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Driving in Aix-en-Provence

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Aix-en-Provence.

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Aix-en-Provence, like many parts of France, can be a bit challenging for newcomers. The roads are often narrow and winding, and the local drivers are known for their assertive driving style. It’s important to be alert and cautious, especially in the city center where pedestrians and cyclists are common.

2. Choosing the Right Car

Given the narrow streets and limited parking, a smaller car is generally recommended. Compact cars are easier to maneuver and park, and they’re also more fuel-efficient, which can be a significant advantage given the high cost of petrol in France.

3. Parking in Aix-en-Provence

Finding parking in Aix-en-Provence can be difficult, especially in the city center. There are several paid parking lots and garages available, but they can be quite expensive. Street parking is also an option, but spaces are limited and often require a resident permit. It’s advisable to consider accommodation with parking or look into long-term parking options if you plan to have a car.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in France with an international driving permit (IDP) for up to one year. After that, you will need to obtain a French driver’s license. It’s important to note that an IDP is not a standalone document; it must be accompanied by your valid home country driver’s license.

5. Obtaining a French Driver’s License

If you’re planning to stay in France for more than a year, you’ll need to exchange your home country driver’s license for a French one. The process varies depending on your country of origin. Some countries have reciprocal agreements with France, allowing for a simple exchange. Others require you to take a written test, a driving test, or both. It’s advisable to start this process well in advance of your one-year mark, as it can take several months.

6. Familiarize Yourself with French Road Signs and Rules

Before you start driving in Aix-en-Provence, take some time to familiarize yourself with French road signs and driving rules. Some signs may be different from those in your home country, and there are also specific rules about things like roundabouts and priority roads. Understanding these can help you navigate the roads more confidently and safely.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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