More Useful Info
COMING TO FRANCE IN 2023
French borders are open to people arriving from the UK & they do not have to have an essential reason for travelling. However please check the French Government website for the latest travel information & requirements to enter France. See also the 'News Blog' regarding documentation requirements.
Passports: The EU requirement for entering France is that your UK passport has at least 6 months validity & was issued within the last 10 years.
Length of Stay: You are allowed to stay up to 90 days in any 180 days but you cannot return again until the 180 day period has expired.
Driving Licence: The UK driving licence will still be recognised but in addition to your licence, it may be wise to obtain an International Driving Permit (available from Post Offices) as not all gendarmes may initially be aware of the current regulations.
Vehicle Insurance: You will need to carry a physical copy (electronic versions are not acceptable) of your Green Card insurance certificate available from your insurer.
Health Insurance: The EHIC cards will still be accepted (whilst still valid), as reciprocal arrangements have been agreed, but the NHS are not now issuing new cards & a new Global Health Insurance card (GHIC) is being introduced. After your EHIC card expires, the GHIC card can then be applied for free of charge (allowing 2 weeks for delivery). Visitors must also have insurance covering medical and hospital expenses, including social assistance, for the care you could receive in France (the minimum coverage required is €30,000)
Restrictions: You will no longer be allowed to bring meat or milk into the EU or any products containing them.
Ferries/ Eurotunnel: It is likely that there will be longer delays in processing passports, etc at the port of entry when entering France as officials may now ask how long you intend to stay/ purpose of visit & where you are staying.
Visas: Visas are not currently required to enter France as a tourist but this may change in 2025 when the ETIAS scheme is due to come into operation.
Pets: EU Pet Passports issued in the UK will no longer be valid. You will need to provide an Animal Health Certificate (for each visit, issued within 10 days of leaving) from your vet showing that your pet is healthy, is micro-chipped, has been vaccinated against rabies & treated against tapeworm (1-5 days before travelling). You should also have a document identifying the pet. In addition, before travelling to France, it may be necessary (check this with your vet) for a Rabies Antibody Titration test (to show that the anti-rabies vaccination is effective) performed at an EU approved laboratory. The test must be performed at least 30 days after vaccination & results can take 3 - 4 weeks to arrive so you would need to allow at least 7-8 weeks after vaccination before travelling to France. It is still not clear whether this test will be required or not.
Mobile Phones: The EU free roaming guarantee will no longer apply but the majority of UK mobile phone operators have said that they do not intend to charge for roaming calls/ data within the EU.
Returning to the UK: The limits for bringing alcohol & tobacco back into the UK have changed - see the article in the 'News Blog' for full details.
Roads in France that have returned to 90 kms/ hr
Driving in France has become more confusing since 2019 when the various departments were allowed to set the speed limits on their main roads. The various main roads in France were all limited to an 80km/ hr speed limit in 2017 in a bid to reduce road deaths but after two years & no definitive results, the departments were allowed to return to the original 90 km/hr limit if they wanted.
This lack of a uniform national speed limit makes life very confusing as you travel from one department, that has returned 100% of its roads to the 90 limit, to a neighbouring department that has over 90% of its roads still at the 80 km/hr limit. In fact, in all of France only 3.5% of the 900,000 kms of road that had a 90 km/ hr limit have been returned to that speed.
Adding further to the confusion, especially for foreign
drivers, all the main ‘Routes Nationales’ remain under
the control of the regions & remain at an 80 km/ hr limit.
The adjacent map shows the different departments
of France & the percentage of main roads that have been
returned to the 90 km/ hr speed limit.
Key to map
Percentage of roads that are at 90km/hr :
Departments that remain at 80km/ hr: (red) Departments that are 100% at 90km/ hr: (dark green)
Departments that have not decided: (white) Departments to return all or partly to 90km/ hr: (light blue)
BREAKDOWN ON THE AUTOROUTE ?
If the worst should happen whilst driving on a French motorway, there are certain actions you need to take. If you cannot reach a service area then stop on the hard shoulder & turn on the hazard warning lights, then put on your reflective jacket. If you cannot repair the vehicle yourself - you will need to ring for assistance, but if you have breakdown insurance cover, do not call your insurance company. Only a company approved by the autoroute is authorised to intervene & you will have to use one of the orange emergency phones to contact them or dial 112 from your mobile phone. The terminal phone however will allow the company to geo-locate your position.
The breakdown company must arrive within 30 minutes of your call from the emergency terminal. In the event of a minor breakdown, the mechanic will take care of either moving the vehicle to a service area to repair it or repairing it on site. If an on-site repair is impossible, the mechanic will arrange for the towing of your motorhome to either the workshops of the breakdown company or if you prefer, a garage located less than 5 km from the next exit of the motorway.
