travel guide

Information about driving in France

driving in franceDriving in France especially in holiday regions, like the Riviera, and on trunk roads, the traffic is often very heavycin summer. Traffic in most towns is heavy in rush hours (8 to 9am, noon to 1 pm, and 18.00 to 21.00 pm). Outside towns, there are few hazards apart from an occasional herd of cattle in country lanes and some unguarded level-crossings.
 The French road system is excellent.

All main highways of France are connecting with almost all western Europe. The E50 connects France with Germany at Saarbrucken via Metz,the E429 outside of Lille concts France with Brussels Belgium as well as the E42, the E60 via Becancon or the E23 via Mulhouse E60 connects with Swizerland in Basel to the south the E15 links France with Spain via Perpignan while the E80 connects from the south France with Italy at Menton – Ventimigla.

Almost all roads, even small country ones, are well surfaced and kept in good condition. In mountain districts they are usually well engineered. True, there are fewer modern motorways than in Germany or Italy and dual carriageways are less numerous than three-lane single main roads. But traffic outside towns is rarely so dense that this matters much. Inside towns and villages, smooth roads are often replaced by uneven cobbles – partly with the deliberate aim of forcing through-traffic to slow down. Across the lowlands of France, roads tend to be dead straight, which makes for fast driving.

petrol stationFilling-stations and garages are abundant. Shell and other international brands of petrol and oil are on sale, besides the French ones. Petrol costs: Diesel about 1.305 euro, Unleaded 95 1.179 euro.

Mechanics are generally competent, and it is possible to get even quite major repairs done quickly on a Sunday. Best take a phrase-book, though, and spare parts if your car is not French.

There are few weather hazards for drivers, except through fog and ice on mountain roads in winter (where it may be wise to carry snow-chains). Many of the passes in the Alps, and some in the Pyrenees, are closed in winter, but enough roads remainopen for detours to be possible. When the Mont Cenis is closed (usually November to April), the toll-road Frejus tunnel from Modane in France to Bardonecchia in Italy provides an alternative. The toll-road tunnel of Mont Blanc links Chamonix in France to Courmayeur in Italy/.

The Touring Club de France operates a car breakdown service on a good many main roads, with clearly marked telephones every 2 or 3 km, from which. you can call a garage or the local police. Costs must be paid direct to the garage.