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Shefford

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  1. I'm also going over to St Malo on Bretagne next Sunday, but will be eating in the self-service. Will the bread rolls be the same as in Les Abers? Full report also promised.
  2. Some very interesting points made here - especially worrying about "what if" and the perception that there is a high chance of disruption when travelling to France. Last week we did a day trip to St Malo thanks to the latest BFE offer, with overnight crossings on Pont Aven with the same cabin both ways. Had no problems at all with passport control, security check or gilets jaunes. However, we no longer leave anything in the cabin when we arrive in France "just in case" there are some shenanigans at the port when we return and we can't get back on the ferry. A small thing, but indicative of the mindset discussed here. I have to say I am very pleased we have no plans to go to Paris on the Eurostar, it sounds absolutely dreadful.
  3. Just received an email from BF titled "How was your booking experience with us?" 🙄
  4. I booked a day trip using the BFE offer yesterday around 14.00. To start with I kept getting the "socket timeout" message and it took several minutes before I got onto the BF site. The process of booking seemed to be much more time-consuming than on the old site and I had to start again at one point. I declined the offer of setting up a BF account as I thought it would probably take ages, would probably timeout again and I didn't have any confidence that it wouldn't mess up my booking somehow. Got there in the end, but I really can't see how this new site is an improvement. As Cabin Boy says, "planned maintenance" is not done on a Friday evening, and it is always announced in advance, as part of the "planning".
  5. Thanks for the info, jonno, I've had another go trying to find the Hotel Celtique in Carnac, where I've stayed several times. Got there in the end, using the map as you suggest, but it felt like unnecessary hard work. This will be the 14th consecutive year that I've booked 1 or 2 BF hotel holidays, so I'm unimpressed that BF have made this part of their booking website less functional. No idea why the developers came on this site if they weren't going to listen to regular customers. I also sent the feedback directly via the website, so that was a waste of time as well. Oh well, onwards and upwards....... 🙄
  6. The point I made about booking the hotel holidays has been ignored. On the old site it was possible to select a town/city and see which hotels BF uses in that particular place. I already have a good idea of where I want to go before I book a holiday and don't want to scroll through 90-odd hotels in Brittany to find the 2 or 3 available in the place I want to go to. Oh well, guess the best option now is to order the BF Hotel Holidays brochure every year and have a look through that, as it has hotels listed by location. 🙄
  7. I think a lot of Brits who find themselves "unwelcome" by the French expect everyone over there to speak English, and that's the problem. I speak "holiday French", so, while I am not fluent, I can get by in hotels, shops and restaurants and have never felt unwelcome over there. IMO if you go to a foreign country and don't speak any of the language, then you have to take what comes! Most of our spending in France goes on restaurant meals, which are much better quality than for the equivalent over here. Then there's supermarket shopping, where we buy things that are cheaper or more interesting than what you get at home. Occasionally we will buy tickets for a museum, art gallery, or a botanical garden, like the one in Roscoff. As for the Brexit effect on BF, I have already booked 2 BF hotel holidays for next year, in June and August. I was not going to pass up the 20% early booking discount and will deal with any post-Brexit problems if and when they occur.
  8. Just had a look at the Beta site. I usually book hotel holidays with BF, so tried out that section. While you can still filter by region (eg: Brittany), there is no longer an option to filter by town, you are just presented with a random list of 94 hotels in Brittany. I usually have an idea of where I want to visit, so what I want to see is a list of the hotels that BF uses in a particular town. That info is available on the current site and needs to be brought into the Beta site IMO.
  9. Thank you for the restaurant recommendation in the first post - have added Les Alizes to The List for my forthcoming Roscoff trip. We will be sailing on Armorique though, so sadly no all-you-can-eat BF breakfast for us 🙁
  10. When we arrived in Ouistreham for the ferry last month, we drove to the Place du Marche, and walked to Avenue de la Mer, which has lots of shops and cafes. We had a drink at Le Havane cafe. This area is away from the ferry port and a good spot to aim for if you have free time to spend in Ouistreham before checking in for the ferry. I'm guessing that the chap reporting on Twitter was at the Place de Gaulle which is on the main route to the ferry port and therefore more likely to attract migrants.
