Touring France in a VW T4 camper

Mark and Lauren Ashley had the dream of touring France in their VW T4 camper and wisely entered our competition to bag a wad of cash to fund it. They didn’t win, but decided to go anyway, setting off for a three-week adventure around France in their beloved bright yellow bus ‘Bumblebee’. Needless to say they had an absolute hoot, and even got to write a daily blog about their experiences…

Setting off in mid-August, the intrepid T4 travellers covered over 2000 miles in 21 days, and made their way down the Atlantic coast before heading back via Dordogne, Aquitaine and the Loire. Staying at campsites, in-laws and various ‘aires’ on route, basically every step of the route has been wittily documented on Bumblebee’s blog and if you’re planning a similar trip, or just want a good read then take a look here.


Despite an inauspicious start when Mark filled the tank up with petrol instead of diesel the moment they hit French shores and later getting the van stuck in sand on a nudist campsite there were highlights aplenty including numerous fabulous sunsets and just having the freedom to go wherever they wanted in their well kitted out camper.


Having been back a few weeks, they’ve now had the chance to reflect on their trip and think about stuff they would have done differently. And there’s some handy tips for those planning a similar adventure. “If we do it again, we’ll stay at places for more than a couple of nights because it’s a pain packing up the van every other day,” explains Mark. “I’ll also make sure I take a reverse polarity adapter for the 240v hook up and I might try to get another top box on the roof to stash all the bedding.” Other possible upgrades include fitting a pop top so they wouldn’t have to fold down the rear seats and also taking an awning. “That’s more for the rain than the sun – it’s much nicer having somewhere to shelter than having to sit in the van with all the stuff you’ve just chucked in to prevent it getting wet.”


Despite a modest amount of precipitation, the couple were blessed with lots of warm sunshine which has encouraged Mark to investigate another possible upgrade – fitting solar power. “Whilst I enjoy staying at the campsites with all their facilities, I also really enjoyed staying at the aires, most of which had no electricity supply. With solar power to top up the leisure battery, I could keep the fridge going for a lot longer which would mean Lauren (Lolly) would have ice for her G&Ts, I’d have cold beers and our food would keep.”

huge motorhomes

While on the trip the pair admit they sometimes looked on enviously at travellers with huge motorhomes, but despite the appeal of having your own toilet and shower, there’s a definite drawback according to Mark. “What puts me off is that pretty much all of the owners had upwards of 20 years on us. We’re not ready to roll with the olds, we’re still reasonably young and happy being in the cool crowd with our lovely yellow T4.”








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