Driving The Dangerous Arc De Triomphe Roundabout In Paris

Many tourists or first time Paris driver fear the Arc de Triomph Roundabout. In fact even insurance companies tread with caution. When you first choose an insurance package for a car in Paris there is an option for coverage on the Arc de Triomphe Roundabout and the choice for no coverage while driving on the Arc de Triomphe roundabout.

As you will notice in the video there are a few tricks or rules for manoeuvring the roundabout correctly. Unlike traditional roundabouts found in most places around the world, here in France you must give way to the cars which are entering the roundabout.

You may also notice that in my first lap I stick to the inside as this is where the least amount of traffic is. If you do choose to go all the way to the inside and are driving a car you may find it a little difficult to reach your exit and push your way back out. It was a little easier for me because I was riding a scooter. The actual name for the Ard de Triomphe Roundabout is called “The Étoile”.

Tips for Diving on The Étoile

  1. Always give way to your right and people entering the round about
  2. Know what your insurance covers prior to driving in Paris
  3. If you wish to avoid the roundabout all together take the last right before the intersection on to rue de Presbourg and rue de Tilsitt. This will circle around the outside of the roundabout however it is a lot slower.
  4. You need to be a little bit pushy in order to merge off the roundabout.
  5. Don’t make any sudden decisions, you need to stay calm and be fluid with the traffic around you.
    Continually check your blind spots as there are often erratic drivers in Paris and many scooters slicing between narrow gaps.
  6. Don’t be alarmed by the sound of a horn or two, Parisians use their horns alot and many times it is not just a sign of road rage but a form of communication.

The first time I went on the Arch de Triomphe roundabout I was absolutely terrified as was Megan. However I discovered that it was actually quite fun on a scooter. From a scooter drivers perspective it feels like very free place to drive due the lack of any visible lanes. If you stick the rules and don’t panic I see no reason why you couldn’t go around as many times as you want.

Check out the video below which I created with my GoPro.

Driving Our Scooter Around Arc De Triomphe

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Greg
I am an australian citizen but consider my self as a local when it comes to knowing about paris. I have lived there with my wife for a few years and quite simply fell in love with the city, culture and the people. I would like to try and help others to see what i saw without incuring any of the hard lessons i had to when i first arrived.

3 COMMENTS

  1. In other parts of the world, the people going in actually yield to the ones inside the roundabout. Long story short, I almost took out a red Peugeot near Montparnasse a few months ago because I didn’t know this.

      • The people coming in the roundabout must yield to the people who are already inside it in France, like in other countries. BUT there are very few exceptions, manly in Paris. The Arc de triomphe is the most known of all. In you go outside the city, be carefull to do it the right way. The norm in the arc is not the norm in France.

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