Let these hints about driving in France help you Get Around with ease. What about train travel?
Get Your Car
Taking the road less-traveled? You NEED a car! Here is how to buy or lease a car in France!
Is it the right size?
Confirm details before you decide!
Consider the number of passengers AND the size and amount of baggage.
Automatic or Manual?
Automatic transmission is usually more expensive than manual.
Which fuel type?
Gazole, a clean-burning diesel fuel, may be the least expensive option.
Cars using gazole get better mileage.
Gazole is usually less expensive than regular, lead-free gasoline (essence sans plomb).
It may cost more to rent, lease, or buy a diesel, gazole, car.
Consider your intended mileage versus expense to rent/lease the car.
Which side to drive? Etc.
France drives on the right and uses international road signs. Be prepared for many traffic circles. Rules of the road are similar to those in the United States.
Maybe you have GPS in your car, maybe not.
If you need maps, Michelin has the best. Look for green lines marking scenic routes.
Traveling the entire country?
Invest in the multi-page, bound, Michelin France map with sufficient detail to travel anywhere. Although large, it can take you anywhere your adventurous spirit desires.
Visiting only a few special destinations?
Select the local Michelin maps, the traditional folding variety. Local maps show exquisite detail.
Finding fuel on any weekday, other than a holiday, is easy. Paying for it is another matter.
Beware of Sundays and holidays when fuel stations often close.
Most gas stations require a true chip and pin credit card. See more about this on our Finance hints page.
If you are driving on the Autoroute, most rest areas with fuel accept credit cards inside the market. They may still require a pin. And, the Autoroute stays open - always!
Find the least expensive fuel stations at supermarket centers.
Centre Commercial indicates a supermarket and/or shopping mall.
Find supermarket names in the Food section of our France → Shopping page.
This information, in English, can help you get around France using the country's SCNF trains.
Most train stations (gares) have a café or restaurant inside or nearby.
The Tourist Bureau (Office du Tourisme or Bureau de Tourisme) is often located near the train station.
The Office du Tourisme can also help you with last-minute accommodations, maps, local attractions and upcoming events.
This is also a good place to find free wifi.
On the sea coast? Request a tide table.
Low tide (basse mer) is good for shelling but often impossible for swimming because the tide goes out so far.