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France

Area code 33 Common abbreviation F Last updated 29-4-2018
Road class Syntax explanation Administrative subordination Sub classes Zones System Remarks
European road E[0-9]<2-3> Europe See Europe
Motorway (Autoroute) A[0-9]<1-4>{[ab]} national 1-/2-d first digit of 2- to 4-d numbers spider-web with derivation Exit numbers: sequential
3-/4-d only known 4-d: 1086, 1501 and 7109
National road (Route Nationale) (R)N[0-9]<1-4>{[AER];II;bis} national 1-27 main radial class distinction not strict spider-web Exit numbers on some roads: sequential
28-212
213-999
4-d
Main departmental road (Route Departementale) RD[0-9]<1-3> department (Marne only) - derived from former N
Departmental road (Chemin Departemental) (C)D{N}[0-9]<1-4>{`suffix`} department sequential suffixes see below
Special class departmental road DS{T}[0-9] department sequential near Langres and near Verdun
Territorial road (Route territoriale) {R}T[0-9]<1-3> Corsica -
Metropolitan road (Route métropolitaine) M[0-9]<1-4>{`suffix`} Departement - Derived from departmental roads
Local road [LRT][0-9] Community sequential Only L number L2
Vicinity road (Chemin Vicinal) C(V)[0-9]<1-3>{[AEU];bis};(C)V[0-9]<1-3>{[AEU];bis} community - sequential
Obsolete numbers (used until 1950's) classed below D:
Chemin de grande communication G[0-9]<1-3>{`suffix`} Departement - sequential suffixes see below
Chemin d'intérêt commun Ic[0-9]<1-3>{`suffix`} Departement - sequential suffixes see below
Route F... (R)F[0-9]<1-2> Corse - sequential
General description:
Motorways: In some cases, motorways have roughly the same route as the national road with the same number, for example the A4 and N4 both link Paris with Strasbourg (though they are more than 50 km apart in between) and the A6 and N6 both Link Paris and Lyon. Another example is the A20. This one was derived from the N20 and therefore it is an exception to the zone system:
1 Around Paris 5 Southeast
2 North 6 Southwest
3 Northeast 7 South centre
4 East 8 West
There are single carriageway motorways. A few A roads even have crossings at grade. See also Route list.
National roads: Numbers 1-17 evolve in clockwise order around Paris, beginning with the N1 to the north. Higher numbers are assigned sequentially, continuing to evolve around Paris (but no longer from Paris or even in the direction of Paris). Numbers 1-192 are generally the most important roads. Numbers 193-200 are on Corse and 201-212 are in the Alps. Any other numbers between 212 and 300 were introduced after the number change of 1973-76 (see History below). Most of them are derived from lower numbers (some of those are A numbers) by adding a multiple of 100 (see route list). Some of the numbers between 300 and 580 are remnants of the old zone system (see below), others are derived from lower numbers. Many N roads today are quite minor (e.g. N544, N545, N546). During its long history, the N road system has become rather inconsistent with many curious special situations, and the rules that can be formulated tend to have strange exceptions. The class distinction for N roads is very loose: it can only be said that numbers up to 212 are generally more important than higher numbers. Some strange examples (see also History):
N128 Only a shortcut to turn right (N100 - D239) at a roundabout (about 200m long)
N220 Not derived from any number nearby but also (probably) not a remnant of the old system.
N501 Does not seem to be an old number but is also not derived from any other number.
Many 3-d numbers are derived from lower numbers (sometimes A) by adding a multiple of 100. In some cases, numbers are derived in another way. Examples:
Number Derived from Rule Remarks
N252 N152 Add multiple of 100 to other N number
N407 N7
N251 N250 Add 1
N371 A71 Add multiple of 100 to motorway (A) number
N442 N44 Add digit at the end
N521 N52 Downgraded to D in 2001
4-d numbers are always derived from 1- to 3-d N numbers, by adding either 1000 or 2000.
1000 is added for new roads (mostly bypasses around cities). The only known exception is the N1453, which used to be the N453.
2000 is added to the number of an old road, when the main road is diverted via a new road. This is not done when a motorway replaces the old road (i.e. where the old N number disappears), except in the case of the N2009 near Millau, which was replaced by the A75.
In many cases, these 4-d N numbers are temporary only. Eventually numbers in the 1000 series are replaced by the original N number and the old road is downgraded to a D road (e.g. the N1176 near Dinan soon became the N176). Numbers in the 2000 series are replaced by D numbers wnding in the same 2 digits (in other words, a multiple of 100 is subtracted). The same number can be used several times. For example, the N2007 is the old N7 in Moulins, Vienne and Roanne.
Examples:
Number Description
N1154 Chartres bypass, linked to N154 present
N2007 Former N7 in Moulins
N1176 Near Dinan, changed to N176 obsolete
N2057 Old N57, changed to D157
See also Route list. Here all known 'parent' routes are indicated.
Departmental roads: Every department has its own system. Numbers are mostly assigned sequentially except for decommissioned national roads.
The same derivation as for N roads is sometimes used for D roads: the D1763 is a bypass to the D763.
Most N roads are to be transferred to the departments, see history below.
 
