Categories
Denmark Europe Featured France Germany Hungary Italy

Forget Paris: the alternative Valentine’s Day guide

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Forget Paris! Venice? Too predictable. If you’re thinking of heading off with your beloved this Valentine’s Day, we’ve come up with some alternative romantic destinations. You’ll LOVE them!

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”BUDAPEST” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22354″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The River Danube divides the Hungarian capital into the hilly Buda district to the west and the flatter Pest in the east. The city is connected by the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and boasts plenty of romantic cityscapes, ideal for getting down on one knee and popping the big question: “Will we change our Facebook status to ‘In a relationship’?”

What to do:

Budapest is a very easy city to explore by foot. Start your day buying snacks or trinkets in Great Market Hall at the Pest end of Szabadság Bridge and then hop on a sightseeing bus to help you get your bearings. Some hop-on-hop-off bus tours even include a river cruise. Disembark at Margaret Island, a verdant parkland in the city, hire bikes or golf carts pimped to look like mini Rolls Royces and explore. You can even enjoy a thermal spa experience in the park itself! In the evening, throw on your ballgown or tux and enjoy a night at the Hungarian State Opera, which is housed in an impressive neo-Renaissance building.

Getting there:

There are direct flights from Dublin but you will have stopovers if flying from Cork and Shannon.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”LYON” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22356″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Located in eastern France, Lyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has plenty to offer lovebirds looking to make memories. More importantly, the city will provide you with stunning backdrops with which to update your social media.

What to do:

Pay a visit to the magnificent Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and you will be rewarded with stunning views from its vantage point over the city. Whilst there, you can dine at the Restaurant de Fourvière and survey all below from the giant panoramic bay windows. Go for romantic strolls around Place Bellecour, a large pedestrianised square in the Ainay district which has great shopping streets. What’s more romantic than a trip to Zara? Answer: nothing.

Getting there:

Aer Lingus, Ryanair, KLM and Lufthansa fly direct from Dublin. Flights also operate from Cork, Kerry, Shannon, Donegal and Knock but with stopovers.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”HAMBURG” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22357″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Think canals, think Venice – but did you know that Hamburg has more canals than Venice and Amsterdam combined? I bet you did not. Regardless, Hamburg is a beautiful city with plenty of green spaces, diverse architecture and shopping.

What to do:

Pretend to be a giant at Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s largest model train exhibit, with 10 miles of track and over 260,000 figurines. Located in the Speicherstadt area of the city, a few hours will pass easily as you take in tiny replicas of Hamburg, the Alps, America and Scandinavia. If you’re visiting on a weekend, the Flohschanze market in the Sternschanze neighbourhood – Hamburg’s old meatpacking district – is a 30-minute walk away. Running from 8am to 4pm, there are hundreds of stalls for you to browse. Finish off your visit with a river tour of the Elbe leaving from Landungsbrücken, and take in one of the world’s busiest ports.

Getting there:

Fly direct to Hamburg from Dublin and from Cork and Shannon with stopovers.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”BOLOGNA” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22358″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Located in Northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna Region, Bologna is Europe’s oldest university town. The city famously gave the world Bolognese sauce, traditionally served with tagliatelle and lasagne. There is much to see and do in this beautiful city, which is perfect for lovers and food lovers.

What to do:

If you want to experience the best in Italian food and drink, a visit to food theme park FICO Eately World, has to be on your list. Set over two hectares of fields with over 40 restaurants, farming factories and up to 30 events and 50 classes per day, you’ll feel like an expert the next time you order a meat feast pizza on a Friday night from your local takeaway. A couple of hours exploring the grid of streets known as the Quadrilatero, packed with cafés and delis, is also recommended. Finally, if you’ve got a head for heights, climb to the top of one of the city’s two leaning towers, Torre degli Asinelli.

Getting there:

Direct flights operate from Dublin. Flights leaving from Cork, Knock or Shannon will have one or more stops.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”COPENHAGEN” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22359″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and the national concept of hygge, roughly translated as “cosy, charming or special” – perfect for a romantic weekend with your loved one. You won’t be able to cope(nhagen) with all it has to offer.

