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Jamesek

Planning our first trip to france via ferry

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1 minute ago, Jaydug said:

Not possible on many modern cars.    Some require the front bumper panel being pulled forward before the bulbs can be reached.

That won't stop them from immobilising your car if they are so inclined

 

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I carry a box of spare bulbs with me, but I bought them a few years ago and they're not likely to be any use for my current car which is equipped with LEDS.  No one has ever asked me to show them my bulbs and I've never met anyone who has encountered any problems of this sort so I think I'll continue to take my chances.  I've only been stopped once, at 2. 00pm on a Sunday, I was asked to blow a breath test.  I expect that they often catch folk at that time but they were wasting their time on me as I rarely drink during the day and never if I am going to drive.  I hope that the OP has a good trip an doesn't have nightmares about light bulbs or ampoules as the French call them!

John.   :)

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1 hour ago, Wallace said:

One would hope that in the intervening 7 years since that was done they have taken action to rectify that.

It would appear that they still think it is law,yesterday:

Box of bulbs obligatory
Captain Arnaud Pelletier recalls the obligation to have a box of bulbs in his vehicle because it must be possible to change on site if one of them is defective.  

Yesterday they did spot checks on the A 84 for defective lights.

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Let's not get too wound up about this. In almost 8 years of living here I have been stopped by the Gendarmerie once, in a routine, stop-everyone after-lunch breath check. They asked to see my paperwork but nothing else.

If you're here on holiday you're unlikely to be driving much at night so the only lights you're likely to use much are your brake lights and indicators. To most french drivers, indicators are an optional extra but you might want to take a spare brake-light bulb with you and check they're working from time to time. If you DO happen to be caught in a routine check and they DO ask to see if your lights work, as a tourist you're unlikely to feel the full force of the law; they're much more interested in apprehending drunk, drugged, and/or speeding drivers.

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Think about the time you want to cross the channel.  I see you are in Merseyside, so you have a few hours to get to Dover before your holiday begins. We have done this several ways; when the children were small we travelled to Dover and caught a midnight ferry which meant once in the other side the children slept and we shared the driving. We got where we wanted in France for our first stop and relaxed. Husband got things sorted and slept then whilst me and childre did some food shopping; this is ok for a first night stop.  We've also done the travelling down to Dover staying overnight at Blackhorse site and getting a 6am ferry/tunnel and getting where we want in France.  Now we like finishing work getting down to the tunnel and crossing about 8. 30 and driving about 40 mins from Calais and stopping then. This way I feel I have a better night's sleep as not waiting for an alarm to go off!!!  We also have no children with us now!  If they want to visit now, they tend to look what the weather is like and just fly to us!!! There are various permentations for your journey, look at all options which suits you and your family.  I've just given you some of mine for you to consider.  

Whatever your choice just relax and enjoy it  - it's your holiday! 

Bergamo

 

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1 hour ago, KNARF said:

It would appear that they still think it is law,yesterday:

Box of bulbs obligatory
Captain Arnaud Pelletier recalls the obligation to have a box of bulbs in his vehicle because it must be possible to change on site if one of them is defective.  

Yesterday they did spot checks on the A 84 for defective lights.

It doesn't really concern me personally given any fine they could levy for not having a bulb kit would be illegally applied.

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1 hour ago, Leedslad said:

I carry a box of spare bulbs with me, but I bought them a few years ago and they're not likely to be any use for my current car which is equipped with LEDS.  No one has ever asked me to show them my bulbs and I've never met anyone who has encountered any problems of this sort so I think I'll continue to take my chances.  I've only been stopped once, at 2. 00pm on a Sunday, I was asked to blow a breath test.  I expect that they often catch folk at that time but they were wasting their time on me as I rarely drink during the day and never if I am going to drive.  I hope that the OP has a good trip an doesn't have nightmares about light bulbs or ampoules as the French call them!

John.   :)

I have also only been stopped once.   Pitch black, country lanes cross road.   About 6 police.   I opened the window and this very large sargent leant in and said, "Good evening sir, we are the French Police.   Please blow into this bag".  It was quite funny, they were very polite and I was all clear.

Another time on a very straight road two police stepped out well ahead of me.   But soon retreated when they realised I was foreign.

And another time I was unlucky enough to be first off the ferry at Dieppe, so no one to follow.   Trying to find my way out I went wrong but corrected my mistake  then looked in my mirror to see a snake behind me all following my mistake.   I got to the Gendarme.   He was all on his own and asleep.   He awoke with a start and waved me through.

Its these little adventures which can make the holiday memorable.

John

 

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Never been stopped over there but I always think it’s good manners to carry everything already mentioned.  

You wouldn't enter someone else’s house and ignore their rules.  

We love the place and can’t wait to go back. Always try and speak French, mine is awful but when they see you trying they couldn’t be more helpful.  

Love the bakeries and the driving and the scenery and the markets, I could go on and on. Just hitch up and enjoy, it’s a far more relaxed place than the UK.  

 

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1 hour ago, Wallace said:

It doesn't really concern me personally given any fine they could levy for not having a bulb kit would be illegally applied.

Easier to spend the £7 on a bulb kit and not have the hassle either way. That’s my view anyway, plus the fact they are actually useful if you have a blown bulb.  

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20 minutes ago, John W said:

Easier to spend the £7 on a bulb kit and not have the hassle either way. That’s my view anyway, plus the fact they are actually useful if you have a blown bulb.  

