Driving through France can be a great way of getting into the heart of the French countryside and experience some of the true traditional France. You cannot help but enjoy traveling at your own pace, stopping at quaint villages and historic towns to experience the local French food and staying in family run guest houses or hotels.
The roads are generally well maintained, especially the excellent network of motorways or autoroutes, many of which are toll roads with fees payable by cash or credit card. Even when driving on the small roads in the countryside or when entering a village, the roads are usually still of a very good quality. Furthermore, outside of the holiday season from mid-July to the end of August, there is very little congestion, especially if you avoid the roads around the big cities at rush hours.
There are many recommended routes one can follow, for instance wine routes, cheese routes, beach routes or scenic routes. Most of these routes takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery, and if you follow one of the theme routes, like wine routes, you will discover famous wine castles, some of them Medieval, and drive through beautiful vineyards. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and taste samples of the local produces.
When driving through France there are a few things you need to be aware of. The legal age to drive in France is 18, even if you have a full license from another country that allows you to drive under the age of 18. You must carry your insurance, car log book (original not a photocopy), and you driving license with you at all times whilst driving. It is also compulsory to carry a warning triangle and one high visible vest in the car.
U-turns are not permitted, nor is crossing a solid white line. A flashing red light means do not enter. Driving in bus lanes is prohibited. The maximum legal concentration of blood alcohol is 0.5 grams per liter. The use of seatbelts is mandatory at all times, and children must be at least age 10 to sit in the front seat. Approved child seats are mandatory for children up to age 4; booster seats for children from 4 to 10 years.
Fines for traffic violations are collected on the spot in either Euros or travelers' checks. The fines for not wearing seat belts, driving through a red light, driving while intoxicated, and driving without a license are extremely high, and can even include confiscation of your vehicle.