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British Consulate Paris issues advice for Le Mans 24h spectators

The British Consulate in Paris has issued advice for British Nationals travelling to Le Mans

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Matra Simca MS670
Photo: Baptiste Vialatte / CC BY SA 3.0

The 24h du Mans race is a definite must-see for any racing fanatic. It is a unique and exciting event that attracts thousands of British nationals.

With careful planning ahead, most people head home after having had a great trip. However, every year, consular staff are called to provide assistance to families and friends of British nationals after serious or fatal road traffic accidents that happen travelling to or from the race.

The French authorities also send us a large number of driving licences that have been confiscated after speeding offences.

We want everyone to have a happy, safe holiday without police or consular involvement

Top tips for drivers in France

Mainland France is more than double the size of the UK, so driving distances can be a lot longer than you are used to. Take extra care if driving in unfamiliar conditions and schedule regular breaks - just as you would in the UK.

Being on the other side of the Channel, means driving on the other side of the road - don’t forget to think right!

Speed limits are displayed in kilometres per hour. The motorway speed limit is 130 km/h (80 mph). However, in rainy conditions, this is reduced to 110 km/h (68 mph). Upon leaving the motorway, speed is restricted to 90 km/h (55 mph), and 50 km/h (30 mph) in towns - although these limits can be subject to local variations.

Enforcement of the speed limits is extremely strict. Roadside penalties can include fines, confiscation of your driving licence and in certain cases, immobilisation of your vehicle.

Do you have your licence, insurance documents and VC5 certificate (logbook)? You will need to present these if you are stopped by police officers or gendarmes.

You may have break-down cover at home, but is it valid abroad? Find out before you leave. Why not also have a last minute look over our travel checklist?

Check our Travel Advice for France, follow @BritishinFrance on Twitter and like us on Facebook – all ways of making sure you get up to date info.

What to do if you need urgent help

If you need emergency help, call the emergency services by dialling 112 from your mobile. On motorways, use the orange emergency call boxes.

Le Mans and the ferry ports in Northern and Western France are in the Paris Consular district. If you run into serious trouble, call us on +33 1 44 51 31 00 (24hrs a day, 7 days a week). However, if you are calling to say you ran out of fuel or have a flat tyre, we won’t be able to help!

Published 12 June 2014