Driving in France?

Xtro

Can't get enough of FH
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My new lady is conveniently moving from the States to Europe. Unfortunately she is relocating to France. Being sane, I won't be moving to France but am thinking of driving down so we can use my car for a bit rather than fly/whatever.

She'll be based in Cherbourg and the only thing I know about that is that its in Brittany so isnt TOO far.

Anyone know what our lovely gallic cousins are like on the road? whats the road system like, is it a piece of piss to drive round, best way to get there - anything will help.

fs I am loving New York too! back tomorrow, great new year, puked my guts up in the shower and got a royal bollocking in the morning ;)

TIA
 

Munkey

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they all ride bicycles and sell onions.

its true!
 

EvilMonkeh

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i havnt started driving yet, but ive been on french roads alot. the motorway junctions are often complicated, giving you the warning of where to turn off 10m before you have to do so... oh and the french drivers vary, you get some very slow old buggers poodling along and some fast ones whipping in and out over taking everyone. the odd pay road, called a piege (or piage), which is maked yellow and red on the map. but the roads are rarely busy, unless your right on the coast at the height of summer (or going up a mountain when its winter and pissing down with snow).

joy.
 

granny

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I drove 2000 miles through France about 2 months after passing my driving test and found it fine. Once the initial terror/confusion/idiocy about being on the wrong side of the road wore off (took about an hour to get used to it) I had almost no problems.

The toll roads are great, really put British roads to shame - smooth, well-maintained, straight, just lovely to drive on.

Only 2 things I had trouble with were large cities where everyone drives like a maniac and leans on their horns constantly - avoid large cities :p And lorries. Lorry drivers in France seem to be psychopaths. With huge monster trucks at their insane fingertips. And they all have PMT. Steer well clear tbh.
 

Tom

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1) Everyone parks where they like in the city
2) There are no cats-eyes on the roads, night driving on dark sections is a bit tricky
3) Other than that, its no different to here
4) Get a manual (if she buys a car), its easier to keep on the right side of the road if you have a gearstick in your right hand
 

mr.Blacky

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granny said:
Once the initial terror/confusion/idiocy about being on the wrong side of the road wore off (took about an hour to get used to it)
You mean the right side :kissit: the left side is sooo year 0 (tbh it is I read somewhere that during the roman rule of England it was normal to ride on the left side).
Oh and Xtro when you go over don't forget to adjust your lights, learned that from my father caus otherwise your carlights will shine in the eyes of the drivers on the other side of the road (this is for mainland cars going to the UK, not sure about UK cars tho). A bit of tape helps.
 

Deadmanwalking

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mr.Blacky said:
Oh and Xtro when you go over don't forget to adjust your lights, learned that from my father caus otherwise your carlights will shine in the eyes of the drivers on the other side of the road (this is for mainland cars going to the UK, not sure about UK cars tho). A bit of tape helps.
Yes, you can buy special sticker light thingies which go over your headlights so that they are not shining across.

And oh yes, avoid the heavy drug trafficking hey Xtro :) Customs tend to get a bit upset about it.
 

DaGaffer

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Xtro said:
She'll be based in Cherbourg and the only thing I know about that is that its in Brittany so isnt TOO far.


TIA
Its in Normandy, and you can get there direct by ferry from Southampton or Portsmouth (overnight out, about 5 hours back) or there's a hydrofoil that runs certain times of year. As the ferry goes straight there you probably won't need to drive much unless you want to see Normandy/fill up with booze. French drivers are generally OK, although I did end up spending the night in hospital once after being rear-ended by a French taxi driver (no jokes plz)...in Cherbourg :(

Oh, and RyanAir do cheap flights to Caen, which is about 20 miles from Cherbourg.
 

EvilMonkeh

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oh, and as granny mentioned, avoid large cities (unless you want to go in one) like the plague and drive around them! saves loads of time. also a bit of tape suffices in the "stop light shining into other drivers eyes" devision.
 

SheepCow

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French motorways are lovely, mainly because you have to pay to use them they're all quite nice.

They drive on the wrong side of the road so you'll need to fiddle your lights
 

Xtro

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Thanks DaGaffer, Normandy doh why did I think Brittany..

Never knew about the shining lights thing, thanks for all the tips everyone :)

Am hoping to check out the D-Day landing sites, particularly Sword and Juno beaches.
 

.Wilier.

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We drive to France on holiday most years, and it really is easy, although the tolls can be a bit excessive. Make sure you get your light deflectors BEFORE you get on the ferry (they cost 3 times as much) and plan your route, since their road signs are shite. Also, like Tom says, the roads are really poorly lit, so go steady at night. (and you can get a ferry straight into Cherbourg)

:)
 

Bodhi

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I lived in France for 18months and drove through there recently on my way to Switzerland. Things to remember........


1) Don't worry about the light deflectors. I doubt you'll get pulled over without them, and the only people you will be blinding will be French.

2) Don't treat the autoroutes like autobahns, the french police are starting to get pissed off with us rosbifs using their motorways like they were a drag strip. Stick below 110 and you'll be fine.

3) Avoid the cities like the plague. Not only are they teeming with French people, but none of the buggers can drive either. Especially avoid Paris and Clermont-Ferrand.

4) As mentioned, french roads are poorly lit at night. However that's why God gave us headlights. Use these and you won't notice the difference.

It's basically like driving in britain otherwise, except everyone's on the wrong side of the road and you have zero warning before autoroute junctions. Watch out for their love of "Give Way to the Right", when you're expected to do this you'll see a yeallow diamond surrounded by a white one. Although as I found out, this can be easily changed into "Give Way to the Brit Abroad"
 

Tom

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Bodhi said:
1) Don't worry about the light deflectors. I doubt you'll get pulled over without them, and the only people you will be blinding will be French.
lol
 

Hashmonster

Fledgling Freddie
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i'd probably crash if i drove over there :D

i've noticed in the cities how bad the parking is tho - they actually use the bumper style of parking... bump, bump and in!
 

Nightchill

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We drove through France on our travels (see nonotheotherleft.com) and they were fine. Though according to the friend we stayed with in Paris the new speed camera laws (which are so shockingly strict) tend to keep the speed down now. Even the Periphique wasn't bad :)
 

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