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Some of the best driving roads in France to the Vendée

Road travel in France offers many options and has a very good road system with more than 965 000 kilometres of motorway alone. A time saving way to get to your destination for sure, but the “N”or National roads offer a truly French experience.

Road travel in France an extensive network makes it easy!

France has more road coverage than any other EU country with a total of over 965 000 kilometres or 600 000 miles of motorways, local secondary and main roads. A very good road system and some of the best driving roads in France accommodate all its visitors. And the Vendée is not exception to this.

Public transportation or fast trains between regions have their advantages, but travelling on the main roads gives you more freedom and is a bit more flexible. So, whether it be in your own vehicle, a rental car, on a motorbike or bicycle…. the region is yours to discover.

Here are details on the common road signs in France

You need to be aware that when driving in France road signs may be a little different to what you are used to. Below is a simple explanation to help you:

  • Motorways signs in France are classed as “A” or autoroutes and are blue
  • Main roads are “N” or national roads with green signposts
  • Secondary roads are “D” departmental roads have white signs (these are former national roads that have been downgraded)
  • European road numbers, these are white on a green background, whereas French road numbers are white on a red background

It is a good idea to have an up-to-date map of France with the new road numbers.

The main motorways in France when travelling to the Vendée

Several motorways or “autoroutes” in French, criss-cross the country from north to south and east to west.  Some motorways in France or “péage” charge a toll to use them. The price will be based on the distance you drive along this road. On entering the motorway, you collect a ticket, which you pay when you exit. You can pay in cash or by credit card in most cases. There are also toll-free motorways in France where no payment is required.

Driving distances and road numbers from

  • Paris - La Roche-sur-Yon - Les Sables d’Olonne : 450 km - A10 / A11 / A87 Motorways.
  • Paris - Le Marais Poitevin : 446 km - A10 Motorway (Paris - Niort) - A83 Motorway (Niort - Nantes, exit Oulmes or Fontenay-le-Comte).
  • Toulouse - La Roche sur Yon: 532 km - A62 Motorway (Toulouse - Bordeaux) - A10 Motorway (Bordeaux - Niort) - A83 Motorway (Niort - Nantes, exit La Roche-sur-Yon).
  • Rennes - La Roche sur Yon: 185 km - N137 - A83/dual carriage way Montaigu - La Roche-sur-Yon.

Driving times and distances from French Ferry ports

  • Roscoff - La Roche sur Yon 4 h 21 min (370,1 km) via N165,
  • St Malo - La Roche sur Yon 2 h 49 min (253,7 km) via N137,
  • Cherbourg - 4 h 14 min (415,7 km) via A84,
  • Le Havre - 4 h 40 min (450,9 km) via A28 et A11,
  • Caen - 3 h 46 min (366,4 km) via A84 et N137,
  • Calais - 5 h 59 min (637,3 km) via A28

Speed limits in France and a few road tips

Here are a few tips to help you on your way if it’s the first time driving abroad….

  • Remember all speed limits are in kilometres
  • Drive on the right-hand-side. (This may seem obvious but sometimes we can forget)
  • Watch for the different speed limits in wet and dry weather conditions.
Type of road Wet weather  Dry weather 
Toll motorway/autoroutes 110kmh/68mph 130kmh/80mph
Dual carriageway/4 voies 100kmh/62mph 110kmh/68mph
Other roads /N or D  80kmh/50mph 80kmh/50mph
Built-up areas 50kmh/31mph 50kmh/31mph

 

  • Be care about changes in speed limits (in town or cities)
  • Give way to the right – “priorité à droite” – sometimes in busy areas/cities at unmarked intersections priority is given to those coming from the right!
  • Using “N ” or “D” roads as an alternative. They can be quieter and toll free.

Read more about Driving in France