The French - or, more accurately, the Parisians - are all in a tizzwozz over air pollution. It seems that this is so bad in Paris that restrictions on the use of cars have been introduced. Only cars with odd registration numbers are permitted on the roads on certain days while only cars with even registrations on other days. Similar measures have been introduced in several other cities, including Rennes, Caen and Rouen. "So what?" you ask. Well, although I have no intention whatsoever of driving in Paris, it is the intention to travel down to our French cottage next week. While Rennes and Caen are not on our outward route, we do ring the changes on the way back and touch on those two cities. But they have ring roads, which I am pretty certain will be exempt from the restrictions. That, however, is not the case with Rouen and our outward route takes us right through the centre of that city, although I do miss the really old part.
I spent a considerable time yesterday searching the internet for more information about the restrictions. For a start, do they apply to cars registered in countries other than France? If so, on which days is it permissible to drive what cars? It was all to no avail, there seeming to be a dearth of information out there. I suspect that cars with odd numbers will be permitted on the odd days of the month - which would mean that my car with its 57 plate would not be permitted in Rouen next Monday, the 24th. But if that were the way it worked, odd numbered cars would get two consecutive days over 31st of one month and 1st of the next - which would be grossly unfair. Oh well, it might be all done and dusted by next Monday anyway.
Rouen is actually a bit of a nightmare at the moment, and has been for a good many months. I used to drive through the city by following signposts, but that route takes one a good few miles out of the way and involves a long road through an enormous industrial area where the speed limit changes every couple of hundred yards, being reduced for each set of traffic lights - of which there are many - and immediately raised. I eventually, thanks to my friend Chris's sat-nav, found a much shorter and less frustrating route. But the bridge we use to cross the Seine has been closed for months, possibly the result of a serious fire, and looks to remain closed for a long time to come. This means I have to negotiate a length of three- and four-lane road, solid with traffic, before crossing the river by another bridge. It's only about half a mile, but it seems more like three!
Actually, driving through Rouen doesn't bother me at all, even with the traffic jams. At least it's interesting, which is more than can be said for many of the motorway stretches. Not that I'm really complaining.
As I was not walking the dog yesterday afternoon, I went into town. Not something I do very often, but I had my reasons. I just had to take this picture!