Last week, I shared some suggestions you should consider before you travel. Now for the suggestions for your travels in France, Spain, or Italy…or anywhere for that matter. As the title states, this week’s post is: “Don’t Make The Mistakes I Did” or “Traffice Fines In France”.
Hopefully you’ve already read my May 25th post, Trip Advice Part 1 about forgetting to get my passport from the hotel ….at 5:30 am. I could have missed my plane; or my April 23 post about getting on the wrong train. Unfortunately, there are other things that I had to learn the hard way during this trip and others. Here is my advice for you:
Watch the speed limit:
In the old days, driving in Europe was a free for all. The limit was 130 km/hr in France and everyone went over it. Not anymore. There is photo radar everywhere and on my GPS the notification kept appearing to warn me. Unfortunately, I did not pay enough attention.
Car Rental Admin Charges
I am expecting ONE or TWO speeding tickets. I have received two charges from the two car rental companies: 20 Euro charge from Hertz and a 30 Euro charge from Europcar. Both state, “Traffic fine…..administrative charge”. What this means is that if you have an infraction the government requests the driver/renter information so that they can send the driver (me) a notice of what I did wrong.
So far I have gotten one notice from the French government saying I was going 118 km in a 110 km zone. If I pay within 46 days the fine is 45 Euros. After that the fine goes up to 68 Euros (47-76 days) and 180 Euros (over 76 days). The good (?) news is that there is an English website that makes it easy to pay using your credit card (https://www.amendes.gouv.fr).
The other ticket might not be for speeding; however, it probably is. I have no idea at this point how much I will owe in the end; however, from all the reading I have done, it will be best to NOT ignore the ticket. When I return to France I do not want any problems.
Note: I am NOT a speeder! I am (usually) a cautious driver; however in France they will give you a ticket, even if you are only 3 km/hr over the limit.
Watch where you park:
So the other infraction could be for parking. One day I parked my car in a lot in Cavaillon as I was going to rent a bike and tour the area. I did not see a sign anywhere indicating there was a 2 hour limit. Discovered that upon my return. I had to get help from the bike shop to understand how to pay the 17 Euro fine. Here’s what I learned:
- I could pay by cheque. That didn’t work for me. I live in Canada
- I could pay with a “Timbre-Amende”. Hmmm. A stamp. I was told I needed to go to a Tabac (store that sells tobacco) and buy a stamp from them. It’s a special stamp that is put on the notice and mailed off. Hmmm. Have to find a tabac. Not all tabacs carry these stamps, but fortunately, the second one I went to did. I had to get clarification on whether I needed to put the form in an envelope or not. No, just put another postage stamp on and mail it off!
So, I am hoping I did not get a second speeding ticket and the second car rental admin charge is for the parking fine.
Check out these posts for more travel advice: