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Route Nationale 7. Holiday tip for the classic enthusiast

National road 7
You can just 'discover', a Renault Juvaquatre that was left to its own devices decades ago ...
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Will this be the holiday destination of 2020 for you? The Route Nationale 7, also known as the 'N7'. In the United States, Route 66 is a dream, in France the N7. This famous road is also known as the Route bleue - the Blue road - or Route des vacances - the holiday road - is a national road in France, connecting Paris with the Italian border in Menton. 

The original Route Nationale 7 was nearly 1000 kilometers in length. But in 2006 it was downgraded to a departmental road, which gave the N7 a different number in different departments. Only four parts are still known as N7. 


The first part runs from Paris Orly Airport to the A106 near the French City of Light. The second part takes you from Nevers via Moulins Rianne to La-Tour-de-Salvagny Nevers, a suburb of Lyon. The third section runs from Communay, south of Lyon, via Valence to Orange. The last part of Route Nationale 7 takes you from Avignon to the A7. 

History

The Route Nationale 7 has history. A history dating back to 1811 and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. He had the Route Impériale 8 built in that year. From Paris to Rome. Via Moulins, Lyon, Avignon and Nice. In 1824 In was created from the Route Impériale 8 the current N7. 

The advent of the car made holidays on the Côte d'Azur possible for the inhabitants of Paris, Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Route Nationale 7 was the designated route to get to that holiday destination. This is where the road gets its nickname Route des Vacances. It was not until around 1970, after the construction of the (Auto) route du Soleil motorway, that holiday traffic on the N7 decreased. 

Interest in the Route Nationale 7

Since the end of the last century there has been renewed interest in the N7. The route is now used as a cheap alternative to the expensive toll road and as a route for nostalgic slow travel. The revival came under the impetus of, among others, the French cartoonist Thierry Dubois, who wrote a number of books about the route. The travel guide Slowly through France by Peter Jacobs and Erwin De Decker was published in Dutch. In 1978 the road was shifted between Nice and Menton.

Originally the road ran over the Corniche Supérieure, the highest coastal road. After 1978 the N7 went over the Corniche Moyenne, the middle coastal road. The route on the Corniche Supérieure was transferred to the department of Alpes-Maritimes and was numbered D2564. 

The construction of the parallel motorways A6, A77, A7 and A8 significantly reduced the importance of Route Nationale 7 in many places. That is why large parts of the road were transferred to the departments in 2006. These parts therefore have numbers of the departmental roads. The parts of the N7 transferred were assigned the following numbers: Val-de-Marne D7; Essonne RNIL7, Seine-et-Marne D607, Loiret D2007, Nièvre D907, Rhône D307, Vaucluse D907, Bouches-du-Rhône D7N, Var DN7 and Alpes-Martimes D6007. Fortunately, almost all of them have a '7' in the numbering. So except for the D2464. 

What can you experience along Route Nationale 7? 

First you drive on a unique road, a road with maximum history. Along the way there is a lot to see, you will have to stop regularly to soak up history. Many architecturally built objects such as garages, service stations. In those garages there are often still 'nice' objects, because the operators have often left everything behind, locked the door (s) and that was it. The French are now convinced that the Route Nationale 7 has great cultural-historical value and many of these buildings are being restored. Only the bad luck, where money was once made through a gas station, is now a 'shop', restaurant. There are also several museums located in leading buildings where you can experience an extra history. 

If you are a camping type, camping is abundant and otherwise it will be a hotel (letje). On the way you drive through villages and cities, it is almost as busy as it used to be. So you must have the time. Finally, the N7 is called the Route des Vacances for slow travel ... In addition, there are many classic clubs and municipalities in the summer that make an appearance there. So extra busy and extra traffic jams ...! If you are going to do the Route Nationale 7, take photos of interesting objects and send them to redactie@amklassiek.nl because then more readers can enjoy it.

Also interesting to read:
- Holiday with a classic
- Holiday memories: Civil disobedience
- Buying a house in France as a classic enthusiast. “Nice to have with you”
- Hungary, the new France
- Buy a classic in France

National road 7
You can just 'discover', a Renault Juvaquatre that was left to its own devices decades ago ...

3 Comments

Give a reaction
  1. Really nice article, highly recommended: follow the “hors saison” route (outside the tourist season) !!!

  2. C'était la Nationale 7. ISBN
    9782888904854
    Beautifully nostalgic description of the N7 with many old photos and drawings by Thierry Dubois.
    Bought by me at the Musée de la N7 in Piolenc. Now sold out, but can still be found here and there on the internet.

  3. perhaps in addition to your article n7, the following titles:
    1. la route autrefois [aurélien charle éd ouest-france
    2. La route autrefois par Olivier Darmon and Hoëbeke

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