Portmouth to St. Malo (Brittany
Ferries). The most direct route, which involves the least driving in France, starts at St. Malo. The night crossing
from Portsmouth to St. Malo with Brittany Ferries takes 11 hours and arrives 8 a.m. (French time); the distance to Royan is
280 miles and takes about 5 hours to drive. Follow the N137 to Nantes. The ring road around Nantes will save you some time
if the traffic is heavy and then continue on the N137 to Royan. Alternatively join the new A83 motorway from Nantes to Niort
which links up with the A10 to Saintes (direction Bordeaux). This is the easiest route to drive but is about 30 miles longer
than the following routes.
most direct route is to join the A83 and leave it at junction 7 signposted to La Rochelle. About half of this road to La Rochelle
and Rochefort is dual carriageway. However, during the peak holiday season there are always long queues at Marans which are
best avoided. If you like D-roads take the turn off to St. Radegonde and Villedoux (D10, D9) and join the N137 just to the
North of La Rochelle. This route takes you through the southern marais and canal system and is a pleasant drive.
If you want to explore the region then continue on the A83 and
leave at junction 8 and travel to Maillezais. If you have time for lunch then try the Restaurant situated under trees
in the tiny port at the head of the canal. Nearby is the huge 12th century Abbaye du Marais. This is a great spot and is worth
a day trip. Then continue on the D15 to Courcon; the D116 to Forges and Rochefort. The roads are good and quiet but the journey
may take about half an hour longer than the previous route.
Portsmouth to Cherbourg (Brittany Ferries). The day crossing time is
4.45 hours and the 380-mile drive takes 6-8 hours. Go through St. Lo, Avranches, and Rennes and join the N137.
Portsmouth to Le Havre: (Brittany Ferries).
The crossing time is 6.0 hours; the distance to Royan is about miles 370 and again takes 6-8 hours. The most direct route,
avoiding toll motorways, is Liseaux via the Pont de Normandy, Alencon, Le Man, Saumur, Niort, Parthenay and Rochefort. All
the towns are by-passed and the roads are very good. Or you can go from Le Mans to Tours and join the motorway to Saintes.
Portsmouth to Ouistrehem (Caen):(Brittany
Ferries). The crossing time is 6.0 hours and the drive takes 6-8 hours.
Portsmouth to Le havre: LD Lines.The crossing time is 6.0 hours and the drive takes 6-8 hours.
Dieppe: LD Lines.The crossing time is 3.5 hours , and the drive takes 6-9 hours.
Boulogne: LD Lines. The crossing time is 2 hours.
Dover to Calais. This is the shortest
sea crossing (1.25 hours) but the distance from Calais to Royan is about 500 miles and takes 7-10 hours. Using the motorway
to Saintes via Paris will cut travel time but costs approximately E55 .
P&O Ferries. Only now cross from Dover
Condor Ferries. Have crossings from Portmouth and Pool. They have both ferries and catamarans, the latter
cuts crossing times by about a half.
Norfolkline travel from Calais to Dunkerique and their fares are considerably lower than the other companies
operating out of Dover.
Ferrysavers.com can offer a wide range of crossings
at reduced prices.
Le Havre, Cherbourg, Caen and St. Malo are linked to the South by dual carriageways and motorways and travel times have dropped
quite significantly during the past decade. New motorways from Le Havre to Alencon and Rouen to Alencon are now completed.
If you take an afternoon crossing you may prefer
to find a hotel for the night, use the 'Logis de France' Hotel guide for good, inexpensive hotels. There are also
dozens of Ibis and Formule 1 hotels throughout France which are reasonably priced.