What to do:

After dark, head to Tivoli, a giant amusement park in the city where a winter theme continues until the end of February. Complete with snow, thousands of twinkling lights, rides, cafés and restaurants, your Valentine’s visit is guaranteed to feel festive. For a more alternative experience, head to Freetown Christiana, a car-free neighbourhood established in 1971 by a group of hippies. Browse galleries, organic restaurants and homemade houses and soak up the atmosphere. Finally, a trip to Copenhagen wouldn’t be complete without visiting the bronze statue of The Little Mermaid by the waterside at Langelinie promenade. Fun fact to casually drop into conversation and impress your lover: the statue was originally gifted to the city by brewer Carl Jacobsen of the Carlsberg breweries and is therefore probably the best bronze statue of a mermaid in the world. You can steal that joke too while you’re at it.

Getting there:

Fly direct from Dublin and with one or more stopovers from Cork and Shannon.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”MORE IDEAS” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

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All photos: public domain.

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Categories
Bulgaria Czech Republic Europe Featured Poland Romania Slovakia Sport and leisure Winter sports

Skiing on a budget in eastern Europe

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While undoubtedly fun, the expense of skiing can be off-putting. There’s kit to buy, flights, ski passes and accommodation to pay for – not to mention the cost of après-ski. It all adds up very quickly. With this in mind, we’ve done some research and found a handful of more affordable ski resorts in Eastern Europe. They may not be as glam as Gstaad, but they won’t break the bank…

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”POLAND – ideal for beginners and families” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22293″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Poland’s most popular resort is Zakopane, a two-hour drive from Krakow and ideal for beginners and families. Intermediate skiers and those looking for a great nightlife should look elsewhere, but if skiing in the snow-tracks of a former Pope is one of your goals, then you’re in luck (Pope John Paul II was a regular visitor).

Zakopane is made up of several smaller resorts spread around the town which can be accessed by bus. Most offer pay-as-you-go lift passes and eating out is also quite reasonable. Skiing conditions are at their best in January but be warned: the days are short and cold. The end of February and the full month of March are popular with skiers.

GETTING THERE:

Ryanair fly direct to Krakow from Dublin and from Cork and Shannon with one stopover. Taxis, mini-buses and coaches can be hired for transfer to Zakopane.

MORE INFO:

discoverzakopane.com

Image by Konrad Wąsik, used under CC-BY-3.0 licence.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”CZECH REPUBLIC – great for kids” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22294″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The Krkonoše is the Czech Republic’s highest mountain range and Janské Lázne is a small spa town nestled among the peaks. Book your flights to Prague and it will take you about two hours to get to the snow. Once you arrive, there are gentle, wooded slopes which are suited to beginners, intermediates and children. There are also child-friendly menus and hotels, and cheap lessons.

GETTING THERE:

Aer Lingus and Ryanair both fly direct to Prague from Dublin. They also operate flights from Cork and Shannon with one stopover. It’s a two-hour drive from the airport to the resort and a number of taxi services can be booked for a fixed price.

MORE INFO:

janske-lazne.cz

Image by T. Przechlewski, used under CC-BY-3.0 licence.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”BULGARIA – great nightlife” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22295″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Borovets is the oldest, biggest, and one of the cheapest ski resorts in Bulgaria. It’s especially good for those who haven’t skied before and intermediates, as there are good nursery runs for those starting out and most hotels are located next to the slopes. Borovets is also known for its busy and affordable nightlife.

GETTING THERE:         

Ryanair fly to Sofia three times weekly and there are shuttle services to Borovets once you land, which take approx. 55 minutes. Aer Lingus fly to Bourgas, located to the far east of Borovets, but it will take an extra three and a half/four hour journey. Car hire is available at Bourgas Airport.

MORE INFO:

bulgariaski.com/borovets

Image by Tropcho, used under CC-BY-SA-4.0 licence.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”ROMANIA – perfect for beginners and intermediates” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22296″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Romania’s most popular ski resort is Poiana Brasov, Transylvania and is perfect for beginners and intermediates. The ski area covers 14km which is small compared to other European resorts, but it is still a very attractive and affordable location for a ski break. There are two cable cars and a gondola that will bring you to an altitude of 1775m. You can then enjoy a long, 45-minute run to the bottom without taking another lift.

