Getting Around France

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    Paris Orly Airport

    by traveldave Updated Aug 24, 2015

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    Paris Orly Airport handles mainly domestic and intra-Europe flights, but some international carriers fly into Paris Orly as well. Paris Orly Airport is nine miles (14 kilometers) southeast of Paris, and there is convenient public transportation into the city.

    Airlines serving Paris Orly Airport: Aigle Azur, Air Algerie, Air Berlin, Air Burkina, Air Caraibes Atlantique, Air Europa, Air France, Air Ivoire, Air Mali, Air Malta, Air Nostrum, Air One, Airlinair, Alitalia, Atlas Blue, Brit Air, CCM Airlines, CityJet, Corsairfly, Cubana Airlines, easyJet, easyJet Switzerland, Hex'Air, Hop, Iberia, Iran Air, Jet4you, Mauritanian Airways, Norwegian Air, OpenSkies, Pegasus Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, SATA International, Syrian Arab Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Transaero Airlines, Transavia, Transavia France, Tunisair, Twin Jet, and Vueling Airlines.

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    Busing around France

    by gwened Written Aug 4, 2015

    A new service to take you by bus to many places in France and adding cities as we speak

    some of the already favorite trajects
    Strasbourg - Paris
    Nantes - Brest
    LIlle - Strasbourg
    Brest - Nantes
    Toulouse - Marseille
    Paris - Strasbourg
    Paris - Lyon
    Paris - Bordeaux
    Marseille - Lyon
    Marseille - Bordeaux
    Lyon - Strasbourg
    Lyon - Paris
    Lyon - Marseille
    Bordeaux - Paris
    Bordeaux - Marseille
    Strasbourg - Lyon

    Very modern buses with all comforts; declinable seats and head rests and foot rest, also to connect your tablets etc free wifi and connects their schedules with the international service of Eurolines.who is part of Transdev , Isilines is a new French bus service.

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    What are the different roads like in France?

    by Beausoleil Updated Jul 24, 2015

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    You've decided to rent or lease a car . . . or take your own. Now, what are the roads like in France? In a word . . . excellent.

    There are different types of road and they can easily be differentiated by their numbers. The AutoRoute always starts with the letter "A" followed by the route number, i.e. A6, A71, etc. These are dual carriageway roads (double highway with 2 or more lanes in each direction) and most of them are toll roads. The toll is usually lifted as you go around a city as they serve as a periphery highway or ring road. When you enter the AutoRoute, you go through a toll station, manned or automatic and pick up a ticket. At various points along the highway, you go through other toll stations to pay the toll up to that point. Most are manned and you can use cash. Some are entirely automatic and you have a choice of cash or credit card. We've only been through one that required a credit card and our US non-chipped credit card worked just fine. You will also go through a toll station when you exit the highway.

    The AutoRoutes are excellent roads (if you are from the US, they are comparable to our very best Interstate highways). They are well maintained, well marked and well patrolled. They also skirt the towns and cities so you don't see much from the road. We use the AutoRoutes selectively, that is, we use them when we need to go a long way in a short time or when we have a time constraint. Otherwise, you miss a lot of the lovely French villages from Point A to Point B and we love going through all the small towns and seeing the architecture and local attractions. So . . . use the AutoRoutes if you're in a hurry. Otherwise . . . Use the N or D roads. We love them.

    The N roads are Routes Nationale or National highways, usually 2 lane roads but often with 4 lanes around or through a city. These are well maintained and well marked and go through towns and cities as well as the lovely French countryside. The numbers are always preceded by the letter "N" as in N57, N12 or N59, etc. These are excellent and often very busy roads but good for touring.

    If you haven't driven in France since about 2009, you will notice that the government has turned over care of many N roads to the local Departments so what you may have known as an N road is now a D road. It's a good idea to get an updated map so you have correct route numbers if you are doing any extended driving. There was a time between renumbering the maps and renumbering the roads that was a bit confusing, but virtually all the roads have now gotten their new number signs.

