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It is a pleasure to drive in all areas of France, apart from maybe central Paris which can be very busy. But the romantic chateaux of the Loire, the rustic vineyards of the Dordogne, the lofty Alpine trails, or the dazzling Riviera beaches are just a few examples of some fabulous places to visit. There is something for everyone in France and a car is the best way to see as much of it as you can.
Charles de Gaulle International Airport (also known as Roissy), situated to the northeast of Paris, is the main gateway. Other main airports include: Paris-Orly, Lille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice and Toulouse. France is also served by train and ferry from the UK, but it is best to fly here and pick up a pre-booked vehicle at the airport. While France has excellent public transport, it is a large country and the only real way to cover a lot of ground is with car rental in France.
All major companies are represented at the main French airports across the country, including Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Avis. There are also lots of railway station, town and city depots spread across France which are handy if you just want to hire a car for a day or two near your accommodation. We have great offers on all these suppliers and more, but book as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment. Airports near ski resorts are very busy in winter as well as airports located in the South of France during the summer holidays.
France has some of the best roads in Europe, with tolled motorways linking the main towns and cities. The speed limit on the motorways is 130km/h, and with over 2000 speed cameras across Frances road network, it is advisable not to ever exceed the limits. The major routes are complemented by divine, single-lane country roads. Some of these roads are very narrow, meaning careful driving is required. The busiest areas are Paris, Lyon and Marseille, as well as along the French Riviera. Alcohol limits for driving are very low so best not to drink and drive at all.
Paris has a lot to offer and is best seen by metro and on foot, though drives to Versailles and Fontainebleau on the outskirts of Paris are recommended. Top drives include the Loire Valley from Orleans, Provence and the Côte dAzur from Nice or Marseille, the Alps from Lyon or Annecy, and anywhere around the city of Bordeaux, Brittany or Normandy.
There is a huge variety in France, climate-wise, although the country generally has nice weather. Summer time sees a daily average of 24°C, while the French Riviera is warm year-round, even in winter. Big events include the Cannes Film Festival in May, and Bastille Day and the Champs Elysees finish of the Tour de France in July. January and February are the best times to visit if you are heading to one of the many ski resorts on the French Alps.