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Updated: 17 min 33 sec ago

Re: Shabby small town French hotels

1 hour 27 min ago
Reason was the increasingly stringent regulations

probably explains it , also why B&B are relatively expensive in UK. Once places are listed, they're subject to all sorts of regulations. We have stayed in some potential death traps over the years thinking about it, but have also stayed in some rather wonderful Chambres d'Hotes. I wonder if a some of the bars / cafes' in France still offer accommodation on demand, but just don't advertise it.

Re: mobile phone options for Europe

2 hours 33 min ago
I am going to opt into the Vodafone £3 a day option on my 7 day trip to Brittany. That allows me to use my monthly tariff of 100 minutes, unlimited texts and
1gb of data. If I don't connect on some days the £3 is not charged. I shall take advantage of free WiFi where I can. Can't be bothered with Simms etc

Al

Re: Shabby small town French hotels

2 hours 41 min ago
Several years ago (and I would expect little has changed), the trend in accommodation in France was slowly moving towards gites; hotels, etc. becoming less common as they became more expensive. Reason was the increasingly stringent regulations meaning operators had to charge more or, as they did not comply with regs close (due to costs meeting the regs). Gites however are not included in the same regs (and actually had a pretty beneficial tax basis as they were designed more for farmers to convert a few old barns to supplement their income).

It was brought home to me when I sold my place there and the Dossier Diagnostique Technique report identified some lead in some of the doors (that had actually had the paint stripped). Apparently the levels were low and not relevant to the house being used as a residence but were I to let the property out (rental or any "paying guests") then the doors would have to be sorted and re-tested.

Ian

Re: Shabby small town French hotels

3 hours 55 min ago
I've a fondness for small shabby hotels in French towns although I admit I found the F1 chain hotels great for touring in that they allowed one to keep bike and trailer in the room.
That said, I did spend a night in a run-down Brothel/Bar in Rouen when I couldn't find any other accommodation. Not bad apart from the wash-hand basin coming away from the wall.....good breakfast too.

Re: mobile phone options for Europe

4 hours 49 min ago
nmnm wrote:georgew wrote:No sign of "Book of the Web " in Amazon's Kindle store. Is this the correct title?
Number one result if you type Book of the Web on google uk site.

Found it now. Thanks.

Re: mobile phone options for Europe

5 hours 12 min ago
Try toggle mobile. Their call rate is 3p per minute but not sure of the data cost at present.

Re: mobile phone options for Europe

6 hours 48 min ago
bikes4two wrote:randomblue wrote:..........the best I've found is £1/20MB (to be used in one day) from EE payg. You can get the SIM itself free from their website. Works out to be 5p/MB which is much much better than the 45p+ you'd be paying on other networks or on 3 in non feel-at-home countries!!

Will let you know what the cheapest French sim works out to be =)

The above tariff of £1/20Mb is for Pay Monthly accounts, not PAYG. If you are PAYG it is £35 for 200Mb valid for 30 days or £10 for 50Mb valid for 30 days. Link is here - be sure to press the PAY AS YOU GO tab on the web page.temp1.jpg

I thought that at first too, but if you go to this page select EE and put in Germany for example (or France or Spain etc), when you hit enter, on the page for the country you entered there are 3 tabs just under the country name and if you select pay as you go and scroll down a little on the right hand side there are roaming data bundles, including 20MB/£1 over 24 hours, 100MB/£3 over 24 hours or 200MB/£35 over 1 month.

For some reason the options and costs don't seem to be consistent across EE, Orange and T-mobile so you have to make sure its on EE and not one of the other two! Looks like on the page you added a picture of it's got t-mobile selected =) I imagine having better/more varied deals on EE is an attempt to get new customers to go for that so its easier to merge old customers into the new system.

Re: Shabby small town French hotels

11 hours 21 min ago
Hmmm - dodgy hotels...
My worst was in Nyalam - rats living in the bases of the beds, toilets (such as they were) across a courtyard with a fierce guard dog, and locked in overnight (probably because of the dog). The saggy beds were as nothing.
Then I've had a hotel in Santiago (Chile) whose main business turned out to be as a brothel. In that case the saggy bed had been fixed by putting an old door under the (thin) mattress. The electrics in Chile were generally pretty dodgy - things like warm water for the shower being created by wrapping a naked electric fire heating element round the pipe to the shower head.
Closer to home, I've had a few in Spain - this one (streetview) did the saggy beds and non-working plumbing, but the food was good even if the formerly magnificent dining room was starting to fall apart, and in one place we got parked in an airless, shabby annexe about 100m off, that ended up with me taking all my bedding up the ladder onto the roof.
I've done a prison cell too, in Namur. The locks had been taken off the cell doors, but the windows still had the bars. Still, it worked quite well - we had the wing to ourselves so we saved money by taking over the dining room and bringing in supermarket beer rather than drinking in bars.

All the French hotels I've used have been quite good, but that's mostly because the hotels were all on organised tours (Raid Pyreneen, 2 x CTC tours & one club tour). If I'm not on an organised tour, I camp.

