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Driving in France and Corsica

Home of 2019 Women's World Cup football, 1998 World Cup football and 2016 Euro football and Rugby World Cup 2023

Key rules, regulations and things to know

Driving: Drive on the right and overtake on the left.

10th July 2023: Clean air stickers for British motorists driving UK registered vehicles- British drivers heading to France are being reminded that they will need to display a clean air sticker - called a Crit'Air vignette - if they plan to drive into several French cities.

Similar to the clean air and ultra-low emission zones that have sprung up in the UK, the French have at least 12 zones, including Paris, Rouen, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Montpellier, Lyon, Grenoble, Nice and Marseille, with more being added all the time, where you risk a fine if you don't display one.

The stickers are relatively easy and cheap to obtain, even if it requires a little bit of time and some internet expertise. UK drivers should log on to the official website Certificat-air.gouv.fr to apply.

Beware: there are a number of fake websites that will try to charge you more Source - Riviera Radio Daily News

General Driving Tips (some of this information supplied by holiday autos)

Speed limits: Built-up-areas: 50km/h (31mph) outside towns: 90km/h (56mph) priority roads and toll-free motorways: 110km/h (68mph) toll motorways: 130 km/h (81mph) - this reduces in wet weather - More on this here

1st July 2018: New Speed limit - The speed limit on two-way roads without a central reservation or barrier has been lowered by 10km/hr from 90km/hr to 80km/hr. The new measure which means that France now has some of the tightest speed limits on this kind of road in Europe came into effect on Sunday 1st July. Source Riviera Radio News

France is a large country with a similar size population to England, Scotland and Wales, however the area of land that the population occupies is much smaller. It is possible to drive from north to south easily in one day using the excellent motorway/autoroute network and over the border into Spain or Italy, but make sure there are two drivers so you are not tired. Alternatively take a long leisurely drive along tree lined N Roads through open country and picturesque towns and villages.

Speed Cameras: There are more and more speed cameras in France (useful web site is controleradar.org/)

They usually have a warning sign a few metres or so before you see the camera and it is often set on a dual carriageway in the central reservation to capture traffic on both sides of the road. They are much nearer to ground level than those found in Britain and Ireland. They are often located on motorways on more dangerous sections particularly when the speed limit is reduced to 110 kmh and usually they are working! Remember if you are driving a hire car your fine will be passed onto you by the car rental company.

If you are driving on foreign plates, don't think you are safe from prosection now. A letter in the August/September 2007 edition of "The Riviera Reporter" concerned someone whose son had passed an Italian radar camera that flashed him. The fine was passed onto the French authorities to pursue via the local Prefecture. The same writer also knew of someone who had been speeding in Switzerland and the fine demand went overeas.

According to The Riviera Reporter "Harmanisation and intra-EU cooperation is under way and not only fines will have to be paid, but soon points will be deducted from your licence no mater where the offence was committed. This will include offences in the UK and any other EU country as well as Switzerland"

In the April /May 2011 edition of The Riviera Reporter "Speed cameras The proximity of an automated camera radar trap is no longer automatically posted in France. Instead, zones where such traps are common will usually be signposted as much as 2 kilometres in advance rather than the 400 metres previously.

(Left new style French speed camera that does not always have a warning sign -ICR - August 2012)

That leaves plenty of time to forget, so don’t. Over a thousand new speed cameras will be installed in France before 2012 adding to the 2800 already in place. More than 20 of these new cameras will be in Alpes- Maritimes including several in dense urban locations such as the Nice train station flyover"

Radar Detectors: It is illegal to use these and you can be fined up to  1,500 and lose 2 points of your license. However it is not illegal to download a map of where the speedcameras are from the French Government website www.securiteroutiere.equipment.gouv.fr

In the April /May 2011 edition of The Riviera Reporter "Time-lapse traps (radars tronçons), which measure average speed between two distant points, are being installed on major traffic arteries throughout France. This means that drivers can no longer slow down where they know there’s a speed camera only to accelerate afterwards. Licence plate recognition technology will be put to full use here. In the Bordeaux region they are testing a system that can recognise lorries and coaches which have different speed limitations from passenger cars" More information Here

The February / March 2012 edition provided the following updates: Radar detectors - After much debate, devices that detect speed cameras are now formally forbidden. In theory, using a device that actively warns of cameras is now punishable with a €1500 fine and the loss of six points. It is generally accepted that passive devices which show known speed camera positions without detecting them actively are acceptable if they are dubbed "danger zone warning devices".