    The D roads are Departmental Roads and nearly all are 2 lanes, one in each direction. They are well maintained and well marked and very useful for touring. There are many more D roads now that the national government has turned the care of most N roads over to the local Department. The number will always be preceded by "D" as in D43, D125, D1224, etc. These roads are excellent for touring and often not at all crowded. Especially on high traffic days when the AutoRoute is at a standstill (Bastille Day weekend), the D roads offer a much more pleasant alternative.

    There are other roads including C roads with C standing for Commune and these vary wildly in quality. We've been on excellent, though narrow, C roads and we've been on C roads that turn into gravel roads or once, ancient cobblestone not condusive to good driving. We tend to avoid C roads but they are great for hiking and have only very local traffic, i.e. the local farmer and his tractor.

    You may take a GPS unit (we do), but I strongly suggest a map in addition. The GPS is not failsafe and sometimes you simply want to know what is in the area and a map is very useful. We use the Michelin "France Tourist & Motoring Atlas" along with our GPS. It has all the different highways and local roads, 75 separate town plans, scenic drive suggestions and traffic laws. It is very useful. We get the smaller spiral-bound version as it packs better. There is a larger (also spiral bound) that would be good if you need larger print. The smaller one is about 9 x 12 inches so easy enough to read.

    For planning, use the Michelin web site. You type in your start and end points and it will give you a route, driving directions, cost of fuel and tolls and an approximate time for the journey. We use Mappy and Michelin and they are both good. Michelin seems to be more accurate with the tolls. Mappy Web Site

    Both web sites give you options of driving, bicycling or walking and several other options if you are driving.

    AutoRoute toll station Typical A route (AutoRoute) toll road Typical N (National) Route D or Departmental road in France C or Commune (local) road in France
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    Lease a car for longer trips

    by Beausoleil Updated Jul 24, 2015

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    If you are using the car for 21 or more days (17 or more with Citroen), you should consider the buy-back (lease) program. We always do this and it is wonderful. You get a brand new car of your choice. We use the Peugeot 207 automatic for ourselves and also when we have one of our daughters with us. Four people would need the 307 or 407. There are larger models available. Since parking spaces are small, fuel expensive and roads can be very narrow, I suggest you get the smallest car you can fit all your things into. It's a good idea to keep everything you tote in the trunk out of sight but you usually have all your luggage only from the airport to your accommodations so you can put things in the back seat for that one trip . . . and keep an eye on the car at all times when stopped. [UPDATE: I just discovered offers a lease for 15 days or longer. That is the shortest time I've found. It is available starting at 18 years of age so if you are too young to rent a car, you could lease one. There is no upper age limit so if you are having trouble due to being older, consider a lease.]

    You have full insurance coverage, 24-hour roadside assistance and a new car. We always pick up and drop off in France so we don't have to pay extra charges but you can get the car nearly anyplace in Europe. Drop-off charges can be very high so consider picking up at a location in France near where you are going. For example, we pick up in Nice when going to Italy and pick up in Strasbourg when visiting Germany.

    We have used Auto France the last few times but and also have the Open Europe Lease Program with Peugeot.

    Renault has a similar program that we have used the past two years and it is equally satisfactory. I can highly recommend either the Peugeot or Renault program. I've added as many pictures as I can find. Taking pictures of cars is a bit unusual for me so there aren't too many. With the French economy still in somewhat of a slump, it's a good idea to book your car as soon as possible so you can get the car you want. It is literally a buy-back program and they sell them as used cars after you return them; therefore, only so many are destined for the lease program. When they are gone, your choices become more limited.

    If you live in the US, you can call 1 (800) 572-9655 toll free for an estimate. If you live elsewhere, you can visit the autofrance web site I gave above and get a phone number or e-mail them or check the kemwel web site below.