While you’re there, you could also take a day away from the slopes and pay a visit to nearby Bran Castle, which inspired Irish writer Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

GETTING THERE:

Ryanair, Turkish Airlines and Blue Air all fly to Bucharest, Romania direct. There are also flights from Cork and Shannon which include one stopover. Getting to the slopes requires an extra three-and-a-half hour travel. Shuttle buses and taxis are available for hire or you can take the train which will be approx. four-and-a-half hours. A taxi from the airport to Bucuresti Nord station is 30 minutes by car. You then take the train to Brasov and use local transport to get to Poiana Brasov.

MORE INFO:

ski-in-romania.com

Image by Surovyi, used under CC-BY-2.5 licence.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”SLOVAKIA – suitable for advanced skiers” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22297″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Jasná in Slovakia is located in Chopok mountain, one of the highest in the Low Tatra range, and is suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to experts. Snow is guaranteed for five months a year with the ski season lasting from the end of December to the start of April. There’s lots to do besides skiing with restaurants and nightclubs as well as an Aqua Park and indoor sky-diving.

GETTING THERE:

A number of airlines operate from Dublin to Bratislava, Slovakia but Ryanair is the only company that flies direct and offer several flights each week. Car hire is available at Bratislava Airport and it will then take over three hours to reach Jasná.

MORE INFO:

jasna.sk

Image by Marcin Szala, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0 licence.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”GET COVERED” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The AA’s Winter Sports Cover can be added to your Essential or Extra* Travel Insurance policy if you decide to hit the slopes. As well as all the benefits of AA Travel Insurance, adding on Winter Sports covers you for things like your ski pass, lessons and equipment.

*Don’t forget that AA Members get extra benefits on Travel Insurance with the AA Extra Policy. If you’re an AA Member at the time you take out Annual Travel Insurance, you can enjoy unlimited medical cover and no excess on any claim – as well as the usual benefits – from just €34.99.

Main image used under CC0 licence.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Ireland

AA Roadwatch go to Electric Picnic

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Electric Picnic takes place in Stradbally, County Laois this September from Friday the 2nd to Sunday the 4th. Headline acts this year include LCD Soundsystem, Lana del Ray, The Chemical Brothers, New Order and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. If you’re thinking to yourself ‘but I want more Esther’ , there are also food demonstrations, a dedicated children’s area and an excellent comedy tent where Dylan Moran, Aisling Bea and Rubberbandits will perform.

I’ve been to EP a few times but the closest I’ve gotten to camping was sleeping in the back of a HiAce van. Last year was my favourite by far as I was broadcasting and interviewing bands. More importantly, I had access to the fancy loos which is the dream at a festival.

Electric Picnic has been sold out for months but if you’re lucky enough to have gotten a ticket, here’s what you need to know about getting to Stradbally.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Getting There” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]It’s not rock and roll but it is important to plan your journey in advance and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the festival site. If heavy rain is forecast on the day you’re heading down, this usually means more people will take the car and in turn, could mean longer delays. If you are travelling down after work on the Friday, keep in mind you’ll be coming into rush hour traffic so be prepared for this.

Our new and improved AA Routeplanner is fed live traffic information from AA Roadwatch so you can see what the traffic is like on your route plus any incidents that may add to your journey time.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Car”][vc_column_text]On the M7, both northbound and southbound traffic can exit at Junction 16 Portlaoise East towards Broomfield Roundabout and onto the Stradbally Road before following signage. Northbound exit at Junction 17 Portlaoise Centre and follow signage.

From the M8 northbound motorists can exit at Junction 3 Rathdowney (Abbeyleix) and follow signage through Ballacolla, Abbeyleix, Ballyroan and onto the site.

On the N80 via Carlow, travel straight to Stradbally. Motorists can also travel to the event via the Stradbally/ Athy Rd (R428). All routes leading to designated parking areas for the event are clearly sign-posted and patrons are urged to follow these routes to avoid unnecessary delay and traffic disruption.  Gardaí will be on point duty.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Car Parking”][vc_column_text]

There are multiple car parks on site for ticket holders and parking is free of charge.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Disabled Access Car Parking “][vc_column_text]According to the EP website, there will be two different car parks for those camping and for day attendees. Day ticket holders should park in Car Park Z and those camping should park adjacent to the disabled campsite. Pre-registered customers will be sent route information in advance.  Spaces will be available to attendees who have pre-registered to use the facility. Please note car parking passes will not be issued until approximately 1 week before the event. The disabled day car park is the closest public car park to the site but keep in mind that it is still some distance from the event entrance.