The repair rates vary depending upon the breakdown & the time it occurs as well as the weight of the vehicle:
Motorhomes under 3500kg
Minor repair on site: Mon-Friday 8am-6pm 145€ or 217€ outside these times. (Parts not included)
Breakdown involving towing: “ “ 179€ or 270€ “ “
After the repair the breakdown company must provide a detailed invoice with which you will be able to reclaim the amount from your breakdown insurance.
Useful French Motoring Phrases
1. Can I please book my vehicle in for a service? = Est ce que je peut avoir un rendez vous pour emmener mon vehicule pour une service?
2. Can I please book my vehicle in? = Est qu'il est possible d'avoir un rendez vous s'il vous plait ?
3. Can you please give me a price? = Est ce que vous pouvez me donner un prix s'il vous plait?
4. My vehicle has failed its CT. = Mon vehicule n'a pas passer le controle technique.
5. My tyres need changing. = J'ai besoin de changer mes pneus.
6. My vehicle will not start. = Mon vehicule ne demarre pas.
7. My vehicle has broken down, I need assistance please. = Je suis en panne, j'ai besoin d'aide s'il vous plait.
8. I need new windscreen wipers. = J'ai besoin de changer mes essuis glaces
9. My windscreen is chipped, can you please repair/replace it? = Mon pare brise est fissuré, pouvez vous le reparer / le remplacer
10. My key is broken, can I buy a replacement please? = Ma clé est cassé, est ce que je peut acheter un autre?
11. My key is broken in the lock. = Ma clé s'est cassé dans la portiere.
12. My dashboard is flashing a message. = J'ai un voyant sur mon tableau de bord qui s'allume.
13. My exhaust sounds noisy. = Mon pot fait du bruit.
14. Can you give me an estimate price to repair my vehicule please? = Est ce que vous pouvez me faire un devis pour les reparations s'il vous plait?
15. Do you have a car I can borrow while my vehicule is in for repair? = Est ce que vous avez une voiture a me preter temps que vous reparez mon vehicule ?
16. When can I collect my vehicule? = Quand puis je venir chercher mon vehicule?
17. Do you have the parts in stock or do you need to order them? = Est ce que vous avez les pieces en stock ou est ce qu'il faut les commander?
18. When will you receive the parts for my vehicule? = Quand auriez vous les pieces pour mon vehicule?
1. My brake pedal goes to the floor but the vehicle doesn't respond properly. = Mon pedale de frein descends au plancher ma le vehicule ne repond pas comme il faut.
