Driving in France

bil1You can reach most of France by train and bus, but a car gives tremendous freedom and you can discover the charming villages and natural landscapes that are inaccessible by bus and train.

One drives on the right side of the road and the French are quite courteous in traffic (compared to other Southern European countries), so it’s okay to drive.

The roads in France are divided into several categories, the fastest is Autoroutes. Autoroutes are marked as A8 on maps. Here you generally drive 130 km/hour and there are several lanes in both directions. On these roads you can reach quite far in a few hours. The roads are regulated by tolls (peage). It is alternately dispensing ticket and payment based on the ticket. The easiest way is to have both the ticket and credit card ready and use the machines.

Level 2 routes is routes are routes nationales, marked as N202 or RN230. Theese are not as fast as Autoroutes, often 90 zone. In addition, there are more entries and exits etc., which make them slower. Some places there are tolls. You can often choose the routes nationales instead of autoroutes . Often there is more to see along the routes nationales and the routes go through the small villages, but it takes more time.

In addition, routes departementales and regular city streets.

In larger cities there might be much queues and the traffic flow in cities like Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Marseilles and Toulon is not always logical, so you have to have a little patience.

It should be easy to follow the signs along the road, but in city centers it might be difficult since there is much else going on simultaneously. Roundabouts are signed inside the roundabout, which can be very strange and one must follow closely in the roundabouts or you may have to take another round.

Parking can be difficult in some places along the coast and in the larger cities, but usually you will find somewhere to park, at least if you are willing to pay for it. In smaller cities within the country it is rarely a problem to find parking, but some places you have to park outside the city walls. We have tried to mention parking conditions in the texts of the various towns, especially if the parking can be tricky, as in Collioure.

On this website you will find maps and driving directions in France: http://www.autoroutes.fr

Maps are also sold at gas stations.

It is possible to hire cars at the airports and in the larger citites. This might be wise to have cleared out before you travel. 

New legislation from 1 July 2012

From 1 July 2012 it is required to have a alcometer present in the vehicle at all times. Disposable alcometers are sold at a reasonable prices at gas stations.