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France day trip


Distinguished Member
I have never driven abroad before, but both myself and Mrs scrapbook fancy a driving holiday sometime in the next 12 months.

We are going on a recon mission to France next month to get a feel for things.

Going over via euro tunnel to citi Europe and then going along the coast somewhere for afternoon tea.

Any do's, dont's, advice for a first timer?

How about nice places to go for afternoon tea within reasonable driving distance of the tunnel station


Food is a no brainier... Chateau Tilques. About an hour inland max. One of my favourite places and the lunch menu is amazing.


Distinguished Member
Afternoon tea is English and not readily available in France. Better to aim for lunch if you can but bear in mind that most restaurants are fairly small and by 2pm they are closing.


For me it would be Le Touquet.
Take the back roads from Calais if you feel comfortable driving off the main drag, or A16 if not and enjoy a laid back chilled town with a few good bars and restaurants and sandy beaches.

You will find driving quite a lot more relaxed there than in the UK and for me it is a pleasure to drive there (I know the cities are mad!) Watch and drive like the locals and you really can't go wrong (famous last words ha ha)


Distinguished Member
You'll need a few things in your car for driving on the "mainland" :D

Driving in France

Here is a list of things to take / be aware of when driving in France:

  • A GB sticker displayed on the back of your car, unless your vehicle has 'Europlates' that already display this information.
  • A warning triangle that you must place on the road in the event of a breakdown, to alert other drivers that you're there.
  • A high visibility jacket that you must put on before exiting the vehicle in the event of a breakdown or if you're pulled over by the police. Keep hi-vis jackets inside the passenger compartment of your vehicle, not the boot.
  • Headlamp converters, which will re-align your headlights so that they don't dazzle oncoming motorists when driving on the right.
  • From July 2012, motorists in France will be required to carry an NF-approved single-use breathalyser. Our Alcosense Single Use Breathalyser is fully NF-approved, and comes in a twin pack so you'll still be covered if you use one.
  • During the winter, snow chains must be fitted to your tyres when driving on snow-covered roads in compliance with the relevant road signs.
  • If you're travelling with children under 10, make sure you take along the correct child car seat for their age and size.
  • It's also recommended that you carry a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit to assist you in emergency situations, and a set of spare car bulbs in case you need to replace one.
  • In built-up areas in France, priority is given to vehicles coming from the right - known as "priorité a droite".
  • It's against the law to carry any radar detection equipment. If your sat nav has a speed camera detection function, you must switch it off.
  • You should use dipped headlights when driving in poor visibility during the day.
  • If you are stopped by the French police and handed a fine, you should always make sure you are given an official receipt.
  • Valid full (not provisional) driving licence
  • Driving licence paper counterpart - if you have a photocard licence
  • Vehicle registration document (V5c) - the original not a copy
  • Motor insurance certificate
  • Passport(s)
  • 112 is the European emergency call number you can dial anywhere in the European Union in case of accident, assault or in any other distress situation.


Distinguished Member
Make sure you don't middle lane hog, it's not tolerated in France.

Oh yeah, if you do ever venture further into Europe, make sure you stick to the speed limit in Belgium because the police will stop you and ask for money there and then- if you've no money on you then they escort you to the nearest cash point.

That's interesting, I didn't know about them having the 'priorité a droite' system in France. They have it in Germany too but most villages will have a yellow triangle road sign at the junctions which makes that rule obsolete.


Established Member
For info, the breathalyser requirement has now been dropped in France, so don't waste your money !!!

For the light converters, if you have a modern car, you might be able to change the light direction by flipping a switch on the light its self. Check your car manual for that one.

Don't worry about priority a droite, in all my time driving and living here I've not been anywhere that still operates this rule.

One bit of advice, when you see a stop sign, make sure you stop completely !!! Even if there is clearly nothing coming the other way, stop !!! French police love giving fines for this one !!

The no hogging the middle lane comment made me laugh :) down in the south its positively encouraged !! But saying that, the driving around here is bloody awful, worst I've experienced in a long long time. But to counter that, driving in the north of France is always a pleasure, very thoughtful drivers up there :)



OH Yeah nearly forgot until I see the post above.

If you are driving along as in the UK and someone comes up behind you and starts to indicate, move over, it's them letting you know they can pass you with ease and you are slowing them up.

Works once in a blue moon in the UK as well..............


Distinguished Member
The no hogging the middle lane comment made me laugh :) down in the south its positively encouraged !! But saying that, the driving around here is bloody awful, worst I've experienced in a long long time. But to counter that, driving in the north of France is always a pleasure, very thoughtful drivers up there :)


Yup, the further south in France you go, the worse the driving gets!


Distinguished Member
No breathalysers needed, one high vis vest per person in the car and priority to the right is becoming fashionable again in many small towns as a traffic calming method (usually associated with 30Km/H zones). In small towns where they have 30 zones and Priority to the right, you will also find that pedestrians have priority over traffic. So, top priority is pedestrians, then traffic to your right and then you.

And is quite often in place by default on country roads, when road markings and signs are too expensive. But in the country, its mostly ignored anyway, but technically in place.

Fuel is cheaper over here and if you book your car in for a service somewhere, you will save a big % of your ferry costs, as servicing here is cheaper than the UK.

But mostly, its a doddle. The only time you have to think is when you've been going for a while and want to turn left. Or when you restart, from a car park say, and then engage brain and say "drive on right".
You'll be fine and bon voyage.


Distinguished Member
Thanks for the advice and encouragement guys. I'll need to do some more research and come up with some more ideas


Distinguished Member
Am I right in thinking if you wear glasses you need a spare pair in the car as well?


Distinguished Member
If you're looking at planning your driving holiday then I can't recommend the Mosel valley in Germany enough. Great Wine, lovely beer, beautiful old villages set along the river with masses of vineyards either side but above all, you could stay there a month and you wouldn't hear an English voice.

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