly cabins) for 11pm would mean leaving work early, which for us would mean taking the day off. I would rather be on my way and having dinner in a nice French hotel. We would do NCL -AMS if it wasn't such a long trip for the dogs.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Weathercam, So you left home at, say 21:30 and got to Serre Chevalier at 18:30, which at 20 hours seems a pretty long time to me. I do not think Birmingham to Les Arcs has ever taken that long and I think my record is something like 14.5 hours (I was lucky with the tunnel). I used to do Portsmouth/Le Havre and to St. Malo a long time ago on my motor bike, but now with sharing the driving the very short Dover/Calais crossing is better.

Incidently what is the car with the large range?
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We use the Portsmouth routes whenever we have the chance for the simple reason that we enjoy the crossing and it feels like having a longer holiday. It is also easier for us to get to Portsmouth than Dover.

Baie de Seine is the better boat on the Le Havre route but it only goes on Thursdays.

We have booked the Caen crossing for our next ski trip so I will be looking up Weathercam's route round Paris. Very Happy The fares and cabins are cheaper in the winter. Very Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@johnE, as snowymum says the ferry crossing is rather enjoyable - and seems far less stressful.

Leaving home at 21:30 is no hassle, as is having a few drinks on board and then going to bed, getting up at 08:00 was also rather good.

If I was to get to Serre for 18:30 I'd have to get up at 04:30 to drive to get an 07:00 tunnel crossing - and my last three tunnel trips have been plagued with delays.

Portsmouth just seems far less stress - though think I must be getting old rolling eyes

I drive a VW T5 Kombi SWB

PS my record to Calais from Serre is nigh on a similar time in the summer that had me leaving Serre at 06:00 and missing Grenoble rush hour as it was the height of summer and I was early, plus was driving rather quick.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I used to really enjoy the longer ferry crossings (sleeping under tables in the bar!) and to be honest I find the unrelaiblity of the tunnel a real bind but what, I suspect really swung it for us was the M25. Before that was built we would do anything to avoid Dover. I think my favourite crossing was Harwich/Hoek, but the Plymouth/ St Malo was also a pleasnat experience. Having done probably over 100 ferry crossings I only had one rough one - Bergan/Newcastle in late September
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@Weathercam, what is the situation now with the new section of road at the bottom of Les deux alpes around the lake onto the lautaret?
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The problem for me with the non Dover Calais crossings is the infrequency of the crossings, the first year we drove to Andorra, we did Newhaven - Dieppe but nearly missed the ferry due to the M25 being blocked by an accident, on the way back we misjudged the time and ended up sat at Dieppe for 5 hrs waiting for the ferry, had it been Dover - Calais, we could have quickly got an earlier / later ferry
I think if you live quite close to Hull, Portsmouth etc, it's more attractive to do those crossings, though the idea of a cabin and proper bed to sleep in halfway through the journey is appealing rather than 20 min sat up in a car seat in the tunnel.
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@Matrski, the new section of tunnel should be open for the start of the season according to local news reports. The relief road used last winter is still in use until it is completed.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Hells Bells, think they're only talking about one way and alternate traffic flow if the relief road is shut due to bad conditions.

Signs in Grenoble and before still saying road closed and go via Gap though the nearer you get the gantry signs say it is open but with restrictions, eg camper vans etc but still a tad nerve wracking, kept thinking if they were working on the road and it was shut would have to play the card "I'm visiting friends in La Grave who own a hotel" and then ring them up to help me plead special circumstances !!!!

Galibier was still shut yesterday along with Izoard though meant to be open later today for the half term traffic, that's if there's no more snow.
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Quote:

I drive a VW T5 Kombi SWB


Ah -does that explain why you avoided the tunnel on the A86. I was wondering about that Toofy Grin
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I note a few of the "locals" @Hells Bells @Weathercam @KenX have posted in here about the drive to Serre Che. Investigating a Christmas trip to Serre Che and was wondering what route I need to take for the last bit. Will I have to drive up and over via Montgenevre? or is it via Grenoble. As much detail as possible please. Also can I take it as given that the roads will be busy Sat and Sun 22/23rd Dec? Any advice most welcome
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@RetroBod, the new tunnel will be completed before Christmas, so the route to take is Grenoble-Vizille-Bourg D'Oisans-La Grave-Serre Che via the D1091. Yes the roads will be busy on Saturday, but may be better on Sunday.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hells Bells wrote:
@RetroBod, the new tunnel will be completed before Christmas
@Hells Bells Thanks for the quick reply! Will this be weather proof (in as far as any driving in winter is)? Where is the tunnel to and from?


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 18-11-17 10:01; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The tunnel is along the side of the Lac du Chambon. It's only failry short, but there was a landslide there a couple of winters ago, and they've been reparing it. This road goes via the Col du Lauteret.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Google Maps link https://goo.gl/maps/4RibLU5jx7N2
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Thanks,
Ah, I saw the road closed symbols on google maps and remember it being talked about on snowHead. Wasn't sure if you still had to go over the col. If the Col du Lauteret is closed is the Gap route an option? Depending on severity I guess but wondered if the Gap route is easier to keep open.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@RetroBod, the Gap route is a bit lower, so less likely to be snow bound. We have used it on a couple of occasions when Col was closed and needed to get to Grenoble rather than bypass it as you would do if you used the Col de Montgenevre and Tunnel de Frejus.
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Tunnel opens 15th December - was still really nerve racking driving here last Wed with all the signs still blacked out and gantry signs saying road was closed etc etc
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Were you able to use the tunnel then?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Weathercam wrote:
Tunnel OPENS 15th December
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@RetroBod, there's a relief road in operation at the moment until the tunnel reopens
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