Entries Tagged as 'France'

P&O Ferries mini breaks and holidays this autumn


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Just because summer has passed doesn’t mean that all holidays are on hold until Christmas or even next year. Now is the time for those mini breaks, to stop by the cities you’ve always wanted to visit for a long weekend or surprise your partner with romantic treat, just to remind you why you work so hard. In this post we are examine some of the main reasons why you should be travelling with P&O Ferries to France this autumn.

Halloween starts early in Disneyland Paris, in fact it lasts all autumn. October first to fireworks on Bonfire night in November sees the return of Disney’s Halloween Festival. The entire park is given a makeover to draw out the chilling delights of the clandestine and darn right ghoulish side of Disney.

Everyone who’s drawn to the dark side will get a thrill at Disneyland this October, the bad guys will be out in force with daytime parades and a Halloween inspired dress up corner. Come the night of October 31st Disney’s Halloween Party. This event will grant you late access to the park from 5PM, make sure to pre-order your tickets, just £38 each and you will have the run of the park and all it’s special spooky surprises until 1AM. There is of course one proviso – everyone attending the party has to be in fancy dress, and since it’s Disney you know attendees are going to go all out, so be ready for some cosplay. For more information on costuming in Disneyland click here.

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Autumn is also harvest season and since flavour and freshness go hand in hand (most of the time), when better to visit a country famed for its gastronomy? It is likely you’ll find a heightened foodie clientele on your P&O Ferry. This is the time of year when being out doors doing things becomes less important due to the drop in temperature, and looking around for something tasty to eat with a glass of wine in your hand becomes of paramount importance. So if a Dionysian holiday is what you are looking for, France could certainly could certainly oblige you.

So we’ll start with something decidedly un-French in concept – Paris’ Oktoberfest commencing early October 5th – 14th in Paris Event Center. This will be the third iteration so all the kinks will have been worked out such as a paltry 15,000 litres of beer being swilled at the original 2015 event, we’re sure this volume will be overthrown now the occasion has garnered some momentum.

Tickets are required for entry so book ahead, though the day opens at 4PM children aren’t permitted past 6:30PM and you will need to purchase beer tokens a is custom at beer festivals (money can cause problems). Book your tickets early for discounted prices and enjoy a taste of Bavaria.

For a taste of France you might like to try a wine tour. Since this is the time of the grape harvest wine merchants will be touting their wares and it’s a good time to get the skinny on how the season has been before pre-purchasing a case of something that might be worth a fortune one day. Of course their is the tried and true alternative of getting yourself to a distillery for a tour and plenty of free samples, both equally respectable pursuits.

The major wine regions in good proximity to the port of Calais where your P&O Ferry will deliver you are Champagne, Burgundy and Loire, these being the most northerly and conveniently bordering Paris. Fans of Chablis may find it worth their while to venture a bit further south. Wine tourism in France is big business so you won’t need our help finding trusted tour bookings, most major vineyards cater for tourism and it does make for a fascinating day out.

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Montmartre’s Grape Harvest festival Fete des vendages is an excellent alternative to trekking cross country in order to drink wine. Vintners ship their wines to the capital so it may cost more but it’s the same wine. Montmartre is one of those illustrious corners of a city that teeters on the verge of total collapse under the weight of its own fame. Down and out artists, the Moulin Rouge and some some incredible views of the city attract a fair footfall to this region of the city and is therefore a brilliant site for the wine festival.

Admission is free and you can expect upwards of 40 bars and restaurants to be taking place in the festival. Montmartre’s artistic heritage makes this a lively affair with dances, shows and live performances. There is a traditional ‘Not Getting Married’ ceremony wherein couples can make a pledge to continue to live in sin and the event with a display of fireworks. Make your bookings now for the Grape Harvest Festival 11th-14th October.

Visit France this Spring with P&O Ferries, multiple channel crossings daily from Dover to Calais.

