Traffic in France

Hello everyone,

Which city or area do you live in in France, and how do you find the traffic?

How long does it take to commute to work or run errands?

Is there a rush hour in your city? What times of the day would you recommend people to avoid driving if they can?

Are there any ways to avoid spending too much time in traffic in France?

What is parking availability and cost like?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Hi Priscilla,

I could write a whole book about driving in France. Waitaminute, I did: It may be helpful for the forum folks in France to have a longer-form article, or regular (monthly?) column on the topic, because it's vast and ever-changing. Here are some examples, from chapter 42:

        Progress is taking place in the liberalization of the driving school system.  New online players like Lepermislibre have popped up, lowering costs.  The government has allowed many more examiners to take part, from places like the post office, shortening wait times.
    Subsidies have risen greatly for purchasing an electric car.  If you don't want to own because the €5 796 average annual cost is too high, many car-sharing services such as Zipcar, Travelcar, Koolicar and Drivy have appeared on the scene.  Even manufacturers Citroën, Nissan (Renault) and BMW have introduced 'time-share' car leases. 
         Stan is the name of a new a free service at Charles De Gaulle airport to have a robot park your car.  It's the least they could do, after all, a day's parking at CDG costs €39.  Outside the airport, it's now easier to find a free spot with the App Zenpark.  Even private spaces, like somebody's garage, can be purchased through online systems, increasing the woefully inadequate number of spots in Paris.
    Convenient and cheaper services now exist to get your car checked.  For the bi-annual contrôle technique, Avatacar will come to your residence and perform the check.  Clikclikcar will pickup your car for you, drive to the check center, and return your car once it's passed.  Both services are 20% less expensive than the traditional garages.
    Commuters have more options.  Even though only 8% of French drivers are willing to carpool, French startup Blablacar has become the leader in the area.  The Bluecar from Autolib' is also a popular option, to grab-and-go for €0.32 per minute, paid for conveniently by the Parisian transport card, Navigo.  Through OuiCar you can rent an SNCF vehicle right at the train station for €15 per day.  If your thing is more les deux roues Cityscoot has you covered.  A thousand electric scooters are available all over Paris for €0.28 per minute.  In 2018, they'll grow to 2 500 units, and as mentioned in the Double Standard chapter, you don't need a license to drive one.
    Employers and the region can also reimburse €0.25 per kilometer for biking to work.  More than 300 000 people are annual subscribers to the 22 000 Vélib’ grab-and-go bicycles you see everywhere in Paris.  The outdated paper Métro tickets will next year be completely replaced by Navigo, offering the possibility of pay-as-you-go.  This option will be coupled with contactless cards and mobile phone payment systems to speed you through the turnstiles.  A fleet of 36 all-electric city busses will transport riders in the Yvelines starting in September.  Futuristic taxi boats, called SeaBubbles will start moving people on the Seine, propelled by foils lifting them above the water.


In Lyon the traffic is pretty ok except for rush hour e.g morning and after office hours. I still find it Super challenging driving in France so I normally opt for public transport like bus and metro. Fast, easy and and quite efficient,or at least I think so. But, yes they do have transport strike from time to time or technical problems but I otherwise prefer taking the public transport to driving! Bon journee!

Hi well I lived in the north of France the , public transport is non existent, you need a car but in Lyon where am moving to thay have very good transport system , and always on time and very cheap, so really you don't need a car , unless you travel outside the city ,hope this helps

Hi everyone,

I am living in Lyon in France and traffic is not as terrible as in Paris. I work 22 Kms from the city but I am able to get the bus (Transisere) to get me to work. From my door to the office usually takes me 40 minutes. From the Mermoz Pinel metro stop, it takes 20 minutes. I prefer using Grange Blance stop since I get to chose a preferrable seat in the bus.

Traffic has never really been an issue except when I take the 5pm bus. The bus takes up to 25 minutes instead of 17minutes to get back to the Mermoz Pinel Stop.

However, I see traffic build up on the peripherique Nord as people try to avoid thrying to go through the city centre which has considerabe traffic;

I don't have advice for car users, because I find the metro s and trams and abundant buses efficient enought to make a car a luxury in the city. There is so much more peace not having a car in Lyon in my 2 years of commuting. This is the reason i never imported my cars when moving to France.

I'm informed however, that living in the villages around Lyon is a different story. You will require a car. Traffice builds up between 5pm and 6:30pm every evening and it's best to avoid the city centre. In my honest opinion, the only time I find traffic a bother is in summer, when everyone passes through Lyon going to South of France and even in that case, the traffic is well predicted on the atual updates on the websites showing traffic concentrations on all the major highways in France.


I live in Orleans, an hour far from Paris. I cant say that there is a traffic problem here in the village as I was used to heavy traffic problem in my country. There are different modes of transport; tram, bus, train and taxis. Usually the traffic occurs during rush hour and after the school vacation but its tolerable. I used the tram before going to work and since I use my bike, (yes i could put my bike in the tram) i was able to avoid the traffic ;)

Wow Joe! That is a very thorough briefing. As you say, it deserves a book and I wish you every success with it.
I live in rustic bliss between Cahors and Toulouse where the roads range from generally well-kept Departementales to the A20.  The scenic country roads are a pleasure to drive on as long as you don't get too used to the idea that there is never another vehicle on them, that is until a tractor and hay wagon fill the road on a hairpin bend that you decided to zoom around.
My problems start when I drive back to the UK, first circumventing Paris, which to me represents hell on earth, and the Peripherique, populated by raging devils. Then in the UK, having tyres  burst and expensive alloy wheels flattened by the neglected potholed roads of Surrey. I work from home, so I don't have to drive every day... unless the sun is shining and I can find an excuse.

I find traffic in France is just fine... I'm never late for work due to it, except once in the past 6 months of 6 to 7 day weeks. It's not like Toronto where there were ALWAYS delays and replacement buses, etc, RIGHT when you needed it to work! So all in all; an improvement !

I live in Sète, whose population explodes in Summer, and traffic gets correspondingly worse. The bus system is usually pretty good, but all bets are off in Summer - an hour late is not uncommon. When we're waiting for the bus, we think how great it would be to have a car, but then we notice how bad it is for those in the cars...

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