Long way off, but toe in the water time.

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Philip Chidlow
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Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Philip Chidlow » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:27 pm

June 2014 is a very long way off. But because of the nature of the following plan, I'll need the time to ensure we 'get a look in'.

Why June 2014, and where?

70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings, Normandy, France.

Before I go any further there's no way I want to distract from what promises to be a far grander event: the CCCE next June. Shame I can't make it but long-laid plans don't allow. Hopefully the weather and turn out will make it a worthy successor to previous adventures. The route plan certainly seems 'Challenging' enough :)

Anyway, back to France: I want to visit during the commemorations, and want to make a road trip of it too. However, because of the geography we will be able to select one place to stay for the duration - bar one night (see below) and make forays from there for each day of the stay.

This will be a tour with a definite plan, as I will want to bring along a friend of mine who is a really good military historian and gives great talks on site. I too will be participating (as maybe one of you will want to) in explaining and discussing particular sites and events. I'll be producing a mini-guide book for the event and there will be visits to museums etc. as part of the trip.

Where possible we will take roads that are of that period rather than bomb (sorry about the pun) along the main roads; I have an idea to sift through photos from the D-Day campaign and match up road/buildings/junctions/features to them so we can get some poignant pics.

With provisional dates of 4th-9th June, I will be working out the details of this, and a draft outline will follow shortly, but be prepared for this to cost about £130 for a return crossing to Dieppe (less for Calais but that's 320kms added in total to the trip), £300 for accommodation (a bit less if sharing), £300 plus for food, and maybe £300 for fuel. Plus another lump for museum entry etc. Reckon on £1100 to be on the safe side. Camping is always an option for those not wanting to 'hotel it', but my initial thought is that it's not something I'll get involved in so it'll be up to individuals… I see this as less of a 'roughing it' exercise lol! BUT plans and budgets can always change of course - as experience has shown ;)

Interestingly I looked at organising crossings and accommodation and food plus museum entries etc. which worked out at about £480pp based upon one car and two sharing, with us staying in a minor Chateau (honest!) but it'd be a huge rod for my own back... At £800pp maybe :)

Draft itinerary:

Bear in mind we would want to incorporate seeing one or two of the ceremonies (which I don't have info on yet) so it will change… Although I know a flypast is promised.

Wednesday 4th June make way to Hotel in Bayeux.
Thursday 5th June am: Merville Battery/Pegasus Bridge/Cafe… lunch or picnic (my guess the Cafe will be heaving - even only open to special visitors?)
pm: British/Canadian sector (Sword, Juno, Gold) > Arromanches (Mulberry Harbour and Museum) > Memorial to the Missing > Bayeux
Friday 6th June am: Drive to St. Mere Eglise early > Utah Beach memorial > Omaha Beach and Pont du Hoc for picnic lunch. At some point I might suggest a detour to the German Cemetery La Cambe.
pm: US Cemetery . Museum at St. Lô road end of Bayeux. Back to hotel.
Saturday 7th June Morning in Bayeux. pm: Villers-Bocage and other battle sites around there (Operations Epsom and Goodwood-related) > Bayeux for evening revelry.
Sunday 8th June am South Caen, swing south to follow route of Canadians and Poles who helped close the neck of the Falaise Pocket > Trun > Vermoutiers > overnight in or near Liseux
Monday 9th June Journey back to UK.

Anyone remotely interested? It's open to any who either fancies a BX/Citroen road trip or indeed would just like a tour of the area at an important time, amongst enthusiastic and/or knowledgable chaps. Ladies are most certainly welcome too I add ;)

As I say… toe in La Manche...
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Caffiend » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:38 pm

Philip Chidlow wrote:... enthusiastic and/or knowledgable chaps. Ladies are most certainly welcome too I add ;)
And where does that leave me? :(

Tentatively, yes, if finances at that time allow :).
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by mike22861 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:42 pm

I think this sounds a great trip but with the risk of alienating many people a really good landrover kind of expedition
but that would mean 10 spare seats.
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Philip Chidlow
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Philip Chidlow » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:02 pm

Thing is, Land Rover, MPV, BX or whatever... I think this one's less about the cars, more about the people. :)
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by mds141 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:50 pm

Put me down as a definite please Phil. Sounds like another good trip. :-)
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Philip Chidlow » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:04 pm

Will do :)

Seems I now have some more feedback that suggests I try to offer a 'package'. If nothing else it means I can 'advertise' the trip to a variety of people at a first-come-first-served set price deal. Not a BXagon by any stretch of the imagination; a different beast this time.

