Driving in France is generally a pleasant experience for us either from the poorly maintained go-kart course, allegedly the Italian motorway network or alternatively from Britain's bumper bumper, crowded motorways. The essentially empty autoroute stretches before you, and apart from at certain times there is very little other traffic. One warning is – France is deceptively big and if you like us to travel over it, be prepared for some extended driving steps.
The distinction is great, and seeing them in kilometers (if you come from Britain) blows them further. A sign, especially for me. Just south of Calais on the Route des Anglais, you will see a distance marker, which proudly proclaims – Lyons, 650 km. For us returning to Italy, the journey to Lyon is approx. two thirds of our total travel in France.
The bad news about autoroute is the toll. These fees can soon be installed. With the French attitude to the English set in "Situation Normal", the strict customs cabins only accept payment from cars with left hand. If you are in a right-handed car and do not have a passenger, prepare for entertainment – we suggest you take a butterfly for this purpose.
A good feature of the autoroute network in France is "Aire." This is an official penetration, but unlike the busy British service stations or the sunbathing, heavily filled asphalt offered by the Italians, it consists of Two types of rest. You can choose between a large aire with food, gasoline and playground for the children or a smaller rural area with basic toilet and picnic facilities. The latter group can be very picturesque and even include forest walks, etc.
Wherever Aire is subject to regular night visits from the police and before it is reasonably safe to drag and sleep in even the most rural location. It may be necessary because the idea of the motel has not really been heard in France and while there are few in the south , there are only a handful of motels in the north.
As a disabled driver, the thing I like most appeals to the French for their attitude towards served parking. If you are not disabled, pregnant or wounded, just do not park in a reserved room. It's simply not done & # 39;. I remember going to the very busy Bourges-en-Bresse service area in the middle of the day during the summer vacation. The parking lot was crowded, and people walked around to anticipate any room that dared to turn out. Then the two unfilled disabled rooms remained empty until (like a bathing party) I occupied one.
Although autoroute is generally quiet, there are two problem areas to avoid. The first is around Lyons at the beginning or end of the working day. Like the M25 around London, there are too many vehicles for the road system to cope with. We once were there and decided to pull an aire and sleep for an hour. Sure enough, an hour later (10:00) the traffic had cleared and off we went. The second thing to avoid is the Bastille Day (July 14) when every man and his dog go to the road network. Do not think about driving on Bastille Day.
I hope, like you, that you enjoy driving in France.