Indeed, as I said further up the thread it's logical to carry one.

The problem for some though is that, for the purposes of replacement when you have HID headlights its not quite as straight forward as just carrying a £7 bulb kit.

I carry one but it doesn't include my headlight bulbs, just a std. Halogen bulb which fits other variants of my car. So technically I'm not complying with their 'rule' and could still have a copper ignorant of the actual law try to fine me.

Edited by Wallace

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French police do not expect motorists to have the ability to replace bulbs beside the road these days but keep a few spare bulbs if some bulbs on car & caravan can be easily replaced & then you are covered. Same as breathalysers & Crit air stickers. May or may not be law but saves a possible argument in French if you do have them & they don’t cost much.

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11 minutes ago, CommanderDave said:

It is also worth remembering using hands free mobiles is banned in France .

 

https://about-france. com/highway-code. htm

Dave

It's OK if you have voice command/dashboard holder but no headsets of any kind unless they are hearing aids.

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1 hour ago, KNARF said:

It's OK if you have voice command/dashboard holder but no headsets of any kind unless they are hearing aids.

French motorists all have phone holders - they have four fingers and a thumb and are attached to the driver's arm.  ;)

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1 hour ago, Chalky9 said:

French motorists all have phone holders - they have four fingers and a thumb and are attached to the driver's arm.  ;)

As do a large proportion of UK motorists:)

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2 hours ago, Laurent said:

French police do not expect motorists to have the ability to replace bulbs beside the road these days but keep a few spare bulbs if some bulbs on car & caravan can be easily replaced & then you are covered. Same as breathalysers & Crit air stickers. May or may not be law but saves a possible argument in French if you do have them & they don’t cost much.

Friend who is a long term resident says that,in his area, the police won't let you do anything to the car alongside the road but always    call a contractor to take the car to his garage,many cars need to have front wheel removed to fit new headlamp bulb anyway. .....however,it does appear that it is always the same man and he is rumoured to be the brother in law of the local police chief!

geoff

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The French police are not too keen about folk using a sat-nav which warns the driver about where the speed cameras are located and can become more than a bit animated about it so I always disable that bit of my trusty old Garmin!   :(

John.

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Further to my last comment.  Whereas our speed cameras are out in the open and painted yellow, the French paint their’s grey and site them in a more discreet way.  Our police will punish those who they find doing wrong, whereas French police will punish those who they catch doing wrong and may tend to be more ‘discreet’ in their methods.  A slight but significant difference!

John.

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1 hour ago, Leedslad said:

The French police are not too keen about folk using a sat-nav which warns the driver about where the speed cameras are located and can become more than a bit animated about it so I always disable that bit of my trusty old Garmin!   :(

John.

I'm not sure you're right about this. The french post warning notices ahead of most of their fixed speed camera locations indicating that there might be a camera in the vicinity. The sat-navs are just doing the same.

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They do post speed camera warning signs in the same way that we do, but their attitude towards the sat nav is different.

John.

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When we're in France our SatNav doesn't warn about speed cameras - but does flash up a warning about 'Danger Zones' which equates to the same thing, in that it always comes up where there are fixed speed cameras.   I guess this is actually against the letter of the law. ............. but how would they check?

I think there is a great deal of misinformation about how likely (in reality) it is that you will ever rub up against French police.   There are a lot of stories about them being out to target the British, or lurking with intent to cop somebody.    But to put 'being stopped by police' into perspective, we've now been driving in France on holiday for thirty-eight years, at least twice a year in the last ten years, and at least four or five times a year since 2015 when we bought a house there,  and we've never been stopped 'in anger'.  We have been stopped by police in the Languedoc at an autoroute peage, so that the vignerons of the area could present each motorist with two bottles of wine.   We have been stopped in a French village when a combine harvester had got stuck on a corner, and were given a hand-drawn map on a piece of paper, giving us an alternative route through the gendarmes friend's farm. ....................... and including instructions to turn left (not right) at the cemetery!   That's all.   We don't always absolutely obey the letter of the law, in that we've never had a breathalyser (but do carry spare bulbs) and we don't yet have a CritAir sticker (another pre-occupation of forum posters) - because if you're a good driver, stop at STOP signs, and don't speed, (or try to drive into major cities) then you won't attract attention.

Edited by ValA
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It is legal to have the Sat Nav warning of danger zones but not, as they used to do, warn you as you approached the camera location.

The danger zones can be several kilometers long and the camera could be anywhere in that zone.

They also have unmarked cars that can check the speed of traffic moving n both directions and mobile units that they park alongside the road that you could easily mistake for a normal trailer.

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10 hours ago, ValA said:

 But to put 'being stopped by police' into perspective,

I have been driving in the UK,USA,mainland EU and various other countries for 60+ years and have never been stopped by any police force anywhere.

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I seem to remember that TomTom spoke with the French Government about their law banning camera locations and agreed that they could warn of danger zones.

On the question of Crit d'air. Why would anyone need on if they were not going anywhere Paris or the other cities that use them which most won't.

We carry all original Doc's plus a scanned copy on my Google mail.

A box of spare bulbs they stay in the car all the time. Yellow jackets for everyone although I know we only need one. A triangle for both car and van and some out of date breathalysers and a GB badge for the back.

We went through a speed trap coming back from Mont St Michel. Plain car parked in the central Res with two officers sticking the gun out the window.

Not a problem for us, we did see a lot of cops about though but taking it steady none were interested.

Enjoy.  

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