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Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

Melbourne, Australia
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Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

Hi, We are coming from Australia and plan on hiring a car in Tours to take a trip in the Loire Valley.

just 2 days. We drive on the left hand side of the road and I am having concerns about driving on the right hand side seeing we have never done this before. My husband actually and he would kill me if he knew I was writing this.

I would imagine that the roads wouldn't be too busy because it's in the country, right? Are there any road rules that are specific to France or any important information about travelling in the Loire. We have international licences which don't require any tests, easy to get, which is a bit of a worry.

I'd appreciate any help at all, or anyone with the same experience, thanks to all.

Tours, France
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1. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

Don't worry, you soon get used to driving on the right hand side of the road. It just requires a bit more concentration. Be especially aware if you pull over and stop on the left hand side of the road (for instance at a garage); if there is no traffic there is a risk that you will drive away on the left if you are not concentrating.

The main thing you need to be aware of is that in France there is still "priority to the right". This is an old rule going back years, that says that you must give way to another vehicle entering your road from your right.

At one point you could have had the ridiculous situation that a vehicle entering a main road from a farmtrack would have priority over cars driving down the main road.

France has now largely fallen into line with other countries, and usually traffic on main roads has priority over traffic entering from minor roads. However, you cannot take this for granted! If you are on a main road and you see a yellow diamond sign, then it means that on this strerch of road you have priority.

The main problem is in towns. If the road coming in on your right has a stop sign, or a white stop line across it, then you have priority. If however there is no stop sign or white line on the road coming in from your right, then it has priority.

In Amboise you need to be especially careful at the nothern end of the bridge across the Loire; where priority to the right operates.

However, don't let this put you off. Although you don't get too many Aussies driving in France, you do get a lot of Brits, and they also drive on the left back home; and they seem to cope.

Brisbane
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2. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

We have just returned from driving this area and are also from Australia. Here are a couple of tips. Hope it helps.

Tours is quite a large and busy city. We dropped our car off there at the Gare St pierre des corps where most of the rental companies have a depot. It is really conjested and hard to get a park so check other pick up points but avoid the city centre if possible.

We paid extra and got an automatic car. We thought it was hard enough paying attention to everything else without having to change gears on the oppposite side. It really was not that much extra.

The road system is really quite good. There are motorways and even the minor roads are in good condition. There seems to be a rule that you stay in the right lane unless overtaking and most people adhere to that so driving is quite orderly.

We found the motorways easier driving and the scenery it still nice. it is easy to pull off into smaller towns and villages.

We took our GPS loaded ith france maps. It was worth its weight in gold and saved many hassles and map reading problems. You still need to track your journey on a map but it makes getting around so much easier and quicker.

The Loire is a beautiful part of france and you must visit the main chatueax. We found a wonderful small hotel with a half board option in Limeray just outside Amboise and it was a fabulous place to base ourselves. The hosts were great and the food excellent. It is Auberge de Lunay. ( not sure if I have spelt that right I will look it up if you are interested.

Happy to answer any other questions.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

Thanks so much, we'll be looking up the road rules before we go but any info is a help. I booked Manloir les Minimes in Amboise and I saw that it had a large car park so it should be OK. Another reason I booked it is beause I wanted to be sure that we could walk to dinner, I have another post on this forum with just that question. I really want to minimise driving in any congested areas. I was going to book a car in Tours and take off from there. How did you manage that, were there any hassles? Thanks lily.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

Hi HenryandLily

My hubby didn't have any problems driving on the right side of the road in the US. It didn't take him long to get used to it. It's important to know specifics of a country's road rules so thanks for posting this question.

We are Aussies planning to hire a car from Tours in August. Just wondering do we need to get an international licence or are our Aussie licences sufficient?

Thanks

Jane

Tours, France
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5. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

You do not need an International Driving licence to hire a car in France, your Aussie licence will be OK.

This is the statement from the French Europcar hire car web site

europcar.fr/EBE/…

"Documents requis

Pour louer un véhicule, vous devez présenter un permis de conduire à votre nom, délivré par votre pays de résidence. Une carte de crédit valide vous sera également demandée. Une pièce d'identité, tel qu'un passeport, peut également être exigée et dans certains pays pour des véhicules de Prestige une seconde carte de crédit."

It says that to hire a vehicle, you must present a driving licence in your name, issued by your country of residence. A valid credit card is also required. An ID document, such as a passport, may also be asked for, and in certain countries, for luxury cars, a second credit card may be required.

Essex
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6. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

At least you won't have to worry about the possibility of a passing Roo jumping out in front of your car when you are whizzing down a dirt-track road!! This happened to me outside of Dubbo - made a change from Foxes, Badgers and Deer!!

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

Thanks Sunlover!

DFW, TEXAS
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8. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

Hi Henryand Lilly, I remember you from a post awhile back where you stood up agasinst the "Ugly American" comments by a poster and I replied stating I am tired of American bashing, well anyway I just wanted to say have a wonderful and safe trip. My husband and I were in the Loire Valley in 2006 and had a wonderful time, we stayed in Vouvray and saw I think 7 chateaus in the 3 days we were there. We didn't at that time require any special license other than our US drivers Lic. when we rented our car at the Gare St Pierre des Corps.

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

Thanks for the info, I thought we would have to have licences but i guess we'll be just fine according to all the positive comments. My hubby can drive and I'll look out the side window. Works for me.

Essex wanderer, you made me laugh, a dead roo is a common sight on the side of highways along with various other road kill.

Travelbug, you're a sweetie and I hope your trip is wonderful and full of adventures.

Cheers.

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Aussie drivers in Loire Valley. Yikes!

In 2006 I drove in England (left side) while in the US we drive on the right. The two biggest problems I had was turning right (left for you) as I wasn't used to looking for on-coming traffic for a right hand tour and judging distance. I'm used to juding the distance between my car and a parked car by looking right...it was harder doing the same judgement on the opposite side. I wouldn't suggest just looking out the window as your husband drives as I found my navigator to be invaluable in pointing me in the right direction.

Enjoy!