French driver confuses entrance to car park with Metro station… and gets a shock

When a French city's Metro station and a car park have the same name it's easy to get confused between the two, isn't it?

French driver confuses entrance to car park with Metro station... and gets a shock
Photo: Twitter/@Letontonskol

It's not the first time and it certainly won't be the last.

A driver in the south western French city of Toulouse got a shock on Monday night when she realised what she thought was the entrance to an underground car park was actually the stairs down to the Metro station.

The driver, a woman aged in her 50s from the Landes department of the south west, had been looking for the entrance to the Jeanne-d'Arc car park but instead drove down into the Jeanne-d'Arc Metro station.

Images posted on Twitter showed the car stuck on the stairs with the two rear wheels in the air. It was the Toulouse transport authorities who first raised the alarm after spotting on CCTV the huge crowd of amused onlookers gathering at the station entrance.

Regional newspaper La Depeche reported that the shocked driver remained in the vehicle for several minutes until firefighters arrived at the scene.

Luckily for her no one was hurt in the incident and firefighters managed to pull her car out of the entrance without causing any damage. 

She can also console herself with the fact that she was not the only driver to have confused the entrance to an underground car park with a Metro station.

In 2014 The Local reported how motorist accidentally drove into a Metro station entrance on the Champs Elysées in Paris of all places.

The driver zipped off the busy Avenue Champs Elysees and drove onto the pavement towards what he believed was a car park, but it was only after making it down several stairs that he realized his mistake.

Driver takes wrong turn into Paris Metro station

Photos from the scene show onlookers laughing, some as they climbed past the car on their way out of the Metro.

Given that Paris has over 300 Metro stations and hundreds of thousands of drivers, run-ins between the two aren’t that rare. In April 2012 a 26-year-old man, who police determined was sober, also ran into some parking problems.

He drove his SUV partly into the Chausee D’Antin Metro entrance before he realized it wasn’t the parking garage where he’d planned to leave his car.













Beach parking rates soar at tourist hotspots across France

The cost of a simple trip to the beach is rising fast in some of France's tourist hotspots, with holidaymakers having to dig deeper to cover the cost of parking.

Beach parking rates soar at tourist hotspots across France
Photo: AFP

Tourists in many coastal parts of France are having to cough up higher amounts than ever for parking penalties and leaving their cars parked on public roads for extended periods of time. 

The price hike has become much more obvious this summer, the first long-term holiday period since deregulation by France’s central government put the parking power in municipal hands on January 1st 2018.

Town halls now have the right to decide how much they charge drivers for parking on public space, so many of the 400 municipalities involved have increased their rates, extended the payment times and introduced stiffer penalties for unpaid parking tickets.

According to French daily Les Echos, the first hour of parking remains roughly the same at €1 across most of l’Héxagone, but the price soars quickly the longer they stay.

As the reform does prevent town halls from setting the price of fines (the post-parking or non-payment fee, FPS as it is called in France) in excess of the cost of a full day's parking rate, they have instead extended payment periods and bumped up rates for long-term parking.

In the seaside Côte d'Azur town of Cavalaire-sur-Mer, the parking price has almost quadrupled from €6 to €23 for the day.

Upmarket neighbour Saint-Tropez now charges drivers €30 to park on a street close to the beach and in Brittany in the northwest of France, authorities in the coastal town of Concarneau have set the daily amount at €35.


Saint Tropez. Photo: Krzysztof Belczyński/Flickr

But whereas some coastal municipalities are seeing deregulation and an increase in tourist numbers as a chance to fill public coffers, other smaller tourist spots are more apprehensive about dissuading visitors with sky-high rates.

The seaside town of Sainte-Maxime on the French Riviera for example has decided to make its beachside public car park completely free of charge to visitors.

Authorities in France's biggest cities have however taken to putting up parking rates, much the same as town halls in some of the country's most popular coastal spots.

In Paris the rate for not displaying a parking ticket is now €50 and in Lyon it's as high as €60.

FIND OUT MORE: Parking fines to skyrocket in Paris and other cities in France