France Transportation Tips by Lady_Mystique Top 5 Page for this destination
France Transportation: 302 reviews and 246 photos
TGV and passengers
The TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse = high speed train) is the world's fastest train...and it was created in France!
And it is SO smooth and comfortable!!
It travels all over France and sweeps around Paris taking in Charles de Gaulle Airport (handy!!). It travels between the large cities within France and between outlying foreign cities.
*Seat reservations are compulsory.
*Eurail and Europasses are valid on TGV but you need to pay a supplement for a seat reservation.
*You can check the connections, timetable, and make reservations online. Go to the website address below:
Those in possession of an EU-issued driving license are entitled to drive in France with no further ado.
While others may be legally able to drive in France on the strength of their national licenses for a few months, it's safest to get an International Driving Permit (IDP), which is essentially a translation of your regular license into 10 languages, including French.
The IDP, valid for one year, must be issued in your own country before you depart. You must be 18 years old to receive the IDP.
The IDP is in addition to, not a replacement for, your home license, and is not valid without it. An application for an IDP usually includes one or two photos, a current local license, and an additional form of identification, and requires a fee.
If you plan to drive (rent a car) in France then make sure you have your home license and IDP with you.
"Don't leave home without it!"
...and don't forget INSURANCE TOO!!!
EU residents driving their own cars do not need extra insurance coverage in France. For those renting, paying with a gold credit card usually covers standard insurance. If your home car insurance covers you for liability, make sure you get a green card, or International Insurance Certificate to prove it. If you have an accident abroad, it will show up on your domestic records if you report it to your insurance company. Also, be prepared to pay US$8-10 per day for rental car insurance. Leasing should include insurance and the green card in the price. Some travel agents offer the card; it may also be available at border crossings.
Type: Car/Motor Home
SNCF offers the Carte Sénior to older persons (about 50.00 € ).
Persons aged 60 years and over are eligible for a 25% discount from SNCF (French Railways System). The discount applies only for travel beginning in a "blue" period, when traffic is light, i.e., times other than Friday and Sundays afternoons, Monday mornings and holidays.
Check the SNCF calendars, which are available in France.
Or you can consult the "Calendrier Voyageurs" on French National Railways website at: http://www.sncf.fr .
If you plan to travel frequently in France over the course of a year, the Carte Senior may be for you.
It allows discounts of 25-59% for one year from the date of purchase. This card is ONLY SOLD in FRANCE.
These reductions are not valid for traveling by train in the Paris area.
Discounts are available for people aged over 60 at most museums, galleries, and public theatres. An ID such as a passport or other may be required as a proof of your date of birth
I love this site for getting from Paris to any point in France by car.
It tells you absolutely everything you need to know to get there...where to turn, what routes to take, how long it will take, what it will cost, the mileage or kilometerage and even where you can expect speed surveillance cameras!
Type: Car/Motor Home
A tree-lined road in France
Decide where you will rent a car and where you will drop it off. (There is no charge to drop it off in another city as long as it is within France.)
Remember that rental cars have manual transmissions. If you must have one with an automatic transmission, you'll have to request it in advance (some agencies won't be able to accommodate you) and expect to pay more for the rental and more in fuel costs.
Be realistic about driving distances.
Don't plan to cover more of France than is comfortable and practical in any given day.
Don't believe that you can cover hundreds of miles in a few hours (except on autoroutes).
Plan on averaging 40-45 miles an hour (that's an average of the higher speed highways and driving through built up areas at much slower speeds).
Of course, you could do much of your driving on autoroutes, which will mean you'll miss the beauty of the small villages and quieter countryside. I don't recommend it.
And, many sections of the autoroutes are 'péage' -- there is a toll to pay. Stay with the N and D roads for a better countryside experience.
I would suggest no more than 90 minutes driving between, for example, departure after breakfast and stopping for lunch.
Perhaps drive another 90 minutes in the afternoon before arriving at your destination for the night. Based on this, you could cover about 120 miles in a day, but if you stop at sights along the way, even less.
I think 120 miles should be the maximum distance you'd want to cover in any given day without tiring of driving.
If you plan on a maximum of 80 miles, you will have ample opportunity to see the attractions, villages and scenic spots along the way.
You will want to arrive at your ultimate destination about 4 or 5 PM at the latest. After 6, your hosts or hotel will expect a phone call to confirm you are still planning to arrive that day.
Type: Car/Motor Home
Want to hop the train for London, Amsterdam or Nice?
Book your "trajet" online, have the tickets sent to you at home and just show up at the station.
Often, the site can make you nuts, because it's not as functional as one might like, but it's better than the alternative...standing in line at the Gare de Whatever waiting to book with a not-so-friendly "functionnaire."
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