Advice regarding driving to France and Switzerland

Page may contain affiliate links. Please see terms for details.

markjay

MB Master
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Messages
46,094
Location
London
Car
2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 RWD / 2016 Suzuki Vitara AWD
We are planning to take the EV on a trip to Switzerland in April, with our dog. This will be a leisurely trip with a stopover in France.

Any tips re driving through France, and into Switzerland?

Any legal requirements for either country? Last time I drove a UK-registered car to the Continent was well before Brexit.

Also, the car is on a lease and will go back to the finance provider in just over a year, and so I'm reluctant to invest in winter tyres if I can avoid it. Would I be OK driving there and back with the car's original summer tyres, at that time of year?

Any advice or tips you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
 
You will need to carry fluorescent vests for all occupants in the car and wear them if you break down on an autoroute in France.

It’s almost impossible to avoid Swiss motorways (and semi-motorways) without meticulous route planning so you will need a vignette which, unlike other countries that offer short period options, is only available as an annual purchase. Speed limit enforcement in Switzerland is strict, and basically zero tolerance with very heavy fines for transgression.

As a leased vehicle you will need to obtain a VE103 from the lease company and carry it with you together with an original copy of your insurance documents.

Regarding tyres, you will need to check for the specific regions you are travelling to/in as winter tyres are mandatory in some locales with the mandatory period often ending during April.

Have a great trip!
 
It's still free to charge the car at the Shuttle (on both sides). They have huge numbers of 50 kW chargers so no issue in accessing them.

Coming back they have free 250kw chargers at Calais (but not a Folkestone yet) so you'll be able to charge from 20 to 80% in 15 minutes

Plenty of chargers on the motorway network now. A very noticeable change since last Winter.

Lidl's are cheaper, of course. They all have chargers now at 35p / kWh (39 cents)

Carrefour hypermarkets have 300kw chargers. Again: 20 to 80% charging in 15 minutes.
22kw charging is free for the first hour if you have a Carrefour loyalty card. (call it 60 free miles in return for an hour's shopping)
€0.60 for high speed charging I've never seen a queue at Carrefour Antibes, but TBH, it's rare to see an EV charging at all.
Carrefour supermarkets usually have 22kw charging where they have a car park.

Hotels with car parks have chargers now, but you'll have seen that when you booked.

You haven't said which part of Switzerland, but if it's the South West avoid Paris. The Reims route is empty and pleasant.

Apply on line for the Crit Air certificate for France. Use only the government sites, not the agencies. It's about £4 and arrives within three days.

"Because of Brexit" Brits can NOT be fined from cameras because the French police no longer have access to the DVLA home address data base
You'll see Belgians & Dutch doing 100+ mph but the French are fairly docile now. There are many more cameras around generally than when you last visited France.
You can be stopped by police with a speed gun. Exceed the speed limit by more than 50kph and the fine can get expensive quite quickly (it goes up to about €1300)
 
Last edited:
When I was doing work with the vans outside the UK we had to carry breathalyzers. Winter tyres are mandatory at certain times of the year. Switzerland is a bloody joke, I had to buy their road tax at the border.
 
When I was doing work with the vans outside the UK we had to carry breathalyzers. Winter tyres are mandatory at certain times of the year. Switzerland is a bloody joke, I had to buy their road tax at the border.
Breathalysers no longer required. I am certain that what you purchased at the Swiss border was a motorway vignette and not road tax.
I spent 40+ years travelling around Europe doing 100s of miles a day.Stopped for speeding once in France and escorted to an ATM for the fine. Flashed by a speed camera in Switzerland and fine came in the post, still have not paid it.Car never checked for HiViz etc.
If they say that you need winter tyres then you really do. Not so much for skidding, but for traction up hills! Experienced that and had to buy a set of wheels and tyres before continuing my trip. They were quite cheap ISTR.
 
Apply on line for the Crit Air certificate for France. Use only the government sites, not the agencies. It's about £4 and arrives within three days.
You only really need this if you will be entering any of the restricted zones and even then it is only relevant during certain time periods; if not then it isn't necessary. The official French government website is Le site officiel de la vignette Crit'Air (certificat qualité de l'air) - Ministère de la Transition écologique and the application process is simple enough, but you do need to provide a scan or photo of the V5C which may be a problem for a leased vehicle if the lessee doesn't have the logbook.
 
You only really need this if you will be entering any of the restricted zones and even then it is only relevant during certain time periods; if not then it isn't necessary. The official French government website is Le site officiel de la vignette Crit'Air (certificat qualité de l'air) - Ministère de la Transition écologique and the application process is simple enough, but you do need to provide a scan or photo of the V5C which may be a problem for a leased vehicle if the lessee doesn't have the logbook.
Agreed, I knew. For simplicity's sake and for all and sundry, I just said pay the £4.