There will be a designated disabled access campsite which will have accessible toilets, fridges (should medication need to be stored) and electrical hook ups for wheelchair charging. Each disabled customer may have up to three people camping with them, and one car. There will be dedicated stewards in the disabled campsite providing 24 hour cover.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Bus-ing it to The Picnic” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Marathon Coaches”][vc_column_text]The bus service will start from 8am on Friday 2nd with buses departing George’s Quay every 30 minutes until 6pm that day. On Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th, buses will depart at 10am, 11am and midday.

The full return bus fare costs €25 but you can avail of a reduced fare online of €22.50 until 5pm on Wednesday 31st Aug.

You’re strongly recommended to book online in advance to ensure you get the correct bus departure time

Return Buses will start departing the festival site from 8pm on Sunday 4th and will run until 1pm on Monday 5th September.

You can choose your own departure and return time during the booking process.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Bus Eireann”][vc_column_text]Bus Éireann will be operating a number of return services from Custom House Quay in Dublin throughout the weekend.

From Custom House Quay to Stradbally

The Friday service departs from ​7.30am to 18.00pm with services running every 30 minutes​. The Saturday and Sunday services leaves Custom House Quay at 10am, 11am, midday and 1pm.

From Dublin Airport to Stradbally

A Friday bus departs at 2pm.

From Stradbally to Custom House Quay, Dublin

On Saturday, buses departs from 11pm, midnight and 1am while on Sunday, they leave at midday and every 30mins from 8:30pm until 2am. On Monday then, they depart every 30mins from 5am to 1:30pm.

Buy tickets now

From Parnell Place, Cork serving Fermoy, Mitchelstown and Cahir to Stradbally

On Friday, the bus departs Parnell Place in Cork City at 8am, Fermoy (McCuratin Street) at 8:35am, Mitchelstown (The Square) at 8:50am and Cahir (Castle Street) 9.:20am

The return service on Monday departs Stradbally at midday. Tickets cost €40 return and can be bought from online or from the Travel Centre at Parnell Place Bus Station in Cork City. Call (021) 4508188

From Galway to Stradbally

The Friday service departs Galway Bus Station at midday.

 

On Monday, the Galway bus leaves Stradbally at 10am. Tickets cost €35 return and can be bought from Bus Éireann Travel Centre in Eyre Square, Galway City. Call (091) 562000[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Kelly Travel”][vc_column_text]

Kelly Travel will be offering a range of services from Cork, Limerick and Tipperary to Stradbally for both weekend attendees and Sunday attendees. You can view the locations, service times and book tickets here.

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JJ Kavanaghs will operate a direct bus service from Ulster Bank, Georges Quay to Stradbally on Friday 2nd September. There will also be returns bus on Sunday 4th and Monday 5th September. Tickets cost €25 return and can be bought here.

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AA Patrols will be on standby in the Stradbally area over the weekend to deal with festival breakdowns. AA Membership is available for as little as €8.25 per month and offers 24/7 emergency cover so you’ll never get stuck in the mud. See here for more.

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When I polled my Roadwatch colleagues for festival tips, one emailed straight back telling me I had a typo in my email so we were off to a great start

[/image_with_text_over][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]You should download The AA Routeplanner app of course, to help plan your trip to Stradbally. On the map app, you can see what route is heaviest on the way to the festival, approximately how long your journey will take and estimated fuel costs which is bound to get you in the mood to party.

Esther ‘Best Roadwatcher’ O’Moore Donohoe.

My advice is to bring lots of socks. They stop your wellies from rubbing up against your leg and if it rains having a few spares means you can keep your feet dry and toasty. You can also use them as gloves* if you get cold whilst camping and if you need to wipe your hands (say if you spill your bottle of sparkling water** all over yourself). Socks are your friends in emergencies.