In 2012, 400 new fixed radar traps will be installed and there will no longer be advance-warning panels on roads equipped with them.

Speed limits in France: Don't put yourself in the frame Stick to the speed limit in France, warns Chris Dearden of The Independent – foreign motorists are being targeted - October 2010 "a gendarme on his BMW motorbike overtook us and gestured for us to follow. Half a mile later, we turned in and parked alongside a dozen other cars, all caught in the same speed trap -My friend's on-the-spot fine had been €90, but a Dutch Audi driver had been relieved of €700, courtesy of a nearby cash machine. Working on an average fine of, say, €250, and 20 cars an hour, 10 hours a day, that speed trap could be pulling in €18m a year.

The French are un-ashamedly targeting foreign drivers with mobile speed traps along with instant on-the-spot penalties. And the penalties don't stop at relieving you of some of your holiday money, either. If you are 50kmh over the limit, your licence will be confiscated, posted back to Britain at some indeterminate date in the future, and your six-month ban on French roads starts immediately. Just in case your reaction to this possibility is to turn on your UK legal radar detector as you drive off the ferry, you need to remember that if caught, its use in France will bring about immediate arrest." Read the full article here

17 October 2019 - Speed cameras - Two speed cameras situated on the A8 motorway at Cagnes sue mer in the Alpes Maritimes and Les Adrets in the Var are amongst the top ten cameras which flash the most in France. According to the report there has been an increase in the number of motorist flashed in Cagnes sur mer following the lowering of the speed limit from 110km to 90km /h. Previous years had shown between 50,000 and 60,000 offenses however in 2018 the number jumped to 115,558. Source Riviera Radio Daily News

8 September 2016 - Facebook - Twelve people were in court on Wednesday for announcing on Facebook the location of traffic radar and speed cameras in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes. Each was facing a fine of 1,500 euros until the court ruled that Facebook was not a device, like a radar detector which is illegal, and set the group free. Source Riviera Radio Daily News

2 April 2019 State of the art speed cameras - The French interior Ministry has announced that 400 state of the art speed cameras are to be installed in France this year and three times more by 2020. 75% of fixed speed cameras have been destroyed or degraded in recent months, especially since the beginning of the "yellow vests" movement.

The government intends to replace them with radars that are more difficult to vandalise. A dozen have already been deployed in France, including Strasbourg and Marseille. Source Riviera Radio Daily News

Drink and Driving: Blood alcohol limit is 0.05 - barely 1 unit of alcohol. (0.5 grams of alcolol per litre of blood means about one glass of wine- might be better not to drive) More information Here

In-car alcohol tester / alcohol breathalyser: From July 2012 it will be obligatory for all drivers in France to carry a breathalyser (éthylotest) in the glove box and not in the boot. Costs will be from around €2 from pharmacies and other outlets. If you are not carrying one you are liable to be fined €11. (See Breathalyser kits now obligatory in cars in France - check your hire car - July 2012 & Breathalyzer kits / éthylotest in motor vehicles in France, the saga continues - October 2012 )

Update January 2013 - From Total website - En cas de contrôle routier, le défaut de possession d'un éthylotest serait sanctionné par une amende de 11 euros à partir du 1er mars 2013. Un décret a été publié en ce sens au Journal officiel du mardi 30 octobre 2012. L'éthylotest donne un indice de la présence d'alcool dans l'air expiré. En France, Il est interdit de conduire en cas de concentration d'alcool dans l'air expiré égale ou supérieure à 0,25 milligrammes par litre. Source : service-public.fr.

If you are stopped by traffic police, the lack of having a breathalyzer will mean you will be fined 11 euros from 1 March 2013 as per the decree that was published on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. The breath test gives an indication of the presence of alcohol in the breath. In France, it is forbidden to drive when alcohol concentration in exhaled air greater than or equal to 0.25 milligrams per liter. Source: service-public.fr.

Police (including the municipal police) can now test drivers for narcotics, including cannabis. Driving while under the influence of drugs is sanctioned like alcohol-related offenses.

France introduced environmental zones and the Crit'Air Vignette on 1st July 2016

Environmental zones in France - Holidaymakers risk financial charges! There is a new vignette/sticker for Paris, Lyon and Grenoble. They are first three cities to introduce emissions stickers for all vehicles and there are a lot of cities in France. Twenty two more cities are planning this.