Re: mobile phone options for Europe

11 hours 42 min ago
georgew wrote:No sign of "Book of the Web " in Amazon's Kindle store. Is this the correct title?
Number one result if you type Book of the Web on google uk site.

Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

12 hours 47 min ago
You can have quite a nice day by doing the Aubisque and the Tourmalet together. I camped at a site a little past Bonne Eaux, (at Iscoo, site of the 1912 Downhill Skiing world cup or similar!) then set off up the Aubisque in the morning. Iscoo is near the 11km to go marker, so you're past the Aubisque about two hours after the campsite. There was a bit of food shopping (supermarket too) between the two cols, and once over the Tourmalet, Campan had a campsite for the evening. Terrific!

I enjoyed doing the Ventoux too. I think the Tourmalet was a bit harder - I did have the camping gear with me - but at 5mph, they're all fine if the weather holds.

Re: mobile phone options for Europe

13 hours 19 min ago
randomblue wrote:..........the best I've found is £1/20MB (to be used in one day) from EE payg. You can get the SIM itself free from their website. Works out to be 5p/MB which is much much better than the 45p+ you'd be paying on other networks or on 3 in non feel-at-home countries!!

Will let you know what the cheapest French sim works out to be =)

The above tariff of £1/20Mb is for Pay Monthly accounts, not PAYG. If you are PAYG it is £35 for 200Mb valid for 30 days or £10 for 50Mb valid for 30 days. Link is here - be sure to press the PAY AS YOU GO tab on the web page.temp1.jpg

Re: Shabby small town French hotels

13 hours 21 min ago
I stayed in a pretty cheap, pretty rough Moroccan-run hotel on the outskirts of Valence last summer. Not half as cheap and rough though, as the prison cell I paid €11 for in Algeciras the year before!

Re: Dog trailers

22 April 2014 - 11:58pm
Thanks, I had seen those. I wabnted to know if anyone in the UK had bought a trailer, gone touring, and which one. Obviously not, at least no one on CTC or this forum! Thanks all the same.

Re: A question for the ladies

22 April 2014 - 11:39pm
Just go - as often as you can while you can - you'll never regret it. Touring alone is lovely, you meet many more people than you do when in a couple or group (sometimes it's hard to get any peace in my experience!) I've been doing it for 30 years, & haven't had any bad experiences apart from the usual weather ups & downs. As for the bra thing, I don't find my usual wired bras comfortable for long on a bike, so go for padded sports bras in the winter (not the death-struggle ShockAbsorber type - I save those for mountain biking) & lighter semi-sports moulded style (i.e. no stitching) comfort bras with wider straps in the summer. I avoid cheaper sports bras with thick elastic around the bottom - the cotton gets cold when you sweat, & I got a blister from one of those once - most unwelcome. Have a great time - I'm very envious of you organising 4 months off.

Re: Shabby small town French hotels

22 April 2014 - 11:26pm
Chamber d'hotes certainly exist. The hotels are mostly a bit more upmarket but saggy beds can still be found if you look. The chain hotels like Comfort can be found on the outskirts of some towns but the local tourist office, if you can find it open, is the best place to ask for budget accommodation.

Shabby small town French hotels

22 April 2014 - 10:57pm
My first cycling trip to Normandy / Brittany was 1986, we took a small tent but no sleeping mats. After two uncomfortable nights we moved into small town hotels. Saggy beds, dodgy plumbing, wallpapered doors, and threadbare carpets. We used these as stopovers for years (not necessarily cycle touring) until we discovered BB hotels and Chambres d'Hotes. Do such places still exist? I've been looking in vain revisiting town squares on Streetview - I reckon most have gone.

Re: Ah well! B&B it is then!

22 April 2014 - 10:28pm
You will know it's a sign of getting old if you still take the tent.

Ah well! B&B it is then!

22 April 2014 - 10:12pm
Off for a jaunt around Normandy next week. A seven day solo trip doing the 'Avenue Verte' to just before Paris, then heading down to Monet Country and up to the Normandy beaches. Just been on the web looking for campsites along the route and came off the computer having booked B&Bs all along the way. Is that a sign of getting old or what?

Re: prevailing winds France and Spain

22 April 2014 - 9:56pm
This is a wonderful animation of wind direction http://earth.nullschool.net

Re: Tourmalet vs Ventoux

22 April 2014 - 9:46pm
Agree with Bikepacker, from Malaucène is the hardest way up the Ventoux - but it's by far the most beautiful. The view is superb. There's one slightly demoralizing point when you suddenly have the relay tower looming over you and think "my god, it's still that far away", then you round a bend and the road seems to go straight up. My heart hit 170 bpm at that point.

The Tourmalet, from Luz, is boring. It's a steady 8% slog with a flat bit at Barèges. The Ventoux has more variety. I've done it two and a half times, the half being to see the Dauphiné Libéré time trial at Châlet Reynard, and loved it every time.

Here's a piccy:


This was stitched together from several frames - that's the same car & cyclist all the way up.

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