Driving in Europe

Feb 28th, 2004, 05:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Driving in Europe

Is anyone familiar with driving from France to Switzerland? We are going to be leaving from Brive (in central France) to Shaffhausen in northern Switizerland. The directions that Michelin gives seem rather complicated. A lot of different turns. We want to keep to the main roads if possible and avoid cities like Basel in Switzerland s and Lyon in France. Also, do you know where to get the special stickers for the car as soon as you get into Switzerland. Its a kind of road tax. Also, are gas stations open late hours like in the States? Many thanks.
advancer is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 06:21 AM
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When I punch in Brive & Schaffhausen in ViaMichelin.com, the route they give doesn't go through Lyon. Instead, it crosses somewhere south of Dijon and pick up the motorway there.

And you'll be on a Motorway (A2/E25) through Basel. I don't know about traffic, but you can't avoid all large cities.

Your alternate route is go further South to go around Lyon and then through Geneva and Bern. So, you'll see some cities either way.

Get a real map to know the general route. The "turn by turn" directions from online guide is way too complicated and useless, as they'll tell you every ramp, every route number change, even though you are on the same road for miles. Same with mapquest.com for the US. They are good for general route planning and perhaps in-town directions, but don't follow them on the highway or you'll be reading and worrying about every exit...
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 06:28 AM
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<<keep to the main roads if possible and avoid cities>>

I do not understand the paradox of this statement. The "main roads" are the ones that connect between "cities".

You can buy the "stickers" (vignettes) at pretty much every border crossing to Switzerland that I have ever seen.

And no, gas stations in general are NOT open late into the night as they are in the US.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Best advice (IMHO) - Get a michelin map or two and just plot it out. We drove from Provence to Annecy via mostly back roads (or we could have used the A2). A mix of the two would have been great.

You'll find the driving very easy (and lots of fun). Just note, the Europeans are VERY good drivers and seem to assume everyone is. Stay to the right except to pass, use your signal when turning AND passing. It's also amazing how much ground you can cover at 150+ kph.

We've found most of the highways go around the cities, the toll roads are expensive but often worth it, and you can get a decent meal at a highway rest area if necessary. The stations on the main highways are open late.

Don't know re: the tax stamp in Switzerland.

Have fun, be safe, drive fast!

BDM is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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Posts: 27
yeah you will need the green sticker if you are going to get in the freeways only, safe to buy it anyways,we rented a car in paris 2 yrs ago and went to south of france, switzerland, germany and north of italy..
dont forget to try the fondou cheese and visit the town of lyson, also teh best maps are the ones in little convenient stores on the french border before you get into switzerland. gas stations are open 24hrs in main roads but after certain hrs the lights are off, they are open but automatic machine, please make sure you have change, otherwise you will be giving a gift of sonme eurodollars to the car behind you...
enjoy your trip
visit town of Gstad where you can take a tour to see michael's jackson and elizabeth's taylor big ranchs..
gmante6309 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 06:54 AM
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i forgot to say that also if you have time and like castles, about 1 hr away from the border with switzerland there is a wonderful castle, economic, includes breakfast and owner is soo nice, broken english spoken, check his webpage, highly recommended if you like outdoors and a place to spend one or two nights only (dijon one hr away, safe roads)i think name is camarade la romagne, look it up in internet, you will NOT be disappointed
gmante6309 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 09:48 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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If you are on the Autoroute, you will be invited, i.e. told, to purchase the vignette or sticker for the Swiss road tax. You won't have to search for it.

If you are renting or leasing a car and you know you are going to Switzerland, simply tell them you want a car with the vignette. We've never had a problem with that. The vignette is good for a year and many rental cars already have them so you just need to request it. It will save you a few dollars. We paid around $35 back in 1996 before we knew this. (If you are on the back roads, you don't need the vignette. It's a tax for the Autoroute. If you don't have it, don't get on the Autoroute or you will be fined.)

Highly recommend the Michelin "France, Tourist and Motoring Atlas" for your trip. You can avoid the Autoroutes if you like. (We hate them.) We like the little roads that go through the pretty villages. You will need the equivalent map for Switzerland too.

For some odd reason, the roads are much better going North/South in France. You will be going East so you'll have more changing of roads. On the bright side, you should have a beautiful drive. You should be able to plot this yourself. Check Michelin and mappy.com. Print both out and check them with your map. You may follow one or the other or you may want to make changes. Exploring is part of the fun of travel and no matter where you go, you'll see beautiful sights.

Enjoy your trip.
SalB is offline  
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