Image Credit: Ryan Blyth , Chad Sparkes , Glen Scarborough

Summer 2017 in France with P&O Ferries


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During the summer months you simply have to get out there for that vital vitamin D it will put you in good stead for what is sure to be another, seemingly endless winter. With P&O Ferries the delights of northern France, and beyond, will be opened up to you and with the ferry crossing you get the comfort and familiarity of bringing your own car along with you should you prefer not to opt for a rental.

Passage to France with P&O Ferries is 90 minute journey from Dover to Calais and you bring up to 9 nine passengers per car with most tickets, this includes any time day tickets so you won’t have to worry about arriving at the port for a specific time. You can currently book long stay tickets for as little as £39 each way.

Traditionally the south of France’s Riviera area has been where summer tourism reaches its peak, after all who doesn’t enjoy a mediterranean beach in the sun? This does tend to come with a premium however, be it the cost of travel, accommodation or gastronomy. You may not wish to go so far south having arrived at such a northerly point as Calais so there is an alternative in a little place that tends to attract a fair footfall of tourists even in the off season, namely Paris. On the banks of the river Seine a free to access beach is established complete with cocktail bars, sun loungers and sand castles. It called the Paris plage meaning ‘beach’ and is set up for the sunniest time of the year mid July to mid August. If you are drawn to France for the delights of its capital then, as you might expect a bustling major city can get a bit stifling during the height of summer so reclining at Paris Place can be just the ticket to cool you off.

It is also worth noting that some of the museums and galleries of France adjust their schedules for the summer months. Since the schools there are also closed throughout the entire month and a lot of the citizens of France use this period for their own summer holidays, cultural sites are keeping their doors open for longer to encourage more people to visit. So if you are visiting a major city in France this year you’ll be able to access notable galleries such as the Picasso Paris until late in the evening.

It makes for an excellent post evening meal opportunity to do a bit of leg work whilst feasting your eyes, and under 25 are even getting free access.

Speaking of 25 year olds, this year Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Which we have mentioned in previous posts, for more information click here The major deal is a whopping 20% off of hotel and ticket package deals. This involves a certain amount of terms and conditions but if you are booking a family trip to Disneyland this summer then it offers a good means for taking the edge off costs. Just be sure to have your booking in by July 19th. Fret not if this is all a little too short notice there are early booking deals for you to take advantage off well in to next year.

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Besides Disneyland Paris another major draw for tourists to France is its gastronomy. These summer months are by far the best time of the year to take a gourmand’s grand tour of France. The best time to enjoy the produce of France is at summer from small towns food fairs to major city food festivals you will without a doubt be able to find the best range of cheeses, meats, fresh baked goods and even sea food cuisine with a summer holiday to France. Of course France is also famous for its wines and around this time of year after Beaujolais Nouveau when the latest vintages are uncorked you are sue to find sommeliers, festivals such as the Champagne Route Festival and the White Wine and Oysters Festival exceedingly tantalising and a lot of fun once everybody has had a few.

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Tourists planning on July holidays should be forewarned that the Tour de France begins July 1st lasting until the 23rd this can make accommodations and travel troublesome not to mention that slight feeling of shame one always feels when surrounded by super fit cycling types. This year it begins in Dusseldorf heading south through a mountainous route before it bends back up to Paris. This event does peak a certain level of excitement through France though the local populace is quite used to it, if it does coincide with your trip to France making the effort to see it go past is still rewarding.

Book now for your summer holiday to France with P&O Ferries. The Dover to Calais service runs multiple times daily and can get you there in just 90 minutes

Image Credit: Tommie Hansen , Domaine Rickaert , Martin Thomas

P&O Ferries holidays in France this Spring with Disneyland deals


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Spring is a fantastic time to visit France, just as nature comes in to bloom it seems like city life starts becoming a bit more vivacious as well. In this blog we’ll be taking a look at some of the events going in the north of France this Spring as well as the special events that you won’t want to miss in Disneyland.

