The deep joy of driving in France! - tack
Just got back today from sunny, sunny Brittany. Spent 5 blissful hours on French motorways from Dinan to Dunquerke. Hour after hour of stress free cruising at 80mph, people pulling over to allow overtaking, people indicating! me pulling over to allow overtaking. Light traffic, no fist shaking, no glaring looks, Then....horror of horrors, Dover, M20 - London bound. Jockeying for position, boxing and coxing, ducking, diving, brake, accelerate, honking and hooting, rude onbnoxious drivers everywhere, flags of St George a flutter.

Wished I was heading back to France instead of coming back from my hols.

By the way....not a single flag to be seen there on any vehicle or any house. Are the French in the Worl Cup?

Secondly, Norfolk Line. Nice little ships! They have obviously upgraded their fleet! Very comfy, well run, only £68 return (which was £100 cheaper than P&O/Sea France/Euro Tunnel for same times of travel)
The deep joy of driving in France! - Xileno {P}
Twice the land space (approx) plus same pop = SPACE!!

Vive La France.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Altea Ego
France is in the world cup but deep down they are not a soccer nation.

I love driving in France. We sometimes pop over for the weekend
just so I can enjoy some driving.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
The deep joy of driving in France! - mike hannon
Last two years have seen a proliferation of scameras but it's still the most seductive place to drive that I have ever known.
The deep joy of driving in France! - honeybear
Did the same, drove from Marseille to Calais on excellent motorways no hassle, queues and hardly any traffic,then through Euro tunnel onto M20 complete nightmare took 4 hours to clear M25 in future will always travel this section at night.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Roly93
Did the same, drove from Marseille to Calais on excellent motorways
no hassle, queues and hardly any traffic,then through Euro tunnel onto
M20 complete nightmare took 4 hours to clear M25 in future
will always travel this section at night.


Just out of interest, what route did you take ?
The deep joy of driving in France! - honeybear
Straight up the autoroute via Dijon Reims etc usually have an overnight in Troyes to break it up before second leg up to Scotland.
The deep joy of driving in France! - boxsterboy
Straight up the autoroute via Dijon Reims etc usually have an
overnight in Troyes to break it up before second leg up
to Scotland.


Beautiful place, Troyes ...
The deep joy of driving in France! - Waino
Twice the land space (approx) plus same pop = SPACE!!
Vive La France.


So many of our traffic problems are caused by the fact that we really ARE an overcrowded little island. Last Christmas we experienced the pleasures of driving in Tasmania - half the size of England, but with a hundredth of the population. Only scary thing (to me, anyway) was the lack of MoT type testing - I was told that it would be looked upon as an imposition on the poor.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Altea Ego
I have driven in Tasmania as well. FABULOUS place to drive, tho the amount of road kill is really scary fortunately its mostly small stuff.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
The deep joy of driving in France! - Xileno {P}
"So many of our traffic problems are caused by the fact that we really ARE an overcrowded little island."

Indeed. But also most of the UK's problems. Imagine what property prices would be with half the population...
The deep joy of driving in France! - Sofa Spud
Try getting through the city of Le Mans on the day the race begins! In general the standard of driving in France about the same as here.

What is disconcerting, though, is the way some drivers, including heavy lorry drivers, treat the long straights on some main roads as half of a dual carriageway - they use oncoming lane as a fast lane, ducking back in when there is oncoming trafic and then straight back out again. You see lines of vehicles cruising down the wrong side of the road. If the leading one is an HGV and he leaves it till the last minute before pulling in, the vehicle behind is nicely set up for a head-on collision!
The deep joy of driving in France! - tyro
>> Twice the land space (approx) plus same pop = SPACE!!
>>
>> Vive La France.
So many of our traffic problems are caused by the fact
that we really ARE an overcrowded little island.



er, not all of us. Lots of space up here in the Highlands. The population density of the County of Sutherland, for example, is less than 20% that of France's most sparsely populated département (Lozère, in case you are curious).

Visitors, tourists, etc. very welcome!

p.s. No, I am not employed in the tourist industry.





