Written by Caroline
We have been taking the A roads, rather than the motorways, as suggested by a number of motorhome forums. You avoid the tolls, which can become quite costly – 70 Euros to get from North to South (have I mentioned that before?), but also, the A-roads, or ‘D-Roads’ as they are here, are well kept; straight; 90kmh limit, and very, very quiet. In a three hours drive today, we saw less than 100 cars!
The best part of staying off the motorways is driving through glorious countryside, pretty villages – stopping off to get Alan’s baguette and having lunch in an unexpectedly glorious town. Today, for instance, we came across Charolles, in the Borbogne region. Ancient, bustling, with a river running through it. Sigh.
Look where we are driving through?….nowhere. How wonderful!
Update on motorways – we tried one out from Lyon towards Avignon. We drove for an hour. Positives - Alan didn’t have to do any navigating, so could chill out, and it was easier driving for me. The speed limit in France is 130kph – 80mph , 110 in wet weather. I drive at a happy 65mph – slower than I would in Nerys in the UK, but there is less traffic in France and it is easier to overtake the lorries. Anyway, I’m becoming a driving geeks. The negatives however are that for one hours drive, it cost us 19euro!!
On the flipside, we have found out that if you breakdown on the motorway and call for help using the SOS phones, if you can be fixed on the side of the road, rather than towed away, it is free! Also, if you need to empty your toilet cassette – more on that joy later…then most of the ‘Aires de service’ – service stations, have facilities for you to do that. You can stay overnight for free as well, although it is not recommended on paticular parts of some motorways.
There seems to be a commitment to using indicators properly, of which I’m in favour. The more everyone communicates, when coming together to achieve individual aims in a community – here the driving community, the easier and more pleasant it is. Tail gating continues, but not in an angry, impatient, aggressive way, just ‘the way it is’. Other than that, my observations are all about, how ridiculously busy the UK roads are, and in two weeks of driving, I have not yet been in a queue of traffic.
Oh, my favourite thing? Not having to pay for parking. It is soooo civilised, being able to turn up somewhere, find a parking space, and not worry about time limits and having to pay £2.00 for an hour. I understand, the UK is lacking in space and overcrowded, and perhaps the French pay higher tax than us, to cover the costs of car parks; but I still love it. That and the empty roads, make for pleasant driving. No more on the ‘driving experience’ now.