2017 is a special year for Disneyland Paris, the park is now 25 years old. So naturally there will be plenty of new and exciting goings on for you to treat your kids, and yourselves, for a scintillating silver anniversary.

Since these milestones only come around once every so often the good folks at Disney like to put on a bit of a bash. Therefore you will want to book ahead and fortunately a special early bookers discount is available well in to next year for you to take advantage of. For starters, if you make your booking this month, before the 26th, you will be viable for a 30% discount off your hotel, park tickets as well as a free half board meal plan for the whole party.

If that’s just a little too short notice, then try the Early Winter Booking a similar deal which covers late 2017 and early 2018. You need to make your booking prior to October for at least three days in one of the Park’s hotels. Kids under 7 years of age receive free board and you are also gifted two days and nights at the hotel absolutely free, with this deal you could turn a weekend trip in to a week long vacation. This deal is available over all half term holidays as well as the major Christmas break as well, naturally the footfall at Disneyland picks up a bit during these periods so book ahead lest you be disappointed.

If you do find that your window for visiting Disneyland is all booked up then have no fear, the advanced bookings offer (2 nights free added on) is viable for Summer 2018 dates as well.

For the 25th anniversary Disneyland will be pulling out all the stops, with Stars on Parade, a procession of all the major beloved, and perhaps a few of the more notorious, Disney favourites. The evenings will be enchanting with the Illuminations Show a blend of fireworks, lasers, music and pageantry to turn night time in to a real celebration. There is also to be a special showcase from the Disney Princesses. At the Royal Castle stage favourites like Belle, Aurora and Cinderella are hosting a ball for a Starlit Princess Waltz a spectacle that will dazzle more than just the little ones.

For more information on the goings on at Disneyland this year, click here.

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France is famous for its cuisine but your average tourist who is open minded and interested in sampling the countries wares my have a hard time finding an authentic dining experience. Nobody wants to come back from France only to answer the question ‘What did you eat?’ with ‘Well we mostly wound up in chain restaurants like we have back here’. You don’t have to spend hundreds per head in a world famous multi-michelin star restaurant, nor be overpriced and underwhelmed in a bijou Parisian tourist trap. An excellent and cost effective way to find good food in France, which isn’t tremendously difficult, is finding one of their food festivals.

Early this April 7-10 is Coulommiers’ International Cheese and Wine Fair, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. You could consider it a farmers market, much of the produce is being sold by its maker. Livestock is also put on display and a competition to guess the weight a cow named Marguerite is open to all comers adding a certain charm to the event.

This fair runs for four days attracting around 60,000 attendees. If you don’t want to leave France without sampling something truly French what better choice than wine and cheese?

For information on how to get there, click here.

In close proximity to Calais where your P&O Ferry will deliver you is the Abbeville’s Bird and Nature Festival April 8-17 this event draws a good crowd since it began back in 1991. For those of you travelling to France for its rural charms this is surely an event worth attending. If your goal is a camping holiday this will seamlessly augment your trip opening up avenues to explore France’s waterways, horseback treks cross country or woodland hikes to hear birdsong. You can also see the young seals of this season at Picardy’s Bay, though this must be supervised.

An artistic bent to this festival will exhibit sculptures and paintings as well as talks for conservation and natural aestheticism.

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Towards the end of May commemorations for the Normandy D-Day Landings are also held as a tribute to all the soldiers for their actions on June 6th 1944. A broad programme of events is planned including parachute drops, bagpipe marches, fireworks, re-enactments. Talks will be hosted and vintage vehicles for attendees to get an up close look will be available.This is an occasion of great importance and therefore draws a large crowd so book your accommodation and P&O Ferry passage well in advance.

Visit France this Spring with P&O Ferries, multiple channel crossings daily from Dover to Calais.

Image Credit: David Jafra , Vanessa Lollipop , McButh

P&O Ferries guide to 2017 and Holiday deals in France


It is never too early to start planning your holiday for 2017. We are taking a look at some of the best deals and exciting events happening in France early next year, what better way is there to shrug off 2016 than travelling abroad with P&O Ferries to cap off your festive break and start a whole new year with the pleasures of a French holiday?

