This year we’ve been asked more than ever for advice on driving in France for the first time. We’ve driven in Poland, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom within the last 12 months and have always felt a sense of relief to be back on French roads again.
The plus points
Uncrowded motorways with good surfaces which make for less stressful driving.
A compulsory reduction in speed during wet weather.
Roadsides which are generally clean, without drinks cans and polystyrene decorating the verge and polythene which looks as if it grows on the roadside trees.
Well maintained roads even in the smaller villages. Pot holes are rare.
Most lorries over 7.5 tonnes are banned from the roads and motorways at the weekends from 10.pm Saturday to 10 pm Sunday and also on public holidays. From early July to mid August the ban starts earlier – 7 am on the Saturday.
As well as Service Areas on the motorways there is a plentiful number of rest areas which often have children’s play areas, trees or artificial shade and picnic benches.
Cheaper fuel. Petrol tends to be very similar to UK prices (depending on the exchange rate) but diesel is 20% less. The Carrefour website at Calais has a ready conversion of their prices to the current exchange rate. Link
Motorway tolls – an extra expense, but no constant changing of speed which saves fuel.
Directions tend to be posted at the last minute.
A new law – you must stop for anyone indicating they wish to cross the road! This does not apply if they are within 50 m of a zebra crossing. However, stopping for a pedestrian still causes some strange reactions.
The reputation of French drivers!
This post is based on our own experiences, but you may have a different comment, a useful tip, an interesting experience or amusing tale about driving in France to share?