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Questions on sim card and driving

Manila, Phils
Level Contributor
270 posts
53 reviews
Questions on sim card and driving

Hi,

Is there an Orange store in Avignon TGV station where we can buy an Orange Holiday sim card and also have somebody install the sim card for us? Or do we need to get to Avignon city center to get one? We're staying in Regina Hotel in rue de la Republique.

From Avignon, we'll be doing day trips to Saint Remy, Le Baux, Arles, and Chateauneuf du Pape. I'm checking the route (discovery route) in viaMichelin and there are points that says "Dangerous stretch of road", i.e. D34 / Route de la Crau (Châteaurenard) Dangerous stretch of road (50 km/h). What's in that stretch that I need to watch out for?

Do I need to bring a breathalyzer when driving even if I don't drink alcohol at all?

This is my first time to drive abroad. I included a GPS in our car rental. I also plan to print the viaMichelin and Google maps recommended routes before we go. And also familiarizing with the road signs. Other items I need to prepare?

Thank you

Cat

16 replies to this topic
Chateaurenard...
Level Contributor
9,552 posts
93 reviews
1. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

I doubt you will find a sim card at the TGV station.

"Dangerous stretch of road" is a coded way to warn you there is a speed camera, since it is illegal to say directly that there is one.

You do not need a breathalyser - that law was shelved. Renting a gps is an expensive way of navigation. Why not just depend on your smartphone?

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
98,168 posts
17 reviews
2. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

I don't recall any shops at Avignon TGV station, which is in the middle of nowhere.

For tips on driving in France, see http://nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchDrive.htm

Berkshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Avignon
Level Contributor
15,593 posts
150 reviews
3. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

It sounds as though you’ve been busy doing plenty of research.

The Orange shop at 3 rue des Marchands is very convenient and not far from your hotel.

Where and when will you be picking up your hire car? Parking in Avignon is difficult and many people feel it’s best to stay somewhere that has private parking. There are car parks round parts of the walls although there has been a lot of work around the walls by the town station area. Many prefer to park at the underground Palais des Papes car park, very secure but quite expensive.

Here’s a link to Avignon tourist office listing car parks:

avignon-tourisme.com/menu/…parkings-87-2.html

Never leave anything on show in the car and if possible reverse park in car parks; don’t leave any valuables in the car - tourist sites around the world have people trying their luck by breaking in to cars.

‘Dangerous stretch of road’ is usually how viamichelin tells that there’s an automatic speed camera - by law they can’t be shown.

Breathalysers are required by law but there’s no penalty for not having them, so aren't needed.

The tourist office is on the same road as your hotel, very useful for information.

Manila, Phils
Level Contributor
270 posts
53 reviews
4. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

Thank you all for your reply.

tradeform, I guess the GPS is for peace of mind. I have not yet used Google maps for driving, we use Waze here in the Phils. So I plan to have viaMichelin and Google maps in my phone and in printout, and the GPS. Come to think of it, I'll try Google map when driving to work this week =)

sydneynick, thank for the link. I'm printing out the French road signs so I can stare at them...

gerdengirlie, yes our vacation planning is now in full swing (got our visa last week!). We are arriving in Avignon on May 15, via TGV. I dont want the additional stress of driving on our arrival day, so morning of May 16, we will go back to TGV station to pickup the car. I plan to park the car in the Indigo Parking in 2 Avenue Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny. Is it a safe parking? I don't really want to drive in the city center. But I guess the Palais de Papes parking is also an option since it's near a big road. I didn't understand "if possible reverse park in car parks". what's reverse park?

Thank you

Cat

Surrey UK
Level Contributor
1,998 posts
15 reviews
5. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

Reverse park means you drive past the space you intend to put the car in and then reverse back into it. Because it's the front of the car that swings, this method makes it easier to manoeuvre into tight spaces, such as you often find in Europe.

I hope some one else can help with an assessment of the relative safety of car parks in Avignon. I find the two aspects of driving in France which can cause most alarm are:

(a) "priority to the right" where any vehicle on your right has right of way over you unless there's an indication to the contrary; and

(b) approaching motorway toll gates, where you have a bewildering array of choices and what feels like a split second to decide

The complete list of current motorway toll signs is here:

…gouv.fr/…langen.html

Note that you can often get two signs together, eg an orange "t" above a green arrow. A green arrow is always safe. So long as there is one and no matter what other sign is showing over that particular lane, you can collect a paper ticket at the start of a tolled section or pay by credit card or cash (including notes) and get change at the end of a tolled section. What you must avoid is driving into a lane marked with a "t" on its own or a "t" with 30kph speed restriction sign. If your credit card doesn't work in the machines, those lanes need to be avoided also.

There's just one other small update from SydneyNick's comprehensive guidance. There are no "routes nationales" any longer. Most if not all signs now show a "D" number. Sometimes the "D" is just added in front of the old "N" number (eg DN7 for the former N7). But that's not always the case. For instance, near our house in France, the former N98 has become the D559. This should become less of a problem as maps are being updated.

Berkshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Avignon
Level Contributor
15,593 posts
150 reviews
6. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

Sorry, I managed to miss out the part I intended to add about reverse parking up to a car park wall or hedge etc for better security for the boot.

It’s best to arrange everything in your boot before you arrive somewhere, putting anything you’ll need such as camera, jacket, bag etc inside the car with you and then locking the car and walking away. That way nobody can see into your boot and perhaps become interested.

Aix-en-Provence...
Level Contributor
554 posts
47 reviews
7. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

We use Google Maps all the time in France and mostly it's reliable. Sometimes, like all GPS apps it can get confused.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
61,813 posts
171 reviews
8. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

Google Map works fine for driving. I have an old Garmin unit but also use Google Map as a back-up or additional searches. If you have live data, don't bother with a printout.

I know there is a free lot in Avignon just outside the walls. I parked there years ago. However, I wouldn't want to leave bags in my car in that particular lot. If you have luggage, use the Palais de Papes underground lot--I believe it's next to a Mercure Hotel since I stayed there and got discounted parking rates.

Reverse park--you reverse park not only due to space constraint, but also, you want to reverse park and get the car's rear end as close to a wall as possible. This method makes it inconvenient for thieves to access the trunk/boot's contents. Also, rental car stickers (often located at the back of the car) won't be visible.

Manila, Phils
Level Contributor
270 posts
53 reviews
9. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

Thank you all for explaining. I get the reverse park now. I will keep it in mind. We don't plan to leave anything valuable in the car. I'm rethinking the GPS (agree that it is expensive). Maybe I'll just rent the mobile phone holder if we are using Google map, provided we can get the Orange sim card on our arrival day.

Additional question. Is the Orange network reliable for use in the countryside? From Avignon, we plan to go to Chateauneuf du Pape, Saint Remy, Les Baux, and Arles. We're using the scenic route which is mostly D roads. I'd hate to lose access to data when using Google map....

Thank you

Cat

provence
Destination Expert
for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Level Contributor
2,169 posts
115 reviews
10. Re: Questions on sim card and driving

We use Orange and have never had a problem with coverage.

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