Le Conducteur – Things Best Avoided

Written by Simon Renfrew

Empty roads are great, but they do bring their own (sometimes unwelcome) surprises. Deer, for instance – beautiful but stupid. There are thousands of them and, being French, they have zero road sense and delight in blasting out from cover directly into your path. Fortunately, most of the time they breeze by, leaving no sign of their passing - other than the residual adrenaline pumping through your system.

Gendarmes are more predictable and a little less likely to jump in front of your car. Also, they wear blue rather than brown. And they are rarely beautiful. Like bored teenagers, they tend to hang out together looking sulky, generally at the nearest road junction to their local Gendarmerie.

Other than when they have been entrusted with one of those new fangled speed guns, locals and UK plated cars tend to be left well alone – the latter because it’s too much like hard work, the former because you didn’t sign up to book your mum, aunt or cousin.

Black Saturday – an annual event on the first weekend of August, where, lemming like, all of France heads for the beach. Spectacular 50km long queues of dusty Renaults, Peugeots and Citroens sit baking on the auturoute, overflown by the same news helicopters which report the same thing every year. So it’s not a surprise - stay at home.

More helpful hints to come – bonne route!

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