Which Maps To Buy for France

Jan 2nd, 2013, 07:14 AM
  #1  
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Which Maps To Buy for France

I am trying to figure out which Michelin maps I need to buy for our upcoming trip to France.
I know I need #329 for the Dordogne and #113 for Provence. We will also be staying for two days near Rocamadour and visiting the villages around that area (Autoire, Carennac, etc). So I am assuming I need the Lot map too?

We will be driving from Rocamadour to Uzes with a quick stop in Carcassonne. Do I need any certain maps for that drive, or can I just print viamichelin directions?

While in Uzes, we will be visiting Provence for the most part. Will I need the Gard map?

Thanks for your help!
Digbydog is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 07:25 AM
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Unless you want to have those maps ahead of time you can buy any of them at a myriad of places once there - cheaper probably - like at gas stations - and there are also the IGN - the official French mapping agency maps that I prefer to the Michelin maps as they are in larger scale I believe and show more things.

The IGN maps are also widely available locally.

Check out the official site - National Geographic Institute of France:
http://www.ign.fr/
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 07:35 AM
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hi digby,

unless you want very detailed maps for walking or biking, the michelin ones can be quite difficult to follow as they are too large scale when driving.

i would always want a map, and not just trust to directions, even michelin ones, but the maps they sell at petrol stations will generally be fine just for driving around, and they are up to date. i would only invest in the more detailed ones for places where i was going to be spending a few days or more.
annhig is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 07:52 AM
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I suggest you wait until you get to France and look at the choice of atlases which I think would have all the detail you need in one spiral-bound book.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:00 AM
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Don't know if you're starting your trip in Paris, but we bought all of our maps at FNAC there.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:07 AM
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You only need those detailed Michelin maps if you're going to be driving on all D roads and dirt tracks in the hinterlands. For something as simple as driving from the Dordogne to Provence, any simple road map will do. And they are easily and cheaply available from any maison de la presse, bookstore, gas station, or supermarket. Or, as Cathinjoetown says, just buy the Michelin atlas of France.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:08 AM
  #7  
 
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There are several maps that are good for driving in France, such as IGN series, Blay Maps and Michelin maps among others. My preference is for Michelin maps. I use nothing but the 1:150,000 or 1:200,000 scale Michelin maps when driving in France although these aren't going to help you in cities or towns as they won't have enough detail. But for getting from place to place I've never had a problem finding my way anywhere in France with these maps. I also find them quite handy for exploring the smaller country roads and off the beaten path places. As mentioned, the Michelin maps are quite easy to find here. The maps aren't that expensive (about 5 to 7 euros) and I always have them for any region I'm exploring and even regions I may just pass through. GPS is also a good idea, especially for city/town driving. If you buy the Michelin atlas, mentioned above, you'll have all of France at your fingertips, plus, in the back of the atlas there are maps of many of the major towns/cities.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:24 AM
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I found Michelin #337 Lot, Tarn-et-Garonne useful for visiting south of Rocamadour-Figeac, Pech-Merle, St Cirq Lapopie, Lot and Cele valleys, etc. Autoire and Carennac are covered in #329.
The areas surrounding Uzes are well covered by #113. You don't need a Gard map. All maps available on Amazon for $9.95 each.

For drive Rocamadour to Uzes you don't need a map, viamichelin directions will suffice. I like to have AAA map of France for overview, available at AAA offices for $1.95.
dugi_otok is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:36 AM
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the other good way of navigating cities and towns is to consult your trusty michelin Red guide.

it has detailed plans of all cities and most towns including parking places and routes in and out.

I've found it invaluable in negotiating one way systems, finding places to park, decent restaurants etc. and because they rarely change the centres of cities, it doesn't matter if your edition isn't exactly up to date. [mine's 2003; I might get a new one for our next trip].
annhig is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 09:44 AM
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And there is GPS now even on rental cars - why need a map - yeh you may find it nice but is it even needed anymore?
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 10:20 AM
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well, Pal, I certainly need mine.

ok, it may be a security blanket, but in Germany last year it was invaluable when the satnav put us in the middle of a road and kept telling us to turn round and go the other way. and I like being able to look at it as we go along and being able to see what there is in the area that we might be interested in.

you can't read a satnav.
annhig is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 10:28 AM
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annhig - I am old school too - well old old school and love to just peruse a Michelin or IGN map before the day's trip - just to see what lies ahead, hard to do with GPs - but the point was that normally GPS is what younger folk need and at least here only want.

