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Plan - Pack - Go - Enjoy
The Brellie Way
Once in France, Brellie usually travels by car. In fact, here is how she buys her car each year! A car is a must for the less-traveled parts of the country. Rules of the road in France are very similar to those in the United States. Road signs use international symbols, which the U.S. does not. Be prepared for many traffic circles.
Invest in appropriate Michelin maps for the portions of France you intend to visit. Green lines on these maps mark scenic routes.
There is a good multi-page, bound, Michelin France map with sufficient detail to travel anywhere in the country. It is heavy and bulky. However, you will be ready for anywhere, no matter where your adventurous spirit takes you.
If you intend to visit only a few places, the local Michelin maps are smaller and easier to carry. Be sure to invest in all of the maps that you think you will need. The local maps show exquisite detail.
Gazole, a clean-burning diesel fuel, is the least expensive option. Cars using gazole get better mileage and gazole is generally less expensive than regular, lead-free gasoline, essence. It may cost more to rent, lease, or buy a diesel, gazole, car. Weigh the amount of mileage you intend to drive with the added expense to make your decision.
Finding fuel on any weekday, other than a holiday, is easy. Paying for it is another matter. Although gas stations indicate that they accept credit cards, don't count on it. The 24-hour stations expect a French or European debit card, not an American credit card. If you are driving on the Autoroute, almost every rest area with a gas station does accept a credit card inside the market.
The least expensive gas stations are usually those associated with supermarket chains. A sign indicating Centre Commercial as the exit usually indicates there is a supermarket/mall there. Some of the names of the supermarket chains include Auchan, L'Eclerc, Super U and Intermarché. Look for a gas station that has an attendant in the payment booth.
If you are going to the more visited places in France or to any of the larger cities or towns, this information, in English, can help you get around by the SCNF trains.
Most train stations in the large cities have their own café or restaurant. Also, the Tourist Bureau, called the Office du Tourisme, is often located nearby. The Office du Tourisme can also help you with last-minute accommodations. Brochures for nearby attractions and events are usually also available. If you are on the coast, ask for a tide chart. Low tide (basse mer) is good for shelling but often impossible for swimming because the tide goes out so far.