    Peugeot 308 Diesel we used in 2012 Our Peugeot 207 in the Domme parking lot -- 2010 Our 1996 Peugeot 407 for a camping trip in France Peugeot 207 in the Domme parking lot again -- 2011 2014 Renault Clio4 Diesel
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    Roissy-Charles de Gaulle International Airport

    by traveldave Updated Jul 8, 2015

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    Roissy-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) is 17 miles (27 kilometers) northeast of Paris, and handles most of the intercontinental and international flights into the city.

    Airlines serving Roissy-Charles de Gaulle International Airport: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, Aeroflot-Russian Airlines, AeroMexico, Afriqiyah Airways, Aigle Azur, Air Algerie, Air Arabia Maroc, Air Armenia, Air Astana, Air Austral, Air Canada, Air China, Air Europa, Air France, Air-India, Air Lituanica, Madagascar, Air Malta, Air Mauritius, Air Mediterranee, Air Moldova, Air Seychelles, Air Tahiti Nui, airBaltic, Airlinair, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Armavia, Asiana Airlines, AtlasGlobal, Austrian Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines, Belavia Belarusian Airlines, Blue1, bmibaby, British Airways, Bulgaria Air, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Cimber Sterling, Croatia Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, easyJet Switzerland, ECAir, Egyptair, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates, Estonian Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Eurowings, EVA Air, Finnair, Flybe, Gabon Airlines, Georgian Airways, Gulf Air, Hainan Airlines, Hamburg International, Hunnu Air, Iberia, Iberia Express, Iceland Express, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, JAT Yugoslav Airlines, Jet Airways, Jet2, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Kuwait Airways, La Compagnie, LANChile, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Luxair, Malaysia Airlines, Malev Hungarian Airlines, Meridiana, Middle East Airlines, Montenegro Airlines, Nesma Airlines, Nouvelair Tunisie, QANTAS Airways, Olympic Airways, Oman Air, Onur Air, Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways, Rossiya Russian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, SAS-Scandianavia Airlines, SATA International, Saudia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SmartWings, SN Brussels Airlines, Spanair, SriLankan Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Syphax Airlines, TAAG Angola Airlines, TACV Cabo Verde Airlines, TAM Brazilian Airlines, Tarom Romanian Air Transport, Thai Airways International, Trawel Fly, Tunisair, Turkish Airlines, Turkmenistan Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Uzbekistan Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Vueling Airlines, XL Airways France, and Yemenia Yemen Airways.

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    Bus transport from France to Europe

    by gwened Updated May 19, 2015

    The SNCF public transport of France for trains wants to be everywhere, including the bus line business. So in order to compete at all modes, they have created IDBus a passenger bus service from some cities in France to some cities in Europe

    Leaving from Aix-en-Provence, Marseille,Lille,Nice, Lyon ,and Paris Bercy and airport CDG. Also leaving from Amsterdam,Brussels,Milan,Turin, London, and Genoa.

    prices go from 39€ for 48 passengers seated buses with all comforts. Other than internet, you can purchase tickets here at station addresses.

    you have electrical outlets and free WiFi aboard. You are allowed one carry on luggage free, and a second on board need to reserve in advance this feature.

    so now the road has more to offer,and see more of the cities not just open fields.
    I have the link in French but you can change country above middle of main page.

    Update, there is now a German company that is doing the same , and by July 2015 plan to offer about 30 cities in France as well read all about it

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    Lease a Car instead of Renting/hiring

    by pedroswift Updated May 17, 2015

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    Over the years, we have leased vehicles in France (& Italy) for periods ranging from 17 days to 3 months. A deal is available to non-Europeans using a vehicle for non-commercial purposes to purchase a brand new car without paying taxes. An up front price is negotiated for the period of the lease which is usually a minimum period 21 days - (17 with Citroen) & the balance is held in the form of an IOU (or some-such).

    The price is usually cheaper than a similar model hire car for the same period with added benefits:
    It's a brand new car so no worries about the previous renter. Full comprehensive insurance is included. No drop off fees inside France.They do all the legals. They speak English. Roadside assistance included. Only downside: losing half a day use of vehicle to follow the makers service routine during a very, very long lease. Also the red number plates mark you as a tourist and more likely to have all your valuables in the boot (trunk). See "warnings or dangers" reviews re security during road trips.