On days when certain cities are at risk of reaching their Euro emissions limit heavy polluting vehicles can be refused entrance based on the "Crit'Air" sticker the vehicle is displaying. You can apply on line and visit their website here Classifications are based on age of vehicle, there are quite a lot of restrictions for older vehicles.

Presumably rental cars will be issued with these, but no doubt it could affect the hire costs as it another admin detail for them. Motorists driving without the Crit'Air sticker can be fined on the spot from €68 to €135 It will be interesting to see if other cities in different countries follow this system.

April 2020 - Air pollution sticker

All vehicles, including motorbikes, driving in central Paris, Lyon and Grenoble now need to display a special ‘pollution sticker’. You must display a sticker to drive in central Paris from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday.

The requirement to display a sticker can be implemented at any time, depending on pollution levels. Some older vehicles don’t qualify for a sticker at all due to their high emissions; these vehicles can’t be driven in central Paris at all from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday.

In order to manage air pollution levels, cities may also limit vehicle access to town centres and main roads, including the Paris region. For more information, and to apply for a sticker, visit the French Ministry of Environment website (in English). Source Gov.UK

Traffic on major roads has priority. Where two major roads cross, traffic coming from the right has priority as warned by the sign 'danger priorité à droite'. Where there is no sign, give way to the right.

Traffic on a roundabout has priority and signs saying 'cedez le passage' or 'vous n'avez pas la prioritè'. In some areas the old rule of traffic entering roundabouts having priority applies so be cautious where there are no signs

Headlights: If a driver flashes his headlights in France, he is generally indicating that he has priority and you should give way. This can be confusing as in the UK it usually indicates that a car is usually indicates that a car is letting you out. Lights should be used in poorr visibilty and in tunnels.

Trams: Do not overtake a tram when it is stationary with passengers getting on or off.

Traffic lights don't show amber after red. Flashing amber means continue with caution. They do have a great idea in France, a much smaller version much lower down that is easier for the driver to see whilst waiting at the lights. Traffic light sequences are like those in Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Italy and many other European countries. They are unlike the UK in so much as when the light has gone red, instead of going to amber, they go straight to green. However they go from green to amber to red to stop traffic. You will often find that at night or at other quieter times some traffic lights flash amber from every direction.

This means that no one has a right of way, but all drivers must proceed with caution. You still can't turn right on a red light (as in some countries) but in recent months a few French intersections in congested areas do allow it to assist traffic flow. These exceptions are clearly marked so don't make any assumptions unless you see the sign.

Seat Belts: It is complulsory to wear seat belts in front and rear and children under ten years old are not allowed to travel in the front seat (unless there are no seats in the rear). In the rear they must use a proper restraint system - bolster cushion.

Mobile Phones: From 2012, the fine for using a mobile phone or texting while driving has been increased from €35 and a 2 point penalty to €135 and 3 points. If you are found to have been using your mobile phone for speech or texting at the time of the accident you will almost certainly be considered at fault no matter what the other driver did.

If you are driving with a dog, it is advisable to harness the dog in using a special dog harness. A dog like a human that is not secure in the back can cause serious injury(or death) to the front seat people if it is not secured by a harness.

Carrying a warning triangle (see further down) is compulsory. It is recommended that visitors equip their vehicle with replacement light bulbs as well. From July 2008 A reflective vest is also complusory (like in Italy and Spain - In Spain you must carry reflective vests for all occupants). In-car alcohol tester / alcohol breathalyser: By spring 2012 it will be obligatory for all drivers in France to carry a breathalyser (éthylotest) in the glove box and not in the boot. Costs will be from around €2

Pedestrian Crossings According to The Riviera Reporter April/May 2011 edition - Pedestrians now have right of way over cars when crossing the road – even outside zebra crossings. Drivers must give way when a pedestrian gives a clear intention that he wishes to cross. A clear intention is defined as the pedestrian taking a step forward at the curbside or making a hand gesture to imply that he wishes to cross.

The new rule does not apply when nearer than 50 metres from a zebra crossing as the pedestrian is expected to use the crossing if there is one within that distance. Pedestrians are nevertheless obliged to respect traffic lights at zebra crossings – no question of just stepping onto the crossing when the light is red or walking diagonally rather than on the zebra crossing itself. Failure to give right of way to a pedestrian carries a fine of up to €135 and 4 points off your licence.

