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Driving in France - what do I need?

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by slimbloke, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. slimbloke
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    slimbloke Member

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    I'm planning driving through France in August, and I know that I need to carry my license, spare headlight bulbs and a warning triangle... but is there anything else?

    Also, is there a very easy way to alter my Xenon lights for driving on the right, or is that a dealer thing?

    TIA
    #1
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  3. Cupramax
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    Cupramax Uber pimp meister

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    Dont you need a flourescent jacket or something now??? Is it France that if you where glasses you need a spare set with you.
    #2
  4. simonl
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    simonl Member

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Driving in France - what do I need?

    [/ QUOTE ]


    eer, a car /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
    #3
  5. madvw
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    madvw Active Member

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    a passenger - just to save you leaning across the car for the bl00dy toll booths. Not very euro friendly those....

    and chuck a teatowel over any radar detectors, they're not too keen on those.

    come to think of it, they're not too keen on English numberplates either...
    #4
  6. slimbloke
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    slimbloke Member

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    and the headlight adjustment? or do I get ye'olde black-out stickers for the headlights?
    #5
  7. madvw
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    madvw Active Member

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    #6
  8. RobB
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    RobB Member

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    Don't forget your V5 and proof of insurance either just in case. And a GB sticker if you don't have euro plates. Anything to lessen the chance of you getting pulled over in my opinion.

    And a very heavy right foot for driving down some fantastic A roads.

    One last thing, French petrol stations, outside of those on motorways, might often be 24 hour but they are usually the automatic pre-pay with your credit card type after hours and Sundays. But they never seem to accept UK credit cards in the pre-pay machines (even chip and pin), only CB cards from the French. So start thinking about getting fuel early if you are going to be travelling on A roads at these times. I have learned through experience!
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  9. slimbloke
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    slimbloke Member

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    Very good advice there Rob, thanks. I'm sure I'll be pulling into a few petrol stations on my way (with the 3.2). Not travelling until mid-summer, so I'll make sure my aircon gets check and filter replaced in my first service next week in readiness.
    #8
  10. RobB
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    RobB Member

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    No probs. I also have a 3.2 and am off through France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany in June for a bit of an adventure up some mountains with a friend in his RX8. Even if the 3.2's appetite for fuel means it is expensive, at least I won't be stopping quite as much as the RX8, whose thirst is unbelievable.

    Thought of something else as it will be summer. Take some glass cleaning spray with you. If it is hot, your screen will be baked with insects and no wipers will be able to clear it all off. You'll look quite sad at the side of the road but at least you will be able to see!
    #9
  11. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 9, 2006]
    All good advice so far. I also drive through France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, usually in June for my holidays. I shall be doing the same again this year. The spray windscreen cleaner is very important otherwise by the time you get half way accross France you won't see anything at all. I normally put my car through a car wash when I get to Austria - sad I know, but I hate driving around in a dirty car !

    Also you will need to remember to switch your headlights on at all times. It recommended in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany but is a legal requirement in Austria.

    What route will you be taking. I always use the A26 from Calais to Reims and then the A4 towards Strasbourg and cross into Germany near Baden-Baden. It a lovely journey on the autoroutes. I usually travel on a Sunday and the autoroute is very very quite. Total autoroute tolls around £40 each way but it's worth it because their so quite compared with UK motorways and with rest places or a service area every 10 or so km.. If you go into Switzerland or Austria you will need to purchase a motorway 'vignette'. These can be purchased at the border or service areas as you get near the border.

    If you want to know anything else just ask.

    I'm sure you will enjoy it.
    #10
  12. JaminBen
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    JaminBen Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    Wow, great advice here! Regarding the fluorescent jackets, those are mandatory in Spain, along with TWO warning triangles.

    "Headlights on" during the day is recommended by the french ministry of transportation, but no-one actually does it (this IS France we're talking about). Main reason not to turn them on is to let Bikes stand out from Cars.

    I've said it before and say it again: if you come to Carcassonne, look me up: I'll be very happy to show you around.

    Cheers,
    Ben.

    La Cité de Carcassonne:
    [​IMG]
    #11
  13. RobB
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    RobB Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    Driven down to Carcassonne before - great place. If I ever head that way again, I'll let you know.

    Cheers
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  14. simonl
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    simonl Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    Ben, that shot looks so like a painting, you sure you just haven't gone a bit OTT on your garage decor!
    #13
  15. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 10, 2006]

    LOL...your right the castle in the background is the give away. Come on Ben confess all /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
    #14
  16. mikep
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    mikep Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    Been there parked there took the picture, along with 200 other tourists!
    #15
  17. RobB
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    RobB Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    What, round at Ben's house? Must annoy the neighbours.
    #16
  18. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 10, 2006]

    Thats a big garage if it fits 200 tourists /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
    #17
  19. mikep
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    mikep Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    Nah, they all came out the back of a container from Turkey!
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  20. simonl
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    simonl Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Nah, they all came out the back of a container from Turkey!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    ...with H5N1
    #19
  21. mikep
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    mikep Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    Achoo!
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  22. porkapig
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    porkapig New Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    lots of cash to pay on the spot speeding fines....

