Driving in France - fun or fury?

The roads around France are magnificent - no traffic, hardly any road works …So why are the French population such aggressive drivers?

It is a twenty minute drive to my local town of Tarbes, it is a lengthy windy road that, (I feel) you can’t drive more than 70 km an hour down but still I seem to have a french gentleman sitting right up my car backside…Infact yesterday he was so close I couldn’t see him at all in my mirrors …Now I am all for getting up close and personal …But hey that is going slightly to far!

Unlike the UK here there isn’t the congestion on the outskirts of towns or on the toll roads, in the towns there is -but compared to most neighborhood UK towns they are comparable in traffic. But I am aware that the French are so edgy when it comes to driving and they drive very fast. And who ever designed the right of way rules in France ought to be shot! - even the French, who speak french, don’t understand it

Parking - they truly don’t care! Yesterday I saw a car double parked …In fact it had just stopped in the middle of the road and abandoned. The French will double park, or they leave their cars in the tiniest place and leave their cars overhanging the road or pathways …They merely get on with life!

I think that coming from the UK, I find it all very different - we seem to get so hung up on what we should and shouldn’t do, what is right and wrong so to speak French people really don’t seem bothered by it all. The UK is plagued by rules and regulations and I see now that we are heading for the American way of taking out law suits against anyone not conforming with our points of view.

So I have been trying to drive the French way …And what happens ? I acquire a speeding ticket …C’est la vie!


I agree I think that most vehicles in France have Faulty indicators, I have in fact seen some wired up incorrectly as well indicating one way then suddenly veering off the other way!

But I have to say I love driving in France. On the whole the roads are fantastic and there is far less traffic than the UK. FOr me the best roads are the mountain roads around Gourette and La pierre St Martin in the pyrenees. Not only do you get a superb driving experience but you are rewarded with some amazing views, especially if you have the time to go over the top and into Spain and back again.

Have you noticed that direction indicators are listed as an option on all new Peugeot, Citroen and Renault cars.

I love your theory …made me laugh !

I can’t agree with your statement about roadworks. On the 30km trek down the valley from home to Lyon there is always someone digging up something somewhere. Typically 1 or 2 guys doing the work and 3 or 4 standing round and watching.

I have a theory that France has decided to finish installing all the roundabouts before they start teaching people how to use them !

Why not on Nissan and Dacia cars too?

One of my favourite things...discovering back road routes to towns and villages. Different, every time I travel along them, so much to see...and at about the same speed as a donkey cart. Perfect.. I very rarely see any other cars, but it's easy enough to move over, and lose them... I'm not sure, but I think such leisurely country travel is almost impossible in UK. There is no spectacular scenery here, but so much of the l'scape is pure Sisley/Pissaro..hamlets, villages, potagers, very little changed in a hundred years or so...No one too much concerned with pretty-ing up, or making their meadows into vast, treeless prairies, for big bucks.

Something many Brits don't realise, especially those driving over from the UK, is that you MUST carry safety equipment - I forget all, but warning triangle, I think fire extinguisher and safety jacket too. Here it also says to take a breathalyser. Will do more research on that one, seems a bit odd - maybe all those who drive are expected to check their own breath for alcohol, but I thought a breathalyser only estimated the presence of alcohol, and not whether or not you are over the limit?

Triangle + Gilet = yes, and a 135€ fine if they are not in your car

Fire-extinguisher = I don't see that on the government's site

Breathalyser = Yes, but if you haven't got one, there's no fine (weird)

'éthylotest a été rendu obligatoire dans tous les véhicules terrestres à moteur par un décret publié au Journal officiel le jeudi 1er mars 2012.
Un nouveau décret, paru au Journal officiel le vendredi 1er mars 2013, maintient l'obligation de posséder un éthylotest mais en supprime la sanction en cas de défaut de possession de l'éthylotest : les conducteurs doivent continuer à posséder un éthylotest dans leur véhicule, mais en son absence ils ne seront pas sanctionnés



Maybe fire-extinguisher is Switzerland .... definitely had one when I went to Switzerland once.

Yep - http://www.rac.co.uk/drive/travel/country/switzerland/ - although that only says "good to have" - I thought I had to have it!

Yes, it's better to have one