Body content: Driving in France presents different challenges from those in the UK. There is plenty of good news here, though, since there is far less traffic on the roads, the motorways are well maintained and there is quite simply so much more space for everyone not to become the victim of any type of road rage! Driving in France is therefore more often than not is a pleasure rather than a stressful experience.
Many of the motorways have a toll system which works extremely well. Yes, you have to pay for travelling on them but the upside is that there are very few contraflow systems or roadworks and the actual roads are well looked after and monitored for repairs (which are mainly done overnight).
Driving in France is a pleasure, rather than the stressful UK experience.
There is no road tax in France, either, so the cost of the tolls is offset by this. A great tip is to opt for the “Liber T” tag which you affix to your windscreen and which automatically allows you through the tolls in the reserved section without having to fiddle around for change to pay each time. It is simple to obtain one and you are charged a monthly fee according to how much it is used. The cost of obtaining one is minimal and when you do have a busy period with a queue of traffic waiting to go through the tolls, you will find the reserved section far less busy, thus saving time. The website in English is here and we highly recommend this for your French car travel.
I think it is fair to say that the French in general are not the world’s best drivers! You need to have your wits about you when driving on country roads and look out for drivers who perhaps fail to signal, tailgate you, or even the opposite: drive like a snail. The fact that there are fewer cars on the road does compensate for this, however.
The “priorite a droite” rule is usually alien to British people. Even a minor road has priority if it is on the right of you and has no marking at the end of it. If in doubt, slow down and allow anyone approaching from the right to go ahead of you.
France has so much more space than Britain and there are fewer hedges, making your view from your car truly outstanding.
France literally has so much more space than Britain and one thing we have noticed is that there are fewer hedges, making your view from your car truly outstanding. My own theory is that having this space and often being able to soak up views of mountains, poppy fields and such like in rural France makes for a very happy driver.
If you are driving through France, it is good advice not to rush to your destination. The journey should be part of your trip and even getting lost in France has its benefits: it is easy to discover a pretty little village, perhaps slightly off the beaten track with one or two great family run restaurants. Take your time and enjoy the drive!