Driving Licence: A valid driving licence - If it is issued in the UK and the driver has passed his / her driving test at 17, you cannot drive a car in France till you are 18. The minimum age for car rental is 21 but check with your car rental company about minimum and maximum ages. Minimum Driving Ages European Countries - Here

Motor Insurance: If your vehicle is registerd in the UK, you are not obliged to show an international insurance certificate or green card, however proof of insurance may be needed so take your insurance certificate showing fully comprehensive insurance.

Vehicle Registration Documentation: Take your vehicle registration document with you, but don't leave it in the car (in case the car is stolen). If the car does not belong to you you should have a letter of authority from the registered owner and a copy of the registration document.

Warning / Emergency Equipment: Warning Triangles - First Aid Kits - Fire Extinguishers - Headlight convertors -Reflective jackets-: These should always be carried - many manufacturers issue them as standard. In the event of a breakdown the warning triangle should be displayed as well as hazard warning lights.

It is recommended that a first aid kit be carried - again many manufacturers issue them as standard and a fire extinguisher. If you are driving a right hand drive car, you should put convertors on to stop dazzling oncoming drivers. The reflective jacket should be kept in the passenger compartment, not the boot as French Police can inspect a vehicle at any time it is on the move. This does make a lot of senses, because if you breakdown, particuarly on the motorway/autoroute you need to get out of the car wearing it.

Contrôle Technique - A car over three years old must have a contrôle technique.This is to check that the card is road worthy. It must be completed every two years at an authorised garage. Check that your garage can carry out the contre-visite (the second visit after essential repairs have been carried out) is free. When your car passes the contrôle technique you are given a macaron contrôle technique a sticker that is displayed on your windscreen (Like in Ireland). If you are planning to sell your car you must have a completed within 6 months of the sale.

February 2012: Contrôle Technique updates - A vehicle's first CT (MOT) must take place within 4 years of the1ère mise en circulation shown on the registration paper. The CT is then obligatory every 2 years for private vehicles and every year for vehicles registered to a business.

Camping vehicles must now have a pollution test every year. When you are registering a newly acquired car the CT must have been done within 6 months of purchaThe contrôle technique 2012 looks at more items than previously and will take about 10 minutes longer and cost about €10 more. The speedometer must now be shown to function but its accuracy won't be tested. The horn must be in working order and its fixations will be verified.

Brake fluid lines are now tested for cracks and potential leaks, as are power steering lines and fluid levels. Wheel bearings will now be checked for wear and excess play. Fog lights and rear windscreen anti-misting are now tested as well. Lateral body parts such as rigid decorative door guards must be firmly installed with no risk of them coming off and injuring someone. All doors must now function so that passengers can escape in case of accident or fire. The petrol tank must be in good condition and not leak. The anti-theft steering wheel lock will now be verified to ensure there is no danger of it locking while the car is in motionse if the vehicle is more than 4 years old.

The penalty for an outdated CT is €135 and results in immediate confiscation of the vehicle. The registration papers will be retained by police and you may then be granted a fiche de circulation provisoire allowing you seven days to get the car to a testing station. Once the car passes the CT, registration papers will be returned. Except for registered collectors' cars, even vehicles that are not used must now be tested although it's hard to see how this can be enforced.

The new CT sticker (macaron contrôle technique) shows the expiration date in much bigger letters than before so police can read it from a greater distance.A valid contrôle technique is the only accepted indication that your tyres, brakes, lights and other safety features were working properly at the time of an accident. Without an up-to-date CT you can be held responsible for an accident even if, in theory, it isn't entirely your fault. This isn't new but it's something too many drivers ignore. Source February 2012 Contrôle Technique update - Riviera Reporter

Motor cyclists: Motorcycles over 125cc must use dipped headlights during the day. A crash helmet is compulsory for driver and passenger.

December 2015: According to a report at Riviera Radio News "Motorcyclists in the Marseille region will be officially allowed to ride between lanes of traffic in 2016. The four-year experiment from February will apply to all of the Bouches-du-Rhône department, as well as Lyon, Paris and Bordeaux. Riding between lanes will be authorised only on dual-carriageways and motorways, where the usual speed limit is at least 70kph and when all the available lanes have solid traffic. Bikes must stick to the two lanes furthest to the left and not exceed 50kph."