Arwen Foley, Roadwatch Editor

*Arwen has called these HocksⓇ (hand socks).

**Arwen’s eye twitched here

If it’s your first time going to Electric Picnic, you do not need to bring a massive tent and large suitcase. We made this mistake going to our first outdoor festival and it was a real pain. We also packed way too many cereal bars, crackers and snacks. No matter how many cereal bars you bring to ‘save money’, you’re inevitably going to pay €10 for a greasy hot dog at 2am

Sharron Lynskey, Broadcaster, researcher, typo corrector.

I have never been to Electric Picnic or any similar festival. I’ve only ever been to Summer Madness, a Christian festival in King’s Hall, Belfast which I attended in ’06 and ’07.

Ruth Jephson

Who needs a carryall or a suitcase? A bin bag is your best friend at a festival. You can even use it to fill it up with more bin bags. Bin bags for everyone! I should also mention that a black bin bag can be used as a black bin bag. Genius.

Rachel Murray

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Categories
France

6 things to know when driving in France

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Image Source: decar66 used under CC Attribution 2.0 licence

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You’re dreaming of eating brie and french onion baguettes, but before you set off on your well deserved French adventure there are a few things you should consider. Here is our list of six things you need to know before driving in France.

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1. Car Rental

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]You may have rented a car before and have a preferred agency in mind. Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Budget and Sixt have branches at most major towns all over France. Keep an eye on their websites or your airline’s website as they may offer good deals or discounts. If you have booked your holiday through a travel agent, they may have discounts available as well. It’s best to do some research before you head off in order to secure the best deal for you. Car rental companies in France are required to provide basic liability insurance to renters for the duration of their trip. However, it’s important to check with each company about their collision damage waivers as these vary from company to company. If you plan on taking your own vehicle however, The AA offers European Breakdown Cover. Some of the benefits include:

  • 24 hour English speaking emergency telephone assistance throughout Europe.
  • Roadside assistance for the duration of your motoring holiday.
  • Emergency roadside repairs or towing to the nearest garage in over 40 European countries.
  • Location and dispatch of spare parts(s) needed to complete repairs overseas.
  • Vehicle recovery to the Republic of Ireland.
  • Provision for emergency car hire, accommodation or alternative travel.
  • Emergency accommodation if you have to wait for repair work to be completed.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

2. Fuel

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Unleaded, diesel and LPG are available in France. Most petrol stations accept credit cards but check with your credit card company about usage in France before you travel. If you rent a car, chances are it will come with a full tank of petrol. However, keep in mind that if you don’t return the car with a full tank, you may be charged you for the fuel as well an additional service charge.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

3. Speed Limits

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Speed limits are fixed according to the place, vehicle and weather. In built-up areas the limit is 50 km/h, outside built-up areas it’s 90 km/h, on urban motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation the limit is 110 km/h and it’s 130 km/h on motorways.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

4. Drinking and Driving

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]As in Ireland, French police are empowered to carry out random breath tests. If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 per cent or more (0.02% for bus/coach drivers) penalties include a fine, imprisonment and/or confiscation of your driving licence and/or vehicle. Saliva drug tests can also be used to detect drivers under the influence of drugs. Never ever drink or take drugs and drive.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

5. Parking and Tolls

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]You can get parking discs for ‘blue zone’ parking areas from police stations, tourist offices and some shops. You should also factor in road tolls when planning your journey as well. It’s a good idea to keep money aside to cover these costs and to keep some spare change handy but don’t leave it lying about in your car. Every rental vehicle registered in France has a recognisable license plate number which makes it easier for thieves to identify.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

6. Essential Documents

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]If you want to rent a car in France you must be at least 21 years of age. Car renters must also have a valid driver’s license and carry a major credit card. You are also required to carry your passport (or national ID card). You may also chose to get an International Drivers Permit (IDP) although it is not necessary. An IDP is simply a translated version of your drivers license. It must be accompanied by your drivers license to be valid. The AA can provide drivers with an IDP (click here for more info) which costs €15. Allow three working days for postal deliveries.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Ireland

Egg-cellent Adventures to Hotels in Ireland

Words by Esther O’Moore DonohoeEsther - Headshot

The Easter midterm break is an egg-cellent opportunity to egg-scape the daily routine and enjoy quality time with family and friends. Sometimes a short break away is egg-actly what’s needed and there are some egg-tremely good hotel specials on offer this Easter countrywide. Luckily for you, we’ve done all the hard work and have found a number of AA Inspector approved hotels all boasting eggs-traordinary deals. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type however, we’ve also included a few camping and caravan sites below too. Egg-citing times ahead!

