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1st time driving to france-any tips!!

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sherry76 | 16:11 Thu 09th Aug 2007 | Travel
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Hi,Im driving to france for the first time. I'm a good driver as it happens,and do drive alot so hopefully it wont be too bad!?!lol....I'm taking my mum,so i want to make it as special as i can-especially since the loss of my father.
Im stoping of in paris then heading toward st tropez,is this the best beach location??..I'm 31 and my mum a lovely young 59lol...we'r dwn to earth,wrking class-sadly dnt know too much about wine!!! but I'm givin it ago,an throwin caution to the wind! livin,learnin and having fun along the way hopefully!. I was thinking of going to italy but was thinkin maybe spain would be better?? id be greatful if any one can advise!...thankyou...sherry

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I have found this site invaluable for tips and things I must take with me for driving
http://driving.drive-alive.co.uk/driving-in-fr ance.htm

Good maps to be found for directions on there too

ojx
If you're going to Paris, I strongly recommend staying somewhere on the outskirts and taking the cheap, frequent RER trains into the centre. Central Paris is far, far worse for driving than central London. The Periphique (ring road) is scary enough but if you make the mistake of ending up on the Place Charles de Gaulle (which encircles the Arc de Triomphe), the best advice I can give you is to take your hands off the steering wheel, put your foot down on the accelerator, close your eyes and pray ;-)

If you're looking for good beaches (and another country), I'd endorse your suggestion of heading to the C�te d'Azur and visiting places such as St Tropez, Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo(Monaco) and moving on, beyond Genoa, to the Riviera di Levante with great little towns such as Santa Margerita, Rapallo and the billionaires' resort of Portofino
Wherever you're driving in Europe, you'll need this website for route planning. (It includes details of distances, times and toll fees):
http://www.viamichelin.com
(Remember to buy a good European road atlas as well, so that you'll be able to find your way back to your planned route if you take any detours).

Ensure that you know about French driving laws before you depart. In particular, remember that (unless otherwise signed), 'priority from the right' applies. i.e. if you're driving along a road, which has a side-turning entering from the right, the driver on that road can pull out in front of you because he has priority and you must give way. Also, try to practice in your mind manoeuvres such as going (anti-clockwise) round roundabouts. You might find this website useful:
http://www.abelard.org/france/first-arrival.as p

Chris
-- answer removed --
no advice but have a great time on your road trip !! wish i was coming along, sounds your gonna have blast !!
I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, but you seem pretty keen on giving your mum a stress free break. This sounds like a potential nightmare in my opinion. We done 1st time driving in France last year, I don't drive, but my other half I consider to be an experienced good driver who has driven all over UK. The initial coming off at Calais was a little anxiety provoking (the whole car unconsciously chanting keep right!) But the toll roads were easy and the little villages. We only drove for 3 hours to stay in Le Tresport for 3 days. Then from there to Disneyland, again it wasn't too bad, but from the village mini roundabouts to the bigger town ones was again a bit white knuckle. But not as much as going into and out of Paris. That was scary, especially as signposts seemed to just disappear, and we had a central map of Paris in Russian! Use the metro in Paris it's a lot easier & faster, find a hotel in the suberbs and park up. We used Etap (2*) but great, and Campanile(3*) who had offers on their website. I think you are going a long long way, much further than we did. If it's a beach you want there are some nearer to other ports for an easier drive, like the Vendee region in the west, St Malo etc. in southern Britanny. Anyway I hope you have a lovely time, I'm just not sure it will be stress free. Exact directions will definately ease this.
Don't worry, France is a wonderful country, with amazing food and people.
I've been going there about 6 times a year for as long as I can remember.
They're wonderful people, alot of them say they don't speak english, but to be fair, they seem to do well.
But if you try and learn a little french. They seem completely chuffed and will help you.
Be careful of the roads, they tend to take you on motorways and the long way round, where there quite a simple route taking miles out of your journey. I would either say test your map reading skills or use a Sat Nav.
Avoid Massive cities... Expensive and not much for the money, the people also tend to be snobbish. best places you will come across when driving round.
Some great cheap chain hotels include Hotel B+B, Ibis and campanile.
Normandy and west france is beautiful, alot similar to wales =]
Do go to France, it's a wonderful place... And have fun!!!

