Getting to Paris by Car
|Motorways bear the prefix 'A' and national roads 'N'. Minor roads are classed as 'D' (departementales) roads. Traffic drives on the right and drivers must give way to the right, unless the route is marked with Passage Protege signs (a broad arrow, a yellow diamond or an 'X' on a triangular background) or the driver is at a roundabout indicating vous n'avez pas la priorite.
Speed limits are 130kph (81mph) on motorways; 110kph (68mph) on dual
carriageways separated by a central reservation; 90kph (46mph) outside
built-up areas and 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas. |
who have held a driving licence for less than two years face tighter
speed restrictions. The minimum age for driving is 18 years. Seat belts
must be worn by all front- and rear-seat passengers. Under-tens may not
travel in the front seat. A national driving licence, the car's
registration document and a red warning triangle must be carried at all
times, or the driver can be fined. All headlamp beams must be adjusted
for right-side driving by use of beam deflectors or by tilting the
headlamp bulb-holder. The French police fine motorists on the spot for
driving offences such as speeding. Random breath tests for drinking and
driving are common; the maximum legal alcohol to blood ratio is 0.05%.
For further details on driving in France, a free booklet is available
from French Government Tourist Offices. EU nationals taking
their own cars to France are strongly advised to obtain a Green Card,
without which insurance cover is limited to the minimum legal. The
Green Card tops this up to the level of cover provided by the car
owner's domestic policy.
Emergency breakdown services:
SOS Depannage (tel: (01) 4707 9999)
Adan Depann Auto (tel: (01) 4266 6758)
Routes to the city:
The M20 motorway leads from London to Folkestone and the M2 from London
to Dover. Both Folkestone and Calais have numerous daily sea crossings
to France. The A16 leads from Boulogne (near to Calais) directly into
Paris. The E19 motorway leads from Brussels into Paris (via the A2 and
A1). Lille is linked directly to Paris via the A1. Paris is surrounded
by the often congested Peripherique ring road, its intersections (portes) are used to access the nearest point of entry to the desired destination.
Driving times to Paris: from London - 4 hours 30 minutes; from Bordeaux - 6 hours; from Marseille - 7 hours 30 minutes.
Coach services: The majority of international coaches arrive and depart from the main coach station Gare Routière Internationale Paris-Gallieni at Bagnolet, 20th (tel: (01) 4972 5151). Reservations can be made (in English) with Eurolines (tel: (08) 3669 5252 in France or (01582) 404511 in the UK).