On The Subject Of Driving In France Roads
Am looking for a friend to help me locate a simple job in one of these countries USA,UK,FRANCE.?
I drive road construction tractors.
Stewart McIntosh answers:
Try european site work jobs in websearch,.
Travelling through France in August – Need Traffic Advice?
On the 13th of August this year, we are travelling to the Vendee from the UK via Calais. The idea was to stay over at a hotel in Calais overnight on the 13th, then continue our journey on the Saturday 14th.
However, I am getting conflicting reports telling me that I will be OK and not get held up, and others telling me that the toll roads will be heaving and it could take many more hours.
Has anyone driven the roads in France around this time that can give me any views here please?
I want to know if the best thing to do is just keep travelling overnight and get there about 3am on the 14th and have a sleep in the car.
Stewart McIntosh answers:
You have chosen just about the worst weekend possible to travel on the french autoroutes. The french holiday in August, either the first 2 weeks or the last two weeks. So, the weekend that you will travel will be “transition week” (for want of a better term) on which half of France will be travelling to the coast – and the other half going in the opposite direction. The autoroutes are often referred to as “routes of steel” as they are solid with cars and caravans. And August 15th is the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary which, in some parts of France, causes extra problems with fetes and parades!! The one good thing about that weekend is that, like all weekends in August, there will be no heavy lorries on the autoroutes from Friday at 18.00 until Monday at 06.00. They are banned.
If I had to cross to France on Aug.13 I would try to arrive in the early hours of the morning and head straight for the Vendee. You have around 700 km to drive (Calais to la Rochelle).
However, all is not lost!! The French Routes Nationales (RN) are of very high quality and, with some planning, you could work out a route from Calais avoiding the motorways. And such a route, whilst, potentially longer and slower, would be more interesting and and less frustrating. The French also have the routes called “Bison Fute” (there should be an accent over the “e”) which are alternatives to the autoroutes. (try googling Bison Fute). These are signposted and cover most of France. Another alternative would be to use the Michelin routefinder facility (rather like the AA’s but better for France) which will give you an autoroute free routes and also give you an approximation as to the cost of your fuel.
Do you have a satnav? I use a Tom Tom 1XL with euromapping (in tandem with a Michelin route) and it is brilliant. You can ask it to work out an autofree route which can save you toll fees.
Should you travel through the night?? Without a doubt but many French could have the same idea.
Whatever you do, don’t drive when tired. It could prove fatal. Keep the car windows open and, if possible, the radio/cd player on. Stop regularly and drink coffee (take a flask) or whatever.
Fortunately, we have always travelled midweek as we had long holidays and towed a caravan and never had an accident in nearly 30 years of travelling in France.
Is it difficult to drive in the south of France, near Bordeaux?
We will be renting a car in Bordeaux and driving to Rocamadour (a little over 2 hours by car). Does anyone know if it is difficult to drive in France? Do they drive on the same side of the road as the U.S.? How are the gas prices? How much gas does a typical French car hold?
Stewart McIntosh answers:
Apply for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) at any American Automobile Association (AAA) branch. To get your permit, you must be at least 18 years old, have two 2-by-2-inch photos, a driver’s license, the fee and your AAA application. You must have an IDP to drive in France.
Rent a car. Book your own car at a rental car company Web site or work with your travel agent to find a good deal.
Know what kind of gas your rental takes. Most rental cars either take unleaded (sans plomb), diesel (gazole) or LPG. You can save money by filling up at a supermarket rather than a gas station along the motorway.
Know the speed limits. The speed limit on the motorway is 130 kph. The speed limit is 80 kph on major roads and 50 kph inside town. The speed limits are slightly lower when road conditions are wet, so be careful and always observe posted speed limits.
Familiarize yourself with traffic signs and French driving phrases. “Sortie” means exit, and “route barree” means road closed. “Sens-unique” translates to one-way. Use a French phrase book to translate other road signs.
Familiarize yourself with the French highway system. The Autorote Network is the highway system comprised of motorways and freeways. These roads can be either tolled or free. Free roads will have green direction signs, and tolled roads will have blue direction signs.
France has strict drink driving laws, blood alcohol levels being stricter than in the UK or US (0.5 mg/ml rather than 0.8). Rather than present you with meaningless figures relating to blood/breath alcohol levels, our advice is if you’re driving, don’t drink.
Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere.
