Travel to France this summer Need Not Be a Nightmare!

Travelling to France this summer needn’t be a nightmare from the South of England! Road travel to the UK ports of Portsmouth, Poole & Newhaven is all plain sailing, as are the roads in France at the ports of arrival. We ourselves have just returned from France, Caen (Ouistreham) to Portsmouth without a hitch. You will also save time and road miles on the other side if travelling to Normandy and beyond. Don’t miss out on a wonderful holiday in France because of the current situation at Dover / Folkstone to Calais. Bon Voyage!

Brittany Ferries (opens new window/tab)

Direct Ferries – All ports (opens new window/tab)

Advice on new rules when hiring a car abroad in France

Now we know that hiring a car in France can be painful at the best of times (is there really no solution to how long it takes to go through the collection process??) but a recent change to UK law means that it may now become more complicated.

As from June 8th, 2015 the DVLA is no longer issuing the paper part of the licence that is normally provided with the photo card licence and information about penalty points will only be held on DVLA’s driver record.

licence BEAN 300x192 Hiring a car abroad? Are you ‘au fait’ with the new licence rules?The paper licence used to show details of any endorsements, penalty points etc., what class of vehicle you can drive and expiry date of the document.

The DVLA have advised drivers to destroy the paper section, however the AA has warned motorists who are planning to travel abroad that the hire car companies may not be aware of the new changes and may still request to see it.

The DVLA advises that you print off an up to date version of your driving licence, plus get a passcode that allows the car hire company to view your licence online.

Does this seem like a bit of a faff? It does to us.

So here’s a step-by-step guide if hiring a car abroad:

Photocard paper counterpart

Anticipating that some car hire companies overseas may not immediately be aware of this change, We recommend that you retain your paper counterpart if you intend hiring a car abroad rather than following DVLA advice and destroying it on 8 June.

Additionally you should:

  • Print your own driving licence record from DVLA’s website – you’ll need to know your driving licence number, national insurance number and your home address post code.
  • Obtain a code from the DVLA’s ‘share driving licence’ service that you can pass to a third party (employer, hire car company). The code will only be valid for 72 hours and will give them one-off access to your online driving licence record to verify the printed copy, and if the car hire firm logs out of the system they will not be able to log back in.

Having said all that, a lot of car hire companies in France will accept just the photocard part of the driving licence, but it is better to be prepared. Also, If you are driving in your own car, there is no need to worry, these rules apply only when hiring a car!


Check our Facebook & Twitter pages & our great online reviews

Finally got around to updating our Facebook and Twitter profile images! Garden starting to bloom and the sun is out at Mantilly Cottage, what more could you want? perhaps to be sitting in that garden with a glass of local cidre or vin? Still not too late to book for the summer holidays! Our Great reviews with comments like “I would highly recommend a stay at the Cottage” may help you decide?

Facebook – Mantilly French Like us there!  Twitter – @Mantillycottage Tweet us here!



Try Geocaching


Looking for something different to do on holiday when staying in France? Ever heard of Geocaching? It is like a modern day treasure hunt using a GPS device or modern smart phone (iPhone / Android etc). Register for an account on line with and you can start the treasure hunt now!

There are loads of hidden cache’s nearby to Mantilly and surrounding areas in Northern France. Why not give it a go? You will be surprised at how much fun it is.



Want to know more? View the video to see how it work?

With more than 48,000 caches in throughout the country, geocaching will take you to remarkable and unique parts of France, some which you might have never seen before. Geocaches can be found everywhere, just around the corner from where you are staying or further afield in unknown terrain. They can be hidden in many sites of interest, around French national monuments or sites that appear in UNESCO’s World Heritage site list. Wherever they may be, your hunt will be a challenging adventure!

Explore France as you search for the cache

Simply go to the web site mides, where you will find geocaching maps of France. You just need to type the name of a French city or village and you will obtain a list of all the geocaches within a 25 or 50 km radius. Then all you have to do is register the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS device, or GPS-enabled mobile phone, and let the hunt commence!

There are over a dozen “cache types” in this adventure quest. The traditional one consists of a container with a logbook, while with the mystery or puzzle cache, you will first need to solve complex puzzles to determine the coordinates of what you seek. They can vary greatly in size and appearance, from a small box to a large bucket. Once you’ve found it, don’t forget to sign the logbook inside, and return it to its original location!

There are many different difficulty levels in this game, caches may vary from “challenging” ones to the “extremes”, the “old”, the “monument”, the “easy”, the “highest”, and many more! With approximately 5.040 caches, the Rhône-Alpes region has the highest number of caches in France! It is followed by the Languedoc-Roussillon (4.643 caches) and the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur regions (4.316 caches).

So why not discover the Dordogne, Provence, Brittany or Normandy in a different way? With an average of 2.186 caches per French region, you will have many places to explore!

Tour de France Accommodation

The world famous cycle race, the Tour de France is coming soon! Did you know it will pass several locations nearby Mantilly Cottage during stage 7 on July 10, further updates to follow.

If your’e into cycling and fancy a few days in France during the Tour check availability for July and book now to avoid disappointment.

So what is a gîte?

When we decided to buy Mantilly Cottage, we had to decide on a name for the property. It was situated in the lovely village of Mantilly, so that was the easy bit! We know in france most self catering properties are refered to as a gîte, and in the UK it would be called a holiday cottage. According to the Oxford English dictionary the definition of gîte is :


A furnished holiday house in France, typically in a rural district.

You may not know, or you may have guessed, but the origin is French, from Old French giste; related to gésir ‘to lie’. Which makes perfect sense!

However, at Mantilly cottage there is so much more to do than lie on the comfortable beds! We settled on ‘cottage’ in the end.


Looking for a break in France during the School Holidays?

Are you looking for a break in France during the School Holidays? If so, you may well be in luck ! 🙂

We currently have vacancies during the UK school holidays this summer if you are planning to stay in Northern France, why not try Mantilly Cottage? Availability will fill up quickly at this very busy time. Even better is the fact that unlike some other cottages, we don’t put up our prices to ridiculous levels just because it is the school holidays. For example, in the height of the summer holidays, a one week stay will only cost £300 a week ! Yes, a week! Check out our other rates by clicking here.

Don’t hesitate too long, as these spaces will not be free for long.

Chris and Sally



Are you looking to buy property in northern france?

Now is a great time to buy property in France. The exchange rate with the pound means you get great value for money. Why not use Mantilly cottage as your base to start your house hunting. We are situated very centrally in , Normandie, North West France which provides a great location to start your gite, house or even castle hunt.

We have put together a selection of useful videos to help you on your house hunting in France. Click the link to view our YouTube channel. helping Mantilly cottage

At Mantilly Cottage we are always looking for new ways to promote the business. On searching the mighty Google, we came across a fantastic service promoting English speaking small businesses in France. Advertising is always free and there is a vast array of different services including Cottages and Gites. Take a look, they are pleasantly different from other business directories. Annabel from the inenglish team is very helpful in promoting the listings.

ie Click here to view the web site normandie/mantilly/holidays/cosy-mantilly-cottage-gite/

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