Paris by Car

If you’re going away for a long weekend to Paris, you might automatically think of travelling by plane, the Eurostar, or coach. However, one of the most pleasant ways of touring the countryside of northern France before you arrive in paris is to drive there yourself. You might save yourself the hassle of being around other stressed-out travellers, and get a bit of peace (not to mention total control of the soundtrack to your holiday).

It’s sometimes nice to be able to pack up the car, and known that you’re on a direct route to your destination. You might also like to mix up your journey a bit, depending on how you like to travel. Once you reach the coast, you can either take the Channel Tunnel over to France, or alternatively drive onto a ferry and sail over. It does take a lot longer than the Eurostar (which will have you in Paris in about two or three hours). If you take the tunnel, the drive to Paris can take anything between seven and nine hours, depending on how heavy the traffic is at the time. But if you travel through the night, you might make very good time indeed.

However, the big downside is that you will have to drive, and the journey can be long and sometimes the traffic quite stressful. It may well be easier to let someone else take all the difficult driving away, and therefore just take the coach or Eurostar instead. But if you definitely do intend to drive yourself, consider some of your points below.

Place de la Concorde and Champs-Elysees traffic

A few things to note if you drive to Paris are the rules and regulations of the road once you’re there. You must be over eighteen with a valid licence. Make sure you have all the correct paperwork before leaving, which will include registration papers, licence, and insurance for the car. You absolutely must have third party insurance. Don’t forget to switch and drive on the right side of the road when you get there, and make sure that everyone in the car has their seat belts on. If you’re travelling with children under ten, they absolutely must be seated in the back of the car with a child seat belt or special car seat. Just like in England, you’re not allowed to use your mobile phone while you’re driving (unless you’ve got a hands free set).

The most recent change in the French driving regulations is that you must carry a breathalyser kit with you. Also note that you’re not allowed to use any kind of electronic advice with a map system, such as a SAT NAV, or even a smart phone with these capabilities, so it’s back to good old maps.

Try to avoid driving into Paris during the French school holidays, as the roads tend to get very busy during these times. There are a number of roads leading in and out of Paris, including the A1 and A3 which lead to the north of the country, and the A13 and A10 to the west. The motorway which surrounds Paris is called the BP (Périphérique). If you can avoid going through the centre of Paris, use this road. And if you have to drive into the city centre, do avoid anywhere within the metro system. You’re much better to leave your car in a train station in the suburbs and travel in on public transport. The centre of the city is difficult to navigate, and Parisian roads were not initially designed to accommodate cars.

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