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Driving in France : French autoroutes

Category: Midi-Pyrenees - Travel Information, Midi-Pyrenees - Useful Information
Generally well maintained
Mostly uncongested
Many toll roads
Lots of speed cameras

Key points about this information item Driving in France : French autoroutes


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French autoroutes and driving on the motorway in Midi-Pyrenees

France has a great network of autoroutes, allowing drivers to get quickly around the country.  The biggest difference between the UK and dfRance is that in France, many of the motorways have toll charges.

 

This is great from the point of view that maintenance of the motorways comes from the tolls collected, but it does also mean that drivers will use the Route National roads instead to save money.

 

The other problem for drivers of right hand drive cars is that if you do not have a passenger, paying the toll means getting out of the car!  There are also queues at the tolls during peak times.

 

However, there is a solution called Liber-t.  This is an automatic system that registers your car as you pass through the tolll booth. There is no need to stop and many of he tolls have now been upgraded to include the new 30kmh lanes that allow you to cruise through the tolls at 50 kmh!

 

Liber-t system
By registering via their dedicated UK website for UK residents without a French bank account or on the French site to pay from a French bank account, they will post you a transponder that can be fitted behind the rear-view mirror. As you approach the barrier, the tag is read and the barrier will open.  On the older tolls, you almost came to a standstill before the barrier opened, but many booths have been upgraded with a newer systen that reads the tag well in advance and as long as you stick to around fifty kmh, allows you to go through without stoping.

 

Your usage of the tag is billed monthly and payment is taken from your UK bank account in sterling.

 

Check the details on the UK website here

 

For French residents, use the French website - in English

 

Motorway speed limits
The general speed limits are;
130 kmh or 110 kmh in rain, however, as in the UK, signage is used to restrict the speed at various points, such as roadworks and difficult / busy areas.

 

Services
There are services at regular intervals all along the autoroutes. Unlike the UK, there are many stopping areas that simply have a picnic area and some toilets, but do not have services of any sort.  These are clearly signed and you will often see signs giving the price of fuel at various services along the way and how far they are.  All very useful.  As with the UK, fuel is much more expensive on the autoroute, so if possible, make sure you have enough fuel to complete your journey before filling up.

 

Speed cameras
There are not to many fixed cameras on Midi-Pyrenees autoroutes, but you will come across numerous mobile cameras.  Normally, they will not be visible until you are just about past them and the operator will hidden away in a layby.  Fixed cameras are always signposted about 1 km before the actual camera site, but mobile cameras have no warning.

 

 

 

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