France First Timer?

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Jim, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Are you heading for the ferry? Here are a few First Timer to France Tips:

    Things to take with you and your first trip on the wrong side of the road.

    UK Driving License - Compulsory to carry this when driving in France - failure = on the spot fines!

    Motorhome registration documents - log book must be carried with you at all times. This can also incur an on the spot fine!

    Headlamp Adaptors - UK motorhomes are designed for driving on the left hand side of the road this will mean that when driving in France you will dazzle oncoming drivers. Failure to adapt your headlamps will render the vehicle UNFIT for the road. invalidating your motor insurance and could result in a spot fine

    Warning Triangles - In France warning triangle must be placed 50 - 150 metres behind your vehicle to warn approaching traffic if your vehicle breaks down or is involved in an accident. Hazard warning lights alone are not sufficient. USE COMMON SENSE SOMETIMES IT CAN BE TOO DANGEROUS TO PLACE THE TRIANGLE - BE CAREFUL.

    Fluorescent Safety Vest - Obligatory to carry this in your motorhome while driving in France, in fact it must be within reach so that if you have an accident or breakdown, you should get out of the motorhome with it on, so don't put it in the belly locker!

    Spare Bulbs - All exterior lamps, lenses and reflectors must be in working order at all times - failure to replace a broken bulb could result in a spot fine so always carry spares for all your lights

    Spare Specs - A spare pair of glasses are required if you have contact lenses and are going to be driving in France.

    First Aid Kit - A First Aid kit must be carried in your vehicle at all times when driving in France.

    Fire Extinguisher - I have been told that in France If you fail to render assistance in the event of a fire or take necessary precautions to prevent a fire from escalating then you are committing an offence. This maybe so, but only use a fire extinguisher if you can do so without putting yourself in danger.

    Don't Negate your Insurance Policy- If the driver/owner of a motorhome fails to comply with the law and fails to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy for the country he intends to visit this could result in the insurance company repudiating liability under the Policy.

    On the Spot Fines - Fines have to be paid on the spot in the local currency, cash. As far as i am aware travellers cheques and credit cards are not acceptable. If you can't pay this might result in the motorhome being impounded until fine has been paid.

    Motorhome Insurance - Green Card - The majority of all motorhome insurance policies provide a minimum level of cover required to drive on mainland Europe. It is always worth checking with your insurance company prior to driving in France. Some don't issue a green card anymore but you should be OK in France without one.

    Wrong side of the road
    Remember to take your time driving in France. First time out can be a little stressful especially at roundabouts and some junctions. Take your time, and think about. It wont be long before its second nature. I was guilty of driving on the wrong side of the road IN THE UK!! This is because, on return from a trip I stopped thinking! Off the ferry in France. Thinking about it = no problem driving on the right. Off the ferry in England - mind in Neutral, driving on the right!! Take your time and think about it and its easy peazy. Bon voyage

    Any old sweats out there, please add any of your First timer to France tips here - Thanks:thumb:
     
  2. motorhomer

    motorhomer Read Only Funster

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    A very good list!

    I would add - European Health Insurance Card - issued by the HNS (replacement for the old E111). Gets emergency treatment free - but I would still recomend travel health insurance.

    Also to be considered are Camping Carnets, Acsi discount card, camping cheques
     
  3. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    First Aid Kit - A First Aid kit must be carried in your vehicle at all times when driving in France.

    and it must contain a reasonable selection of dressings, gauze, plasters, bandage etc

    not just two plasters and a safety pin.:Doh:
     
  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Don't Negate your Insurance Policy- If the driver/owner of a motorhome fails to comply with the law and fails to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy for the country he intends to visit this could result in the insurance company repudiating liability under the Policy.

    and even more importantly.........

    you will need your insurance certificate with you.

    probably another on the spot for not carrying it.:Doh:
     
  5. kickstart

    kickstart Funster

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    Remember reflective vests for everyone traveling in vehicle:Smile:
     
  6. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    already listed mate....:thumb:

    Fluorescent Safety Vest - Obligatory to carry this in your motorhome while driving in France, in fact it must be within reach so that if you have an accident or breakdown, you should get out of the motorhome with it on, so don't put it in the belly locker!

    doesnt say 'everyone' though:Doh:
     
  7. Boo

    Boo Read Only Funster

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    We was also told we had to dump all the gas from our LPG tanks before being allowed on the ferry..............so don't do like we did and fill up 1st :thumb:

    I think it also applies to the chunnel..................Oh and we were fined for not having a GAS sticker on the gas locker door and was told we couldn't smoke while driving as it is an offence :Sad:

    Boo
     
  8. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi Boo

    I assume this was the LPG tank for the engine, not the house gas .. ? and how did you dump it safely :Eeek:

    I knew LPG fuelled vehicles were barred from the tunnel.. but I've never heard of this on a ferry .. which operator was this ?

    jim
     
  9. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    did they have provision for safe dumping, give you a receipt, allow you to collect it on the way back, hee hee
     
  10. Spacerunner

    Spacerunner Read Only Funster

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    I found all these lists for continental touring quite intimidating and was almost put off by peoples tales of aggressive gendarmes, bad water, muggings etc.

    When we finally got round to taking the ferry to France we wondered what all the fuss was about.
    Obviously you need all the correct paperwork, especially if taking a pet with you. The port authorities were much more interested in our dog's passport than ours!
    We found the Gendarmerie friendly and several times exchanged cheery waves with them.

    We drank local water from Calais to Beziers, and gave 'two fingers' to the roadside flaggers.

    Never felt threatened and really loved driving on the 'wrong side' of the road, especially on narrow, mountain roads. You can get really close to the french nearside in a right hander.
    As for roundabouts, well the road construction leads you straight into them so there is no chance of confusion.
     
  11. Boo

    Boo Read Only Funster

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    Yes it was the engine LPG I had to dump................the in house gas had to be no more than a quarter full too.

    I was told I would have to go to a gas place to get it removed....................instead I just went a couple of miles up the coast and just opened the bleed valve and let it go with the wind as we would have missed the ferry.

    It was Plymouth to Santandere overnight ferry.......think it was P&O.
    Also when we got there they took all of our bacon & dairy products off us...........there was a foot n mouth problem back in 2001 so thats prob why.

    Boo
     
  12. blue_sky

    blue_sky Read Only Funster

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    Euro adapter for the EHU most sites don't use the blue plugs.

    Spare headlight deflectors. Mine vanished on the last trip?
     
  13. camper69

    camper69 Read Only Funster

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    Surely the opposite is true now?

    Derek
     
  14. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    For goodness sake, just do it. It not rocket science. The hundred years war is over. They even speak some English now. They have built loads of top quality sites just for us, though they use them to keep the staff on their toes. Whatever you want, town, beech, mountain they have it all organised.

    We, being the world's number one seafaring nation laid on a load of cheap ships to cross to France - partly to kick the sh1t out of them but lately to just take over their country in a more subtle way, buy it. And when you buy a cooked chicken in a supermarket ( an idea they copied off us ) you can be sure that you are buying the country.

    So that's it, what are you waiting for, the second 100 years war ?
     
  15. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Can't comment on sites (don't use them) but I can't recall seeing anything other than a blue 16A socket on an aire ..
    I've no doubt there are some old euro 2 pin around, so take one just in case ..
     
  16. blue_sky

    blue_sky Read Only Funster

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    Just got back last week.
    stayed on 6 sites, only one used the blue socket.

    Also our first trip to France With Van, used some aires (not that scary after all)
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
  17. Stephen & Jeannie

    Stephen & Jeannie Read Only Funster

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    I might be a bit naive here, but what is a roadside flagger ????:Eeek:
     
  18. TDH

    TDH Funster

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    Aye to that hd! The only thing I would add to these threads, having lived in France, (and I hope I'm not adding to a stereotype), is that you hsouldn't expect other drivers, particularly in rural areas, to be particularly aware that they are sharing the road with you. Just pretend you're on a bike and use the same kind of defensive driving and awareness that you do when your fellow road users have the capacity to kill you!
     
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