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For many it is hoped that a new year will bring a new you. Be it new year’s resolutions, starting that new job or opening a new chapter on your life with someone new. Your holiday doesn’t just have to be an escape from the daily grind you can use it to nourish your mind and body. Yoga retreats are not such a new thing however the growing numbers who practice the art of mindfulness meditation has lead to mindfulness retreats. For those who are unfamiliar with ‘mindfulness’ it is essentially a form of meditation that focuses awareness. Though we are all to greater or lesser extent ‘aware’ with meditation this awareness is exercised. It has been used as a means to reduce stress and broaden one’s self. If you consider that the majority of us, for one reason or another spend a lot of time on ‘auto-pilot’ mindfulness is an excellent means of making yourself more present and therefore a little more able to empathise with others as well a capable of responding proportionately to the slings and arrows of modern living.

Your holiday in France can be spent at one of the mindfulness retreats such as Plum Village in Bordeaux. There are also centres situated in the Alpes and south-west France. It would be wise to immerse yourself in the culture before attending one of the retreats just to ensure you know what you’re signing up for.

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We all love a landmark but sometimes the fear of falling in to a tourist trap and wasting an entire day milling around in endless crowds can be can be so great that you’ll forgo seeing something iconic just to avoid queues. It is for this very purpose that Skip the Line has been invented. Since the Eiffel tower is like the hub on which all outside perspective of France rotates, if it’s your first time visiting, you will likely want to visit the tower. It’s estimated that around 7 million people go to see the Eiffel Tower each year by booking a skip the line tour for a little as £50 you can get an 1.5 hour tour. With it you get access to the first and second story for wandering at your leisure as well as, most importantly, access to the summit which with your Skip the Line booking you get without having to line up for hours.

Calling all gourmands! In 2017 for one weekend only on the 14th &15th of January is the Black Perigord Truffle Producer’s Group Truffle Festival or for short, just the ‘Truffle Festival’ at Sarlat. Sarlat le Caneda is right at the bottom of France near Bergerac. If you are just starting to discover the finer things in life or are merely a big fan of truffles then book now for your trip to Sarlat. The two day festival will host talks and workshops on preparing, identifying and appreciating truffles. There will also, of course, be a lot opportunity to sample and shop for locally sourced truffles.

Local restaurants will have their own stands on Place de Liberte where demonstrations from the chefs on how to prepare truffles and samples of ‘Croustos’ a miniature dish tapas-like can be tasted. Finally this event helps out the next generation of truffle eaters by having hosting the Jean Rougie Award for Baccalaureate students, this is a cooking competition using perigord truffles with the winning get the chance for future career advancement. For more information on this event click here

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One of the other major Winter events in France is the City of Nice’s Carnival. Make your way to the south coast for one of the brightest spectacles in Europe this side of Summer. The theme for 2017 is King of Energy what better way to rid yourself of winter’s cobwebs then taking a trip down to the riviera for a bit of mediterranean sun and a festival fun? In 2017 February 11th – 26th a grand parade of floats bursting with colour and music will proceed throughout the city of Nice with thousands of dancers and musicians. To draw you in to the pulsing crowds float rides engage in flower battles’ wherein flowers are thrown at the onlooking crowd raining colour on the whole procession. Absolutely something not to miss for more details go to the Nice Carnival website.

P&O Ferries hopes to see you in 2017 whether to take the Ferry from Dover to Calais or if you’re travelling to Holland or Belgium ferries depart multiple times a day from the port in Hull

Image Credit: gckwolfe , anne arnould , Carnaval a Nice

A very French Autumn with P&O Ferries


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Summer is all but spent and now is the time for the savvy holidayer to make the best of a not quite ‘off season’ sojourn in France with P&O Ferries.