Eveyrbody else has already said it. Take a little time to settle your driving and you will have no problems.
The only place I wouldn't drive is Paris, got different rules there! Every traffic light is a Gran Prix start and the quickest way through a roundabout is a straight line!
Try and get a 'Michelin' map and plan ahead, thats quite a long journey your tackling. Definitely pick up a bit of the language, it earns you big 'brownie' points and the generally friendly people will then try and help as much as they can.
I love it over there and go about 3/4 times a year.
Question Author
Thankyou all so,so much guys! I'm a little overwhelmed about it all actually but I'm just gonna be brave an give it my best shot!-who know's maybe next year if i go back I'l be a bit more savvy!lol....my god all this drivin on the right is frightenin me!..oh well.
we will be arriving late 11 oclock at night-of the ferry,and I've booked us a really cheap hotel(seen as though we'r checkin in late an setting of the next day) its called Hotel Balladins Calais Confort-zup du beau marais,angle rue grueze-et rue salvador allandde(oh lord i wish i'd have learnt some french-my english isnt that clever either!lol......does anyone know if this is near by,i presume so but if anyone could let me know that would be great. Also, When we'r ready to set of from paris,will it take a full day to get to further south?...because I really would like to drive to spain! but as zacmaster said,I really do not have any concept of how big france is! if i had a rough idea,then i could plan ahead more,well it would give me a rough idea..

once again ,i'm so greatful for you taking the time!..bless u all...sherry..xx
(2-part post):

Using the ViaMichelin link, which I provided above, shows the distance from Paris to St Tropez as 893km (555 miles), with tolls totalling �58.50 (about �40). The estimated driving time is given as 8 hours 9 minutes. Allowing for some breaks that makes the actual journey time closer to 10 hours. You could do it in a day but (given that you're trying to provide your mother with a relaxing holiday) to do so would seem to be inadvisable.

To break the journey up, start out reasonably early from Paris and drive to Lyon (which is just over midway between Paris & St Tropez).
http://www.en.lyon-france.com/
Spend the afternoon and evening exploring Lyon and spend the night there. The following day, use the morning for further exploration before continuing south.
If you're thinking of heading, from Paris, to the east coast of Spain, I suggest making Barcelona your target destination.
http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/?go=jN7uAYLx/o IJaWVQCb4ZU93ygJVYLOpRQdvyIue/wAW6Ddhyhal0Y8Jy bdczumN4RSbo3CRL94sJBt7u1Kc=
(It's a wonderful, vibrant city with some great beaches both within the city and in the neighbouring areas of the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada. The distance is 1037km (645 miles) with tolls totalling �59.95. The estimated driving time is 9 hours 29 minutes. With breaks, your total journey time would be nearer to 12 hours. I'd suggest taking 3 leisurely days for the journey, allowing overnight stops to explore Limoges and Toulouse.
http://www.uk.toulouse-tourisme.com/accueil/in dex_en.php

For a map showing the location of your hotel in Calais (which is just 2km from the ferry terminal), click on 'Situation de l'h�tel', here:
http://fr.federal-hotel.com/hotel_hotel-ballad ins-calais-calais_6803.htm

Chris
stick to the speed limits. French police can ban you on the spot and confiscate your licence. Scary!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/main.jhtml?x ml=/travel/2007/08/04/et-gill-charlton-case.xm l

I endorse everyone's suggestion about staying outside Paris (Eurodisney perhaps?) and using the excellent suburban and underground services rather than driving in town, which is horrendous.

You can drive from Paris to St Tropez in a longish day - the motorways are good though not free. But it's tiring and you'd have a lot more fun if you took your time and enjoyed the scenery, small towns, the chateaux in the Loire Valley, the Dordogne, the wine regions etc. Depends how much time you have, of course.

At about Orange you can go left to Marseille and St Tropez but there are also good beaches straight ahead in the Camargue delta, or right towards Beziers and Spain. There's a whole nudist resort at Cap d'Agde, where I once spent a happy fortnight when I was less spherical than now. As has been said, there are also good beaches in Normandy-Brittany and down the Atlantic coast.

You could go on to Spain or Italy, lovely countries, but really a long way to drive and perhaps not the best for a really relaxing holiday.

The wine's great, though of course doesn't go so well with driving. Have a wonderful time!

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1st time driving to france-any tips!!

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