Motorways - Autoroutes: The motoway network in France is excellent. The majority of the country is covered by pay autoroutes and in most places they accept credit / debit card payments at the pay points (Tolls) Péage. The longest section of free motorway runs along the Channel coast (La Manche) to Lille near the Belgian border.

In many city areas the autoroute will be free in the zone around the city (not in Nice for example) and you will stop at a Péage to collect a ticket and stop at another at then of that section's toll road to pay. Most autoroutes are very well served by fuel stations, some with hotels. Approximately every 15 kilometres you will find an Aires - This is rest area with parking, tables and chairs for picnics and toilets, but no fuel. There are normally emergency telephones on the autoroute network every 2 km. These are orange and marked SOS.

It is illegal to drive on a French motorway at less than 80km/h (approx 50 mph) in the fast lane.

You have to drive slower by law on French motorways when it is wet.

From 2012, except for emergency breakdowns, driving on the hard shoulder of an autoroute / motorway will cost drivers €135 it was previously €35.

Radio Information on French Autoroutes - Autoroutes FM 107.7 offering: Alert messages broadcast to warn of dense traffic on some routes and speed limits set accordingly- Single nationwide frequency 107.7FM, with news, traffic information and entertainment - There are traffic information bulletins every 15 minutes - National and international news, safety tips, features and music Visit Website Here - it has a lot of useful information for driving on the French autoroute network

Fuel: Petrol - Essence | Unleaded - Sans Plomb (Green on pump handle)| Diesel - Gazole (Black on pump handle)| LPG - Gepel/GPL| Please note that most larger petrol stations will accept credit cards, however many of the automated ones will only accept a French one.

Winter Tyre Requirement: These are not compulsory, however recommended for mountain driving or snowy / ice conditions.

Disabled Parking: The Blue Badge is recognised in all European countries - More information Here

Road offences between Italy and France - Riviera Radio Daily News reported on the 8th January 2016 that a new measure has been introduced concerning road offences in France and Italy. Both countries will work together and as of the 1st of January all French motorists who commit a driving offence in Italy will receive a fine by post at their French address. The same will apply to any Italian motorists fined in France.

Fédération Française des Automobile Clubs -To enter the site, click on the image above left

Motorcyclists - It's to be made compulsory for all motorcyclists in France to wear gloves. The new safety measure is to be introduced from the 20th November. Those found not wearing gloves risk a 45 euros fine and one point off their driving license. Source Riviera Radio News 21-9-16

Tinted Windows - As of January 1st 2017 vehicles equipped with tinted windows at the front and visible light transmission of less than 70% will be penalised on French roads. The new measure announced in 2016 will be effective as of January 1st 2017 6with a fine of 135 euros and three points off your license. Source Riviera Radio News 16-12-16

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Information from holiday autos about France

France, the biggest country in western Europe, has a wealth of contrasts. To the west, Brittany's landscape resembles Cornwall while the Loire Valley is home to ancient Châteaux and the Atlantic coast has miles of spectacular beaches. The Champagne region to the north east is flatter than the gentle wine-growing slopes of Burgundy to the south. The snowy and icy conditions in the Alps and Pyrenees demand careful driving between November and March.

Ferries, Eurostar and budget flights. These days it couldn’t be easier to hop across the channel. France car hire is by far the best way to get around, from the bright lights of Paris to the sunny beaches of the Cote d'Azur. So for the freedom to do what you want when you want book cheap car hire France today.

car hire in Nice - Near, naughty and nice. The Cote d'Azur is only two hours by plane from the UK. Car hire France is the best option to explore the south of the country at your own pace. Climb the steps of the castle for an aerial shot of the city. It’s pretty impressive . Bet you thought it was in Canada. Want to feel the sand between your toes? Take the car down to St Tropez. Don’t forget the sun lotion.

See also: Nice Airport gets new Car rental terminal - June 2011

car hire in Nice - Everyone loves Paris – it is the city of love after all. The Eiffel Tower, Mona Lisa, Champs Elysees and Notre Dame. By hiring a car you'll be able to explore all that Paris has to offer. The Arc de Triomphe is a must. Be patient, it’s the world’s largest roundabout. Book car hire and head to the Louvre and take in some art. Even if you’re not that into art, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Travel Tips from holiday autos: In Paris It’s best to leave your hire car in a car park than on the roads. It may not be in one piece when you get back. Watch out for those speed cameras throughout France.


