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Hi all,

Planning to take the family (wife & baby) on a 2 week drive from London through France. We have a 2006 Aventura and apart from headlight converter & safety kit, just wanted to ask people on the forum if there are any other things we should do to prepare and make the touring more comfortable?

If you have any tips on places to visit / 4WD whilst there - let me know.

Cheers!
 

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Off the top of my head you'll need Hi Vis vests for each person, spare bulbs and a fire extinguisher as part of your safety kit, and by law you should stop and assist any driver in need of assistance on the road.

Driving in France is a delight (compared to the uk!), motoways are generally two lanes away from the main towns and not busy with plenty of places to layby, some are pretty basic, just a toilet and pic-nic area but usually pleasant and about 10 - 20k apart, they'll be signposted as 'Aire de wherever' etc.
Be prepared for toll roads (Peage) if you want to use the motorway network, tolls vary depending the distance you travel but will save you time and fuel.
Spead cameras are few and far between and usually signposted in advance, so look out signs saying 'for your security' in french of course!!

Have a great trip. :biggrin:
 

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Does anyone happen to know if UK issued credit cards work on the french autoroutes? We always sit in the cash lane to avoid the long reverse in the event of the cards not working but the credit card queues can be much shorter. Also wonder if anyone has bought a telepeage payment thingy?

Thanks
 

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Yes your card will work, and also in automatic petrol pumps. The old cards, pre chip and pin, didn't work. Bit of a palaver getting out and walking round to the card reader though, or you might get your wife to do it.
 

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Hi
I drive in France at least 6 or 7 times a year. Try to avoid the August holiday rush. This is normally the first and last weekend of August. The roads can be very busy, especially at the tolls.
I have one of the toll tele peage sensors. Makes life so much easier and quicker. Once you get through the queues at the toll you head for the booth with the orange banner and pass everyone. Beware that some of the tele peage booths have a fixed height restriction of 2.2m.
If you Google Sanef, this is the company that runs the system, you can get some details, all in French though. For a small annual fee you get the sensor and just pay when you use a toll by direct debit or credit card once you get home.
Hope this helps.
Mark
 

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I have the Telepeage thing as well.

If I remember rightly it is 30EUR to hire - you get the money back when you send it back. Then 2 EUR per month you use it - IE if you don't use it, it doesn't cost. Direct Debit to Credit card.

For the 2 EUR cost you save the queues - which is a huge bonus especially at busy times. If the battery is low stop after some of the peage and go to the SANEF office. They will replace free of charge.

http://english.controleradar.org/speeding-fines.php - will give you an idea of how fast to drive. I tend to cruise (on the cruise control) at 145kmh - and have never been stopped by the police - even when cruising past their manned radar posts at that speed - much higher and you are tempting fate - IMHO. However in one late night run from Calais to Zurich I covered the 760km to Basel in 5:15 hours - including 2 fuel stops. The roadwork filled last 90km took 1:15!!!!
 

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Visit France quite often.
Hi vis vests now a must,keep them in the car so you can put them on before you get out,Froggie cops very keen on this in 2009.
UK credit cards ok for peage but some out of hours auto fuel pumps and car parks wont take sterling cards,difficult to get a Euro account these days but might be worth asking your Bank,some(Barclays)do a preloaded euro card.
Most service stations on M/Ways do good food(unlike UK)
Take care on last 50kms before French port,often Froggie cops parked up with blue estate car/van and mobile speed gun,hoping to catch you out cos you're late!! :frown:
 

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I would recommend filling up with fuel on a Saturday... just in case... the unmanned pumps are fickle on which cards work...

My only other top tip is to take a motorcycle over instead... much more fun :biggrin:
 

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Hi,

Couple of interesting thoughts:

The height restriction at the telepeage could be an issue for us as we always have a roof box on top of the Xtrail in france which would I guess take us over the 2.2 m but not by much.

There is also a comment about cruising speed, I must admit I set the cruise control to 130 kmph as per the sat nav ( Garmin not Nissan's) this is a higher speed than the 130kmph on the speedo and I am assuming (hoping) the sat nav is more accurate but would be grateful for views on that. Which is right??