The kids are suitably unhappy about the end of the summer holidays and it will seem, to them, like a long hard slog until Christmas. It doesn’t have to be this way though, a family break during half term, or even a long weekend could be arranged. P&O Ferries’ Dover to Calais service runs multiple times a day so you can travel at a time best suited to you. It only takes 90 minutes to cross the channel, you won’t be confined to either carriage or cabin and get panoramic ocean views, you can stretch your legs, do some shopping and the kids have designated play areas and arcades too.

Kids under 7 years of age can stay at Disneyland for free in their hotels, provided an adult will be accompanying them per room. You’ll need to book before October 3rd, a stay of 2,3 or 4 nights will reward the entire party with a up to two nights extra free as part of Disneyland’s Magic Breaks special offer.

You’ll find a journey to Disneyland far more rewarding via ferry than the alternative methods. It is just a 2.5 hour trip from the port of Calais to Disneyland’s gates, take your own car and be their in no time or book accommodation elsewhere to suit your needs.

Disneyland’s Halloween festivities run throughout October to November 2nd, so there is plenty of time to book in a half term slot, though be warned they do get competitive the closer to Halloween you leave it to book. At this time of year Disneyland is given a spooky makeover and you’ll find events from parades of favourites like Mickey to musical numbers and performances from Disney’s dastardly villains.

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Autumn is a brilliant time for short trips, while whatever lingering heat from summer remains you can still get brilliant days out in the country or the city. Those of you not chained to the school holidays can easily find cheaper prices, less crowded attractions and even a more authentic atmosphere. As the holiday season draws to a close, Paris itself becomes a bit more French, the average clientele sees fewer tourists so you get more of a Parisian’s experience of the capital than that of a day-tripper .

The further away from city centres you intend to go the more you’ll feel the end of the travelling season. Many businesses only make a profit through tourists, so it’s better to shut up shop for the off season. This, unfortunately, includes some attractions and landmarks including heritage sites like cathedrals. A positive of this is that the businesses that are open have passed a sort of litmus test, proving themselves robust and therefore good quality. After all, what’s the point of dining out in France if you aren’t sampling the finest of French food?

France isn’t just a destination for families, before winter sets in and seasonal obligations start taking up your time, plan a mini-break with the one you love. Romantic holidays in France don’t have to mean bank breaking hotels, a discrete cottage in the country, or chalet with a view could do much for your relationship, or just as a treat for the sake of it.

With the change of season, France’s countryside has a real burst of colour, travelling with your car is easy with P&O ferries, so if the weather turns against you, it won’t be too much trouble to see the country by car. However if you’re fortunate with the weather, and wish to get out and about in the country a rambling journey will also do you the world of good and help you make fond memories.

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There are plenty of resources to look to if you’re planning an outdoorsy holiday, walking around France allows you to set the tone, do as much or as little research as you feel is required. You can challenge yourself using the maps to take you beyond the reach of the modern world as well as discover little seen landmarks and old abandoned structures from bygone days.

Late summer and early autumn is also wine season. If you are partaking in a walking holiday it will be well worth your while to trek to the major wine regions of France. Get there early for some of the years first Beaujolais or if you fancy it, a hearty Burgundy. When travelling back to the UK you’ll be nearest to the Champagne region, what better way to remember your holiday than to have a little bit of it bottled for a special occasion, or perhaps New Years’? Be forewarned the picking season is serious business, so through you might get a few samples once the work is done, tourism is not the priority of vineyards during harvest season. But don’t be dismayed, you will find a booming zeal for gastronomy. As the weather starts to chill, dining habits will shift from summer grazing to heavier more satisfying stews, fresh baked bread, cheeses (and of course wine). Think bourguignon or bouillabaisse and dream of France.

Book now for your getaway holiday this Autumn with P&O Ferries, just 90 minutes across the channel from Dover to Calais!

