Driving in France: what you need to know

Driving in France: what you need to know This article covers driving in France: paperwork, insurance, and how to obtain it. Buying a car. In case of accident. Items you are required to have in the car. If you are British, you may want to follow this link for regulations coming into place now that Great Britain is not part of the EU. DRIVER'S LICENSE: Generally speaking (because there are of course exceptions, this IS France) if you are in France for over a year and aren't European, French law requires you to have valid French driving papers for driving in France. This one year period starts on the date of your first carte de séjour. Etudiant status is one of the exceptions; as a student you can drive with your foreign license for the duration of your studies. Some US states and other countries allow an exchange of licenses, other states and countries do not and you'll be required to pass the French exam to obtain the French license. Keep in mind an exchange must be done with…
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Get out of Town: The Somme

The Somme department in the region of Picardy just two hours north of Paris, is not on the usual tourist circuit, but nevertheless has a ton of places to visit from natural sites to chateaux and the Somme battlefields of WWI. ALBERT You can put down temporary roots in the little burg of Albert with its picturesque park surrounded by typical brick houses. Albert also has a WWI museum that is located in a 230 meter long underground bomb shelter which gives a taste of the dampness of the trenches. In fact the last section of the tunnel is dark and sound and light are used to help you imagine being in a trench during WWI in the dead of night, under artillery fire. The neo-byzantine basilica, known as the Lourdes of the north, was originally built between 1885-1895, then destroyed in 1915. It was rebuilt in identical fashion in 1927-1931 by the original architect’s son. The golden virgin statue on the top of the dome was hit by a shell during the war and dangled in a horizontal p…
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Get out of town: A perfect week-end in Beaune

A perfect week-end in Beaune, Burgundy. A guest post by LifeExplorateurs.com Antoine and Violette are two travel addicts from France. Violette is from Provence and Antoine grew up near Paris, in Versailles. They are passionate about France but they also really wanted to travel the world together, which they did! They created LifeExplorateurs.com, a creative space where they express their passion for photography and film making, and where they write about travel, food, wine, party, art, museums, boring couple stuff and life in general. They are currently cycling around France in 80 days and one of their stops was Beaune. Below is an extract from their blog post with tips for a great weekend in Burgundy !

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At the heart of Côte-D’or in Burgundy, you might already know the city of Beaune is for the annual wine auction held in the Hôtel Dieu. Winemaking is an important part of life in Beaune, since the city is surrounded by some …
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How to get to the Paris airports ?

How to get to the Paris airports ? Going away is always fun ! However, going to the Paris airports can be a lot less fun … It’s always difficult to choose how to get there since there are so many options : bus, metro/RER, taxi…Here are all your best options so that you can easily choose according to your budget, how much time you have, etc. There are 2 main Paris airports – Orly and CDG (Charles De Gaulle) / Roissy so first make sure you know which one you’re going to ! Be careful if you ask someone for directions to get to Charles De Gaulle as you'll have to be a bit more specific... indeed if you ask for Charles de Gaulle some people may send you to Les Champs Elysées thinking you want to go "Charles de Gaulle Etoile metro station" which is on line 1 / RER C by the Arc de Triomphe!! Most Parisians refer to the Paris airport as "Roissy" which is the name of the town is in, so ask them how to get to "Roissy Charles de Gaulle". Confusing! For general Paris airports information…
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Vers des nouveaux clous?

Even before World War II in France, pedestrian crosswalks existed. They consisted of two white or yellow stripes, or two rows of «nails». The «nails» were parallel rows of slightly raised rounded disks of about 10 cm in diameter, they were held in place by a stem that was wedged in between the paving stones. They were shaped like giant nails and thus were called «les passages cloutés» or «les clous». In the 1960s the passages were standardized and the les clous were gone, but not before leaving behind the expression être dans les clous which means to follow rules and do what is expected. In American English you might say «to color between the lines» or «to stick to the script». The British might use «It’s all in the game». The French expression is likely to come from the crosswalks where law abiding citizens crossed traffic following the rules dans les clous. Now Paris is experimenting with new styles of crosswalks and pavement markings. Why experiment with new markings ? Appa…
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