This may appeal more to those living within striking distance of Dover, but if your day trip purpose is to buy a lot, the journey from your home to East Kent may be well worth it.
The ferries and Eurotunnel do many special offers for day trippers with car and these can reduce greatly during non holiday seasons and by traveling at ‘unsocial hours’ Some will do a day trip rate for 24 hour stays so you can get a night in France and make a mini-break of it if you wish.
Make a day of it, half roaming the streets and beach, then the afternoon do the Supermarkets and pick up enough stuff to easily pay for the trip! After that, a good meal in town (for less than the cost over here) and a midnight romantic cruise back to good old Blighty!
If you’re travelling from the Midlands or even further north, then consider staying overnight in France. You can get very cheap accommodation in the chain hotels like B&B or Formula1. Drive down and take an afternoon crossing, do a little shopping then check in your hotel. Enjoy a wonderful meal in town and then more low cost shopping in the morning.
So What is Cheap to Buy In France?
- Tobacco – It’s a lot cheaper in Belgium which is just half and hour up the road from Calais by car. Best to take pound notes, for some reason they give you a better price for British cash than Euros. Be aware the ‘limit’ is now just a kilo per adult.
- Spirits – Savings aren’t great on spirits but check them out. Often their spirits are in litre bottles where ours are 70cl. Compare like for like.
- Wine – for ‘plonk’ bring back boxes of wine. They weigh less and you need to be careful not to overload the car. Carrefour or Auchan are as good as anywhere for boxed wines.
Find the Intermarche (signposted in both Calais and Boulogne) and pick up their bottled ‘Expert Club’ wines. Always good examples of type and very reasonably priced.
- Fuel – Unless you’ve got diesel, filling up won’t make any difference – diesel varies from 15-30% below UK prices depends on the exchange rate, of course.
- Cheese – try the Artisan range from Auchan in Calais. Local cheeses you’ll never find in the UK. Not cheap but rather good.
- Washing Powder – I don’t know why but it tends to be a lot cheaper than the UK
- Food – cans of really nice pate can be found cheaply in French supermarkets and look out for 7 eggs pasta. As cheap as our pasta but far nicer.
- Preserving Equipment – We make our own jams and chutneys. The French supermarkets carry jars, Kilner style jars, spares and all you need for making preserves very reasonably.
- Gardening Seeds – why seeds should be cheaper in France than here I don’t know but they’re bigger packs at lower prices with a longer sow-by date. Often just the same varieties as over here. If you don’t speak French, don’t worry they have pictures on the front!
- Gardening Equipment – you can get everything from watering cans to rotovators a lot cheaper over the water.
- Building Equipment – believe it or not, if you’re renovating a bathroom, they’re a lot cheaper over there. Paint, however, is dearer! Doesn’t make a lot of sense but well worth checking out.
Before you Go
Do check you comply with the law if you take your car over. You need to be insured (check with your insurance company) and will need beam deflectors for your lights, warning triangle and spare set of light bulbs.
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