Image Credit: Henry Ngo , Yann Coeuru , Cristian Bortes

France 2016 this Summer with P&O Ferries


This promises to be one of the most hectic summers yet for tourists to France and all for the love of the beautiful game. France is playing host to this years UEFA European Championship June 10th to July 10th 24 countries a battling it out to be crowned champs. So you know what that means, a very heavy footfall, so if you wish to make the channel crossing from Dover to Calais make sure you are well booked in advance, this goes for accommodation too!

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If your heart beats for England, most of the group matches for the Lions are between June 11th to 20th even if you can’t get tickets to the match, there are plenty of public screenings for you to attend to support our boys. The P&O Ferries are sure to be lively no matter the outcome, after the group stages are over, all bets are off but we’re sure there will be plenty for England to two in the latter stages of the competition.

If you live and breathe sport then why not combine your trip to the Euro’s with the set of of the Tour de France? On the 2nd and 3rd of July you’ll be in a prime location at the north of France to see the world’s greatest bike race set off. Making this trek will give you some great views of the French countryside. From Cherbourg and Utah beach to Mont St Michel, you’ll get to see some of the great vistas of northern France. It’s a three week bike race so make sure catch a bit of it if you happen to be in France this July.

It will be difficult indeed to avoid the furore that Euro 2016 and the Tour de France brings to France, but by no means is it impossible. With the weather now bearing down us it’s the perfect time to take a country holiday. The northern coast boasts remarkable cycling routes as well as numerous places to camp. If the rustic style isn’t your wont then have no fear the smaller towns make the lion share of their trade at this time of year so you’ll be in good company as you take easy in the north of France.

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The coast of Brittany comes highly recommended for family holidays and short break getaways. It is close enough to the port at Calais so there will be no long tedious journey homewards at the end of it all, you can enjoy the beaches temperatures can pass 18 degrees quite easily. There’s also plenty of local history, from the World Wars to the Corsair past of towns like St Malo, you’ll find castles and museums to explore as well as points of local interest.

For more information on locations such as these we urge you to look up European Heritage Days

. This is a foundation now over 30 years old, which also works in the UK too, that encourages not just tourists but locals as well to really immerse themselves in a countries history and culture. Heritage Days opens up doors to town halls and military sites, private galleries and more that are normally closed off to the public, however on these days you can not only enter, but get a tour as well.

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This summer Disneyland Paris has an outstanding deal for P&O Ferry users. Your crossing will be absolutely free terms and conditions apply but essentially a standard car with up to 9 passengers, so long as one paying adult is in attendance. For more information click here.

If you seek to avoid all the sporting hoi polloi that summer in France has to offer then travel south to the Loire Valley. This region comes highly recommended especially if you fancy yourself as a bit of a foodie or just want to sample French cuisine in a rustic setting. You can avoid the tourist traps that bistro in the country capital might have with inflated prices and sample fresh produce prepared the old fashioned way in one of the most scenic regions of France.

Book ahead for wine tastings or tours of the local abbeys and cathedrals. Take up residence in a grand chateaux and journey outwards in to Loire’s countryside and small towns and villages. The local markets offer excellent prospects for antiquing holidays, cheese connoisseurs and just about everyone in between. The Loire Valley is also an excellent place to bring the kids, there are multiple zoos and safari parks, the natural landscape makes it excellent for animal habitats, and an aquarium as well.

Book now for France’s Summer of Sport with P&O Ferries

Image Credit: Nazionale Calcio , Anne Arnould , Jeremy Thompson

P&O Ferries Guide to Holidaying in France 2016


With the January slump over now is the time to look forward to your travels in 2016. If you are after a short break or full family holiday, P&O Ferries’ Dover to Calais service can get you there. Here we are going to take a look at what you might need to know when booking your trip this year.

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The Port of Dover is a 70 mile car journey from London, using the M20 on to the A20 at Folkestone, from there it’s just a short drive up the coast. There’s also the option of using the M2 on to the A2 which will grant you the option of passing through Canterbury.