    It is possible to pick up/drop off in other countries for a surcharge.

    The big three : Citroen, Peugeot & Renault all have leasing arrangements.

    I'm also very happy to deal with an Australian Agent and have the vehicle costs paid in Australian Dollars before I leave home. The security of the comprehensive insurance (no excess) is also a comfort.
    I have used Driveaway Holidays in Sydney (and Perth) to lease and Hire ( for periods less than the minimum) and have been fully satisfied with their service.

    Pitfalls with Hire and Lease Car manual is written in French. The French predilection for "innovation"..... Strange spare wheel stowage for example ; Mechanical systems like "automatic hand brake" or "fuel-saving stop-start technology"! Do the home work on the car model you will be using before you leave home. Get the full run-down from the guy at pick-up location. Don't be afraid to ask!! Use the internet to download an English version of the Car Manual to take with you.

    Fuel. Lease cars come with minimum fuel and are returned empty. Don't forget to top up tank asap. Hire cars usually come with full tank and should be returned with full tank to avoid paying fuel charges.

    International Driving Permit. This is a translation of your home country drivers licence into 8 or 9 languages. It may or may not be mandatory by law in some os countries. Some car hire companies insist you have one (including French companies). Obtainable for 30 bucks or so (good for 12 months) from your state Automobile Association it is well worth having even if you are not going to drive.

    Mandatory Equipment
    The down side of leasing is you are responsible to provide mandatory equipment for the car. This includes: Reflective Warning Triangle, spare light bulbs, high visibility fluro jacket, first aid kit. (breathalyzer - new law July 2012) check out this web page. (NOTE: March 2013 the breathalyzer law may not entail fines if disobeyed??check this site)
    Check with the company doing the leasing - they may supply the kit with the car. If they charge extra to do so, it could be cheaper to buy it yourself from a discount store. (thru' DriveAway, Peugeot provide the basic kit)....more in Travelogue below.

    Accident?? Check also that the glove box has an Accident Report Form (Constat) to be filled out by both parties in the case of an accident. In the event of the police attending an accident in which you are involved but not at fault make sure to get from the police a written statement that you were not at fault ( Declaration de Main Courante) to show your insurance company.

    photo 1: diesel Peugeot leased - note red plates
    photo2 : cover of International Drivers Permit - in 2008 I was glad I had it when twice stopped by police at random checks

    brand new w/ comprehensive insurance IDP - peace of mind for min cost
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    Flying to and inside France

    by gwened Updated Apr 28, 2015

    Most come to France by air, and the sites for online ticket purchases are many, its a question that comes up in the forum often so I will try to give some information.

    I have been coming to France since 1970 and Paris 1972, at the beginning there were charter flights from the USA, and we took them sometimes passing by Gander, New Foundland in Canada; then those ended, the regular flights are expensive,and many low carrier long distance came up and many have gone.

    now the main lines you all know, like Air France, and many popular sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, Hotwire, Edreams, govoyages, voyages-sncf, skyscanner,bravofly, lastminute,Opodo, etc etc.

    there are some flights to and within France, like the regional carrier of air France HOP

    you ,also, have the regular low cost such as Ryanair, easyjet, vuelings, air berlin, etc etc. all the names you can find in any search engine such as Google,yahoo,etc.

    don't forget the frequent flyer programs such as flying blue, one world, sky team etc that groups several Airlines in one group fidelity program;

    you can find French airports here ,and on the researcher un aéroport drop down window can take you to any with info in French that you can translate with any online program such as Google or bing.

    and don't forget to ask your local travel agent, its Worth the effort to shop around, online and offline.

    one of the most demanding travel restrictions are from the USA,and this site can help navigate for any answer to your questions, the TSA =transportation security adminstration

    from the European site ,this is the site for information

    the rules for the so call zone Schengen are all explain here from official sources

    The navette or popular HOP! of Air France corridor serving Orly airport to Bordeaux , Toulouse, Nice, and Marseille; every 15 to 30 minutes there is a flight! a great alternative on the train. Similar prices and a new destination possible to Montpellier soon stay tune.
    HOP! link above.

