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Old January 27th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #481
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Good motorways, too many Peages!!!
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Old January 27th, 2009, 08:06 PM   #482
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Ljubljana - Millau: 1,230 km, not exactly a piece of cake either, but I'll make sure to find some other interesting things too see around.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #483
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What a spectacular drive! A obligatory route-to-drive-before-you-die for a roadgeek.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 09:13 PM   #484
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Quote:
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Ljubljana - Millau: 1,230 km, not exactly a piece of cake either, but I'll make sure to find some other interesting things too see around.
I'm planning a Switzerland - Brest trip. About 1.300 kilometers, but I might want to hang around in the Auvergne, so it's gonna be longer
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:17 PM   #485
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You sound like a real Francegeek, Chris? Am I right?

By the way, are you still planning to go to Slovenia?
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:29 PM   #486
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yeah, on a roadtrip with a friend of mine.

I start to love France more and more. However, I still have to work on my French, it faded quite a lot.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:29 PM   #487
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this motorway and attitude of that plateau allways surprise me! looking at the maps i allways thought about A75 as boring straight motorway
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:31 PM   #488
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No A75 is the best. 300 kilometers of pleasure from A to Z. It already starts from Clermont-Ferrand to Issoire with a journey through a gorge.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #489
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
yeah, on a roadtrip with a friend of mine.

I start to love France more and more. However, I still have to work on my French, it faded quite a lot.
I love France too
Je t'aime France aussi
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 02:48 AM   #490
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I'm planning a Switzerland - Brest trip. About 1.300 kilometers, but I might want to hang around in the Auvergne, so it's gonna be longer
The ultimate thing is a Menton-Brest trip.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 04:31 AM   #491
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
No A75 is the best. 300 kilometers of pleasure from A to Z. It already starts from Clermont-Ferrand to Issoire with a journey through a gorge.
The best part is from Issoire to Lodève. I hate the part from Clermont-Ferrand to Issoire. It wasn't meant to be so crappy. Initially they had planned to build a nice straight motorway up on the plateaux above the gorges, but the former president Giscard d'Estaing, who has an estate in the area, opposed it, so they just stupidly doubled the old national highway down in the gorges, which I find very dangerous and annoying. After Issoire, it's a brand new motorway (as it should have been between Clermont-Ferrand and Issoire), and that's the best part. In the uppermost part between Issoire and Séverac-le-Château, if you drive there in the end of summer on a non-busy day, you feel like you are so far away from cilization, I love the feeling.

But wait, the motorways are nothing. In France, the best thing is the 362,000 km (225,000 miles) of departmental roads (D something). I once drove from Montpellier to Albi in the end of summer around sunset, and since I wanted to avoid paying toll on the motorway I didn't take the motorway to Narbonne and Toulouse, and instead took a shortcut through the mountains on departmental roads. It was one of my most memorable driving experiences (and God knows I have driven some exeptional roads in California, but that one from Montpellier to Albi was just heavenly for some reason). First I took the A750 motorway between Montpellier and Gignac, which is a pure jewel, winding its way through rough terrain, with little traffic, so you can speed if you wish to, but beware of the curves! Then I crossed sleepy Gignac (there was no bypass at the time), and then I took the A75 as you did towards Lodève, the amazing Pas de l'Escalette climb, and then the wild Larzac plateau where the contrast with the Mediterranean foothills is incredible.

I then left the A75 at La Cavalerie (exit #47), and that's where the real adventure started! First the D999 towards St Rome de Cernon. As I arrived in sleepy St Rome de Cernon, it was starting to become dark, and three old Occitan ladies were sitting on a bench at the entrance of the village speaking quietly to each other. It felt like out of this world. Then I continued on the D999 towards St Afrique, passing by Roquefort, THE Roquefort where they produce the world-famous Roquefort cheese. In St Afrique, again sleepy lovely town basking in a warm summer evening, with a few people out and about in the streets. After St Afrique, I continued on the D999 towards St Sernin sur Rance. After St Sernin sur Rance, a really steep climb starts, with lots of curves, and the Mercedes that I was driving had trouble climbing that very steep road. After that steep climb you end up on a high plateau that dominates the entire region. I drove the last 38 km to Albi on that high plateau, with stars shining above me (no towns around, so no light polution), and pine (fir tree actually) forests around me, in contrast to the regions crossed before. I was almost alone on that plateau, at about 9pm, driving under the stars. It was heavenly!

That's what's great about driving in France: all the departmental and municipal roads everywhere that are worth discovering. In France there are 1,010,000 km (628,000 miles) of roads. That's the longest road network in Europe by far, going back to the French monarchy. A lifetime wouldn't be enough to drive them all. The motorways (autoroutes), of which there are only 11,000 km (6,800 miles), are just the tip of the iceberg. And because of the low population density in France, you can easily feel far away from civilization when you drive through the countryside.

Some departmental roads:





image hosted on flickr




A crazy project of mine someday would be to cross France from Dunkirk to Perpignan only on small countryside roads (white roads on Michelin maps). They usually have no markings on the road. They are the bulk of the 1 million km of roads in France.





image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


On a small road somewhere in Franch-Comté in Autumn:
image hosted on flickr


That's just a small sample of the 1 million km of roads that are waiting to be discovered.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 04:31 AM   #492
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Nice Pictures of the Back roads , but that Cattle Drive looks disturbing
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 08:52 AM   #493
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
Some departmental roads:



That's just a small sample of the 1 million km of roads that are waiting to be discovered.
Where is that one?

Mike
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 09:36 AM   #494
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I have travelled quite some D-roads myself to avoid tolls. Those old Route Nationales are okay, but if you travelled 80 kilometers in two hours, you want a faster road
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 03:40 PM   #495
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I like ordinary roads, but after an hour I'm fed up with them, cause it's too slow.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 03:55 PM   #496
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verso View Post
I like ordinary roads, but after an hour I'm fed up with them, cause it's too slow.
I'm not talking about the National Roads here. The National Roads are indeed boring. I'm talking about the small Departmental Roads that meander through the countryside and go through villages. You can never get bored on them. Plus they aren't slow at all, given that there is little traffic.

I mean, how can you get bored on roads like that where you're all alone as if the road belonged to you?

image hosted on flickr


I've driven miles and miles of roads up and down the hills of the Toulouse region, rarely crossing an incoming car.

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


Even the larger Departmental Roads in the Toulouse region are spectacular. This is a major Departmental Roads somewhere in the rolling countryside of Gers, with a great view of the Pyreenes mountain range in the distant horizon:



image hosted on flickr


There are no motorways crossing the Gers, so if you only drive on motorways, you will never see the Gers, one of France's most scenic departments.

image hosted on flickr

Last edited by brisavoine; February 2nd, 2009 at 04:17 PM.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 03:56 PM   #497
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
Where is that one?

Mike
That's in the Vercors area.

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Old February 2nd, 2009, 06:11 PM   #498
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I'm planning a Switzerland - Brest trip.
i have missed this. it would be really interesting because i'd really like to know what roads in Bretagne look like
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 06:20 PM   #499
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Me too, I've never been to Bretagne
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 09:46 PM   #500
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Me too, I've never been to Bretagne
I strongly recommend it. There are some great coastal roads.
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