France is the most visited country in the world, and for good reason. It is a country filled with spectacular attractions, perfect for a driving holiday. It is renowned for great food, great wine, cultural attractions of all kinds, art, and film. It is also a country steeped in history, with many areas virtually unchanged over the centuries. Besides all this, France is a country of spectacular natural beauty, from the Mediterranean coastline to the Alps. In short, France has every type of attraction a visitor could possibly ask for.
But not all of France is the same. Each region has its own distinct scenery, history and culture. Exploring the entire country on a driving holiday will yield much reward for the traveller.
New French Law from 01 July 2012 - that requires every driver in France to carry two certified alcohol breathalyzers in the motor vehicle. Every driver must have :
• A brand new breathalyzer
• A valid breathalyzer (which is valid 2 years)
• Complying with the NF ( Norme FranÁaise ) norm
If stopped by local police, the fine for not having a breathalyzer will be EUR 11. But there will be a limited grace period st through 1 November 2012, when it will become mandatory. Please note that a breathalyzer costs EUR 1 or 2 and you can find it in the following retail outlets:
• In supermarkets
• In gas stations
• In drugstores
• On-line websites
Paris, the City of Light, is well-renowned as a capital of culture, romance, history, art, fine dining and design. It is full of must-see landmarks and attractions. Landmarks include the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and many museums and galleries. Events include Bastille Day celebrations on July 14, the French Tennis Open, Six Nations rugby in February, and the Tour de France.
The Alps are perhaps the world’s premier winter sports region, and also great for hiking in summer. Albertville, Grenoble and Chamonix have all hosted the Winter Olympics. The Alps features many picturesque towns such as Chambéry, Annecy and Grenoble.
Also recommended for your vacation is Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur. Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur has many attractions, including the famous Riviera with its sophisticated resorts, Grasse, the perfume capital, stunning scenery inland, the port town of Menton, Nice, Antibes, St Tropez, Grimaud, Frejus and Cannes. Monaco is nearby. Whether you want beaches, glitz and glamour, history dating back to Roman times or dramatic scenery, this region has it all and is tremendously popular.
Lyon is France’s second largest city. The city of Lyon is a must-visit destination for food lovers, as it is the French capital of good cuisine. It is also chock-full of cultural attractions and historical sites and is a centre of fashion and the silk trade. If that wasn’t enough, world-famous snowfields and ski areas are at Lyon’s doorstep.
Brittany features a spectacular rugged coastline, many historical sites and picturesque villages.
Alsace, Lorraine, Franche Comté and Burgundy regions
The eastern part of France consists of the Alsace, Lorraine, Franche Comté and Burgundy regions, featuring gentle scenery and many beautiful cities. It is also a renowned wine region, producing pinot noirs and chardonnays famous the world over.
Lorraine, which borders Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, was the site of many of the most ferocious battles of the First World War. Many visit the area to remember this chapter of history.
Alsace is a heavily forested region with ruined castles and attractive medieval villages.
Franche-Comte contains a mixture of forests, open country and quaint villages
The Aquitaine region is reputedly home to 1001 castles.
The Auvergne region was features the former capital of Vichy France. Nowadays, it features river and mountain activities, centred around several dormant volcanoes.
The Burgundy region contains beautiful scenery, Roman remains and is the home of Dijon mustard.
Central France features the Loire valley, which has many great castles and picturesque towns. It is one of the most popular regions for visitors and has been listed as a World Heritage site.
Calais includes the Amiens, Lille and Somme battlefield sites and war cemeteries from the First World War. Some of the trenches have been kept intact to help visitors understand the conditions that the soldiers faced.
Champagne-Ardenne is the home of champagne, the Reims cathedral and the Ardenne forests.
Corsica is a Mediterranean island with a spectacular coastline and a rugged mountainous interior.
Languedoc-Roussillon features long beaches, fine wines, the Millau bridge, dramatic landscapes and medieval architecture. The spectacular Millau bridge will be a driving highlight of your holiday.
Limousin, off the beaten track, features villages, woodlands and the village of Oradour-sur Glane, which was destroyed by the SS during the Second World War and its inhabitants killed. It has been preserved as a monument to this tragic chapter in history.
Pays de la Loire has long beaches, marshlands and the popular Puy du Fou theme park.
Midi Pyrenees, featuring the Pyrenees mountains, is popular for skiing and has dramatic mountain scenery and sheer cliffs.
Normandy has beautiful countryside, the Cider Route, the Alabaster Coast, the Rouen Cathedral and the Normandy beaches, known as the landing point of the Allied invasion of World War II.
Picardy features cathedrals, open fields, hills and forests.
Poitou Charentes is the home of Cognac brandy and the historic town of Saintes. The coastline, on the Atlantic, is very popular.
Driving in France
France has a well-developed system of highways. Most of the freeway (autoroute) links are toll roads. Some have toll station giving you access to a section, others have entrance and exit toll stations. Don't lose your entrance ticket or you will be charged for the longest distance. All toll stations accept major credit cards, or you can use the automatic booth, but only if your card is equipped with a chip.
Roads range from the narrow sin