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Travelling to France

  • 30-06-2021 11:34pm
    Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ daddy_boy

    Hi Looking for some info about driving in France,

    I am going to be there for 10 days and have an itinerary which involves approx 3500km of driving mainly on autoroutes, I will also be crossing into Spain for 1 or 2 days.

    Is it worth me “buying” a Toll Tag for ease of use RH drive and Toll Booths designed for LH Drivers any pointers where to acquire, and I heard a rumour if you have a zero emission car/BEV (which I do ) there are discounts on tolling

    Which is the best app and/or the most extensive network of chargers . Many thanks in advance


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I did a decent trip around France 2/3 year ago (not in eclectic at the time) and didn't get a tag.
    Just stick your credit card into the machine and let it do the work.
    We did between 5/6K km and spent 2/250e on tolls.

  • Registered Users Posts: 888 ✭✭✭ Vico1612

    Check out Guillaume's video : he covers some topics when travelling to France

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,467 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin

    I haven't done any driving on the continent with my EV yet but I did some research last year. Here's what I found

    For toll tags, I don't think you can use your Irish toll tag in other countries. It's something which is supposed to be added "at some point"
    You can get a tag from this crowd, you only pay for the months you use it which isn't so bad

    TBH, there doesn't seem to be any advantage to having a tag other than not stopping at the toll booths. There's no discounts on tolling for EVs in France so not really much incentive
    All the toll gates take card payemtn AFAIK, so ou just need to make sure whoever is in the passenger seat is awake since the reader is on their side :)

    For charging, Chargemap seems to have a decent coverage of France and Plugsurfing seems good for most of Europe
    Prices aren't always the best though and they charge for RFID cards, so don't expect it to be cheap

    The network in France seems okay, Andrew Till did a couple of videos of driving from the UK through France, Italy, German and several other EU countries that I've forgotten
    It's a fairly long winded video so grab some popcorn if you're bothered watching it all

    There seems to be a lot of the usual cr!p of a single 50kW unit somewhere which may or may not be working. Luckily since that video was made there seems to have been more HPCs installed and there's quite a few more Ionity hubs (if you're willing to pay)

    France does seem to have a fairly decent AC network which is nice. A lot of the chargers only have 1x Type 2 and 1x Type 3c socket. You might want to look into an adaptor

    I'd take a look at A Better Route Planner as well, it'll calculate your charging stops and can even search for hotels near chargers as well and Chargehotels also allow you to search for hotel with charging (look for the filter in hotel facilites in

    Word of warning, don't bet too heavily on the hotel charger. A lot of them end up broken or ICEd and the good ones tend to get a lot of use. Try to contact the hotel beforehand to see what the story is. Personally I would take a hotel with AC chargers nearby

    If you're camping, then you can bring the granny lead and get a pitch with electricity. Just make sure the pitch has a decent current rating and you get a travel adapter that's rated for at least 10A. If possible, it could be a good idea to reduce the charging current of your car even if it means an extra DC stop or two

    Anyway, hope this was useful, and enjoy your trip! :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 37 tigerbalm_eu

    Planning a similar trip in my Taycan (my first long range EV drive) and I've ordered a tag from Bip & Go at for convenience factor. I liked that the subscription charge only applies for the month(s) its used.

    I have also ordered (and received) my Air Certificates for France and Germany as I will be in some of the applicable cities.

  • Registered Users Posts: 37 tigerbalm_eu

    Oh, and I couldn't get these folks to ship to a Irish address – and couldn't be bothered with using a mail forwarded - hence the Bip&Go as they are happy to support a wide number of European countries directly.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,467 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin

    Planning a similar trip in my Taycan (my first long range EV drive) and I've ordered a tag from Bip & Go at for convenience factor. I liked that the subscription charge only applies for the month(s) its used.

    I have also ordered (and received) my Air Certificates for France and Germany as I will be in some of the applicable cities.

    Good call on the clean air cert, I wouldn't have thought of that

    Does the Bip & Go work off a single tag? I think the Emovis one needs a seperate tag for each country

  • Registered Users Posts: 37 tigerbalm_eu

    Does the Bip & Go work off a single tag? I think the Emovis one needs a seperate tag for each country

    Single tag. Caveat: I haven't received mine yet - its in the post - but they are clear its on single tag + reg number in Italy's case I think.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,467 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin

    Single tag. Caveat: I haven't received mine yet - its in the post - but they are clear its on single tag + reg number in Italy's case I think.

    Sounds great, it's a shame the Irish toll tags don't work abroad.

    I believe the technology is available but hasn't been implemented by anyone yet

  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ daddy_boy

    Many thanks for the answers - much appreciated

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,757 ✭✭✭ ianobrien

    The Bio & Go monthly subscription opt is the one you want is say

    Having driven from France to Spain, a few pointers
    1. If going from Bordeaux to Irun in Spain, take the Autoroute. The RN roads are a disaster! You won't really need the Autoroute from Cherbourg or Roscoff to Bordeaux.
    2. That's a lot of driving for 10 days. It doesn't give much time for holiday stuff.
    3. Get the Crit'air sticker. It's only a couple of euro and given the way the French switch on and off the restrictions, unless you are watching the local news you won't know if you are in a restricted zone in the morning when you wake up

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,757 ✭✭✭ ianobrien

    Two other items. The French pollution sticker covers Spain as foreign vehicles can't apply for the Spanish sticker but foreign stickers are recognised.

