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Recommendations For French Laning Trips


Mo Murphy
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Have any of you chaps done one of these ? Did you enjoy it ? Would you recommend the organiser ?

I want to do one next summer, so please post your reminiscences, opinions, tips and recommendations below please.

Most grateful

Mo :)

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I'd be interested in that as well, went to France last year with a couple of landies, and saw plenty of likely looking lanes/tracks but as we didn't have a clue what we could/ couldn't drive we didn't bother - didn't fancy some mad /irate frenchman chasing us with a shotgun :blink:

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Hi Mo

NAS90 Dave went on one last Christmas and seemed to have fun but I cannot remember who he went with - one of the well known ones. He and I did the Raid du Calais a couple of years ago - a long day but great fun and a fine intro to French lanes and their way of doing things.

There is a group of us away to Belgium this coming weekend to do the Belgium National - perhaps not what you had in mind but a great weekend and a terrific craik meeting new and foreign people - a very social event. :)

Glad to see you are feeling less doomed. ;)

Chris

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Chris, I'd like to have done the Belgium National this year however circumstances have conspired against me alas, perhaps next year. Do keep us posted on your friend's progress regarding laning trips.

And yes, not quite so doomed now :D

How's the TomTom going ?

Dave, I'd welcome your friend's email address if that's ok with him, he sounds like a valuable source of info, thanks.

Regards

Mo

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Tomtom working fine thanks Mo. I need to find Main roads of europe really for the trip from UK, through France and into Belgium... Speed camera locations are fine too, I need to look for EU camera locations too. :)

I will be sure to let you know before I book the BN next year.

Chris

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A group of us went to France with Mudplug about two years ago and did a tour of the WW1 battlefields - a superb weekend which I'm looking forward tro doing again in the next couple of years

Eric and Nora (who are Mudplug) are extremely friendly and accommodating - not the cheapest weekend away and the lanes we drove were far from extreme - but the history of what went on during WW1 and visting some of the graveyards was something not to be missed

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Unless there is a 'NO'-sign at the beginning of a track, you are allowed to drive any offroad track in France.

Please keep in mind local rules like not going into a forrest when it is a really dry season, etc. Thread lightly and give way to pedestrians, bikes, etc.

The French are very forthcoming when it comes to freedom of movement.

PS: Avoid military terrains. There is no such thing as slightly being allowed to use them. Nothing like the Salisbury Plain! but then France is somewhat bigger, and there are plenty of offroad tracks. I believe that one of the French magazines actually publishes a free roadbook every month. I'll check which one. You can also back-order these roadbooks... after which you can drive the country virtually offroad (Or at least 75% of it!)

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I went with Mudplug (Eric & Nora) over the Christmas break 2004. I went solo and would have been better value with 2 people. It is expensive, compared to some camping trips, but I had a great time, the company was exceptional and our hosts were superb! The cost includes absolutely every item except your fuel and is very well organised. Apparently if it rains hard in October when they harvest the sugar beet the heavy farm vehicles really make a nice mud bath and the French clean up the mess in the spring-time. However, 2004 was particularly dry and the off-roading was less than strenuous for the NAS90, never used any of the lockers!

Mud Plug run events in the Massif Central with the April one with snow looking the best option.

Go to http://www.mudplug.co.uk/photohead.html and have a look.

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I have been with Mudplug and can recomend them. I did the Nothern Tour as a bit of week-end relaxation.

Probably doing their "Masif Central" tour next April. It is somewhat more hairy than the Nothern Tour but still the same "all in" deal with ferry, accommodation, food, beer etc.

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Guest Montgomery

The law in France as I understand it is actually very progressive. You are allowed to drive any lane that is not disallowed. To be disallowed, there must be a sign saying it's private property, or an official "Highway Code" type sign, with a small sign underneath it dating it. (For information a white circle with a red outline with "4x4" in teh middle, which you will see in some places in France is NOT official, as there is no category such as 4x4 in French law. The communes are responsible for putting these up, but since a lot of lanes start in one commune, and end in another, the 2 mayors need to talk to each other, agree, and then find the money to buy the signs.

