in France especially in holiday regions, like the Riviera, and on trunk
roads, the traffic is often very heavy
in summer. Traffic in most towns
is heavy in rush hours (8 to 9am, noon to 1 pm, and 18.00 to 21.00 pm).
Outside towns, there are few hazards apart from an occasional herd of
cattle in country lanes and some unguarded level-crossings.
The French road system is excellent. All main highways of France are
connecting with almost all western Europe. The E50 connects France with
Germany at Saarbrucken via Metz,the E429 outside of Lille concts France
with Brussels Belgium as well as the E42, the E60 via Becancon or the
E23 via Mulhouse E60 connects with Swizerland in Basel to the south the
E15 links France with Spain via Perpignan while the E80 connects from
the south France with Italy at Menton - Ventimigla. Almost all roads, even small
country ones, are well surfaced and kept in good condition. In mountain
districts they are usually well engineered. True, there are fewer modern
motorways than in Germany or Italy and dual carriageways are less
numerous than three-lane single main roads. But traffic outside towns is
rarely so dense that this matters much. Inside towns and villages,
smooth roads are often replaced by uneven cobbles - partly with the
deliberate aim of forcing through-traffic to slow down. Across the
lowlands of France, roads tend to be dead straight, which makes for fast
Filling-stations and garages are abundant. Shell and other international
brands of petrol and oil are on sale, besides the French ones. Petrol
costs: Diesel about 1.305 euro, Unleaded 95 1.179 euro. Mechanics
are generally competent, and it is possible to get even quite major
repairs done quickly on a Sunday. Best take a phrase-book, though, and
spare parts if your car is not French.
There are few weather hazards for drivers, except through fog and ice on
mountain roads in winter (where it may be wise to carry snow-chains).
Many of the passes in the Alps, and some in the Pyrenees, are closed in
winter, but enough roads remain
open for detours to be possible. When the Mont Cenis is closed (usually
November to April), the toll-road Frejus tunnel from Modane in France to
Bardonecchia in Italy provides an alternative. The toll-road tunnel of
Mont Blanc links Chamonix in France to Courmayeur in Italy/
The Touring Club de France operates a car breakdown service on a good
many main roads, with clearly marked telephones every 2 or 3 km, from
which. you can call a garage or the local police. Costs must be paid
direct to the garage.