    The cheapest price for the German pollution control sticker I found was from the Berlin City Council at €7 including postage.

  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ daddy_boy

    Thanks everybody for the input much appreciated. :)

    Following all your advice I have done the following.

    Bought a Toll Tag Bip & Go for the ease of use,

    Me sitting on the right and the booth being on the left.
    Having to get out of the car because I cant reach across.
    Banging the car door when opening it (Toll lanes are narrow) etc….

    Unfortunately there is no discount for EV :mad:

    Route planning I have used viaMichelin wouldn't have been my go to map planner, The main reason being it gives me some idea of the toll charges on the various routes, some of the routes I have to do there is quiet a discrepancy in tolls for little time advantage ~10/15 Mins. as well as abrp The two of them together supply more than enough info to make informed decisions.

    I have also reactivated my Accor membership as I have seen that a good proportion of there locations have chargers.

    And I have got my clean air cert from France.

    So all done !!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,467 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin

    All that's left now is to enjoy your vacation :)

    Please tell us how you get on once you get back, it'd be great info for future travellers (I'm hoping to go next year)

  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ daddy_boy

    All that's left now is to enjoy your vacation :)

    Please tell us how you get on once you get back, it'd be great info for future travellers (I'm hoping to go next year)

    Will do I am going late September, So fingers crossed with covid. Without going into to much detail this is the barebones of the route, not a vacation, unfortunately

    Time: 49h45 (32h52 on motorways)

    Distance: 4285 km (3450 km on motorways)

    Tolls €203.50

    Thankfully I have AP2 and free SuC

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,997 ✭✭✭✭ fryup

    hope you don't mind me hopping on this thread OP

    how does it take to get use to driving on the right hand side - is it hairy at the start?😶

  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ daddy_boy

    I am fairly used to driving on the right, i just have to concentrate for the first couple of hours and then it tends to come "naturally". What does tend to throw me some times is the roundabouts, I once went round the wrong way! also when overtaking on a sinlge carriage way road you have to hang back further so you can see further ahead and somtimes the cars behind tend to nip into the space between you and the one in front.

    its not to difficult

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,887 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005

    I found it easy enough to get used to once there's traffic around. A few times I've been riding or motoring along for a little while on the wrong side of the road when there's no traffic.

    The hairyness depends on if you have a RHD or LHD car and if you are driving or the passenger.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,467 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin

    How's your copilot? Mines useless, has her head buried in her hands every time I'm going for an overtake. Not the best when you need her eyes to keep an eye on your blind spot. Glad I got a car with blind spot warnings

  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ daddy_boy

    My co-pilot is very unhelpful, but full of wisdom, and is able to shout " NO !" in various formats. ie what the [email protected]#*, etc.. Helps pass the time 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,482 ✭✭✭✭ coylemj

    One thing I noticed driving in France is that the merging lanes on motorways are much shorter than here. This means that you can be on the mortorway driving in the slow lane whereupon you'll suddenly notice a guy on your right trying to merge and you'll have to react quickly. It also means that when you are merging, you won't have the same distance to merge as you have here so have the brain well in gear when joining motorways.

    There is at least one blue sign with an arrow at every roundabout, it indicates that you keep right of the island i.e go anti-clockwise. Chances of missing the signs are very low.

    Here's an example near Roscoff, note the two blue arrows, one on the approach and another at the island. And the lane helpfully curves to the right for the last 10m so it's very difficult to get it wrong.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,457 ✭✭✭✭ josip

    This year for the first time in 10 trips, we crossed France with a toll tag (ATMB as recommended on here by a Boardsie).

    Although it was a short route (Cherbourg-Strasbourg) we still encountered 12 peages, some of which the usual toll payer even managed to remain asleep for.

    It was late evening and queues were minimal with at most 2 cars per queue, so the time saving per peage was 1-2 minutes.

    All the peages we passed through this time enforced no more than 30kph, so it's not quite as efficient Ireland's 50kph+ drive through lanes.

    Larger newer peages I think have faster drive-through lanes if my memory serves me right.

    I was very happy with our tag and am looking forward to using it on the way back.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,976 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato

    Yes the merging lanes in France can be very short (whereas Germany goes for ridiculously tight exits.)

    You're actually expected to move out of the right-hand lane at an on-slip if possible, to allow traffic in. Not sure if that's actually the law but it's certainly the custom.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,046 ✭✭✭ silver2020

    Also keep in mind that there are some very strict rules for driving there.

    You must have your documentation - driving license, insurance (green card required?)

    You must have a range of items - warning triangle, reflective bibs, and others.

    Spare bulbs are not mandatory, but if a bulb is not working and you don't have a spare, you get a hefty fine - payable on the spot.

