IN any history of 21st century motoring still to be written, today should be considered a golden ... [more]
Monday, 25 March 2019
I KNEW I was truly back in my comfort zone when I met two “bobbies on the beat” in a French market in Brittany.
Well, you would be reassured, wouldn’t you, by the sight of two smiling British policemen — actually a policeman and a WPC — popping up in the midst of all the customary Gallic goings on of a French market?
The market was in Dinard, a place I have visited many times and come to love, yet the theme in this seaside town at this time of the year was distinctly British.
There was at least one black London cab, a red telephone box of the sort you still find on village squares in England, and even a blue Doctor Who-style police box.
The occasion was the annual Dinard Festival of British Cinema, still going strong after nearly three decades. The friendly coppers were from Newquay in Cornwall, which is twinned with Dinard and part of a delegation.
So we felt very much at home after our overnight ferry trip from Portsmouth to St Malo on Brittany Ferries’ ship Bretagne.
I am trying to persuade even those that are not great sea travellers that this way of reaching the continent — which thousands of British motorists do every summer — is a fine and civilised way to start your motoring holiday. Many agree — and not only motorists. There were caravan and motorhome enthusiasts as well as cyclists and motorcyclists on board when we left Portsmouth on a clear, cool Sunday night in late September.
Our transport this time was the redoubtable Peugeot 5008 SUV (sport utility vehicle), a car that it is just about the ideal type of vehicle for this trip.
Unusually, we were fully loaded with four people on board, plus luggage for a week. The Peugeot 5008 SUV turned out to be consummately comfortable for four adults.
I have had debates for years on just how much room one needs in a car on motoring holidays.
My answer after years of experience is that you can never have enough load space or seating room to feel properly comfortable in a car. But as mentioned the 5008 fitted the bill perfectly.
There is correspondingly in the Peugeot SUV stable now the 3008 and the 2008. I think it is an excellent move by carmakers to ensure that there is this choice of small, medium and large SUVs.
Try them out and you would soon find the right size for you. Try them on a motoring trip across France and you would be in no doubt which size of SUV it makes sense for you to buy.
Incidentally, if you have not contemplated ferry travel but like the idea of a motoring holiday, then in 2019 the Honfleur, Brittany Ferries’ most environmentally friendly ship, will be operating in UK waters.
The Honfleur will be the first cross-channel ferry to be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) and will carry up to 1,680 passengers, with cinemas, restaurants, and boutique shopping on board.
The 42,000-tonne ferry will operate on the company’s busiest route, from Portsmouth and Caen and I hope to report back to you on this service next year.
Who knows what kind of motoring cargo it will transport across the English Channel in the coming decades?
Certainly, there will be electric cars and there will eventually be autonomous (driverless) cars because this brave new world of motoring is really not that far away.
But I’ve no doubt there will also be the caravans, motorhomes, motorcycles and bicycles we saw in abundance on this trip — and long may it be so. The simple joy of travelling across France and embedding yourself in its unique lifestyle will still be there whatever mode of transport you choose.
There is a freedom to driving on the continent that I’m afraid I no longer find while driving across Britain.
The Peugeot 5008 SUV thrives on this kind of road trip. Earlier this year, Peugeot introduced a new GT Line Premium trim on both the 5008 and 3008 SUVs.
The all-new specification offers five engines available on the two models.
These range from the entry-level 1.2L PureTech 130 S&S engine to the 2.0L BlueHDi 150 S&S.
The GT Line Premium specification offers advanced technologies, including Peugeot Open and Go, its keyless entry and push button start functionality, and its foot-operated smart electric tailgate.
Designed for comfort, the GT Line Premium also has a driver seat multi-point massage function, driver and front passenger seat heating, and a panoramic opening glass roof flanked by blue ambient lighting, while 19in Washington two-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels add to the stylish design.
Brittany Ferries’ Trip Planner helps you plan your holiday or journey to France and Spain
As well as getting directions, you can browse and locate:
• All routes and ports in the UK, France and Spain
• 2,000-plus hotels, cottages and other holiday accommodation
• 500-plus region, city and attractions guides, and 100-plus events and festivals
• Day trips to France from £24 per person
Sail from either Portsmouth, Poole or Plymouth to Caen, Cherbourg, St Malo, Le Havre or Roscoff