Last year, in a bored moment, I counted the number of French cars with them on a quiet street in the Sarf o'France. It was no more than one in five.
 
For simplicity's sake and for all and sundry, I just said pay the £4.
Similarly, I chose to get one for my motorcycle so as to avoid getting "caught out" if I do venture into a restricted zone as I travel in or through France most years and the number of zones are steadily increasing, but in @markjay's case, unless he plans to stay in one of the affected zones while transiting through the country it probably won't be necessary.
Last year, in a bored moment, I counted the number of French cars with them on a quiet street in the Sarf o'France. It was no more than one in five.
I don't think I've ever seen another vehicle in France other than my own displaying a Crit'Air sticker!
 
Similarly, I chose to get one for my motorcycle so as to avoid getting "caught out" if I do venture into a restricted zone as I travel in or through France most years and the number of zones are steadily increasing, but in @markjay's case, unless he plans to stay in one of the affected zones while transiting through the country it probably won't be necessary.

I don't think I've ever seen another vehicle in France other than my own displaying a Crit'Air sticker!
Specially for you :)

IMG_6163.jpeg

Not sure why a 5.5 litre V8 gets a Crit air 1 though
KC
 
All very interesting advice. Particularly interesting re speed cameras and fines not making their way to your address anymore 😊 Presumably same with parking fines? 🎉

. Flashed by a speed camera in Switzerland and fine came in the post, still have not paid

So I got a couple through the post after a driving holiday, France and Spain, pre Brexit, I thought if i didn't pay it then yes they're not going to pursue me but on the other hand my car (if still owned) could be flashed up on whatever their version of anpr is and then I'd be rogered? Or was my thinking complete bollocks? Is ignoring still unwise if in a hire car?
 
  • Like
Reactions: JHS
All very interesting advice. Particularly interesting re speed cameras and fines not making their way to your address anymore 😊 Presumably same with parking fines? 🎉



So I got a couple through the post after a driving holiday, France and Spain, pre Brexit, I thought if i didn't pay it then yes they're not going to pursue me but on the other hand my car (if still owned) could be flashed up on whatever their version of anpr is and then I'd be rogered? Or was my thinking complete bollocks? Is ignoring still unwise if in a hire car?

I have no plans of (knowingly) breaking any speed limit anywhere, or park illegally. And, if I do get hit by a fine, I am not planning on engaging in any guesswork regarding the consequences (or lack of) of not paying, instead I'll just cough it up and pay the fine.

So neither is an issue for me to worry about :)
 
I have no plans of (knowingly) breaking any speed limit anywhere, or park illegally. And, if I do get hit by a fine, I am not planning on engaging in any guesswork regarding the consequences (or lack of) of not paying, instead I'll just cough it up and pay the fine.

So neither is an issue for me to worry about :)
EU member states no longer have access to your home address via DVLA, so they can't post any speeding fine to you. Parking fines? "Probably" the same, but with the added risk of a Denver Boot, or tow-truck.

But, if one gets stopped by the police, they can take immediate payment.

More than in the UK, you can unwittingly break the speed limits more easily than in the UK. We're quite diligent and bureaucratic in having clear signs and Brits know the general rules, such as street lamps and speed limit repeater disks.. The French? Not so much.

Rentals: a different matter. The rental company gets the fine, pays it, and then charges you on your credit card.
 
EU member states no longer have access to your home address via DVLA, so they can't post any speeding fine to you. Parking fines? "Probably" the same, but with the added risk of a Denver Boot, or tow-truck.

But, if one gets stopped by the police, they can take immediate payment.

More than in the UK, you can unwittingly break the speed limits more easily than in the UK. We're quite diligent and bureaucratic in having clear signs and Brits know the general rules, such as street lamps and speed limit repeater disks.. The French? Not so much.

Rentals: a different matter. The rental company gets the fine, pays it, and then charges you on your credit card.

Thanks, but my point was that if I do get fined... I'll just pay up. The whole question of cross-border information interchange becomes academic as far as I'm concerned.
 
Thanks, but my point was that if I do get fined... I'll just pay up. The whole question of cross-border information interchange becomes academic as far as I'm concerned.

Fair enough, so did I. I wasn't travelling like a hooligan, just the usual confusion of is this a 110 kph or 130 kph type thing on semi deserted dual carriageways... which are utterly delightful compared to the rocks and bitumen thrown down in NE England.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top Bottom