    Its 20+ years since I drove there, but you get used to the "wrong side" of the road fairly quickly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,976 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato

    Green cards haven't been required in the EU for many years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 634 ✭✭✭ spuddy

    I believe you're referring to the "carte grise", rather than the green card, which is the log book.

    I lived (and drove) in France for several years. There's little in the way of a laissez faire attitude when it comes to documentation, so get everything in order, just in case you need it, including your log book.

    Watch out for "priorite a la droite" (, keeps you on your toes in urban areas! Use your watch as a reminder as to which side of the white line to stay on (assuming you wear one on your left hand!). On motorways/dual carriageways, it's a breeze driving on the other side.

    In general it's enjoyable driving in France, the roads are really well maintained, drivers have excellent lane discipline, and most of the rules of the road are the same. The scenery can be stunning too. My ultimate accomplishment was doing a few rings around the Arc de Triomphe, not recommended for a first trip though!

    Bon voyage

  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ daddy_boy


    I thought I would report back on a recent trip I did to France in late October with the view of helping other boardies looking to a “road trip”

    I drive a MS 2017 90D with enhanced autopilot, CCS upgrade, MCU 2, premium connectivity and free supercharging.

    I tend to drive at the speed limit (+/- 5% ) on A and B roads, Motorway I tend to drive at the limit sometimes + 5/10%

    Day 1

    Arrived in Cherbourg (19:00 hrs), 3 hrs late as the ferry had technical problems leaving Rosslare, and then sat in the car for 45 mins on the top outside deck as somebody on the lower deck hadnt returned to their car and the ramp between floors couldn't be lowered. Eventually left the port gates at 20:15 hrs. Luckily wasnt driving a yellow reg as they all seemed to be getting pulled.

    At this point I was approx 4 hrs behind schedule and had a 9 hour drive ahead of me with a ETA of approx 05:00hrs. The forecast for the night was for high winds ( 50+ km/h) and rain – lots. I wasn't looking forward to it,

    The route was Cherbourg – Caen (SuC) – Le Mans(SuC) – Poitiers(SuC) – Niort(SuC) – Saintes(SuC) – Bordeaux

    At least I wouldn't have to get out of the car in the rain and pay the peage as I had got a bip n go tag – wrong the tag didn't work. It started working the following day, I suspect somebody had to press a button somewhere to activate it. Arrived in Bordeaux at 05:15

    Day 2

    Todays route was

    Bordeaux – Carcassone Airport – Narbonne

    4 h 30 min 400km

    On the road by 08:30 full of caffeine No problems lovely sunny day and the toll tag worked a treat, picked up my passengers at Carcassone Airport told them I was running 2 hrs late because of the ferry delay. Arrived in Narbone and spent the rest of the day relaxing charged in Langon, Toulouse and Narbonne.

    Day 3

    Todays route was

    Narbonne – Perpignan

    40 mins 65 km

    No problems Toll tag worked and plenty of electrons on board.

    Parked the car up and left it alone for 2.5 days

    Day 6

    Todays route was

    Perpignan (Suc) - Carcassone Airport – Narbonne (SuC) – Aix-en-Provence (SuC) - Aire de Vidauban (SuC) - Nice

    7 hrs 600 km

    A nice run meet 2 other MS ( Red and White ) on the A8 motorway and travelled in convoy for approx 50 km, that was fun. Arrived at the hotel which had a destination charger, the concierge offered to park the car put hadn't driven a Tesla and was a bit wary, so I told him to jump in the passenger seat and showed him controls and drove into the car park. The three chargers where all in use ,a Zoe BMW Hybrid and a M3.I wasnt panicking because I still had approx 20% left, , he said he would find out whose cars they where and would get them moved and would let me know when he had done so, 1 hour later got a phone call saying a space was free and plugged it in for the night. The zoe had been moved, if it had been my decision I would have got the hybrid to move.

    Day 7

    A quite day with approx only 100 km covered, Got back to the car park BMW and M3 still plugged in looked like they hadn't moved all day.

    Day 8

    Todays Route was

    Nice – Aix-en-Provence (SuC) – Orange (SuC) – Vienne (SuC) - Aire du Poulet de Bresse(SuC)

    7 hrs 630 km

    A nice comfortable day left at about 10:30 missed the rush hour traffic and arrived at 18:00 hrs ish

    One criticism is that some of the French drivers are very aggressive in pulling up very close behind you and will nip into the smallest of gaps you leave in front of you.

    Day 9

    Todays route was

    Aire du Poulet de Bresse (SuC) – Dijon(SuC) – Auxerre(SuC) - Thiais(SuC) - Paris

    A nice easy drive but I left late and hit the rush hour in Paris, absolute nightmare took me 90 mins to do approx 10 km.

    Spent two days in Paris Parked the car and left it with 60% and sentry on, lost a few electrons , but nothing to panic over, Drove to Calais get the euro tunnel and then the ferry at Fishguard.


    4516 km

    1012.9kWh (free)

    224 Wh/km



    1,888.7 Km

    My main advice is get a Toll Tag.