Paris might be on your bucket list but driving in Paris is probably not. Drivers have been known to go into cardiac arrest near the Champs-Elysees, with the eleven intersections bustling in front of them. To release you of the sheer anxiety you may be feeling, here is a Simple Survival Guide to Driving in Paris with some tips and beneficial reassurance for when you take to the Parisian roads. Think about it, everyone has been a newcomer to the roads of a foreign city once in their lives before and with this guide you will be more confident than ever.
First things first, you will be driving on the right hand side of the road. Speed limits within the city are only 50km/h, except for the 'ring roads', which are 80km/h. U-turns are not allowed; neither is crossing a solid white line. So far not too bad?
In terms of traffic and road conditions, weekdays after 0900 and before 1730, traffic moves with minimal delay, in essence, similar to any major city. Friday afternoon around 1600 you will start to see travellers beginning their weekend ventures out of the city, especially near the exits from Paris or les portes. Again, Sunday evenings when these same travellers return, driving in Paris will again be a little bit more difficult. In terms of major routes from Paris, the A5, A6, A7 and A20 become very congested with vehicles during school holidays (June/July/August).
Parking, who doesn't love it? Especially in Paris, where parallel parking in a very, very, very small space is common. Expect to be freaked out by the honking from the drivers waiting behind you. Those who would like their parking experience to be a little bit more relaxed should aim for a spot in one if the many underground parks. Sure, they will be slightly more expensive, however they will save you the stress of dealing with the above ground option. This is of course only if you positively have to park with no other options. There are maps you can download prior, which will show you where the underground car parks are situated in Paris.
Like in any European city, the streets can be quite narrow and steep with hidden alleys. It's important that you don't speed and are aware of your surroundings. If the unforeseeable happens and you have an accident, you must fill out a statement. There should be a form in the glove box of your hire car; so a little tip is to check this when you first pick up your car at the depot.
There you go! Thanks to this Simple Survival Guide to Driving in Paris, you're now ready to hit the road in Paris. Do you still have questions? Give us a call on 1300 656 601 or book online if you're ready to go!