Speed limits are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent. In France, anyone caught travelling at more than 25km/h above the speed limit can have their licence confiscated on the spot.
Be aware that urban speed limits begin at the town or city sign (not always where the first 50km/h sign is situated), usually denoted by a white name panel with a red border, and the limit ends where the name panel has a diagonal black bar through it.
Price of petrol is around 1.45 Euro / liter. Depending the car the tank contains from 40 to 80 liters, you have to ask when you rent the car.
To help you, this site explains lots of things:
Driving around Europe (France, Belgium, Netherlands)…any tips?
Basically i live in the UK, and i’m taking a trip to Amsterdam, which involves me driving through France, Belgium and the Netherlands. I’ve been driving for a couple of years, but i’ve obviously never driven on the right side of the road.
Wondering if anybody can offer me any tips or advice on driving through mainland Europe, any laws i should observe or things to bear in mind
Thanks in advance
Stewart McIntosh answers:
I have done the Amsterdam UK route more times than I care to remember and I guess my main advice would be don’t worry :0)
As you have been driving for a couple of years then it’s good because you need to be 18 minimum to drive in continental Europe. With a couple of years behind you then at least you have got a bit of experience behind you and presumably are used to driving on motorways – which is basically the whole of the journey to Amsterdam
Advice – well a couple of things spring to mind.
All of the mentioned countries have different rules & regulations e.g. Things that are mandatory vs advised that you should carry with you at all times and as a result I would advise you check the AA site as it has some really good info for this both on driving in Europe in general http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas/index.html and then a PDF file with driving requirements per country http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas/countrybycountry.html
It’s something also to consider about membership of the AA/RAC depending on your car. Buying membership in advance in the UK would give you cover for all the countries mentioned and it would be a lot cheaper than buying it roadside. I remember as a student breaking down in Belgium and having to buy membership for a year minimum in Belgium knowing I would never use it again!
This is usually the thing which most people are curious about and to be honest, once you get into the swing of it then it becomes very easy, very quickly. The most dangerous part is the beginning of any journey – so a simple post-it to remind you to drive on the other side helps (again I have a vivid memory of my Dad driving with me in the passenger side and a man seeing this foreigner driving on the other side of the road!
When you get off the ferry then just follow the flow of the other cases and don’t be in a rush to overtake until you feel comfortable. The only thing that I find I have to actually think about is when you come to roundabouts.
However do read up about the roadsigns and rules of driving as “right of way” rules are different than in the UK and you can get people pulling out from the right in front of you and they have the right of way.
If you can get your hands on a satnav then this would save the hassle of having to make sure you don’t miss any turn off’s and gives peace of mind – however that being saidf, it’s a relatively easy journey. The only advice I would give about this is to make sure that you have a routeplanner sheet or map in your car if the GPS goes haywire. Also think about timings. Traffic around Antwerp, Rotterdam & up to Amsterdam can be pretty diabolical at peak commuter hours and you might want to avoid this.
Check the prices from the route you want to take – Eurotunnel is always expensive in my experience and generally Norfolk Lines & Sea France crossings tend to be cheaper than P&O. Also crossing early mornings can save a fair bit of money.
The last piece of advice (from someone who used to live there) – if you are intent on taking your car to Amsterdam then seriously consider parking outside of Amsterdam e.g. In one of the P&R garages. Few hotels in the centre have parking (and it is rarely free). Parking in Amsterdam is an absolute nightmare – even if you can find a space then you are looking at a minimum of €4 per hour parking. The streets are narrow, congested and you have to fight your way with buses, trams, bikes and locals driving – it’s really not a great experience if you value your car! You can read about P&R here http://www.amsterdam.info/parking/park-ride/ , here http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100718082802AAgccu1 and http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/touristinformation/gettingaround/parking You can also consider parking at the long-term parking at Schiphol airport. If you book in advance then it can be cheap as €5 per day and then it’s an easy ride to Amsterdam centre by train http://www.schiphol.nl/Travellers/ToFromSchiphol/Parking/SchipholSmartParking.htm
Well that’s all I can think of, and certainly enough to get you going!
Best of luck
How much do the peage toll roads cost in France?
Say, driving from Calais to Chambery? Is it horrendously expensive to use toll roads all the way? The alternatives seem to go through every town centre en route.
Stewart McIntosh answers:
I did pretty much the same route a week ago and it cost around 150 euros, but i did all the way on toll roads.
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