Trans4mind Home Page

How To Drive in France and Not Get Lost

By Walt Ballenberger

"Come over to our house for dinner said Tom, our new-found English friend. "It's easy

from your hotel". Thus began our first odyssey of driving on French roads. We were

visiting my company facility in Toulouse to make a decision about moving there for two

years. Needless to say, we got lost that night. Very lost. After realizing that I missed a

turn off the rocade, a freeway-like road in the city, I simply took the next exit to turn around and go back, as I would do at home. To my surprise, the exit road ran off in some

unknown direction, and there was no way to turn back! Later we did manage to find the

rocade again, but the exit we needed wasn't accessible from that direction. The overhead

signs said we were heading toward Bordeaux. I didn't know where I was, but a two hour

drive to Bordeaux that night was not an option. We seized upon signs for "Centre Ville

which we knew meant downtown. After a long struggle to find a pay phone and figure out

which coins were needed, we did manage to call Tom to pick us up. I'd like to say that was the last time we got lost on the roads of France, but that is hardly the case. Here are a

few hard-learned tips to minimize wrong turns there, or anywhere in Europe:

It's the Direction, Not the Street Name that Counts

In the U.S. one navigates by turning at certain streets. In France the streets often are not

marked. There may be an old sign on the corner of a building, but there are few street

signs as we know them. What one does see are signs with names of towns. These signs

are remarkably accurate. If you want to go to a town that is marked, just follow the signs.

You won't have to worry about missing a turn from D-11 to D-603, for example, the signs do all the work. If suddenly you see signs that do not indicate your destination, have no fear. Just go straight and your destination will be indicated farther on. A problem arises

when your destination is not mentioned on the posted signs. It might be before or after

the town that is indicated, so you need to know which direction to follow. You must find

this out before departing, either by asking someone which town to go toward, or by getting internet directions (more on that later on).

Finding the Downtown and Train Station

In any French city or town, it is remarkably easy to find the train station (la gare, in

French). One simply follows signs to "Centre Ville", and sooner or later you'll see signs

indicating "gare SNCF". (SNCF is the nationalized company that runs the trains in

France.) If you need to go anywhere in the downtown area, following the "Centre Ville

signs will get you nearby.

Beware of Wrong Turns on Autoroutes

Autoroutes are the French equivalent of Interstate highways in the U.S., or the motorway

in Britain. If you miss a turn here you've just lost time and money. Almost all the French

autoroutes are toll roads, and the tolls are pricey. Since all access is through toll booths

which are expensive to build and operate, there are not that many exits and entrances.

So if you miss a turn, the next exit could easily be another 20 miles down the road. You'll

have to pay the toll there, then backtrack the 20 miles you just needlessly drove. Of

course your next toll will also reflect the extra miles. Make sure you have solid directions

before venturing off on French autoroutes. When several of these intersect, watch the

signs carefully and get in the proper lanes, and you will stay on the right road.

Internet Driving Directions

An excellent internet map service is This site is in 7 languages and

provides directions anywhere in Europe. In addition to maps and directions from towns or

specific addresses, trip time and distance, Mappy gives more information. You will be told

how much tolls, if any, will cost, and you'll also find out how much fuel will be used and how much that will cost. The driving directions include the unique feature of showing what the autoroute signs will look like, so it is easy to stay on the right road.

Getting lost while driving in a foreign country is probably to be expected. If you follow the

tips mentioned above, however, you will avoid unnecessary aggravation and lost time and

money. But if you do wander off in the wrong direction, be sure to have along that French

phrase book you bought before leaving home!

About The Author
Walt Ballenberger is founder of Beaux Voyages which offers numerous tours in France.

For a free ebook entitled 80 Inexpensive Parisian Restaurants, contact, and simply type Paris ebook in the subject line.

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2016 Trans4mind Ltd