Motoring in France

  anchor 17:00 12 Jul 07
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I have just returned from a motoring tour in France, covering about 2400 miles.

I was struck with the beauty of the country, and that driving there, (except in the big cities), is still a pleasure.

Most, but NOT all, of their autoroutes are toll roads. I understand that their extensive road network is paid for from the petrol tax; the more you drive, the more tax you pay. There is no road tax disc to buy, which would save me personally £190/year; (that would pay quite a lot of autoroute tolls!).

The threat of road pricing here in the UK has still not gone away; which would certainly be a road toll charge.

On average I was paying about 90.6p/litre for petrol, (supermarket price for 95 unleaded), which is at least 5.3p/litre less than the best price in my home area.

Vive la France!!

  Chris the Ancient 17:24 12 Jul 07

I agree with you about motoring in France.

I found that even when I stayed off the autoroutes and kept to routes nationale that the motoring was just as much fun. And the quality of the road surfaces (generally) was very high - and smooth on nearly all roads (except the minor ones).

As always in France, the only down side was the typical Gallic driver that just had to be in front of me - even when he wasn't wanting to go any faster!

I suppose wheat it all boils down to is that there are less cars per kilometre and a sensible investment in the principal roads.

  Stuartli 17:38 12 Jul 07

Although I've used the French motorways a lot, as Chris the Ancient states getting off the beaten track is much more interesting, virtually as quick and the majority of the roads are excellent.

Remarkable really in view of the size of France compared to the UK.....

  pj123 18:36 12 Jul 07

The other thing I have heard is that France usually takes the tolls off any roads once they have recouped the money that was paid to build it. More than I can say for England. Dartford crossing?

Mind you, neither France or England will ever recoup the money paid out for the Channel Tunnel.
That has to be Thatcher's white elephant.

  Forum Editor 18:45 12 Jul 07

Up the Champs-Elysées in the morning rush hour, to be exact, and I wasn't saying Vive la France! I assure you. It's always a nightmare, but today it seemed especially bad.

Get out of the city and I agree with you - motoring in France can be a pleasure. I'll dream of it as I head onto the M25 from Heathrow tomorrow.

  Kate B 19:00 12 Jul 07

I love France, but driving there can be a horror because the signposting on roads is pretty awful. We spent 10 days driving to and from the south last summer and I'm a good navigator but a couple of times despite my expert skills we missed badly signposted turnings and wasted time finding our way back on track.

  Kate B 19:01 12 Jul 07

Oh, and another horror about driving in France: it's difficult to avoid going pretty much right into Paris if you're heading from the Channel to the south. You either go miles out of your way or you grit your teeth and tackle the Peripherique.

  Forum Editor 19:06 12 Jul 07

"badly signposted turnings"

Take a trip into Tuscany if you want to see bad signing developed into an art form. I drove an unfamiliar hire-car from the airport into the Tuscan hills at night, in the pouring rain last July, with my wife navigating, and both of us a tad tetchy because Hertz had kept us waiting an hour for the car we had booked.

Fun, it was not.

  anchor 08:35 13 Jul 07

Fortunately I had my SatNav to guide me.

I did my advance planning to avoid driving into Paris, using MS Autoroute. It found a route that did not involve going too much out of our way. No problems at all.

  Sapins 09:40 13 Jul 07

One really big plus for French drivers is that you don't get anyone dawdling along and holding everyone up, also I have driven straight through the "side" of Paris in the rush hour using my Tom Tom sat nav, not one mistake and I actually enjoyed it, so where was you sat nav FE and doesn't it cover Italy?

You also get quite used to the signposting, which is much better now, after 18 years;-)

  Stuartli 10:13 13 Jul 07

Driving round the Arc de Triomphe, along the Champs-Elysées and then alongside the Seine, especially early morning have always provided me with some of the most terrifying moments behind the wheel of a car...:-)

The worst bit, of course, is the multi-lane route around the Arc with vehicles of all types and sizes coming at you from all angles.

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