In 2012, a separate class of metropolitan roads was introduced only in Nice Côte d'Azur. Numbers are taken over from D roads, e.g. D1 can become M1. Therefore it can be expected that the numbers will remain unique per departement.
In Corsica, N roads were replaced by T roads in 2014. See Wikipedia and official announcement.

C roads are rarely signposted. Sometimes roads are just indicated as 'C' without a number.
Other roads: M and T numbers are near Melun only.
Suffixes of D numbers The same formats were in use for G and Ic numbers.
The following formats are possible for suffixes:
[Bb]is{2} Any suffix beginning with a digit has to be superscript, other suffixes may appear as standard text (this is not known).
[A-Za-z]<1-2>
[A-Z][0-9]-[A-Z]
[A-Z][0-9]
[AE]Bis
[Ee][0-9]<1-2>
{B}`Roman numeral`
A TER
TER
n Important former N road (only in Bouches-du-Rhône)
In the department Eure-et-Loir, suffixes are of the form .[0-9]<1-2>
Road signs:
Road type Background Text Road numbers
Class Shape Background Text
Motorways Blue White A Rectangle Red White
Main roads (N or D) Green White N Rectangle Red White
D Rectangle Yellow Black
Local roads (N, D or C) White Black C Rectangle White Black
Pictures from March 2008
C numbers are rarely indicated on signs.
History:
Motorways: Motorway numbers were introduced in 1963. Until 1982, there were second class motorways with numbers with prefix B, C, F, G and H. These were derived from A numbers with the same digits (e.g. A52 > C52, A15 > F15). Presumably, D and E were not used because of duplication with Departmental and European roads, respectively. They were later changed, mostly to 3-d A numbers. For example, the F15 (derived from the A15) became the A115. Other examples are B35, B52, C52, B61 and B86.
The B31 still exists, it is the ramp A5 > A31 north. It only appears on km posts.
There used to be a zone 9 between Paris and Caen but the numbers were changed and the area became part of zone 1. There were also a few 4-d numbers but these have all been changed to 3-d numbers. All 3-d numbers beginning with 9 were also changed so currently there are only numbers under 900. See route list.
Routes Nationales: The numbering system was one of the first in the world, introduced on 16 december 1811 by Napoleon. Numbers appeared on signs around 1912. Many of today's N roads still have the same approximate route as 90 years ago, and some are even the same as in 1811, though most of them have been realigned.
Until 1976 there was a zone system for numbers 301-853. Zones were determined by the first digit and there was not much overlap. Zones evolved in clockwise order around Paris, though there were only numbers beginning with 3, 4 and 7 near Paris:
3 North
4 East
5 Southeast
6 Southwest
7 West
8 Between Paris and zone 7 (800-841); Corse (843-853)
Between 1973 and 1976, many national roads were transferred to departmental administration. In 1976 there were about 29000 km of national roads left.
Very often the first digit was changed to 9 (e.g. N552 became D952). Therefore, D numbers in the 900 series are often more important than others, but there are too many exceptions to say that these form a higher sub class of D numbers. For some the old number was retained but the N was replaced by a D. In the departement Alpes-Maritimes, 2000 was added (e.g. N566 > D2566). Many of the more important roads (with numbers up to 212) were downgraded in a similar way.
Some of the less important roads either kept their number (if they were in zones 3, 4 or 5) or were renumbered by changing the first digit in order to avoid numbers over 580 (e.g. N650 became N250).
The downgrading was almost finished by 1976 except in the area near Marseille, where some more numbers were downgraded later and near Paris, where many were given a D number around 1995. Until the present, there are still many more N numbers near Paris and Marseille for minor roads. Near Paris, they often stop at departement borders (e.g. the N303). It can be expected that the remaining parts will also become D roads in future.
After the downgrading of national roads, the highest existing number was N580. In recent years, some relatively minor roads have been given an N number (for example, the N544 near Fos-sur-Mer). Until about 2000, there were no 3-d N numbers over 580. Then the numbers N814 (ring Caen) and N999 (link between A 4 and A199) were introduced. The 4-digit N numbers are also a recent phenomenon, introduced around 1990.
The N141 Limoges - Clermont-Ferrand was one of the most important N roads that were downgraded. It became the D941 but in the mid 1990's it was changed back to N141 except near Clermont-Ferrand (in the departement Puy-de-Dôme).
Another interesting case is the N104. This was originally the route Aubenas - Loriol-sur-Drome but the number was later assigned to the southeastern part of the Paris outer ring road (La Francilienne). Apparently the old N104 was changed into N304 but part of it still bears its old number, perhaps simply because signs have not yet been replaced.