    Enjoy your flight.

    Paris CDG T2 F
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    driving in France

    by gwened Updated Feb 20, 2015

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    glorious magnifique, superb, easy, the best way to travel

    Some like the GPS, never use since drving in France since 1990 , use a paper map of scale 1 to 200 000 or less plus compare with route planners like Michelin, mappy, google,and then get my bearings.

    Never lost, always on time, and still after all this time wont change a thing, the best, the road warrior

    Got my first license to drive in the metro area of NJ and NYC in USA, and my first driving trip was to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NYC; as they said if you can do it in NYC you can do it anywhere. Well for me it has been.

    The automobile club de France base at place de la concorde in Paris

    my fav to defend the rights of drivers

    another route planner worth looking into is mappy
    than you have viamichelin

    For traffic are several my favorite is

    if lost anywhere give me a hollow, I often in the forums.
    the top speed radars in France in 2013 were mostly in the Savoie regioin, and especially Tours and the Paris area, also around Lille..

    Rental cars especially from abroad I like since 1979 are
    car brokers dealing with all the majors.

    A13 towards Paris passing Caen view on rest stop in aire de la baie to Avranches rest stop galore by the great Valmy typical above ground parking in inner cities passing to get to Foug��res on exit29 A84
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    leaving luggage in French train stations

    by gwened Updated Oct 8, 2014

    no, there is left luggage at many French railroad stations ,just not too many due to Vigipirate anti terrorist plans.

    GARE D'AUSTERLITZ : it is by the cour museum, porte 27 open 7H00 to 23H30 everyday
    GARE DE L'EST : manual storage at level or niveau - 1 in the central hall facing the toilettes, open from 6H00 to 23H45 every day
    GARE DE LYON : manual luggage and automatic machines for storage available at level of quai L, open from 6H15 to 22H00 every day
    GARE MONTPARNASSE : automatic and manual storages at level or niveau + 1 open from 7H00to 23H00 every day
    GARE DU NORD :automatic and manual storage at level or niveau - 1 next to the car rental counters and exit to taxis open from 6H15to 23H15.
    STATION RER CHESSY MARNE LA VALLEE PARCS DISNEYLAND : automatic luggage keepers open from 7H00 to 22H00 every day
    PARC DISNEYLAND, to the entrance on the right of the ticket counter to Visitors relations or Relations Visiteurs over the overhand to DHL to the right. open from 8H00 to 45 mn after the closing of the park
    PARC WALT DISNEY STUDIOS, to the right of the 13ème ticket counter or guichet.Open from 10H00 to 17H00,open the days of heavy visitors attendance.

    The above I know, then there are others such as
    Bordeaux St Jean, Lyon Part-Dieu, Marseille St Charles, Lille Europe, Nice, Cannes (been renovated now), Nantes, Dijon, Toulouse, and Strasbourg

    consigne at CDG T2E
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    Do I have a RESERVATION ?????

    by pedroswift Updated Jan 12, 2014

    An often asked question on the Virtualtourist web site with reference to train travel in France and other European countries is " Do I need a 'reservation' for such and such a trip?"

    In many countries (Australia is one) , one's understanding of the meaning of the word "reservation" equals "pre-purchase of ticket". This is not what it means in parts of Europe.
    "Reservation" means "Pre-booking an actual seat in the train (eg car 6 seat 23b)".
    It is one thing to have purchased a ticket entitling you to climb onto a train but that may not guarantee a seat. A separate "reservation" may be required. In France, most regional services (Intercity & TER) do not require seat "Reservation". However, timetables on the SNCF website may "recommend" seat reservation depending on the time & popularity of the route. It will read something like this:
    "Intercités - Numéro du train : 2018 - Confort : 2nd class - Période : Blue period - Seat reservation recommended"
    One example where reservation is required is by holders of Eurail Passes.
    Trains/countries that require a compulsory seat reservation are France (TGV), Italy (Italy High speed trains, & Swiss - Italy Eurocity & France - Italy TGV), Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg "Benelux" (Thalys) and Spain (Alvia, Alaris, Altaria, Euromed and AVE).
    Seat reservations are at an extra cost.