I now need to consider the option of a package deal... The choice of a room in a Chateau or one of it's neighbouring gîtes fairly near Omaha beach. There are about 18 rooms in total (of which 8 are in the Chateau) and the facilities allow great opportunities for communal eating/socialising. This will be too pricey for many (and after the economic restrictions of previous adventures, certainly 'exclusive' albeit not snooty), but a camping or budget hotel alternative will be suggested (but outside the package deal). Expect food Dinner, Breakfast) and a few drinks to be included as well as the crossing and museum entry etc. in the package price. I guess that it will seem 'woah, that's a lot' to start with, once considered with what's included it shouldn't be too bad. Average budget week away in France is now £1200. It shouldn't be that high!
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Tim Leech » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:37 pm

Count me in!
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by citsncycles » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:33 am

Put me down as a possible, as I may be involved in a ride from Carlisle to Belgium commemorating the centenary of our entering WW1, which we would be doing on period bicycles. If this happens, I may not be able to afford both.
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by mds141 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:15 pm

Make sure you take some ' Preparation H ' Mike!! :-D
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1989 BX GTi 16 valve. Blanc Alpine. Completed the Citroen Classic Challenge Ecosse and 1337 miles without a hitch.
2000 XM VSX 2.1 td Auto. Rouge Magenta.
TGD saloon many years ago.

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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Jaba » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:43 pm

I know this has been a dream of yours for some time Phil. Better get a BX for it !

Its a pity it is so short though. How about a bolt on mini Challenge for those interested before or afterwards for a few more days in Europe ?

I have to come of course, if only to get my GTi to do the tour without going wrong again. Hope it will be third time lucky as the damned car never goes wrong during the 7000 miles or so I do in Europe each year.
I will have to go to rehab if it plays up again to help me get better and buy something more modern.
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Philip Chidlow » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:20 pm

I looked at making it longer but given the 'per day' cost will be higher that previous events I thought it prudent to keep it short - but not so short that it won't do the commemorations justice.

However, there is one thing: The museum Le Manoir de l'automobile (http://www.manoir-automobile.fr/welcome/index.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) is but 217km from Bayeux, so we could consider tacking on a couple more days for a trip down to Lohéac...

Yes, Jaba, a BX would make a good car for me... I'll have to wait and see. As for your GTi - sure it'll be fine - third time lucky :)
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by ren16tx » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:33 pm

this sound like a fab trip!! id be interested, being 2014, time to save!!
i've done alot of ww2 sites around here, its facinating! i went over for the 60th in my 1963 hillman superminx which went down very well!!!
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by PhilGreaves » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:17 pm

Count me in!

Would we be seeing *both* pegasus bridges? How about Brécourt Manor? XYZ crossroads? Just curious as to if theres any ideas/plans yet for what to see.

That museum sounds great (i think they have a 4tc don't they? I know they have some great things as it was featured in the citroenain a few months back wasnt it?).

Has anyone else noticed how the BX door pockets are perfectly sized for pan am grand strategy series books? And for other military history books such as band of brothers, beyond band of brothers etc. Its almost like they knew! Couldnt believe on the picasso we loooked at recently its had doorpockets for bottled water...somehow it seemed less manly!

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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Philip Chidlow » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:13 pm

I am going to be putting together the details over the next couple of months followed by a recce of the accommodation - probably in April/May. One idea I had was to contact the local British Legion and find out if there were any suitable D-Day Veterans who might want to be a f.o.c. passenger... but there's no point in asking until much closer to the time of course, sadly. The youngest veteran is likely to be no younger than 88/89. But if fit enough, might be a very newsworthy and charitable undertaking. Just a thought - fraught with potential problems but even so... would be a very appropriate gesture.
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Re: Long way off, but toe in the water time.

Post by Philip Chidlow » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:04 pm

Re: above post and giving some vet a free trip. Not practical. So, to move on...

Found a few candidates for chateau. Essentially what do potential participants think of this?

Exclusive use of a lovely chateau. 4 nights 4-8th June. On the south western edge of Normandy, approx 18 miles from Omaha beach. £275 pp including welcome drink and breakfast x4 and insurance (which I would need to arrange). A returnable security deposit would be around £90 pp. Based on 12 staying in a Chateau with max. occupancy of 17. I guess some will want to bring partners (so the double bedrooms get used) and some won't mind sharing twin rooms with a friend, but some might want single occupancy. I will have to obtain fuller details and maybe reduce the double/shared twin room cost and up single occupancy rates. This particular Chateau is a good location but not huge. There's one chateau/estate in particular that sleeps up to 26 that, based on 22 guests would work out about the same, but it's near La Havre so is a good 60 miles from the beaches (although it's closer to Dieppe/Calais, of course).

I would need a deposit of £70 pp soon, if I thought we had enough support. This is 2014 don't forget.

Any thoughts?
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