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French Connections

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  • Don't cross the road before lunch

    "That driver tried to run us over because we're English!" our visitor claimed with wide-eyed indignation. "How did he know you are English?" I asked. "Well, he must have, and he nearly got us!"

  • Driving through France this year?

    Halfords have just launched a range of special offers on everything you need for a long drive through France, from storage and safety to comfort and entertainment.You may not be aware that when driving in France, the following items are compulsory:
    • Spare bulbs
    • GB Sticker or Euroflag Number Plate
    • High Visibility Jacket
    • Headlamp Convertors
    • Warning Triangle
    It is also recommended you take a First Aid Kit, and a Fire Extinguisher. All these items and more are available from the Halfords motoring store, where you can also save up to a third on continental driving accessories. If you are facing a long drive through France with the family, then Halfords also have some great deals on these driving products and accessories; Dont leave it till the ferry terminal - stock up on your driving accessories well in advance. For more help and advice, you can also see our guide to driving in France.
  • Driving to France this year? Great deals at Halfords

    Halfords have an online sale this month with great discounts on a range of motoring products suitable for driving to France.

  • Getting a French Driving Licence

    Yes I know… we all know…. We have to get a French Driving Licence if we are intending to stay in France, and we are supposed to do it within six months.

  • Happy 2014 holidays in France

    As soon as the shortest day has passed and festive celebrations are over, our minds turn to the exciting thought of holidays. Here at French Connections, we are unashamedly dedicated lovers of France – and millions of you agree that, as a holiday destination, France really has it all. It’s that perfect combination of being able to relax in the sunshine amidst beautiful countryside, lounge on unspoilt beaches, soak up the culture and history, enjoy exuberant festivities and celebrations.

  • Hiring a car? Paper UK driving licence counterpart invalid from 8 June

    From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard UK driving licence will no longer be issued by DVLA. Those already issued will, they say, be invalid.

    This does not apply to anyone who has only a paper licence, issued before cards came into use. It only applies to those with a card and a paper counterpart.

    This means that if you are hiring a vehicle on or after 8 June this summer and you are asked to provide evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), this will only be accessible online.

    The online service is free and known as the Share Driving Licence service. We can’t find a link for that yet on the DVLA website, but you can see a ‘View Driving Licence’ service through the link below and this indeed may be all you need. It’s still quite confusing!

    The service should be used by both paper and photocard driving licence holders. To log on, you need your National Insurance number and some of the digits of your licence number.

    Once you log on, you can download a summary of your licence record which can be printed or shared. You will also receive a unique code to present to the car hire firm when you arrive to pick up the car. The car rental firm will then be able to use the code to access your driver's record from the DVLA website.

    However, the code will be valid for only 72 hours, so those leaving home more than three days before they are due to collect their car will have to find a way to access the DVLA site from abroad.

    The big car rental firms will hopefully make all their local offices familiar with this service once it is in force – their representatives say that they are learning and testing, although they were given short notice of the change. Also, many car hire offices only want to see the card licence so this will not be a concern. However, we do advise that you print out your record and take it with you, together with your unique code.

    Hire offices can access the service online or by phone (except Sundays). There is a charge for phone calls.

    Let’s hope your experience leaves you as happy as the couple in our photo!

  • Speed up your autoroute journeys in France

    Have you ever been frustrated by the long queues for the tolls on French autoroutes at peak times? Well now you can buy the same tag that many French people use to go through the automatic payment lane indicated by an Orange 'T' over the lane as sanef the French motorway operator in northern France has now extended its Liber-t automatic toll payment service to UK motorists.

  • Spitfire over France

    A couple of months ago I had an excuse to visit my grandson in the Alsace, so instead of dashing up the motorway from Burgundy we decided to take the scenic route. This meant starting off on the National Road and then diverting onto country roads in pursuit of the River Doubs.

  • Taking your car on holiday to France

    autoroute2

    During the next few weeks, thousands of holidaymakers will be loading up the car and setting off to France. If you’re taking your car from the UK, check out our great deals for discount ferry crossings on all routes.

    Roads in France are generally high quality with little congestion outside big cities so driving can be a real pleasure, but some drivers may be daunted by the journey to reach their destination. Check out our helpful guide to driving in France, where you can also order European breakdown cover, and remember these key points:

    •    The excellent network of motorways or autoroutes are identified as A roads. Most are toll roads with fees payable by cash, credit card or electronic toll tags. The tags take you automatically through special barriers and can avoid queues. We've made it easy for you to order a Liber-T tag from Sanef in advance of your journey. The company has UK customer service, the tag keeps a record as you go and bills your UK bank account.

    •    Main non-motorway routes or routes nationales are identified as N roads. A good choice if you want a break from motorway driving or to see more small towns, villages and scenery. Road numbering can be confusing so best to follow destination signs.

    •    Avoid seasonal congestion at the beginning and end of August when most French people holiday en massse. Also avoid if possible the days around July 14th and August 15th, both big national holidays. HGVs are banned from the roads on Sundays all year round.

    •    Direction signs starting with Bis indicate bison futé, a holiday route avoiding crowded roads. Worth taking at busy times like summer Saturdays. Maps are available free from garages.

    •    Unless otherwise indicated, the speed limit is 50 kph in built up areas, 90 kph on other roads, (80 in the rain) and 130 kph on autoroutes (110 in the rain).

    •    Carry your insurance, car log book and driving license with you at all times whilst driving. It is an offence to not to do so. Also carry first aid kit, triangle, visibility jacket and two breathalysers. Be sure to use headlamp adjusters.

  • The joys of French motorways

    As spring sunshine gets the feet itching, I’m drawn to the idea of leaping in the car and heading down through France – and the prospect of the journey on French motorways.