    So it pays to do your homework before you purchase train tickets or passes.

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    Mandatory Equipment in Cars in France

    by pedroswift Updated Nov 11, 2013

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    Hiring or Leasing a Car?? Check to see if the mandatory equipment is included!
    Ask the company if they include all the bits. You could get on-the-spot fines if caught wanting!
    I quote:
    "As of the 1st of July 2008 you are required to carry not only a warning triangle in your car but also a fluorescent safety vest while driving in France. In fact the safety vest must be carried inside the car and not in the boot. So keep your safety vest under your seat or in your glove box etc.... The theory being that if you breakdown in a dangerous place you should get your safety vest on before getting out of the car in France. If you fail to have these available there are some hefty on the spot fines for these motoring offences if caught driving in France without them! The standard fines are around 90 euros per item. It is thought that the French police will be checking out lots of cars at random spot checks to ensure they are carrying the warning triangle and reflective safety jacket. Remember to ensure your reflective jacket is CE approved.
    If you are involved in an accident or breakdown whilst driving in France, or assist someone in an accident or breakdown in France, you are required to wear your reflective safety jacket.
    Spare bulbs for exterior lights are mandatory. A First Aid Kit could be mandatory also??? Fire extinguisher recommended??
    By law, you are obliged to render assistance if you encounter an accident on the road. You could be charged for not doing so. Can you render help to the injured without first aid kit?
    Riding a bike in France? The reflective safety jacket is mandatory outside of urban areas, day and night, if visibility is low. No definition of "low visibility" is given.

    A parking disc indication your arrival time is a requirement in some car parking zones where free parking is available for a set period of time(usually 1 hour 30 mins - but it can vary). Your hour of arrival must be displayed on the dash board of your car. see photo #2 of parking disc "heure d'arrivee" bought for a couple of Euros at "Presse" shop.

    Early 2012 more rules to be enforced this year Including every car, motor bike and scooter in France being required by law to carry disposable breathalyzers. From 1st July 2012. Note : in March 2013...An Attempt to rescind this law seems to have failed. However, it is announced that no fines will be charged if motorists are found not carrying the items. I'm not encouraging you to break the law by not carrying these items, by the way.
    read more.

    Comment ....I was driving in France in July 2012 and, wishing to obey the law, attempted to purchase said ‘éthylotests’ from half a dozen chemist shops, several supermarkets and several auto-parts shops....all to no avail. Only "approved" models are legal. The man who owns the French factory that makes them is the man behind the lobbying to bring in the new law. ummmmmm! What do you call that???

    reiterating Mandatory Equipment
    warning triangle
    reflective vest(s)
    first aid kit
    set of spare light bulbs
    parking disc (given that you will probably want to park in a zone blue at some stage)

    For more suggestions, check the tip above: Lease a Car instead of Renting/hiring

    Fluro Safety Jacket, Warning Tri, First Aid Kit Heure d'arrivee disc - buy at the
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    Auto Train in France

    by gwened Written Jul 31, 2013

    For info there is an auto train in France and the station from Paris is at Bercy. You can bring your car, motos, quads, and side cars, you drop off the car and it travels by night, and you get your car at the end. You do not travel with the car, but need to pick up the car at destination or by designated person.

    the destinations from Paris Bercy are Bordeaux, Biarritz, Brive-la-Gaillard,Toulouse, Narbonne, Avignon, Marseille, Lyon, Toulon, Fréjus-St Raphael, Nice, and Briançon. And vice versa. You can reserve as much as 6 months in advance, you can reserve online or by calling 3635 in France or at the stations or SNCF stores.
    rates are from 119€ but you have several discounts depending on the period and location so better check the site.
    You are told whre to deposit the car on your ticket and need to be at gare at least 45 minutes before departure. You can ask for a voiturier service where someone will come to get your car at home or business.
    On the stations of Bercy, Avignon, Fréjus-St Raphaêl and Narbonne the stations are far from city center but they have free navette bus to come and get you.
    You can park the car for free from June 27 to September 7 at the station the day before the trip or the day after the trip at most. Otherwise the parking is 15€ per day

    You can carry bikes, skis, surfing boards, canoes, and luggage racks for free with the car.