2. My vehicle squeals when I brake. = Mon vehicule fait du bruit quand je freine.
3. My vehicle pulls to the left/right when I brake. = Mon vehicule tire a gauche / a droite quand je freine
4. My brake pedal feels stiff when I apply pressure. = Mon pedale de frein est dure quand j'appuie.
5. My handbrake is not working properly. = Mon frein a main marche mal.
6. My handbrake feels stiff when I apply it = Mon frein a main force quand je la mets
7. The brake pads need changing. = Il faut changer les plaquettes de frein
1. My vehicle's lights are not working. = Les feux ne marche pas
2. My vehicle's indicators are not working. = Les clignotants ne marche pas.
3. My vehicle's wipers are not working. = Les essuies glaces ne marche pas
4. I need a new battery. = Il me faut une batterie neuf.
5. The heating won't turn off. = Je n'arrive pas a eteindre le chauffage
6. The heating isn't coming on. = Je n'arrive pas a allumer le chauffage
7. The air-conditioning isn't working. = La climatisation ne marche pas.
8. I need a new bulb/new bulbs please. = Il me faut un nouveau ampoule / des nouvelles ampoules
1. My vehicle is making an unusual noise eg rattling/squeaking/rumbling. = Mon vehicule fait un bruit bizarre.
2. The noise is coming from the back/front/under the bonnet. = Le bruit viens de derriere / devant / sous le capot
3. I don't know where the noise is coming from = Je ne sais pas d'ou il viens le bruit.
4. I'm having problems changing up/down gears. = J'ai des problemes quand je monte / descends les vitesses
5. I think the water-pump is blocked. = Je croit que le pompe a eau est bouché
6. My vehicle is losing water. = Mon vehicule perd de l'eau
7. My vehicle is over-heating. = Mon vehicule chauffe de trop.
8. I am losing acceleration. = Je perds l'acceleration
9. I can smell strong fumes when I start the engine. = Je sent des odeurs fort quand je demarre.
10. My vehicle is losing oil. = Mon vehicule perds de l'huile.
11. I have a problem with the clutch =J'ai une probleme avec l'embrayage.
Accelerator -- Accélérateur Battery (engine) -- Batterie chassis
Battery (leisure) -- Batterie auxillare Battery level -- Niveau de batterie
Bodywork - Carrosserie Brakes -- Freins
Broken - Cassé Control Panel -- Centrale de command
Coolant -- Liquide de Refroidissement Diesel -- Gazole
Engine - Moteur Exhaust pipe -- Pot d'échappement
Fridge - Frigo Fuse -- Fusible
Fuse box -- Boite a fusibles Gas Pipe -- Conduite de gaz
Glass Fibre -- Fibre de verre Handle -- Poignée
Headlight - Phare Heating -- Chauffage
Hinge -- Charniere Indicator -- Clignotant
Jack - Cric Key -- Clé
Leak - Fuite Lock -- Serrure
Oil -- Huile Oil Level -- Niveau d'huile
Overheat - Chauffer Petrol - Essence
Regulator -- Détendeur Roof - Toit
Seat -- Siege Sink - Évier
Switch -- Interrupteur Tap -- Robinet
Tyre -- Pneu Tyre pressure -- Pression des Pneus
Wheel - Roue Windscreen -- Pare-brise
Bonnet - Capot Radiator - Radiateur
Bumper front/ back - Pare choc avant / arriere Boot - Coffre
Headlights front / back - Phares avant / arriere Indicators - Clignotants
Power steering - Direction assisté Seat belt - Ceinture de securité
Brake pads - Plaquettes de frein Brakes - Freins
Foglights - Anti brouillards Wing mirrors - Rétros
Oil filter - Filtre a huile Gearbox - Boite a vitesses
Wheels - Jantes Dashboard - Tableau de bord
Horn - Klaxonne Drive shaft - Arbre de transmission'
Half shafts - Demi-arbres. Universal joint - Cardan
Constant velocity joint - Joint homocinétique Cam belt - Courroie de distribution
Clutch - l'embrayage
Car -- Voiture Dealer -- Concessionaire
Diesel - Gazole Insurance - Assurance
Motorway -- Autoroute Petrol - Essence
Toll -- Péage Traffic -- Circulation
Traffic Jam -- Embouteillage Traffic Lights -- Feux (de signalisation)
Trading Estate -- Zone industrielle
Chemical toilet point -- Vidoir chemiques Grey water drainage - Vidange eaux usées
Motorhome -- Camping Car Motorhome service point -- Borne de service (camping car)
Parking - Stationnement Pitch -- Emplacement
Showers - Douches Swimming Pool -- Piscine
Toilets - Toilettes Washbasin -- Lavabo
Wash the dishes -- Faire les vaiselles Washing machine -- Machine a laver
WHAT IS AN AUTOROUTE 'FLUX LIBRE ?
Autoroute ‘Flux Libre’ or a free flow motorway is a system already used in the United States, Spain, Austria and Brazil & has now come to France. Since November 2022, the A79 autoroute linking Allier to Saône-et-Loire has used a ‘free-flow’ toll system where automatic gantries replace the traditional tolls.
What is a ‘free-flow’ autoroute and how does it work?
Basically, the creation of the ‘free-flow’ autoroute makes it possible to streamline traffic and avoid traffic jams, often seen at tolls during rush hours or during holidays. The aim is to drive without stopping at toll booths.
The A79 and its dual carriageway extends from Digoin (Saône-et-Loire) to Sazeret (Allier) and allows motorists to travel on it by paying for their journey via several options. On the 80 km of motorway, six gantries are placed on the route between the two departments. If you look up while driving on this road, you will see large gantries equipped with cameras and radar, which flash your license plate as you pass.
How to pay?
You have the choice between four payment options:
1) The simplest is the presence of a transponder or ‘badge’ inside your vehicle. Once you pass under a gantry, a beep goes off. As with all tolls, you will pay automatically and you will receive your invoice at the end of the month.
2) Registration on the A79 website, Aliae. Go to the site to enter your license plate number and your bank details. At each pass, the plaque is detected and you will be charged at the end of the week.
3) Pay for each trip online. You can pay between seven days and 72 hours before your trip. By indicating your email address, you will be notified of each charge.
4) You can go to the physical terminals at the A79 service areas & pay by cash or by credit card when take a break – a more suitable solution if you rarely use this autoroute.
Be careful though! If you do not pay for your trip after 72 hours, you will receive a letter and will have to pay a fine of €90 in addition to the toll price & if the amount is not paid after 60 days, the fine increases to €375.