Should you wish to get to the Ferry by train then it will take about an hour from London to Dover Priory Station via HS1. From there it is a 25 minute walk to the port, there are taxis available as well as car rental services. The De Bradelei Wharf on the waterfront is a excellent spot for you to pick up any of those last minute necessities or to have a look around before boarding.

If you’re coming a long way a final rest before you make the crossing is easily done. Book accommodation at the Spa, Dover Castle or a Premier Inn, there’s plenty of choice you could even go local and take a room in one Dover’s B&B’s for something a bit more homely. Click here for more information on Dover Port Facilities .

There are five P&O Ferries currently making the 90 minute crossing from Dover to Calais: the Spirit of Britain, Spirit of France, Pride of Canterbury, Pride of Burgundy and the Pride of Kent. They run almost none stop so you can catch one roughly each hour. If your schedule is a bit fluid then consider purchasing a Flexi-ticket which will give you more options should you need to alter your booking.

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P&O Ferry Tickets

Tailor your ticket type to suit your needs. P&O Ferries offer a variety of choices:

Saver: This is for your basic crossing offering the best value, provided you travel as booked this ticket is deserving of its namesake.

Standard/Full Flexi: These tickets offer some flexibility when you travel. Be it traffic, weather or anything else you’ll be well prepared with one of these tickets. The Standard Flexi allows you to make changes to your booking without charge, same with the Full Flexi provided the registered car is the same. Both Flexi Tickets are refundable, the standard version grants you +/-4 hours from your booking time, should you arrive early or late; with the Full Flexi you can depart at your leisure on the date booked. Flexi Tickets also entitle you to 30 minutes free Wi-Fi on one device, more than enough for a 90 minute trip don’t you think?

Premier Tickets: Grant you all the benefits of a Full Flexi ticket with Wi-Fi for the duration and access to the Club Lounge.

Club Lounge: A purchasable addition to your voyage to make things run all the smoother. For as little as an additional £12 you’ll get the best views and seating, a complimentary glass of champagne or soft/hot drink served by one of the stewards. It adds a bit of luxury to your journey, perfect if you wish to unwind or travel without the crowds. Club Lounge clients have access to an exclusive menu as well as priority boarding.

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Once you Arrive

If you and kids have your eyes set on Disneyland Paris then it’s 186 miles, roughly 3.5 hours non-stop by car, most of which is a straight drive south on the A26 then A1. Have no fear this journey is well sign posted as the major route to the French capital.

Those of you in no hurry to head south should take some time to enjoy Nord-Pas-de-Calais. There are some worthy sights, Auguste Rodin’s Burghers of Calais statues have wholly different connotations in France in comparison to standing before casts outside the Houses of Parliament.

The fortress church Eglise Notre-Dame de Calais and Tour de Guet a 13th century watchtower are landmarks so easily missed by many who view Calais as a mere port city, the entrance and exit of France.

Duty Free

When you pay tax on goods in a country like France then there is no requirement to pay tax or duty on it again when it is brought to the UK. Any goods you bring must be for your own use and not used commercially There are guidelines on how much each person is allowed to bring which are best abided by, here’s the list:

3,200 Cigarettes
200 Cigars
400 Cigarillos
3 KG Tobacco
110L of Beer
90L of Wine
10L of Spirits
20L of Fortified Wine

We highly recommend you to stick to these totals and familiarise yourself with HMRC guidelines.

If you intend to use a credit card it’s best to forewarn your distributor since fraud rates have gone up shops are being more careful, if you’re at the till it’s best to know who to call before hand should you run in to difficulty. Wine and beer distributors can easily be found in directories so shop about for the best deals, you can go further afield than Calais, but there’s not much need to if you’re on a P&O Ferry Day Tripper ticket.

Safe travels for 2016, book now for passage to Calais with P&O Ferries!

