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Driving in France

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Guys - not really on topic for a skiing forum, but thought I'd leverage your experience about driving in France and the requirements/recommendations from those that regularly do it. I'm going over (with a caravan) from Newhaven to Dieppe in July. What do I need to have with me for a trip to EuroDisney (other than patience and bags of cash)....high vis, safety triangle, peage tag etc etc. Cheers for any hints and tips.....R
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@riman8, https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/travel/country/france/
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@riman8, I believe you need to carry a breathalyser ( to measure alcohol ) as well. Best to check somewhere like The AA for definitive guides......

https://www.theaa.com/european-breakdown-cover/driving-in-europe/country-by-country
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A string of onions around your neck and a beret on your head are not obligatory but considered polite.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
don't need the breathalyser (not having one is no longer enforced)
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If it's a one off and a straight trip to and from Eurodisney I wouldn't bother with a peage tag. If you are going regular then ask again.
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Some speed limits are changing from 1st July. Single carriageway out of town is going to be 80km/h inatead of 90km/h.

https://www.thelocal.fr/20180307/france-to-lower-speed-limit-to-80kmh-in-july-despite-opposition
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Hells Bells, Thanks about the speed limit reminder. I'd forgotten.

@riman8, Personally I wouldn't bother with the telepeage transceiver unless of course you are travelling alone, which I doubt since you'll need someone to talk to in the queues at Eurodisney. However I would take a spare set of bulbs and take out european breakdown cover. I was very glad of it when we broke down near Laon in the spring. And of course a couple talking books.
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@johnE, even if you're travelling alone I believe a lot of the tolls have contactless machines, so just glue your credit card to a stick Wink
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Light bulbs. Hi Viz INSIDE THE CAR not in the boot. First Aid kit. Warning triangle
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Check that your route doesn't go through an area that requires vehicles to have a criti'air vignette. Some info here:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/travel/2017/03/driving-to-france-check-now-if-you-need-a-new-emissions-sticker-to-avoid-a-possible-100-fine
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@SnoodlesMcFlude, Very Happy I suppose you use a postit to attach the toll ticket to the stick.
I like the way you are thinking
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@johnE, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Helping-Hand-26-inch-Lightweight-Reacher/dp/B005LFYU1Y/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8&tag=amz07b-21 Wink
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Ensure you have all your car registration and insurance documents, as well as your driving licence. Driving in France is generally a big improvement on driving in the UK.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Box set of Allo Allo DVDs, so that you can learn the lingo!

Remember that although we are in the EU, any parking disputes are highly unlikley to reach your home address in the UK. So be abusive to parking law, and accept all tickets with contempt.

A tent might be useful!


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Fri 8-06-18 17:34; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
You can always reverse through the tolls if you haven’t got a doofer. Handbrake turn as you approach for maximum style points.
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jbob wrote:
You can always reverse through the tolls if you haven’t got a doofer. Handbrake turn as you approach for maximum style points.

Worked with a guy who used to do that to get into the car park at work. Not the handbrake turn bit.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
pam w wrote:
Driving in France is generally a big improvement on driving in the UK.

Except for the Belgians. And the French have no clue about roundabouts.
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Quote:

And the French have no clue about roundabouts

Are you trying to go round them the wrong way, @Layne? wink
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pam w wrote:
Ensure you have all your car registration and insurance documents, as well as your driving licence. Driving in France is generally a big improvement on driving in the UK.


Must have changed radically since the 80s when I did it, then, when motorway accidents seemed routine. It's quite possible; I see there has been quite a clamp down on speed, and enforcement of limits.
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Yes, it's much better now, @achilles. But the thing which makes the huge difference is so much less traffic, if you avoid the obvious trouble spots (and all the information you need to do so is on http://www.bison-fute.gouv.fr/). And generally road surfaces are far better - I cycled 100 miles round Normandy a couple of weeks ago, mostly on minor roads, and don't think I saw a pot hole.

French drivers are much better than British ones at lane discipline but do have an irritating habit of overtaking then getting straight back into the lane in front of you, too close. Drives me bonkers, that. I am hard-wired to keep my distance from the vehicle in front and that French habit means taking your foot off to maintain safe distance.
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

And the French have no clue about roundabouts

Are you trying to go round them the wrong way, @Layne? wink

You only ever do that once lol.

I have resided/worked in Milton Keynes for 30 years, roundabouts are in my DNA wink
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I remember back in the day when the French rule on roundabouts was that trafic entering the roundabout had priority. It took a long time for the change to be universally adopted. I see the British are now adopting the French rules for signalling at roundabouts - ie do not do it.
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Ah but the French have the roundabout to end all roundabouts.
Around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with 12 roads feeding on to it and the old rules applying.
Combining Parisian drivers with "Priorité à droite" is an adrenalin inducing experience like no other. Laughing
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How a country claiming to be civilised can have "priorite a droite" beats me. When you're going through any town (and sometimes in the country) a yokel doesn't have to launch out of a side street - he keeps driving at the speed he was doing. Weird!
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pam w wrote:
French drivers are much better than British ones at lane discipline but do have an irritating habit of overtaking then getting straight back into the lane in front of you, too close. Drives me bonkers, that. I am hard-wired to keep my distance from the vehicle in front and that French habit means taking your foot off to maintain safe distance.