 

Castle Leslie, Monaghan. 

Castle Leslie in County Monaghan has a number of super Easter packages available, all of which include dinner in their twice AA Rosette award winning Snaffles Restaurant. If you’re worried you’ve eaten too many chocolate eggs, pop on your leather chaps and enjoy a one hour hack around the Estate as part of their Easter Equestrian Break. This package also includes three night’s luxurious accommodation in The Castle or The Lodge, Irish breakfast each morning and dinner on two evenings of your choice. T: 047 88100 E: info@castleleslie.com W:www.castleleslie.com

Dingle Skelling Restaurant, Kerry.

Located in the Kingdom of Kerry, Dingle Skellig Hotel has really egg-cellent Easter offers for two, three or four night stays. All packages include dinner in their Coastguard restaurant and a full Irish breakfast. The children’s rate includes breakfast & junior evening meal nightly and if you stay for four nights, Fungi Kids Club Activities are included for children aged 4 -12 years. You may even spot Paul Galvin doing stretches in the lobby*. T: 066 915 0200 E:reservations@dingleskellig.com W: www.dingleskellig.com(*you probably won’t see Paul Galvin).

Eagle Point Caravan & Camping Park, Cork

Eagle Point Caravan & Camping Park in Ballylickey, County Cork accommodates caravans, motorhomes and tents on a 20 acre site in Bantry Bay. Located right on the water, families can make the most of the tropical Irish summer and enjoy water based activities on the calm sheltered waters at Eagle Point Peninsula. In normal weather conditions, its a great place for beginners to get onto the water for the first time.  And for the experienced paddler, there is plenty of challenges along the Eagle Point coastline. If wearing a wetsuit isn’t your thing, there are lots of other on-site facilities including TV rooms, a tennis court, football pitch, basketball court, green space for walks, sea fishing from Fishermans Rock. Most importantly of all, there’s free wifi in a dedicated internet room. T: 027 50630 E:info@eaglepointcamping.com  W: www.eaglepointcamping.com

Kilronan Castle, Roscommon

Awaken your inner King and Queen and indulge yourself with an Easter Spa Special at Kilronan Castle. Guests can enjoy one nights stay including a full Irish breakfast plus dinner in their Douglas Hyde Restaurant. They can also chose between a 50 minute Elemis deep tissue massage or a 50 minuteElemis Facial but the pampering doesn’t end there. Continue to unwind in their luxurious Thermal Suitewhich boasts hot and cold vitality pools, a jacuzzi, a hydrotherapy shower, tropical rain showers, a sauna, an aroma light therapy steam room, an ice feature and relaxation suite. Prices from €149 pa. T: 071 9618000  E: enquiries@kilronancastle.ie W: www.kilronancastle.ie

Garrettstown House Holiday Park, Cork

Garrettstown House Holiday Park in Kinsale, County Cork is set in the grounds of the listed, 18th century Garrettsown Estate and is the holder of an AA 4 Pennant Award. There’s a Blue Flag beach nearby if you’re brave enough to go for a dip as well as lots of free facilities at the site to satisfy everyone’s interests. These include a children’s disco, video shows, crazy golf, playground and children’s club. You could also take a trip to beautiful Kinsale Harbour, Clonakilty (home of the famous black and white pudding), the historic port of Cobh and the brilliant Fota Wildlife Park. T:021 4778156 E:admin@garrettstownhouse.com W:www.garrettstownhouse.com

Mulranny Park Hotel, Mayo.