Image Credit: Ingolf , Nine LaMaitre , Marc Cousin

Take to France this Winter with P&O Ferries


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What’s the best way to beat those winter blues? Shake things up a bit, that’s how. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway with your partner or the family, want to celebrate Christmas somewhere new or hope to make 2015’s New Year’s celebrations the most exciting yet we thoroughly encourage you to choose a vacation in France as the answer.

When most people think of winter holidays to France their mind immediately springs to the slopes of the Alps or perhaps Pyrenees. Worthy holidays though they may be you can get more out of France if you don’t isolate yourself to the mountains. The city streets are where things really come alive. You may run the slight risk of having the weather work against you but bear in mind Paris is one of the cultural capitals of the world there’s much to see indoors. Since tourists are less likely to be holidaying during the festive season queues at the major locations – the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral will be shortened considerably.

With Christmas on the horizon you won’t want to miss the seasonal markets that are popping up all over France. If you are just making a short trip to France before 2016 then the closest markets to Calais where P&O Ferries will be dropping you off and picking you are listed here.

France

As you may expect there is a huge Christmas market in Paris and the celebrations in Lille are also considered to be some of the grandest in France. You might also want to consider hopping the border to Belgium to take advantage of some the great markets in Brussels, Lieges or Bruges. Alternatively you could catch a P&O Ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge – it’s an overnight voyage but you’ll land straight in Belgium which will place you perfectly for day trips to both France and Holland.

If you wish to tour the northern coast of France the City of Caen is host to a sizeable Christmas market with upwards of 50 stalls, it opens late December running straight through to the new year. So you could make it a part of your New Year’s celebration and make a triumphant return to the UK for 2016. Caen is just a short way away from Mont St Michel, an historic strategic location that’ has been fortified, it has a long religious history and is listed as an UNESCO world heritage site. It’s well worth a visit and though there isn’t a Christmas market there’s plenty of shopping to be down there. It is decorated for the Christmas season though you’ll find that Mont St Michel is illuminated at night all year round.

The capital of Normandy, Rouen is also a holiday favourite for this time of year. Rouen is famous for being the site of Joan of Arc’s death in 1431 – they begin Christmas celebrations at the start of December with Christmas markets (Marche de Noel) opening in the shadow of the grand Cathedral Notre Dame of Rouen. It’s a perfect place to visit whether you wish to embrace the spiritual side of the holiday, want to do some Christmas shopping or hope to keep the kids entertained with the skating rinks.

France

The major christmas market to visit in north France is in Lille – there are around 3900 in this city, if you can’t find the perfect gift here then you simply aren’t trying hard enough. This city lights up in December with an 18m ferris wheel, ice-rink and dozens of specially erected Christmas chalets built up in the city centre. Each of these chalets is meticulously designed and laid out by the provender, the overall effect of this market will bring a smile to every face. The sights and smells of Christmas along with the copious amounts of carolling and festive feasting make Lille a true centre of the Christmas spirit.

If, however, your intention is to get to the beating heart of the season and sup deep of the good cheer that vibrates across us all then the place for you to be this Christmas is Strasbourg. The city is close on the border to Germany, and therefore has a fantastic cultural mesh, Christmas unites and at Strasbourg you’ll find it seamless.

This year the markets in Strasbourg open on November 27th and are open through to New Year’s Eve. It has the honour of being the traditional city of Christmas markets since it was the site of the very first seasonal event way back in 1570. It was then known as Christkindelsmärik or ‘Market of the infant Jesus’ and it has been growing ever since. As well as the traditional tree you’ll find it hard to miss the extensive light displays, ferris wheel three hundred square meter ice-rink. Entry is free for children and the market opens from 10AM to 8PM every day. This is one of the largest Christmas events in Europe with an anticipated footfall of 2 million people all in all, there are 300 chalets established for the sale of goods and they’re all in fierce competition with each other to be the most festival stalls at the market.

Weather this winter in France with P&O Ferries, the Dover to Calais service will get you their to celebrate Christmas on the continent!

Image Credit: Panoramas , LenDog64 , Mike Norton

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