p.p.s. Actually, I'd rather be in France myself :-)
The deep joy of driving in France! - Armitage Shanks {p}
I agree that there is a lot of space in Scotland, particularly Sutherland, but driving is hardly 'fun' when major A roads are single lane with passing places!
The deep joy of driving in France! - colinh
The A86 around Paris makes the M25 look like a quiet country lane.
The deep joy of driving in France! - mike hannon
Sorry I'm adding this a bit far down the thread - I'm having a daily battle with Microsoft and Symantec at the moment.
Contrary to appearances, the French are obsessed with football and the fortunes of 'Les Bleus' - they actually won the World Cup in '98, remember?
Television and the papers are full of it but they just don't get hyped up and let down by the media in the same way.
And, presumably, the Brits over here are often like me - don't give a monkeys about football anyway and escaped to France to get away from current UK culture and the sinister spread of nationalism.
I think the French are just more confident about their nationality and culture - rightly or wrongly - so they don't feel they have to flaunt it.
The only national flag I've seen flying from a car over here was an English one last week at the holiday resort of Quiberon in Brittany. Predictably, it was on a Mercedes...
The deep joy of driving in France! - bikemade3
Nice to know, i'm off to Quimperle tomorow for 12 days, ferry Polle-St Malo then driving via Rennes to Lorient, how many Tricolours do i expect to see flying from cars? Not a lot i venture.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Roger Jones
Has no-one here experienced the ubiquitous French habit of tailgating? It puts me off driving in France.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Altea Ego
you not used to the british version then?
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
The deep joy of driving in France! - Roly93
I like driving in France too, but French drivers are not as 'speed aware' I think as British drivers, meaning that they are simply not as good at high speed driving as us. Also, as numerous people have pointed out there are many less drivers occupying a much larger area. But one observation I must make is, whilst I acknowledge that the UK roads are congested, at least we are more used to handling extreme traffic flows and jams, in France minor build ups of traffic can cause far worse congestion when they occur. I was I a horrible traffic jam last summer of the motorway near Caen, which was entirely due simply to people queing to pay the motorway tolls with only 3 booths that took actual currency, and 1000's of cars being funneled into them.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
Roger,
No, you must be thinking of England.
Not noticed any bad habits in French driving.
Except in Paris where it is all out war.
Looking forward to camping in France very soon.
--
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Lud
Quite right GWS. French motorway driving while not faultless is the best in Europe. They don't get in the way like the British or frighten you out of your wits like the Germans. They are cool.

But the OP reminded me of the utter peace of drifting down French A roads at about 60. The urge to pass people and go faster that so often afflicts one in England isn't present. It's because nearly all French A road drivers go at or above the speed limit, and don't mimse horribly and stupidly like so many here. When a slow vehicle does appear, traffic densities are such that one can pass without drama before long.

Tack has made me envious.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Roger Jones
"you not used to the british version then?"

Why do you ask?

When I last drove in France the tailgating was significantly worse than in the UK, especially off the motorways, which is why I raised the point. Perhaps things have changed or maybe other people's experience has been more on the motorways.
The deep joy of driving in France! - memyself-aye
Even better than France is North Germany (East of Berlin). Lovely dual carriageways, no traffic... bliss. Never seen so much road space so empty.
The deep joy of driving in France! - mike hannon
My personal favourite is Switzerland. The speed limit is only 80kph (50mph) but you don't get hassled and everyone seems to get there without any apparent delay.
The variety of cars in endlessly interesting too.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Nsar
The French have the right attitude - cars and roads are tools to be used (and paid for), not a big game of class attitudes.

If you're driving like a pink girly skipping rope in France it doesn't matter if you're doing it in a brand new 7 Series or a 5 year old Saxo, you will get the short shrift you deserve.

Peripherique style driving - yes please, but in the meantime we'll have to wait for a revolution and the UK to become a republic to sort out the roads.
The deep joy of driving in France! - pmh
My personal belief is that the tailgating culture is a result of several decades of mass (non turbo) diesel ownership. About 5 yrs ago I had a hired Megane diesel 1.9 that was so slow that you attempted to hold on to your speed at any cost. And I found myself tailgating, something I will not do in the UK.

Actually over the past 9 years I feel that the standard of French driving has much improved. Tailgating is not as prevalent as it used to be. Some suicidal overtaking still happens, but the traffic density is so low that they get away with it (most of the time)!
--

pmh (was peter)


The deep joy of driving in France! - honeybear
Agreed! did it once on a Sunday morning which I presumed would be a bit quieter WRONG! complete nightmare, I think the speed in all lanes was about 80mph and if you didnt keep to it the distance between you and monsieur behind you was less than a rizla.
The deep joy of driving in France! - Lud
Tee hee, Nsar and honeybear, 100% with you on this one, they drive better than we do, no doubt about it.

Have you ever tried crossing the place de la Concorde on foot in rush hour though?

That can make you skip I can tell you.
The deep joy of driving in France! - quizman
The reason that the French don't fly flags from their cars, is that most of them are Peugeot/Citroen/Renault.
The deep joy of driving in France! - local yokel
From motoring.telegraph.co.uk:

Motorways, for example, are the safest roads anywhere in Europe, yet in Portugal they account for 14·1 deaths per billion vehicle kilometres, followed by Italy (12·8), Austria (8·9), Belgium (7·2), France (5·4) and Germany (4·5). The figure for Britain is just two.

The French holiday traffic (c July 15) is notorious for accidents on the autoroutes going South.

Driving in France would be even better if you took away the French...
The deep joy of driving in France! - buzbee
DEPT OF TRANSPORT INITIATIVE ----- RE-LAUNCHED, MAY 2006:


Information Release.

Due to deterioration over recent years in the quality of much of the driving in England,
the Department of Transport has now listed certain factors that identify such driving.
Please note this behaviour and take suitable precautions.

