from being an in depth “guide to everything in France, we
hope the following points will be of use to you.
– All French banks outside major cities and many shops and
businesses are closed on Mondays and there are also many more
bank holidays over here. Principle ones where the country is really
closed are Ascension Day, Armistice Day and Bastille Day –
July 14th. Unlike the UK, supermarkets and DIY stores (Brico's)
are not open on sundays or bank holidays.
–Driving in France is a very pleasant experience compared
to the UK, with much quieter roads and far less road repairs on
motorways (Autoroutes). With the exception of Autoroutes, petrol
stations are less prolific than in the UK and are rarely "corner
shops that sell petrol" - little else is normally sold apart
from fuel. 24 hour fuel pumps are popular, but require a chip and
pin credit card - our experience shows that not all UK yet cards
work in such machines.
We strongly advise that you check that your insurance cover is adequate,
particularly if you are spending more than 30 days a year in France.
You must carry your registration, MoT and insurance documents at
all times. Routine roadside checks are a popular pastime for the
Gendarmes, failure to have such documents results in a mandatory
on the spot fine, with an escort to a cash machine if necessary.
You vehicle must of course be taxed and conform to UK road regulations.
Contrary to popular belief, if you are caught speeding by the recently
introduced cameras, the fine will be pursued in the UK.
For more concise overseas motoring advice we suggest you consult
– It’s essential to carry the E111 – but check
yours before you leave as the regulations have changed this year.
The E111 covers around 70% of emergency medical care, but you may
wish to take out specialist cover to avoid any shortfall. The E111
does not cover you if you are living in France.
Cards - We recommend that you advise your card providers
that you will be using your card abroad, as it is not uncommon for
some cards to be refused as the card providers suspect possible
misuse if suddenly cards are being used abroad.
See our section in "Buying in France".