National road (France)

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Route Nationale 89 between Tulle and Ussel
The national route 118 at Mondetour

The national roads ( French : Routes nationales , singular route nationale ) form part of the trunk road network in France , which primarily serve national and international traffic . In contrast to most French motorways , their use is free of charge and they can be used by all types of vehicles unless they have the status of a motorway .


Establishment of the national roads by Napoleon

The classic 14 main streets all started in Paris at the portal of Notre-Dame

On December 16, 1811, the French Emperor Napoleon I created a network of imperial roads (routes impériales) from the existing roads or those under construction . The most important streets of the centrally organized country with the numbers 1 to 14 began in Paris and led clockwise in the different directions. The second-class streets with the numbers 15 to 27 connected the capital with its immediate surroundings. Numbers 28 to 229 were reserved for the third-class regional connecting routes. The long-standing undisputed top position of the French road system goes back above all to the Napoleonic legacy. In international comparison, France had by far the best-developed and marked road network well into the 20th century.

Renaming during the restoration

During the restoration , the Kaiserstraßen were renamed Königsstraßen ( routes royales ) and their route was adapted to the changed political circumstances. Route 3, which led from Paris via Soissons , Reims and Liège to Hamburg , was renamed 31 and 51 respectively, and all national roads with a higher number were downgraded by one number. Because routes 19 and 20 were completely outside the French territory, roads no. 21 to 27 were henceforth designated as no. 18 to 24. Since 1830, the main French roads are known as routes nationales . The network included numbers 1 to 200 and was expanded to 212 after the counties of Nice and Savoy had been connected.

Expansion and consolidation

In 1933, the road network was very heavily compressed, and a large number of departmental and municipal roads with a total length of around 40,000 kilometers were upgraded to national roads . The number range used included the street numbers from 301 to 853. In 1949, another reform took place in which many large routes were formed. This particularly affected the national roads established in 1824 (e.g. the N 4 was extended from Châlons-en-Champagne to Paris). Some of the new street numbers used in 1933 were dropped completely (e.g. the N 304 , which was completely integrated into the N 4). By 1972 three more national roads were added, so that the highest road number was then 856. Furthermore, the numbers from the gap from 213 to 300 were started to be used for city bypasses, if a city-crossing national road was not placed on them.

Downgrading and regionalization

Due to a law passed in 1972, numerous national roads (approx. 53,000 kilometers) were converted into departmental roads. The French decentralization law of August 13, 2004 enables the departments to take over the existing national roads, with the exception of those national roads that are listed in the Journal officiel of December 6, 2005 as roads of national importance.

Very extensive renumbering of streets in France has been carried out since 2007. It is therefore currently to be expected that old and new names will appear mixed up. A national route (N) can be graded to a départementale route (D) and is therefore no longer displayed in red, but in yellow.

List of national roads

Web links

Commons : National roads in France  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Note Sommaire on the Gestion des Routes
  2. Décret n ° 2005-1499 du 5 December 2005 relatif à la consistance du réseau routier national (French) Retrieved on March 20, 2010
  3. Décret n ° 2005-1500 du 5 décembre 2005 portant application de l'article 18 de la loi n ° 2004-809 du 13 août 2004 relative aux libertés et responsabilités locales. (French) Retrieved March 20, 2010
  4. List des arrêtés de transferts de routes aux départements (French) Retrieved on March 20, 2010