In addition, as from the middle of May 2006, other measures are to be taken
against those drivers who are found to be driving badly, which includes:

Ø overtaking in dangerous places;
Ø pulling out without indication;
Ø performing U turns inappropriately in busy high streets;
Ø speeding in residential areas;
Ø hovering within one or two metres of the car in front;
Ø stopping sharply;
Ø under taking on motorways and
Ø occupying more than one lane on multi lane roads,

Offending divers are to be issued with signs, that must be affixed to their vehicle,
to identify their lower skill level and driving quality.
For good visibility purposes, the sign has been chosen in the form of a flag and it
must be clipped to a door of the car so as to be visible to all other drivers
and also to pedestrians.
Those drivers who have shown particularly poor driving skills will have to
display one on each side of the car, thus indicating their lower skill level.

The chosen format for the flag has a white background with a red cross on it.

Please circulate this to as many other motorists as you can so that drivers
and pedestrians are aware of the meaning of these flags.

The deep joy of driving in France! - buzbee
Sorry mods. Could not resist it!
The deep joy of driving in France! - daveyjp
The majority of English and southern Scottish motorists are well conversed in Driving at 70+mph. Motorways run by all our major cities, large numbers of commuters use them every day and most drivers use them even for very short journeys. The UK are a nation of motorway users.

Many French and indeed other Continental drivers, will only use 80+ mph roads when they go on holiday so it is a strange concept to a large majority of them - hence the higher accident rates.
The deep joy of driving in France! - PhilW
Apart from many of the above points there are other aspects that make driving in France more of a pleasure than in the UK (and may also be a function of a less densely populated country?):-
They seem to acknowledge the need to increase their motorway network ( witness "new" motorways A29, the one from Rouen to Alencon/Le Mans and the one from Caen to Nantes. A75 and A20 of recent years)
Most towns seem to have a by-pass and new ones are being built all the time.
Traffic lights seem to be set to promote traffic flows rather than impede it.
Traffic lights often allow right turns via a flashing amber light (proceed if safe to).
Traffic lights are not found on roundabouts
Traffic lights often switched off at night to be replaced with flashing amber.
They seem to enjoy slinging up large bridges (eg Millau): contrast the fact that there are 3 major bridges across Seine between Rouen and Le Havre (Bretonne, Tancarville and Normandie) compared to our one QE bridge over Thames.
Roadworks and new road building seem to be much quicker and involve far fewer holdups than in UK - judicious use of mobile vehicles with flashing lights rather than coning off miles of m-way
Services and rest areas are more frequent - every 10 km or so. Rest areas often have picnic tables in shade/exercise areas/children's play areas etc and you are not just forced into fast food outlets. Prices are also far more reasonable with a wider range of food. Many rest areas have other attractions (there is an "Aire du oiseaux" for bird watching on the A83, I have also been to an "Aire du Rugby" with a sort of rugby museum, and an aire with a car museum, not to mention those with a local theme, local produce/tourist office etc - all these things help you to relax/switch off from driving for a while in a restful atmosphere.)
Despite all this, there are disadvantages, the main one being those horrible weekends in the summer when the whole of Paris heads for the sea and they all think they can drive at 100mph for 12 hours non-stop in a car loaded with kids, surf boards, windsurfers etc.
Nevertheless - still looking forward to end of July and France!
Oh, and parking charges are also "cheap" - often free in cities in July/August (eg Bordeaux) and parking plentiful close to sea (except on Riviera - try Atlantic coast instead!)
--
Phil
The deep joy of driving in France! - Altea Ego
try Atlantic coast instead

Absolutely, Normandie and Brittanie full of Brits. Anywhere from St Nazaire down to Biarritz is the place to go if you want french seaside.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
The deep joy of driving in France! - Nsar
A lighter touch from authority eg the a/route signs on the way to the Med which read "slow down - the sea will still be there..."
The deep joy of driving in France! - Aprilia
Many French and indeed other Continental drivers, will only use 80+
mph roads when they go on holiday so it is a
strange concept to a large majority of them - hence the
higher accident rates.


Take a look at a map of Germany and note how many miles of autobahn there are and where they run. Then look at a map of England. In SE England you will not be up to 70mph on motorways during commuting periods....
The deep joy of driving in France! - Aprilia
From motoring.telegraph.co.uk:
Motorways, for example, are the safest roads anywhere in Europe, yet
in Portugal they account for 14·1 deaths per billion vehicle kilometres,
followed by Italy (12·8), Austria (8·9), Belgium (7·2), France (5·4) and
Germany (4·5). The figure for Britain is just two.
The French holiday traffic (c July 15) is notorious for accidents
on the autoroutes going South.
Driving in France would be even better if you took away
the French...


Could that be due to the greater amount of motorway in some of these countries. I drive in Germany quite a bit and there is a lot of motorway in Germany! The average German driver spends a much greater proportion of his time driving on motorways than the average UK driver...
The deep joy of driving in France! - mike hannon
Believe me, traffic lights are found on roundabouts in France and the situation is much worse than the UK because there is often one rule for in-town roundabouts - priority to those entering the roundabout - and another for out-of-town roundabouts - priority to those already on the roundabout. The confusion sometimes has to be seen to be believed.
If you think the Paris peripherique is a bit hair-raising you should try the motorways around Lisbon...
 

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