Touring Tips - France

[ tent ] Supermarket Wine Fair

Watch out for supermarket wine fair promotions. The E.Leclerc supermarkets often have tents on the car park, like this one packed full of wine. Go in and try before you buy. Beware of the prices for the top Chateau as you can often do better in the UK but for mid-range and cheaper there are bargains to be had - so TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE!!
[ breakfast ] A ShropMog Breakfast
Fancy a good claret? At a bargain price? Not only for breakfast...
Chateau d'Arsac has a generic Haut-Medoc classification but the property is located in the Margaux region. It would appear that when the Margaux classification was set up, there were no vines planted, so the owners did not bother to apply for the Margaux AC classification.
To cut to the chase, this means that we can buy what is a Margaux wine in all-but-name, for an Haut-Medoc price. It is usually available in the E.Leclerc supermarkets for about 9 Euros. More recently, part of the vineyard has been classified Margaux and this has started to appear in Auchan supermarkets, at nearly twice the price!
Of the vintages still available, the 2000 is excellent; the 1998 is good and fruity (from 2005); the 1996 is a powerful wine with a good length (drinking well now).
There is also a very good second-label "Chateau le Monteil d'Arsac" at around 6 Euros. For more information about the Chateau d'Arsac, click here.

[ B&B Hotel ] Budget Hotel Accommodation
After a long drive back to the French ferry port, why not take a cheap overnight hotel and catch the early morning ferry? Especially those of us who have a 3 or 4 hour drive home, back in England.
There are a number of budget brand hotel chains in France, this is one of the B&B's. Rooms are en-suite with a TV. (The last time I had a room with a twin and a TV, I finished sharing with Reggie Cray and Danny LaRue!) The car park has overnight security barriers and rooms are usually about 30 euros. The hotels are often found near the hypermarket complexes, on the outskirts of town. If you don't want to drive into town, you can eat in a "fast-food" outlet, or even picnic (no, this isn't a snack from room service!) They offer a buffet style breakfast which is super value at about 3 euros per person. This will include coffee, Corn Flakes, Bread, Juice, plus hot bacon and scrambled eggs. You can even make reservations on the internet.

A similar chain is called Etap, again they offer budget accommodation, TV and a value breakfast.

You will find a link to the B&B and Etap web sites on our LINKS page.

[ Mobil 1 ] Discount Motor Oil
Consider making room to bring back some motor oil. It is stocked in all of the French supermarkets. I stock up with Mobil1 at about half the UK price (cheaper than the American imported oil advertised in Miscellany!).
[ warning ] Speeding in France
New legislation (October 2000) allows the French police to confiscate licences of foreign drivers caught travelling at 40kph over the limit. The decision will be left to the individual policeman but it could leave some motorists stranded, if travelling alone.