Basically, although you didn't hear it from me, you can drive ALMOST where you like. Obviously there are restrictions like natinional parks, etc., but it's a great place to drive, much better than the UK.

There is a name for this "right to roam" legislation, like all French laws named after the minister who brought it into being, but for the life of me, I can't remember it, it's something like "Evan" (but that might be a misspelt mineral water, not a minister).

The only thing to watch out for is hunters:

a) they've got guns

B) they are extremely militant, a large and powerful lobby, much more powerful, and better perceived than 4x4 drivers.

Avoid driving in the hunting season in areas where you know there will be hunters.

Hope this helps.

Martyn

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Mo,

Got your email and I will reply once I have put some info together.

Martyn is exactly right when looking at it from our perspective. Only once in 10 years have I been told to leave a lane ………. The farmer /landowner / local mafia were very nice, no shouting etc …… its just that they were shooting deer in that area. The hunters are generally not a problem and most hunting tends to be done on Sunday mornings. Although being a shooter myself I would say (from what I have experience of) that their safety practices are not as robust as in the UK :blink: You can always tell the shooters …… they have to wear a red reflective cap (like a reversible baseball cap) by law.

Generally the use of the lanes is encouraged and you will always get a cheerie wave from locals as you pass by. When I first started, I used to go to great lengths to check out the local situation ( just like here in the UK) and to try and see the local mayor, but there really is no need …….just identify the lanes on the map and then go and drive them….. like I have been doing for at least the last nine years. We also carry a mountain bike so the lane can be checked on ahead if it looks difficult. The only difficult lanes I have found, have been in the Alps, Pyrenees & Massif Central………. There is a lane from [digs deep into old age memory banks] from les Deux Alps to the main N??? that goes down and around the mountain. We thought it would be a nice afternoon trip and I remember that we came off the mountain in the pitch black at around midnight :rolleyes: ……… apart from the very deep washouts a fair few trees had been felled across the track during logging and needed to be driven over ………and at the time I was using a company Frontera (nice car … one careful owner :lol::lol::lol: ). We have been on lanes in Provence, Dordogne, Southern Alps, Alps Maritimes, Loire, Ardeche, Massif central, pyrenees, Ardennes, and the bit on the French – Italian border. Most lanes vary from very easy to medium during the summer months. This year we ‘laned’ in the Dordogne using our 04 Cherokee ……… very pleasant it was too.

We are seriously considering retiring to France in the next few years. Look out for an ‘incoming’ in the next few days

Ian

90 V8EFI TruckCab

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John, thanks for the feedback, Mudplug seem very highly rated !

Martyn and Ian, thank you for taking the time to post your knowledge on here, it may be necessary to come back and pick your brains at some stage :D

Si, interestinger (although work would tie me to Spring bank holiday week or first 3 weeks of August '06) Summer in the mountains with like minded forum chums would be fantastic !!!!!!

Mo :D

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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone,

I've just come across this forum whilst searching furious for places to take my new Defender on short weekend trips and just wanted to add that I was in France last weekend and although most of the forest roads we saw were closed off, there were a lot of paths (which sadly didn't coincide with the direction we were traveling in) where the locals were really throwing up the mud and leaving their marks.

I'm not sure if yellow :D is still on the hunt, but I would LOVE to know what the French magazine is which has the roadbooks as I'm living in Germany and it's not such a far journey for us here.

I'm looking forward to browsing the rest of the forums here and hopefully learning all sorts of new places to go and journey which I can't wait to take!

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This weekend my good friend and "Apline guide" is paying us a vist.

I will ask him to post some of the lanes in France /Italy/ etc that he drives (and has taken us to) he is a mind of information when it comes to what to do (and what not) where to go (and where not to) in Europe.(he is probably traveling the said lanes on his way to the UK from his home in Germany as i type this!!)

HTH.

Mandy.

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