France is probably best known for the French Alps in the south, but there are so many factors which make this one of the most incredible places to take a road trip. In fact, most visitors arrive with expectations of world-class cuisine or full flavored wines and rarely are they disappointed. It may come across slightly cliché but from the fine weather, ancient castles and fascinating history to the scenery, food, and drink mentioned above; this is one country in Europe that more than lives up to its reputation.
Preparing for a different experience on French roads
Due to the winding nature of coastal roads in France, drivers are always advised to proceed with caution and be prepared for sudden stops around blind corners in particular. Although this may sound obvious driving in France is also an entirely different experience to that of other European countries, even their neighbors, and some very stern laws are in place which visitors need to know about before taking to the road. For example, it is strictly prohibited to wear a headset while driving and it is against the law to drive a car registered before 1997 between 8 am and 8 pm. Furthermore, it is also mandatory to display a sticker called “Crit’Air” which displays the emissions of any given vehicle.
Moral of the story: It is important to be aware of the rules and regulations before taking a road trip in France.
Incredible variety and attractions
Arriving in Paris to start a road trip can also be quite a daunting prospect. City streets are quite hectic throughout the city, and with trams or local buses everywhere, the task of focusing on the road can be a stressful one. However, the best way to deal with this is to check the Arc de Triomphe or Eiffel Tower on foot and make a quick exit from the city in the early hours when there is no traffic on the roads.
Once out of the city, whether that is Paris, Toulouse, Strasbourg or Bordeaux, motorways and country roads take over, and the driving is very straightforward. From here on, the stress of navigation is usually replaced with the excitement of choosing the next iconic experience from castles and vineyards to stunning coastal drives.
While wine tours and castles are fiercely popular, it must be said that the coastal drives are even more popular. In some cases, this is because of the beaches and resorts in places such as Biarritz or Montpellier in the south of France, but the scenic roads are enough reason alone for taking a road trip. Either way, there is something for everyone in France or a travel itinerary lasting several weeks is not uncommon.
Cuisine, value and living up to expectations
France is known for fresh baguettes, cheese, wine and just about every other type of cuisine. Restaurants are slight pricey almost everywhere you go, but there are usually some smaller café style eateries which are much more affordable. Cheaper still, you can opt for something in a supermarket deli and regardless of price, this food is always incredible. For this reason, you can expect no end of places to satisfy your hunger on a road trip and a way to keep costs down if needed.
Similarly, it is always easy to find lodging and gas stations as both of these are usually present at major crossings as well as towns and cities. In this sense, there is rarely need to fill up the tank leaving town, unless of course, you head into the Alps where there are fewer facilities and services in general.
With that said, the French Alps is one of the most impressive places to take a road trip and a rewarding experience for the well-maintained roads. Toward the interior, you can explore the vineyards and castles of the Dordogne region while the coastal route from Montpellier is arguably one of the finest in all of Europe. With no end of awe-inspiring locations and unique experiences on each one, you can see why choosing a road trip in France is always a safe choice which more than lives up to expectations.