To Ferry or not to Ferry


So you have decided on a holiday in France - confused by all the different ways of getting to France - don't worry so was I!! There is ferry / train / plane / Eurotunnel, as well as numerous different routes to take - very confusing!

So assuming that you are travelling to the Loire Valley to stay in our beautifully restored gite - if not why not! - and are looking for the best way to get there, then read on.


  1. Ask us about out Brittany Ferries discount - you could save up to 10% of the cost of the crossing.
  2. Reserve a day cabin if doing a long crossing - gives you a break from all the hoards on the ferries - and with my Brittany discount can sometimes be priced as low as £10 one way.
  3. Club Voyage France membership - If you travel regularly with Brittany Ferries, consider their Club Voyage France membership - gives you to 30% discount of some ferries, as well as free breakfast on the overnight crossing, discounts on food onboard and cabin reductions. Initial cost of membership can be high, but travel more than once a year and you will save money.
  4. Mix your crossings - Think about mixing and matching your crossings - for example for Portsmouth -> St. Malo, Caen -> Portsmouth - same distance from gite - but better timings for crossing.


Living near Portsmouth we prefer the ferry during the summer. There are four main routes to France from Portsmouth - Caen / Le Havre / Cherbourg or St. Malo. We have tried them as they are roughly the same travelling time to our gite in the Loire Valley.

But we do have a favourite route - out via St. Malo, back from Caen with Brittany Ferries. The reason - you can get a good nights sleep on the St. Malo crossing, as it leaves at 20:00 and docks at 08:00 - remember that if you got a cabin, then you need to vacate at least an hour before - painful if the ferry docks at 06:00, such as when going to Le Havre or Caen. You can also get a nice meal & a glass of wine - which at my age is what I need. I find going to Cherbourg depressing, as it seems such a long slog down the peninsula. We also travel back from Caen, as the St. Malo ferry takes all day to get back to Portsmouth and leaves at 08:30 in the morning - so a very early rise from the Loire Valley, cause it is at least three hours to the port. Brittany have recently started a cut down ferry to Le Havre, so it may be worth looking at that if budget is an issue. But for us it is St. Malo Caen all the way - I need my sleep!

Remember that if you book with me & choose to travel by Brittany Ferries, ask me for your upto 10% discount code.

Other ferry options are:

  • Dover to Calais - this is a quick route - taking between 45 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes - far cheaper than the Portsmouth route, but you obviously have a far longer drive on the French site - nearly six hours - might be worth booking a cheap hotel either in France or England - ask me - I have a few hotel recommendations.
  • Newhaven to Dieppe - never done this route - but it is quite cheap - takes about 4 hours and Dieppe is about 4 hours from our self catering gite. Maybe worth a try if you live in that area of the world.

So in conclusion the ferry is a great way to travel - they are comfortable, have loads of facilities for adults and children alike, decent restuarants and you can get a good nights sleep if you book a cabin. 

Next time I will explore the other ways to get to France - air and train etc.



Comment by Kane