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France - Driving Tips

French police are very strict and you may have to pay a hefty fine in case you go over the allowed speed, even by 2 or 3 km over the speeding limit.  Radar controls are very common both on highways and on busy roads and they are strategically placed as to be not easily noticed. 

You can choose between paid parking, restricted parking zones or free parking.
Usually at the entrance of a paid parking lot, you have to take a ticket and will pay at your departure at the automat box.
Restricted parking zones, called 'zone bleue', are free, but don't forget to set the time of arrival on your parking disc. You can usually park for 1.30 hours. This parking is indicated on the road with a blue line.

Suggestion: go to the police station and ask for a 'disc' because there they're free!
There are other restricted parking zones, most of the time in the cities, where you have to buy a ticket on which they write the time of departure. If you don't respect this departure time, the police can give you a fine.

If you are a regular user of the motorway, there are two devices that may simplify your journeys and permit you to save some money. One is a subscription card, used in place of cash at automatic tollbooths. The cost of each journey is debited automatically from your account. The second device is a 'télébadge'. This is an electronic device fixed on your windscreen, which triggers the barriers as you approach them.

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