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laurieco Apr 14th, 2017 01:11 PM

Good road map for Spain to France?
My husband and I will be flying into Barcelona in early September. The plan is to drive from there to the south of France, through the Pyrenees. Can anyone recommend a good road map for the area? I'm not sure if there is one map that will encompass northeast Spain and the south of France. We plan on concentrating on Provence, countryside and small towns rather than Nice and the Cote d'Azur.

Another question: is driving through the Pyrenees scary, with hairpin turns on narrow roads with no guardrails? If so, we may be better off taking the train from Barcelona and renting a car in France since I'm always convinced we are going to die when on roads like that, and I drive DH nuts with my foot on an imaginary brake and constant chant of "slow down, slow down," even when he is going 20 mph. Or, I could get a prescription for Valium! We will have to go back to Barcelona for our flight home as well.

PalenQ Apr 14th, 2017 01:17 PM

Another question: is driving through the Pyrenees scary, with hairpin turns on narrow roads with no guardrails? >

depends where you drive thru but the route via La Tour de Carol is fairly low-level and main roads that would not scare or unnerve the average person. This route leads to the Toulouse/Carcassonne area.

The coastal roads too are not cliff hangers and are really mild and that is a classic drive from Barcelona - the Calanques (sp?) towns on the gorgeous coast.

Coullioure just over the border in France is one of several seaside gems there.

Bedar Apr 14th, 2017 01:22 PM

We always use the Michelin Motoring Atlas book for Spain, and they must have one for France. Every single little village is in there. Have fun on your trip !

PalenQ Apr 14th, 2017 01:27 PM

Yup I have the French Michelin Atlas and highly recommend it - can buy lots of places once there or individual Michelin maps - at gas stations, newsstands, etc.

laurieco Apr 14th, 2017 01:38 PM

So far, I've ordered this one since it has both countries and is a recent edition, but was thinking I should have more than one.

kerouac Apr 14th, 2017 01:47 PM

Along the edges of the Pyrénées, the roads to France are not mountainous. If you want to drive through the center of the Pyrénées, the roads are much more exciting. Some of them have tunnels through the scariest areas.

The Michelin maps are the best.

PalenQ Apr 14th, 2017 02:55 PM

Michelin maps are 1:200000 - much more detailed than that atlas (which is a good basic map all that the average traveler needs) because I enjoy most details possible- I think the Michelin Atlas of France is 1:20000000 but not sure -the yellow Micehlin maps are -if you will be in one area a lot buy them en route.

But I think that Phillips Atlas is all you really need.

laurieco Apr 14th, 2017 03:47 PM

Thanks everyone. I'll look for the Michelin Motoring Atlas for both France and Spain.

kerouac, when you say the roads are much more exciting, I take it you mean I will be slinking down in my seat and pressing my foot on that imaginary brake and pleading with DH to SLOW DOWN! Am I right? I'll look on the atlas for those tunnels.

About 18 years ago, we were driving in Tasmania down from Cradle Mountain on a terrifying (to me) road and I was doing exactly as I described above. I think DH wanted to throw me out of the car! When we finally got to the bottom, we pulled into a parking lot to see a site called "The Nut" and I opened the door, stuck my head out and threw up! Last March/April, we were back in Tasmania and drove down that same road, but this time I took Valium before we set out. I was calm, and DH wasn't thinking of divorcing me.

Tulips Apr 15th, 2017 12:00 AM

Laurieco, so take over the driving; you don't get carsick when you are the one driving and in control. When we're driving in mountains, I do most of the driving. I find that roads seem 'scarier' when someone else is driving.

We use the detailed Michelin maps, the yellow ones, for France. They are small and easy to pack. I like to see the whole area in one view, rather than in an atlas.

Have a good trip!

WoinParis Apr 15th, 2017 01:51 AM

I do manage to get carsick when driving.

rhon Apr 15th, 2017 01:57 AM

We have always used the Michelin road atlas. A lot of people recommend the individual maps for each region. It depends on how long your tip is. Last year we were in France for ten weeks . We stayed in seven different regions and passed through several other regions. So for us one resource is the answer.
We spent two weeks in the Pyrenees last year and did not find the roads especially alarming. How long do you have for this trip?
I am assuming you are Australian as we are? If you click on my name you can see my trip reports. In 2012(our own country roads) we stayed in the Aude (week 2).In 2014 (on the road again) we stayed in Provence and l'Herault. Last year (country roads in Autumn) we stayed in the Pyrenees and in the region around Albi. All these regions can be considered in the south of France.
Bon voyage.

StCirq Apr 15th, 2017 01:58 AM

I am a map freak and agree that the Michelin ones are the best, but I also love the IGN maps. If it were me, the map freak, I'd have two maps (whether Michelin or IGN) for each country. And yes to taking over the driving. I am a big huge mess when DH (who is a very cautious driver) is at the wheel. When I'm driving, it's all fine.

I wouldn't use the Michelin atlas. For whatever reason, I always find myself needing to know something very specific that's on the crease between the pages, and it's not funny.

Before you take off go to a French pharmacy and buy some PC Sédatif. It's OTC. Take two before the drive and enjoy. This is how I survive driving in rural France.

kerouac Apr 15th, 2017 05:02 AM will help you in planning ahead.

SemiMike Apr 15th, 2017 07:53 AM

For those of you not attached to paper, give some consideration to the electronic maps at They are getting better all the time, and are all downloaded, and so produce no data/phone charges. I have not completely broken away from the Michelin atlas and a stand-alone GPS, but is getting me closer to it.

Robert2016 Apr 15th, 2017 09:38 AM

There are three Michelin Regional Maps of France you might want: #525 Midi-Pyrenees, #526 Languedoc-Roussillon and #527 Provence-Alps-French Riviera, if you plan on getting that far. There is also a Zoom Map of Provence, #113, that covers map covers the area and the cities of Montpellier, Montelimar, Avignon and Marseille.

On the Spanish side, you can consider Aragon Catalonia Regional Map #574. A Zoom Map for the Spanish side is #146, Pirineos Orientales/Pyrénées-Orientales.

kerouac Apr 15th, 2017 10:18 AM

I need to spread out a yellow Michelin map on the bed at the hotel to plot routes for the following day. No downloadable map will ever give me that.

Bedar Apr 15th, 2017 11:06 AM

Amen, Kerouac. We need to see the big picture !

StCirq Apr 15th, 2017 12:54 PM

Yep, big paper map spread out on whatever surface is available. Love the old-fashioned way to navigate.

Smeagol Apr 15th, 2017 01:25 PM

Laurie what are your stop off points- along the way ? we have done Barcelona to northern Spain many many times, this year we are driving UK to Costa Brava!!!!

Smeagol Apr 15th, 2017 01:26 PM

Pal - do you actually means Cadaques?

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