They are generally OK at lane disciple but my big hate is when sitting behind 3 cars, all overtaking slower vehicles, some idiot will up behind me and sit <1m behind me with his indicator going. When I am eventually able to pull over, this car will pass me at my speed +2kmh and will then pull directly in front of me... and will slow down. Why????

I wonder if using the toll roads is a once a year thing for many French drivers.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Truth be known, driving in France is easier and more civilized than the uk, even for a brit!
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
They are specialists in the late exit - preferably you get in the overtaking lane and then decide you want to leave at the next junction when it is upon you and cut straight across with no warning or indication Other than that the driving is now very civilised.

Only other thing to watch is some motorway junctions where the entrance and exit slip roads sort of merge into one and often are not very long. So be very aware and try and get into the exit lane as soon as possible.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@bar shaker, the answer is cruise control. Every one is motoring along at 130kph except the they are relying on the speedometer or satnav and that is the difference. The logic is I'm doing 130 I've caught these cars, I will accelerate, pass and then go back to cruise @ 130kph.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
“wonder if using the toll roads is a once a year thing for many French drivers.”

Yep. Especially Parisians.

Mind you, Belgians are worse.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@BergenBergen, your arithmetic doesn’t work.

My pet hate is (usually Italian Stallions) accelerating as I (with my cruise control on (usually at 140 in Italy)) go past... rolling eyes
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Worth downloading

http://cartraveldocs.com/

Keep a french and english version
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I live in France and have a French driver's license, soooo....here are a few tips:

1. Stick to the speed limits, as there are a lot of radar cameras. Note that secondary roads are now 80 kmh rather than 90. Village/city limits are ALWAYS 50, and it starts with the red-bordered sign, and automatically goes back to 80 after the sign. Within towns/villages/cities, sometimes goes down to 30. Watch out for that.
2. "priority a droite" -- it's a bit tricky, but if you are on a road and see a yellow diamond sign, that means you have priority, unless the next intersection has a black X, which means they have priority...ah, nevermind, just be prepared to stop/slow down in villages and on secondary roads at intersections.
3. Pedestrians ALWAYS have right of way, even if they're wandering in a drunken stupor across the road against the light. Watch out for pedestrian crossing markers just before roundabouts.
4. Roundabouts: general rule is you "cedez le passage" to drivers on the left when entering. If you're making a left turn or a u-turn in a roundabout, signal with left turnsignal when entering, stay in left lane then merge into right lane, signaling just before exit.
5. Watch for cyclists in your mirror. They have priority on roundabouts etc.
6. Toll booths (peage) are a horror. If you have right hand drive be prepared with credit card and ticket. Don't get in the telepass-only lane, usually on the left.
7. Don't drink and drive -- alcohol limits are low. Two glasses of wine could do you.
8. Trucks are limited to 90 (more like 100 in many cases) on autoroutes and to the right two lanes. New drivers (with a red A sticker) are limited to 110. Keep these speed diffeentials in mind so you don't get stuck behind a convoy going up a slope...
9. One autoroute anomaly on hills -- a third "slow" lane (vehicules lentes) will be designated on the right, BUT at the top of the hill, it is the LEFT lane that has to merge into the middle, if that makes any sense. (it does, because the slow trucks etc. can just stay in their lane. However it's easy to forget this if you're powering up a slope in the left lane and have to merge abruptly into the middle lane...

In general, French drivers are very good and because penalties for breaking traffic laws are stiff, tend not to be nuts like Italians or speed demons like Germans. When in doubt, take it easy, as there is an overabundance of signage and markings on the roads.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 4-07-18 8:07; edited 1 time in total
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Timc wrote:
Ah but the French have the roundabout to end all roundabouts.
Around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with 12 roads feeding on to it and the old rules applying.
Combining Parisian drivers with "Priorité à droite" is an adrenalin inducing experience like no other. Laughing


We live about a km away from Etoile and I've only driven through it twice. Although Porte Maillot (next intersection west on Champs/Grand Armee) might be worse.
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Quote:

6. Toll booths (peage) are a horror. If you have right hand drive be prepared with credit card and ticket. Don't get in the telepass-only lane, usually on the left.

If you drive through France regularly, apply online for a badge for the telepéage.
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Do not speed.

French police are clamping down.

Loads of Brits getting stopped and license removed and car impounded this year.
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Traffic lights: in full sun with 40W bulbs; or hidden behind obstacles.
If you delay setting off when the lights switch from Red to Green (no amber signal) by 0.1 seconds - expect a loud blast of horns behind you.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Drammeister, have you timed it? more like 3-5 seconds in my experience. there are numpties on their mobiles sleeping at traffic lights Smile
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Driving to France for the first time next week- better look into these road signs and speed limits Confused
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Drammeister wrote:
Traffic lights: in full sun with 40W bulbs; or hidden behind obstacles.


Several years ago when I first went motoring in France I would have agreed with you - the traffic lights were low powered and in bright sunshine you could barely make them out. However in recent years I think most if not all have been upgraded with much brighter LED lights and I no longer find there's a problem. Madeye-Smiley
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