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French Autoroutes

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RoadMaster:
Bonjour!

La France a un système se développant d'autoroute. Voici un début:

Différents groupes de nombres tous sont focalisés dans un secteur spécifique. Par exemple, A14, entre Poissy et La Defense, est autour d'autres itinéraires d'A1x.

Chris:
France's Autoroute system developed quite late compared to that of Germany, especially for long-distance Autoroutes, most of them were not constructed earlier than the 1970's. Urban freeways existed earlier than that of course.

To me, I find France's Autoroutes way more relaxing to drive than the German Autobahn. Driving fast is nice, as long as you have a car with enough HP and accelerates easy above 80 mph. For long distance driving, however, I prefer France, despite their roads being tolled quite high.

France experiences some of the worst summer congestion in all of Europe. Usually, the entire A7 from Lyon to the coast is backed up during the so-called "black saturdays" (120 miles), and the A9 continues towards Spain with severe congestion. Excessive congestion is unavoidable during those summer saturdays, so it's best to avoid those days unless you want to drive in slow traffic for hours and hours.

This year, there was over 400 miles of stationary traffic at some point during the summer peak days.

Chris:
French signage:

1. Announcement of a rest area with services ahead.


2. Kilometer marker, road number + altitude. The shoulder is in use as a crawling lane here due to the uphill grade.


3. First exit announcement. There are no green destinations here, so it's a local exit.


4. The exit


5. Left = through destinations, right = exit


6. Services. An "aire" is a rest area.


7. Touristic sign. I have cycled to that "chaos".  :cool: Notice French side markings are dashed for separating the right lane with the shoulder.


8. Something we all like.


9. "Prochaine sortie" means: next exit. It shows additional destinations of interest, accessible via the next exit.


10. "Section a péage" means: toll road. This doesn't necessarily mean there is a toll plaza right ahead, it could be further away, since French exits are often spaced apart for a significant distance up to 20 miles.


11. Overhead signage. Notice the signs are broken up into several panels, this is usual in France. Green destinations note major towns and are often alternates for toll roads. The left sign says "Péage", which means all those destinations are reached via a toll road.


12. Rest area of the Millau viaduct. I recommend anyone who drives A75 to stop there and take a breathtaking picture of the Viaduc de Millau (the roadway is 886 feet above the valley floor)


13. Distance sign. "Fd" in Clermont-Fd is an abbreviation of "Ferrand". The full name is Clermont-Ferrand, but the name is a bit long to display in full. A and E-numbers are displayed.


14. This sign shows the distance to exit Millau-St. Germain and the destinations which can be reached via that exit.


15. hell yeah!


16. I didn't take pics of the Millau viaduct from my car because I wanted to make a video (which was a disaster)


17. tolls in 1000 meters.


18. The toll plaza. ETC is offered for frequent users, in reality, no tourist has them.


19. Exit Millau-St. Germain.


20. Cahors is a major destination reached via a major road, but not an Autoroute.


21. The long french names, capital letters and signs into multiple panels, make the signage messy sometimes, especially around larger cities.


22. Love this pic:


That's it for now :)

If you want to see more of France, check out my sets @ Flickr

Truvelo:
Chris mentioned the dashed shoulder line. This is also used to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. You're supposed to leave 2 lines in front but in reality if you're in the fast lane and there's someone holding you up you simply get as close as you can without touching bumpers and put your left flasher on.

Chris:
As far as I know, the French are the only in Europe to leave their left turning signal on while passing. Quite annoying. People from other countries only use their signals when changing lanes, not the whole time on the left lane.

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