Code Route - France

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FACT FILE — France:

France is very easy to get to either by air, sea, the channel tunnel or road. There are now more than 6,000 kms of motorways covering the country and connecting to other European motorway networks.

It can offer a wide variety of holidays to suit all tastes. It has coastlines bordering the Channel, the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean.

There are the mountain ranges — the Alps, the Pyrenees and the attrractive valleys of the rivers Loire, Rhone and Dordogne and of course the medieval villages, castles and picturesque countryside of Brittany, Normandy, Provence, the Dordogne and the French Riviera(Cote d'Azur). Architectural and interest abounds through out the country and there are many festivals. The French are noted for their love of good food and wines. You will normally eat well wherever you go and will find the regional speciality dishes well worth sampling.

The South of France, like some of its Mediterranean neighbours is a sunshine refuge during the depths of winter. Here you can enjoy excellent temperatures and look up to the snow covered Alps that are only a short drive away from Monaco, Nice & Cannes.

The country itself is known officially as the French Republic. It is divided into 26 administrative régions: 22 are in metropolitan France (21 are on the continental part of metropolitan France) the other one is the "territorial collectivity" of Corse, on the island of Corsica. The régions are further subdivided into 100 départements. The departments are numbered (mainly alphabetically) and this number is used, for instance, in postal codes and vehicle number plates. The departments are further subdivided into 342 arrondissements.See Departments and Regions in France - Click Here

Paris is the capital and largest city of France. It is also the capital of the Île-de-France région which encompasses Paris and its suburbs

Other Cities and Major towns:

Lyon is the third largest city and situated in the east and located between Paris and Marseille.

Lille is in north eastern France on the Deûle River. It is the capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais région and is also the préfecture (capital) of the Nord département. It is situated very close to the Belgian border.

Reims is that is in north is often considered the capital of Champagne. It is very close to another Champagne town — Epernay.

Rouen is the capital city of Normandy, in northwestern France, and the capital of the Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy) région.

Bordeaux is a port city in the south-west and is the capital of the Aquitaine région, as well as the préfecture (administrative capital) of the Gironde département. Its inhabitants are called Bordelais. The name Bordeaux and wine are very much associated and it has been produced in the area the eighth century.

Nice the city name also as Nissa in Italian and street names in two languages because of its proximity to Italy on the Mediterranean coast and once forming part of that country. It is a major tourist centrer and a leading resort on the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur). Nice airport is the second busiest airport in France.

Rennes is in the north west, in the east of Brittany. It is the capital of the Bretagne région, as well as the préfecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine département.

Marseille is France's largest commercial port and the largest in the Mediterranean. It is the second largest city in France and the third metropolitan area.

Grenoble is situated at the foot of the Alps, at the confluence of the Drac into the Isère River. It is in south-east France in the Rhône-Alpes région, Grenoble is the préfecture (capital) of the département of Isère.

Le Havre is in Normandy in northern France on the English Channel, at the mouth of the Seine. It was the port-of-call for French ocean liners making the Transatlantic crossing (cf Cruise ship). Le Havre is known as "La Porte Océane". It is the second largest city in Normandy after Rouen. It is the second largest exporting port in France.

Metz in the North-East and is the capital of the Lorraine région and of the département of Moselle (57). It is located at the by the Moselle and the Seille.

Toulon is a city in the south of France. It has a large military harbour on the Mediterranean coast with a major French naval base. It is located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur région. it is is the préfecture (capital) of the Var département, in the former province of Provence.

The Country is a founder member of the EU — European Union (formerly the EEC — European Economic Union)

Voltage: Electricity: 230V, 50Hz European round 2 pin plug

Currency: — Euro (€) Currency Conversion Here

Telephone Country Code: +33

Telephones in France — Mobile phones - All mobile phones start with 06. Calling a mobile from a land line can be very expensive. If you are visting France for a while instead of relying on your home country mobile you can buy a "nomad" Pay as you go sim card. You will need a French address.

Landline phones — The French telephone network is run by France Telecom (Orange). Peak hour (heures pleines) rates run from 8am — 7pm Mon-Fri. The weekends, national holidays & hours between 7pm & 8am are classed as off peak (heures creuses)

Emergency Telephone number: pan-EU Emergency 112 Can be used in all EU Countries and it can be dialled from a locked mobile or a mobile with no sim card.