    Beware they WILL get you on english plates - the 'frog' march to the cash point isnt funny :-(

    Great roads and much better drivers than in the UK IMO - they will get out of your way :)
    #21
  23. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    In all the years I've been crossing France on the autoroutes I've never been stopped and I normally drive arounf 90-100mph. In fact I have very rarely seen a police car or motorcycle.

    Having said that my luck will probably run out this year !
    #22
  24. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 10, 2006]

    In my previous job I spent a lot of time working in Antwerp, Brussels and Amsterdam and always took the opportunity to drive over (company car allowance so I get to claim mileage back against my Tax!)

    Also it was a good opportunity to max out your car. And some of the speeds managed where pretty high! Never got stopped once.

    Perhaps I was just lucky?

    J.
    #23
  25. RobB
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    RobB Member

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    [Jan 10, 2006]
    There seem to be very few fixed cameras on the A roads and the ones in Provence last summer all had such blatantly obvious warnings before them that you would be nuts to get caught.

    Have seen some devious antics on the autoroutes though, especially south of calais - dark blue Peugeot 306s hidden under bridges and behind signs with the plod popping out from them with their speed guns. But then I think they focus on serious speeders rather than 90mph or so as both times I thought my luck was up. Never stopped me from enjoying my 3.2 on clear stretches though.

    Agree that they are more considerate drivers from a lane discipline point of view but I wish they would stop thinking that by leaving their indicator flashing for 10 miles it gives them the right to overtake you!

    And I never fail to be impressed by how fast a knackered looking diesel Clio can go with the wind behind it.
    #24
  26. imported_unkle
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    imported_unkle Guest

    [Jan 10, 2006]
    *random fact*

    In Germany its mandatory to have a foil blanket (like you see in the London marathon). As very few if any UK first aid kits have this thought I'd just point it out...
    #25
  27. Rainbowsend
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    Rainbowsend New Member

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    [Jan 11, 2006]
    You can buy the 'full kit' required at the ferry port or on the boat, but you will be releived of between £80-£90 for the privilege.....may be worth it if you cant be arsed before hand.
    #26
  28. imported_paragon
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    imported_paragon Guest

    [Jan 11, 2006]
    Recently spent 3 hours pressing on down the motorway from Calais then got pulled in the first village off the motorway. My mistakes were: doing 50mph in a 50 kph zone, having UK plates and admitting I had cash. Once I had been breathed into the bag ( negative but gained an awful lot of pleasure from exploding the first bag in the gendarme's face!) I was relieved of £60 equivalent. Wished I had said was only carrying credit card - would probably not have been worth the hassle to them. Only admit to carry small change.
    #27
  29. JaminBen
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    JaminBen Member

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    [Jan 12, 2006]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Ben, that shot looks so like a painting, you sure you just haven't gone a bit OTT on your garage decor!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    It does lok like a painting, doesn't it!?

    The region around Carcassonne abounds with great driving roads. Go up into the Pyrénées from there for great canyon runs, and head to Andorra for tax-free shopping. Absolutely pm me if you come 'round: I don't get to speak English nearly as much as I'd like...

    French gov't are cracking down on speeding. 1000 speed cameras already, and another 500 in 2006 (all have a brown warning sign 500 or so meters before). As was mentioned, it's the roadside lasergun attacks that are the most vicious, as they are hidden.
    #28
  30. miketweed
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    miketweed Member

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    [Jan 12, 2006]
    France is still full of fabulous road compared to the UK - cameras or not.

    Perfect surfaces, constant radius bends (as the UK is the only country in Europe that doesn't insist on CR bends), less traffic, courteous drivers, better fuel - oh and the weather - JOY.

    On previous bike trips to the SOF, we just carried plenty of cash to pay any fines. Keeps the gendarme happy (as they probably keep it) and prevents anything more serious happening.

    Maybe things have changed since 2002?
    #29
  31. JaminBen
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    JaminBen Member

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    [Jan 12, 2006]
    Oh man, have they ever!!!

    First, everybody drives slowly on the autoroute. Seriously, average speed must have dropped by at least 20kph! The corollary is that people pay less atention to overtaking cars. It used to be that slower cars looked in their mirror and signaled before merging into the fast lane. No longer.

    Further, those law-abiding citizens dawdling by at 130kph, feel wholly justified to cut you off!

    Trucks (lorries ;-) have gotten worse as well. Many change lanes without signaling.

    Thankfully, the B-roads have stayed pretty much the same..
    #30
  32. miketweed
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    miketweed Member

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    [Jan 12, 2006]
    We came back from St Tropez to Calais on bikes in 1 day. 700+ miles.

    Mile after mile of head-down 175+mph (indicated) antics, never a Policeman / camera in site. Only sunshine and dry tarmac!

    Theres room for a bike between a car and the armco on the peage! (I've watched too many FB videos). Nothing quite like passing a truck thats doing 125mph less than you are!

    Memories of a lifetime. Oh happy days, ne'er again shall we meet. :-(
    #31

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