Motoring

Time to think of travelling in 2021?

Hugh Maguire revisits a trip to France in the pre-Covid era

Hugh Maguire

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Hugh Maguire

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Time to think of travelling in 2021?

Its December, we are in level 3 now, but we all need something to look forward to. How about planning a trip to France for next spring or summer? Here I revisit a trip to France before we knew or heard of “Covid 19”!

Irish ferries have a new super ferry operating to Cherbourg from Dublin Port and I have been on board pre Covid times to check it out. Irish Ferries have dropped the Rosslare to Cherboug route and moved it to Dublin using their new Ferry the WB Yeats which replaced the ageing Oscar Wilde.

First of all a few pointers. Driving in France is easy. The roads are excellent, the signposting is superb, if you get lost it will be your fault, follow and trust the sign directions and you would never need Sat Nav. Also obey the speed limits. There are plenty of cameras and the fines are on the spot in many cases!

Before you go there are a few simple preparations to make regarding your car to keep you legal.

I am not going to tell you to have the car serviced etc, but be sensible, check it over from tyres to lights before you go.

In France you must now by law carry your cars original registration book, original certificate of insurance (not just the windscreen disc) and you must of course have a valid driving licence. In addition French law requires you to carry a reflective yellow jacket in case of a breakdown. Please note this must be available in the cabin of the car not stored in the boot.

Furthermore you must carry an alcohol breathaliser kit to self test your alcohol limit if you are in doubt. The French level is very low at .50g now so be careful of “day after” driving! A warning triangle is mandatory and must be placed 30m behind your car in the event of a breakdown or accident and finally the European Good Samaritan law which in effect states anyone must stop at an accident or incident to offer assistance if no other help is present means you must also carry a First aid Kit.

All of the above is easy to get on board the ship. I bought all I needed including the stickers to block your lights from causing dazzle to others for under €40.00. (The simple transparent stickers for your lights are very important as without them legally in France the car can be deemed “unfit” for the road and therefore could invalidate your car insurance)

My journey started in Dublin Port with a quick and fuss free boarding of the new WB Yeats.

The WB Yeats is a fine new ship. The cabins range from two berth with no window right up to suites. My two berth proved perfect, neat simple and clean. It had a small sink, shower, and a TV.

Aboard the ship there is plenty to do to keep all entertained. There is the Abbey and Peacock cinema and lounge, The Maud Gonne bar and lounge, The Hazel Wood quiet lounge, Boylan’s Brasserie, Cafe Lafayette and a huge promenade deck. There is also an excellent fine dining Restaurant The Lady Gregory which is white table cloths, and a full waiter service...you get the idea!

The staff were fantastic, very friendly and helpful and the ship was kept spotlessly clean throughout the 18 hour voyage.

The disembarking is equally well managed by the crew with people directed to their car decks by staff even if you forget to check the handy sticker on your suitcase which tells you exactly where your car is parked on board.

Overall then what did I feel after my brief motoring trip to France?

Highly recommended!

As one passenger told me their holiday starts the minute they board the WB Yeats and does not end until they disembark in Dublin Port.

Yes I really enjoyed it. The relaxed pace of the traveling, no fuss, the ability to carry everything you want without restrictions, and of course the fun of stocking up with some great value French wine for your return home.

The Irish Ferries experience was really very good indeed, and having tasted the whiff of adventure on this trip I am already planning a longer adventure for the next one.

Try it and you might never want to see an airport again!