Friday, September 19, 2014


Although everyone in France has a cell phone, there are still thousands of roadside emergency phones in operation on the Autoroutes, one every 2 kilometers.  Some are specially marked as wheelchair accessible.

Max speed on the autoroutes is 130KPH (110 in the rain).  That's 80MPH.  Large trucks bear signs reading 60 80 90 indicating the maximum speeds they are allowed: 90 in the 130KPH zones, 80 in the 110KPH zones and 60 in the 90KPH zones.  They're just not a problem.

There are frequent roadside rest areas, some with only picnic tables and restrooms, some with restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations.

Shoulders on the autoroutes are 1-2 feet on the left or passing side and 4-5 feet on the right side.

Farmers are still allowed to burn the stubble off their fields.  This results in constant haze in the Fall.
In spite of that, I was able to see the Milky Way through the bathroom skylight in our B&B at 2AM.  Pretty good for a continent of 300 million polluters.

The high-speed roads are protected in Normandy by windbreaks; either hedges, trees or berms.  This has a deleterious effect on sight-seeing.   Windsocks are hung next to the road in windy areas, to warn drivers of serious crosswinds.  Viaducts prone to crosswinds have transparent (so as not to block the view for once) windshields on one side.  Wind-power turbine generators are located in the windiest spots.

Something like a 12 foot long hedge trimmer drives along the roads and trims everything that grows by the road back about 10 feet to a height of 12-15 feet or so.

Normandy still has its Bocages separating the fields, the ones that gave so much trouble to the armies of WWII.  These appear to be 300-year old hedges with trunks 6-8" thick.

Every hill of note has a castle or church on it.

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