Ambulance (samu) 15

Fire (Pompiers) 18

Police 17 Police Municipale: — For Town & City areas Police Nationale: — For local district area Gendaramarie: — Run by army deals with serious crime

Public Holidays in France — There are eleven jours feriés

New years day (Jour de l'an) — January 1, Easter Monday (Pâques lundi), Labour Day (Fête du premier mai) — 1st May, Victory in Europe 1945(Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai) — 8th May, Ascension Day (Thursday), Pentecost, July 14 — Bastille Day(Fête nationale), August 15 — Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption), November 1st -All Saints Day (La Toussaint), November 11 -Armistice Day 1918 (Jour d'armistice) and December 25 — Christmas Day (Noël)

Breathalyser Kits in France - July 2012

Rules of the route: France’s New Driving Laws - June 2012

Nice and the South of France in January - Taking a break in the South of France can be great at any time of the year, however in January the weather is often much better than in northern Europe and it is a lot less crowded than in the summer.

Biot, Cote d'Azur, South of France - There are many excellent restaurants cafes and bars there, each with their own character

Visiting the 50th Juan Les Pins Jazz Festival 2010 - The 50th International Jazz Festival at Antibes Juan-les-Pins (Jazz à Juan) was on between 14th and 25th July. The weather was superb with some of the hottest July days for 30 years and a great cast of performers

Interesting places to see and visit in the South of France

Factfile South of France

See also: Identifying car hire cars in France

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Emergency Telephone number: pan-EU Emergency 112 Can be used in all EU Countries and it can be dialled from a locked mobile or a mobile with no sim card. We have driving guides for those countries marked in red below (plus other non EU member European countries).

Austria - Belgium - Bulgaria - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta- Netherlands - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden

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Drink Drive Laws - Examples of what can be drunk at present

It is not a lot and in some countries even to drink the glass on the right would be breaking the law if you drove afterwards in others a sip would be too much see "Wine" below

In-car alcohol tester / alcohol breathalyser: From the 1st July 2012 it will be obligatory for all drivers in France to carry a breathalyser (éthylotest) in the glove box and not in the boot. Costs will be from around €2 See Here

"Wine - even a sip will send you over the limit and invalidate your insurance in Parkistan, Cuba, Indonesia, Romania, Jordan and Nigeria, according to Rhinocarhire.com which produces a comprehensive guide." The A to Z of car hire - The Independent - August 2010

See this guide for further information

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Emergency Telephone Numbers in Europe:

Emergency Telephone number: pan-EU Emergency 112 Can be used in all EU Countries and it can be dialled from a locked mobile or a mobile with no sim card.

Driving abroad - British Government website. Contains general information about driving abroad and gives you the option to search for specific advice by country

Finally, Don’t forget your excess cover and buy it before you set off

Excess charges could cost you up to £1,000 or more. Protect yourself by organising your insurance4carrental car hire insurance before you head to Europe.

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Other Country Information Guides

Driving in Austria

Driving in Belgium

Driving in Bulgaria

Driving in Canada

Driving in Croatia

Driving in Cyprus

Driving in The Czech Republic

Driving in Denmark

Driving in England

Driving in Europe (with detailed country guides)

Driving in Finland

Driving in France and Corscia

Driving in Germany

Driving in Gibraltar

Driving in Greece and the Greek Islands

Driving in Holland

Driving in Hungary

Driving in Iceland

Driving in Ireland

Driving in Israel

Driving in Italy Sardinia and Sicily

Driving in Jordan

Driving in Lebanon

Driving in Liechtenstein

Driving in Luxembourg

Driving in Malta and Gozo

Driving in Mexico

Driving in Monaco

Driving in The Netherlands

Driving in New Zealand

Driving in Northern Ireland

Driving in Norway

Driving in Poland

Driving in Portugal

Driving in Scotland

Driving in Slovenia

Driving in South Africa

Driving in Spain The Balearrics and The Canary Islands

Driving in Sweden

Driving in Switzerland

Driving in Turkey

Driving in United Arab Emirates UAE

Driving in The UK - England - Scotland - Wales & Northern Ireland

Driving in the USA

Driving in Wales

Worldwide Driving Guides Index

Driving Abroad - Advice from FCO — Foreign and Commonwealth Office


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