    The Paris Bercy station is at 48bis boulevard de Bercy and free bus between the stations of Bercy and Austerlitz. Tel +33 (0) 1 53 33 60 11

    Avignon, Chemin de la Poulasse, Tel +33 (0) 4 90 27 81 70/20
    Biarritz, Allée du Mourra, quartier de la Negresse, tel +33 (0) 5 59 50 83 08
    Bordeaux, 83bis rue Amédée St-Germain, tel +33 (0) 5 47 47 11 77
    Briançon, Avenue du Général de Gaulle, Tel +33 (0) 4 92 20 66 13
    Brive-la-Gaillard, Avenue Jean-Jaurés, tel +33 (0) 5 55 18 41 16
    Fréjus-St Raphaêl, Rue Denis Papin, Tel +33 (0) 4 98 12 98 68
    Lyon, Cour de Verdun, tel +33 (0) 4 72 40 10 82
    Marseille-St Charles train station, 31 boulevard Voltaire, tel +33 (0) 4 95 04 11 67
    Narbonne, Route de Cuxac, tel +33 (0) 4 68 65 61 30
    Nice Avenue Thiers, tel +33 (0) 4 89 24 71 37
    Toulon, place de l'Europe, tel +33 (0) 4 94 09 52 25
    Toulouse, 64 boulevard Pierre-Sémard (Matabiau) tel +33 (0) 5 61 10 17 10

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    by pedroswift Updated Jun 14, 2013

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    Inspired to "get on yer bike" by watching the Tour de France on tv?

    As a waterway user in France, I use my bike every now and again to head off the canals to see what's over the hill or, more likely, to visit the boulangerie for a baguette. Some use is made of bicycles by the crew to ride ahead of the boat to have the lock keepers prepare for the locking procedure before the boat arrives. Saves time.
    Canals have a tow path beside them very suitable for cycling. It's usually sealed, smooth and safe - free of mechanized transport (cars/trucks). Another feature is they are relatively flat and make for easy bicycling so we see lots of touring cyclists as we navigate the canals. Some are doing a "local" tour - part of the Burgubdy Canal for example. We have spoken to several who were doing more ambitious treks like Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Anyone wishing to tour parts of France by bike is well advised to seek info on the canal system first. It is extensive with over 7 thousand kilometers of canals and attendant tow paths.

    Read review "Walking in France". Has interactive Canal Map of France with links to individual canals.

    For a very good website promoting the towpaths of the canals of the Bourgogne Region for Cycling.
    URL :
    There is a comprehensive description (with map) of the established cycle paths 580 kms of them and the plan to eventually have 800kms of paths. The itineraries include - Canal de Bourgogne, Canal de Nivernais, Canal du Centre, Southern Burgundy & The Vineyard Way.
    Maps are supplied and pull down menu links to accommodation carrying the Bourgogne by Velo label. Each itinerary has links to (a) Joining the itinerary (regional train & bus transport which have facilities for bikes) (b) Your intinerary ( map with distance markers and possible overnight stops) (c) On the way (sites and Sights) (d) Accommodation and restaurants (e) Bicycle rentals and repairs (f) Tourist offices (g) Guides and Incoming agencies (h) Further information (downloadable documents and brochures). Good guide on How to get to the Region as well. Top site - all you need to get you on your bike in Burgundy!!