  11. Thanks for the tip Neil - we have booked inside cabins this time as both our Armorique crossings are overnight. However, will bear the club plus cabins in mind for a future trip. A couple of things I forgot to mention - my John Lewis credit card was declined on Bretagne, and an initial attempt to use it on MSM was not successful either. I was told that BF have problems with processing both John Lewis and M&S credit cards on board. So if anyone is planning to use either of these cards on a future trip, they might want to have another card or cash as a back-up. Last but not least, we got our holiday chocolate stash from Super U home safely, despite the heat. We wrapped it all up in a large towel, together with a bottle of chilled water, and it survived the day in the middle of a suitcase without melting. It would have been a shame to ruin all that lovely French chocolate 😀
  12. Just returned from a trip to Carnac in southern Brittany, so thought it was time for a voyage report. We headed down to Portsmouth on Sunday 24th for the 20.15 crossing to St Malo. Decided not to rush down there and arrive early as we didn't want to be stuck in the car lanes for ages in the heat. We arrived at 19.20, drove straight to a check-in booth and straight through the first car lanes and past the security shed. Spent about five minutes in the second pre-boarding lanes and then drove on to Deck 4. Result! Avoiding Bretagne's Deck 5 was an excellent start to the holiday. On boarding, there were several BF crew directing people to their cabins - have not seen this before. Anyway, we knew where our cabin was as we usually end up in the same area on Deck 6, near the central atrium. Dumped our bags then headed up to the self-service for a light meal - salad, cheese etc. The ship was fairly busy and sailed 15 minutes early at 20.00. After our meal, we had a wander around the ship, including out on deck, then found some seats on Deck 7 where we read for a while. Back in the cabin, we had a good night's sleep and were awakened by the dreaded Breton folk music. At least on Pont Aven you can turn it off - no such luck on Bretagne. Back to the self-service for breakfast - croissants and coffee - then we docked on time at 8.15. Deck 4 drivers were called straight away, so we were off the ship and through a very cursory passport check by 8.35. Enjoyed a few very hot days in Carnac and drove around to a few other nearby towns. Saw several signs about the speed limit changes due from 1st July. IMO, the French would do better to have an anti-tailgating campaign - I have never seen or experienced so much tailgating ever. I wonder what the French equivalent of the Highway Code says about keeping a safe distance from the car in front - not much, I imagine. Anyway, that's my euros-worth on possibly why the French traffic accident rate is so high. On Friday, we drove back to Ouistreham for the 16.30 Mont St Michel crossing to Portsmouth. The last time we did this from Carnac, the route we used took us around Rennes which was not much fun, so this time we avoided it by heading NE from Ploermel up towards Dinan. Much better! Arrived in Ouistreham around 14.15 and decided to go for "late" boarding on the ferry again. As we drove into Ouistreham, we saw several groups of young African men hanging around, about 20-30 altogether, but they did not appear to be bothering anyone. At the Place de Gaulle, there were some seriously tooled-up gendarmes patrolling the area. We headed into the town and parked at the Place de Marche, then walked along the shopping area in Rue de la Mer. As we got to the beach, we could see it was very windy and there appeared to be a sandstorm, so it looked like we were in for an interesting crossing. There were no migrants or gendarmes in this area - only on the main road near the port entrance. We drove into the port around 15.30 and queued for a while to check-in. There were 6 more heavily-armed gendarmes standing around, keeping a close eye on everything. After check-in, there was no further passport check and no-one was checking car boots etc. We boarded on Deck 5 rather than Deck 6, so again arriving later at the port paid off. We headed to our cabin on Deck 9, then down to the self-service for a cup of tea. The ship was busy, with several school parties. Back in the cabin, there was a lot of running around outside and banging on cabin doors going on. The ship was rolling around quite a bit as we had expected. We ignored all that and had a rest and a shower before heading to the restaurant for the 18.15 opening time. There was a queue already, but the staff were very well-organised and quickly took people off to various tables. We had the two buffets option which was excellent, although I did miss the langoustines! While in the restaurant there was an announcement about the behaviour of school parties on board, requesting the leaders to keep them under control, so I guess there had been some complaints. We docked on time at 21.15, drove off not long afterwards and didn't have long to wait at passport control - on the road by 21.40. A very enjoyable trip, helped by early departures from both ferries. Regarding costs in France, I don't really expect it to be considerably cheaper than over here re coffees and ice creams, but the quality of the restaurant meals is so much better than for the equivalent cost here. Looking forward to our next BF trip in October - Plymouth to Roscoff on Armorique, a first for us.
  13. My pet hate is the Breton wake-up music in the cabins, which I find really irritating, especially first thing in the morning. On my last Pont Aven trip, I managed to turn it off, but it came back on a couple of minutes later. Infuriating! An announcement to say that we are an hour from docking, and that breakfast is being served, is all that's needed IMO. Also I never want to encounter the ramp to & from Deck 1 on Cap Finistere again.
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