The other thought is that a few years ago we were stopped late at night in a road block where everyone was being breathalised....this is something that does not happen here where the Police need a reason to stop you. Anyway we were on on our way back from a meal out and my wife and I had shared a 37.5 cl bottle on wine. Knowing the drink drive limits are less in France I was very scared; the whole expereince was unpleasant the Gendarme went to the drivers window - thinking we were french; my wife laughed which wound him up, handed me the machine while he smoked!! Came back clear but taught me a lesson never ever drink anything and then drive anywhere but especially in France.
 

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Another good site
http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.f ... Accueil.do

which catagrises the bad weekends. Generally driving in france is very good (except for the toll fees) but avoid first and last weekends in Aug, and also Accension day weekend mid Aug, we had a very bad do with this a few years ago. Was also caught up with the route one day for the Tour de France, biggest traffic jam that I have ever seen.

Few shops open sunday, and many close a lunch for their 2 hour lunch. We have french friends staying with us right now and they were surprised at the Sunday opening. Incedently, they are finding things very cheap here which reflects the strength of the euro, but not good for us in france.
 

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Thanks Chris, some good websites, mmm going down to the south on the weekend of Assumption and coming back on the last weekend in August. Have noticed before the French dont do really do early starts so will try to break the back of it from 05.00 to 10.00......wish us luck !!

At least the family find the Xtrail really comfortable, just as well got stuck at Calais last Easter in the fishermans blockade....sat in the queue at the port for 14 hours. Just about word perfect in the cars handbook now!!!!

:grin:
 

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Never tried the Telepeage slot for cars,usually in a 4m high Truck,so use the r/h lane as have a t/p box for the truck.Did see someone about a year ago try the car t/p with a 3.5 ton box van,peeled to the top off nicely :lol:
My Tomtom is spot on in the truck(which of course has the tach/speedo checked for accuracy regularly)but in the Xy indicates that the speedo is about 10% optimistic.In the uk I usually cruise at 85,assuming thats about 78 true(70+10%+2mph)but don't know if the Frogs use the % or the 2/3/kph speedo allowance.In France usually cruise the Xy at 145kph but stick to 120 if its wet or where the limit drops to 110,also stick religiously to the limits in built up areas/villages etc.If you pass a village/town name sign,regardless of whether there's a limit sign,assume it 50kph unless otherwise indicated,also now quite alot of 30kph areas where I think cycles/pedestrians have precedant.Whilst the old N roads are a delight to drive on if you're not in a hurry,they are slow because of all the speed limits and our inability to easily overtake in a R/H drive car.Enjoy your trip,you probably wont see many gendarmes because most,like the UK,seem to be in the Capital city!! :biggrin:
 

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Ooops sorry just seen your last post,so you're going in August,forget what I said about Gendarmes all being in Paris.In Aug Paris is empty and all the Parisiens will be out for their annual thrash around France,esp the South!!Suspect the G/Ds will also be out in force,the accident/death on the roads toll in Aug is a bit of a hot political potato and has been for years.Good luck!! :biggrin:
 

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Thanks for the thoughts on the sat nav.....another Milton Keynes X Trail owner!! Ours came from Glyn Hopkins, wondered if you had used them and what you thought.....I would go with average for the buying experience (when we went to pick it up they had not got the log book transfer slip...in fact it still belonged to Nissan UK and we had to wait three weeks for them to sort the transfer to them out before they could sell it to me......I would have thought they should have sorted that out before the date we were due to collect it. Servicing is expensive so I use an 3rd party garage in Bletchley. That said love the car so might use them again when I want to upgrade to the new shape.
 

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Hi am in Stony.Bought xy from Antelope/Banbury in Nov 2005.Nissan dealers then were at Wolvo,had a test drive there but they didn't want to sell to me,not surprised they went bust!!Only used GH once for 2nd service and 2 fuel filter replacements.At 2nd service they didn't do ,or ask if I wanted the F/F changing,or brake fluid(see service sheet ,it's extra)but reckon they charged for it anyway.2K miles later it went into limp mode.Antelope very helpful and knowledgeable,only sell Nissan,but bit of a nuisance as they're 40 mins each way instead of 10.I would use them again for a Nissan & have done for 1st,3rd and 4th service.They I/Dd oilleak from Intercoler at 3rd service and changed it under Warrenty.Think GH and probably others who sell/service loads of different makes not as 'good' as 'sole' agents.For same reason don't have wife's MX5 done by Pillings.With Xy now out of Gtee(except Turbo) may now use local garage,who do you use?Emailme if you want to chat/meet. :biggrin: Woodsie.
 
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