The ring-road ("peripherique")
It’s quite straightforward: depending on where you come in from, you’ll join the ring road at one of the 30 gateways (“portes”) that punctuate the 35 km of expressway. Based on the area you are heading towards, you have the choice between the inner ring road (“périphérique intérieur”) which runs in a clockwise direction and the outer (“périphérique extérieur”), which runs anti-clockwise).
Traffic flow and journey time between gateways are displayed on illuminated overhead panels. Exit signs for each gateway into the city are given plenty of time in advance so as not to miss them, so make sure you position yourself correctly in the right-hand lane. The speed limit is 70 km/h (43mph), sometimes less whenever pollution levels peak.
Motorway system and tolls
France has a considerable network of tolled motorways, which extends into the neighbouring countries. Toll costs vary according to the motorway you’re on, the distance travelled and the type of vehicle.
For more details about the network and tolls, check the web site of the ASFA (Association des Sociétés Françaises d'Autoroutes).
Crit’Air: a mandatory certificate
In order to improve air quality, Paris has become a limited traffic zone. All vehicles must display a Crit’Air sticker with a number ranging from 1 to 5, which denotes their level of pollution in ascending order. In the event of high pollution levels, even vehicles with low-number stickers may be banned from circulating.