The other day when I was showing a Korean PhD student here my printed atlas book he asked me "you really use maps?"
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 11:49 AM
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You might need only regional maps, or even just a map of southern France.

http://www.thesavvytraveller.com/ins...ional_maps.htm
Michael is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 12:23 PM
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Thank you all so much for your quick replies! I definitely want a map in addition to a GPS. (Some on this board, in fact, have said not to bother with a GPS.) I don't find a GPS entirely reliable here, and I have read of lots of problems using one in France.

We will be driving around the Dordogne for a week, from Sarlat to the usual places of interest--Beynac, Lascaux, Domme, etc. And driving around villages in Provence for a week. Will a map from a gas station be sufficient? I have Stu Dudley's guides, and he was the one who suggested the Michelin maps, specifically the ones with a scale of 1:160,000.

It sure would be easier to have an atlas than fool with lots of regional maps if that will have the roads we need. But I don't want to wait until we arrive in Paris to buy one, as we will arrive in Paris on a Sunday when stores may be closed.
Digbydog is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 01:12 PM
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On some trips to France we've rented a GPS. I use to determine what intersections are coming up in the next 200 meters or so, where gas stations are located, etc.

I use the Michelin 300 series maps to highlight (in magic marker) places we want to visit - like villages, castles, caves, scenic roads (not always the roads shaded in Green on the map), lavender fields, canyons, waterfalls, notable farmer's markets, villages/cities with restaurants we want to check out, etc. I do this before we leave home for vacation so that I can determine what places are close to each other. This way I can visit them "efficiently". The Michelin 300 series maps also carry the Michelin "star" rating for sites - so if we pass a "starred" city I can look up the city in the Michelin Green Guide to determine if we want to stop. When we are "exploring" an area, I'll often make notes on the map like "interesting" city, "very scenic" drive. I use these notations to specify the exceptional sites in a region so that I can include them in itineraries I send to people on Fodors. Also, when I encounter a road sign that says "Brive" (or some other city), I can look up where Brive is on the Michelin Map and determine if the place I want to go to next is on the route to Brive or not.

Last year in the Pays Basque, we were driving to San Sebastian, and the GPS told us that we were driving through a corn field (or something like that) even though we were on a major road that had lots of commerce on it.

I like to personally make the choice of routes - not leave it up to a GPS, which has no idea as to where "scenic" roads are located, (as far as I can tell).

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 01:19 PM
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<>

Are you going immediately somewhere else (the Dordogne?) or staying in Paris first? Can't you at least figure out whatever leg(s) of the trip you need to ahead of time, then buy the atlas when you get there? There's no pressing immediate need for an atlas - start planning with a decent roadmap of France, then buy the atlas when you're there and the stores are open.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 01:21 PM
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>>On some trips to France we've rented a GPS. I use to determine<<

I use "it" to determine
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 01:32 PM
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The reasaon to use maps vs. GPS is because you can look at all the icons on a map to see touristic sites mapped out and also just to wander and get lost on the tiny country back roads. Michelin maps (and some other maps) have icons for chateaux, churches, Roman sites, megaliths, scenic roads and a whole host of other features. Yes, there are several features GPS offers that a map doesn't (find an address, hotel or restaurant) but there are also several things you can do with a map that a GPS can't.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 03:00 PM
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<>

but there will be plenty of Hachette type newsstands open - in the airport and train stations and all over Paris that sell maps on Sundays - many smaller stores are open - no problem buying maps like that on Sunday - go to any train station newsstand if nothing else.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 06:21 PM
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Michelin makes an atlas of France at 1:200,000 that covers the whole country with enough detail to get around anywhere in the country. It's on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/France-Micheli...pd_sim_sbs_b_3

http://www.amazon.com/France-Micheli...pd_sim_sbs_b_4

The second one is large format, which means it is harder to drive off the edge of a map.
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