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  • Фото автораТимофей Милорадович

Driving in France, navigation

Обновлено: 31 мая 2022 г.


But the main reason that I wouldn’t worry about being able to read every single sign is that most of the signs are little pictures, and they’re reasonably intuitive. I don’t have any intention of you know, doing a long description of a lot of signs and rules and stuff like that. But thank goodness, yes.

But I do strongly recommend that you get or bring a good GPS, and just let it Yeah, lead your ground. Yeah. And when I say GPS, I actually mean, not a smartphone. Because my experience is that a smartphone can be great, you know, for small stuff, and especially for areas that you’re familiar with. But quite often the smartphones don’t pick up the GPS signals as reliably as a, you know, an actual GPS device that does nothing but that Yeah, and in the cities, especially, that can be a problem you get between a couple buildings. And the GPS signals get really weak and and even a normal GPS can sometimes get a little confused, but the phones even more so. And of course, most of the phones rely on internet to get the map Exactly. And you may or may not have a good plan, or you may or may not have good reception.


And yeah, the problem with the phone is well, first of all, you probably don’t have a phone plan while in France. And if even if you do as soon as you get out into the boonies get Guess what? Even French people get poor reception in the boonies. Right. So right, it’s very possible to get a prepaid plan so that you can get some data and surf the internet and get your email and that kind of thing. But I really don’t recommend it for for serious touring, because you will you will end up in areas if the time you need it the most will be when it when it somehow can’t find a good cell tower. Yeah. And and find out what it needs. Yeah, but yeah, so I would really get, you know, a good a good GPS with, with local maps on it that are that are recently updated.

And you can run around, yeah, you can either update your own GPS that you bring from home, or you can rent one with a car. Right?

Right. But But I strongly encourage that, because navigation in France is very different. From the US, I don’t know about other places, but they have a concept of direction, you’ll you’ll drive around France, and you’ll just see signs everywhere telling you that various cities are in this direction, and not necessarily even tell you how far away they are. I mean, you know, so sometimes especially on a freeway, you’ll see a sign that says, you know, Denver is 30 miles away or something like that, but but here at all kinds of intersections and roundabouts, there will just be little signs that say Paris is this way in Bordeaux is that way and and there’s very much this idea of direction. And a lot of people drive without a map.


Because they’ll just say, How do I get there and they’ll say, well, you follow, you know, you follow the direction to this bigger city. And then when you get closer, you’ll be following the direction to the smaller city and then the direction to this village. And then and then we’re right behind the bakery, or the train station or whatever. A lot of people go completely on those kinds of, of tips. And it works great when you’re used to thinking that way. But when you’re looking for a very precise address, it’s harder because that that last, that last mile is the trickiest part, a lot of addresses are not well displayed, a lot of street names are not well marked, you know, yeah, I can see that I can go, you know, right to go to this town or left to go to that town.


But what’s the name of the street I’m on? And what’s the number of that building over there so that I can figure out right where the houses that I need a GPS just takes care of that for you. Right. And if you’re going to stay at a rural GT, or bed and breakfast or something like that, asked for an actual address. Now, they may not be able to provide you with an actual address, because there are plenty of places that just go by UD, whatever, which is just kind of a place name. Yeah, it’s like a placeholder. And so the person who’s delivering the mail every day of his life in that area knows exactly where that is. But a GPS doesn’t actually nowadays, a lot of GPS is do. Okay, so that helps, you can often put in this this place name and UD is something that we ought to add to our list terms on the on the site. That’s true. That’s true. It’ll be on the show notes.

Yeah. And so. So that’s a possibility. The other thing is, I’ve noticed more and more rural places on their websites are actually putting GPS coordinates, right. So you can use they know people use GPS, no GPS, us and they and they know that if this wasn’t the case, five years ago, people would say, Well, no, I don’t I don’t have a real address, I can just tell you how to get there. And when they say that, oh, you’re in trouble, because it means that it’s going to be like, turn right after the fifth cow kind of thing. I mean, it’s gonna be something weird.


So yeah, and and what David was bringing up the general directions, like, you could be in Paris, and people will tell you, oh, to go to this town, 20 kilometres away go in the direction of Bordeaux. And you like, which is hours away? Yeah. And you’re not going to go anywhere near Bordeaux. Right. But that’s just the direction you start out because there be signs pointing to Bordeaux. And then once you get far enough, then there will be signs pointing to the smaller place close by, right. And and we don’t ever use north, south, east and west that will except for the train stations in Paris, which kind of some of them do that. So who knows?

So, so yes, I strongly recommend the GPS, the navigation is very different way of thinking about things. And the GPS just solves most of those problems. And unless you’re in a really rural area, you’ll you’ll get an address. And even in the rural areas, usually they’ll at least be able to give you a street name. And in fact, a lot of times you’ll find on the GPS, you go to the street name. And then you’re about to put in a number and it says oh, I don’t know the numbers on that street. It’s a smart Street. Yeah, my mind. My tom tom will just say anywhere. And that’s my only option.

Yeah, anyway, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

So and don’t worry about that, because that means it’s, you know, you’re on the right Street, you’re gonna you’re gonna find it. Mm hmm. So, a good investment one One thing, though, so I wouldn’t spend a lot of time worrying about all the directions signs, but and those are kind of white signs with a little, you know, arrow on one end. But the bigger signs that are like four entrances to freeways and such have an interesting color code. So I mentioned that the the one, there’s a white background with black lettering, and the arrow for for the general direction, then there are other signs that will be green backgrounds, and other signs, still, that will be blue backgrounds.


And the difference there is is important, the white ones are kind of the slowest way of getting there, there’s a little smaller road that’s local, the green is a little bit bigger. So like, if you had two signs, one saying, you know, this way is white, and this way is green, the green is going to be bigger streets fewer, you know, avoiding the middle of downtown, and then blue is actually going to take you off to some kind of freeway. In many cases, that means toll. But not not always, especially if it’s like the ring around the city. You know, that’s a big railway. That’s generally a freeway with no tolls. But once you start taking off towards a farther away city, right, have to stop it right.

And this is one of those French idiosyncrasies the white signs have to do with the white, green and blue signs have to do with who maintains the road. So the white science, these are roads that are maintained by department, all governments, I guess, very like the counties, yeah.

And then the green ones are a national roads. So they’re a little bit bigger, and they’re maintained by some national budget. And the blue ones are maintained by a freeway company, which is sometimes the government’s sometimes a private company, sometimes some about it depends on where you are. So it’s, it’s all pretty complicated. But do remember that white is generally the smallest roads. And those usually start with a D letter. And then the green ones are medium sized roads, they start with and then and then a number. And the three ways are either a for auto routes, or E for European, right and there.


But those names and numbers of roads are often not there. You know, sometimes sometimes they’ll tell you the name, sometimes they’ll tell you the name. Sometimes they won’t. Yeah, so don’t don’t count on Don’t count on names. When you’re, when your GPS tells you that you should be on this road, or that you’re going to turn on to that road, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a sign for it. Because they it’s not like in the US where every practically every intersection shows the name of both streets. Yeah, no, there are there are street name signs, but not not everywhere. Yeah. And okay, but that’s enough. That’s enough about navigation. Yep.

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