    Another suggestion is to get a copy of the Lonely Planet Guide: "CYCLING FRANCE" (Author:Ethan Gelber ISBN: 9781741040449)
    It promises info on 34 great rides through the Best of France including Corsica. The info is comprehensive - everything you need to know in approx 500 pages and supplies tips from where to access equipment to sight seeing, eating and accommodation options.
    Maps abound and each recommended ride is broken into daily stints. GPS co-ordinates are supplied.
    I consulted the second edition (June 2009)and was very impressive by the detailed info provided. Only omission my untrained eye could find was in the safety equipment listed under Mandatory Bicycle Equipment in the "Safety on the Bike" section p470 and no doubt corrected in later edition (due mid 2012). There is a law in France requiring cyclists to don a "reflective safety vest" in conditions of reduced visibility (no definition of "reduced visibility" is given). So a vest is mandatory equipment! The book does suggest colourful clothing while riding and has "hi vis jacket" in a check list of stuff to take with you.
    Another interesting option is to use the Lonely Planet’s pay-to-down-load feature and download chapter(s) as PDF.

    Looking for a "do-it-yourself" cycling adventure in France with some of the organisation already done for you over-nighting in hotels which are cyclist-friendly?
    A good place to start is the Loire a Velo website:
    A comprehensive expo of everything you need to know to organise a trip tailored to your requirements be it two days or twelve. For example - one of the drop-down menus on the site, "Organise Your Stay" features ten subjects including : Book a Package Trip; What to see; Where to stay; Where to eat; Where to rent a bike; What to do; Where to find information; Transfer luggage; Hire a Specialist Guide; Cycle Travel Agents.

    So...."Get on yer bike!"

    Typical towpath - sealed - flat - no cars Cyclist-friendly hotels display this welcome sign
    Related to:
    • Cycling
    • Budget Travel
    • Adventure Travel

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    Timetables - Non TGV trains - TER Regionals

    by pedroswift Updated May 22, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Timetables - Non TGV trains - Transport Express Régional
    The Region chosen is PICARDY...relevant to those wishing to get to the Somme WW1 battle sites.
    TER Timetables

    Timetables for regional trains are available for down loading as PDF’s. check instructions in the paragraph below before clicking the link.......

    Example for Paris to Amiens plus other places

    In the “FICHES HORAIRES DE LA RÉGION PICARDIE" box locate "Mon parcours"
    "Ma ligne* :" Select Dropdown menu at end of the rectangle and
    Make selection from Menu - after which click “VALIDER”
    The Result for “Paris –Amiens” =
    "24 FH Paris - Amiens - Abbeville - Rue - Calais - V du 22 11"
    Click to open PDF
    another option on the dropdown Menu - "01 FH Amiens - Lille" gives a Paris-Amiens-Lille timetable.

    Here is the link to the Paris/Amiens/pdf without doing the above

    I am indebted to vt member "cubsur" for this decode of French Regional Timetables:-
    “Sorry but the downloadable TER timetables are only in French. They are exact reproductions of the leaflets you get in the stations, which are again only in French. 99% of the information you will see and hear is only in French.

    Dictionary time I guess, but just quickly what you will see most often on the timetable:

    Tous Les Jours - train runs every day, (holidays included)
    Lun a Sam - Monday to Saturday, (does not run Sundays or holidays)
    Lun a Ven - Monday to Friday, (does not run Saturdays, Sundays or Holidays)
    Sam Dim Fetes - Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays only
    Dim et Fetes - Sundays and Holidays only
    Sauf Sam - not on Saturdays (but runs every other day)
    Periode Scolaire - schooldays only
    Mer Per Scol - school Wednesdays only (many schools in France have a half day Wednesday but finish at 5pm or later on other days!)

    Circule jusqu'au - runs until...(date)
    Circule a partir de - runs from... (date)
    Ne circule pas - does not run...(dates)
    Circule aussi - also runs on the...(dates)
    Sauf - except...

    You will not be surprised to know that the printed French railway timetables are considered to be among the most complicated in the world!”

    T.E.R. Time Table - paper hand-out version
    Related to:
    • Trains

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