Mayo is magic and the view from Mulranny Park Hotel across Clew Bay certainly is too, so why not head west for some relaxation this Easter. You can enjoy three nights bed and breakfast plus two dinners for only €269 per person sharing. Let your stress melt away with a dip in the hotel pool or head to nearbyEskape Beauty Salon and treat yourself. For the more adventurous amongst you, channel the spirit of Sean Kelly and cycle the Greenway Adventure Trail, taking in the beauty of Mulranny, Newport, Westport, Louisburgh and Achill Island. There really is something for everyone at Mulranny Park Hotel.T: 098 36 000 E: info@mulrannyparkhotel.ie W: www.mulrannyparkhotel.ie

Castleknock Hotel and County Club, Dublin.

A few nights relaxation at Castleknock Hotel and Country Club in Dublin is an ideal spring break destination for families. Their two night Easter package includes two nights bed and breakfast plus a four course evening meal in The Brasserie Restaurant on an evening of your choice. In addition, children can take part in the hotel’s Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday all from just €169pps.

T: 640 6300:  E: reservations@chcc.ie W: www.castleknockhotel.com

Springfort Hall Country House Hotel, Cork

Springfort Hall Hotel prides itself on its warm hospitality and giving guests a luxury experience with each stay. This Easter break they have put together an outstanding deal in ‘the real capital’. They are offering one nights accommodation including breakfast, an evening meal in The Limetree Restaurant as well as two premium level tickets to Mallow Racecourse. They even have a very late check out time of 2pm allowing plenty of time for guests to enjoy a restorative cup of Barry’s Tea. Prices from €198. T: 022 21278 E: reservations@springfort-hall.com W: www.springfort-hall.com

Waterside House Hotel, Donabate, County Dublin

If you’re not in the mood to cook a big dinner on Easter Sunday (5th April) then let Waterside House Hotel in Donabate do it for you. They have a delicious three course Easter lunch priced at €24.95 per adult and €10.50 per child plus an egg-cellent beach Easter Egg hunt from 2-4pm. The egg hunt costs €4 per child and tickets can be purchased online or at reception on the day.

T: 843 6153 E: info@watersidehousehotel.ie W: www.watersidehousehotel.ie

Knock Shrine Caravan Park, Mayo.

Knock Shrine Caravan Park is an excellent base for touring County Mayo and for those visiting Knock Shrine this Easter. There’s lots to see and do in the area including Westport House and Pirate Adventure Museum, horse-riding at Barnacarroll and Claremorris, walking trails and Knock House.  Easter mass times are available on their Facebook page. T: 094 93 88223 E: caravanpark@knock-shrine.ie W:www.knockshrine.ie

Tower Hotel, Waterford

A trip to Tower Hotel in Waterford City is ideal for a family getaway. Children aged between three and twelve can share in a standard family room on a complimentary bed with breakfast included. In the evening, dinner is served nightly from 6:30pm and children can be kept entertained in the Tiny Towers Kids Club available to all guests from 6.30pm on the 1st April until 8.30pm on the 9th of April. Minimum stay is one night with rooms from €109 per night. Make it an Easter to remember in the vibrant city of Waterford. T: 051 862 300 E: info@thw.ie W: www.towerhotelwaterford.com

Lough Key Caravan & Camping Park, Roscommon

Lough Key Caravan & Camping Park are putting an incredible array of Easter themed events on this March and April. On Sunday the 29th of March, an Easter Craft Class takes place from midday-1pm for €7 (booking is recommended). On Good Friday (3rd April) there is a craft and baking day with various classes going on from midday-3:30pm. Prices for the classes are between €7-9 and booking is advised to avoid disappointment. Then on Easter Sunday (5th April) an Easter Trail gets underway from 2-5pm through the woodland to discover natural treasures at a cost of €10 per group with a maximum of six people. There’ll also be free face painting on offer on Sunday and Easter Monday (6th April) with Big Easter Story Telling at 4pm on the Monday. You can even go for a leisurely walk with the Easter Bunny and meet his helper, Mrs Hippity Hoppity in her enchanted big tree who’ll keep everyone happy with songs and stories. The cost is €5 per child and chocolate mini eggs will be provided (children must be accompanied). T: 071 9662212 E: info@loughkey.ie W:www.loughkey.ie

AA Hotel Vouchers can be purchased on The AA website via https://www.theaa.ie/AA/Hotel-Vouchers.aspx in denominations of €50 and €100 and can be used at the hotels mentioned above.