In 2006, a major new downgrading operation was started. According to the Michelin atlas, only the following departments have started to implement this, according to these rules:

Number Department Nx becomes D Remarks
01 Ain 1000 + x
02 Aisne
03 Allier 2000 + x
04 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence 4000 + x
05 Hautes-Alpes 1000 + x
06 Alpes-Maritimes 6000 + x
07 Ardèche x
08 Ardennes 8000 + x
09 Ariège 800 + x
10 Aube 600 + x
11 Aude 6000 + x
12 Aveyron 700 + x Only D840
13 Bouches-du-Rhône x or xn Important roads get suffix n
14 Calvados 600 + (x mod 100)
15 Cantal x
16 Charente No downgrades known
17 Charente-Maritime x
18 Cher 2000 + x
19 Corrèze 1000 + x
21 Côte-d'Or 900 + x
22 Côtes-d'Armor No downgrades known
23 Creuse 800 + x Only D941
24 Dordogne 6000 + x
25 Doubs 600 + x
26 Drôme DxN
27 Eure No specific rules Last two digits stay, e.g. N138 > D438, N13 > D613
28 Eure-et-Loir No specific rules Last two digits stay, e.g. N10 > D910, N20 > D2020
29 Finistère No downgrades known
30 Gard 6000 + x
31 Haute-Garonne 800 + (x mod 100)
32 Gers
33 Gironde No specific rules Only N124 changed to D924 and D931
34 Hérault No downgrades known
35 Ille-et-Vilaine x
36 Indre 800 + x Only D943
37 Indre-et-Loire 900 + (x mod 100)
38 Isère 1000 + x
39 Jura No specific rules Last two digits stay, e.g. N5 > D905, N78 > D678
40 Landes 800 + (x mod 100)
41 Loir-et-Cher No specific rules Last two digits stay, e.g. N76 > D976, N152 > D952 and D2152, N252 > D952A
42 Loire 1000 + x
43 Haute-Loire No downgrades known
44 Loire-Atlantique x
45 Loiret No downgrades known
46 Lot 800 + (x mod 100)
47 Lot-et-Garonne No specific rules Last two digits stay, e.g. N23 > D723, N113 > D813, N147 > D347
48 Lozère 800 + (x mod 100)
49 Maine-et-Loire No specific rules N160 > D160, N162 > D775, N149 > D949
50 Manche 800 + x
51 Marne x for x<10
900 + x for x>10
52 Haute-Marne 600 + x
53 Mayenne x mod 100
54 Meurthe-et-Moselle 600 + (x mod 100)
55 Meuse 600 + x
56 Morbihan No downgrades known
57 Moselle 600 + x
58 Nièvre No specific rules Last two digits stay, e.g. N76 > D2076, N81 > D981
59 Nord 600 + x
60 Oise 1000 + x
61 Orne 900 + (x mod 100)
62 Pas-de-Calais 900 + x
63 Puy-de-Dôme 2000 + x
64 Pyrénées-Atlantiques 800 + (x mod 100)
65 Hautes-Pyrénées 800 + (x mod 100)
66 Pyrénées-Orientales 900 + (x mod 100)
67 Bas-Rhin 1000 + x
68 Haut-Rhin x
69 Rhône 300 + x or 400 + x
70 Haute-Saône No downgrades known
71 Saône-et-Loire No downgrades known
72 Sarthe 300 + (x mod 100)
73 Savoie 1000 + x
74 Haute-Savoie 1000 + x
76 Seine-Maritime 900 + x or 6000 + x
77 Seine-et-Marne 600 + (x mod 100) for x<10
900 + x for x>10
78 Yvelines 100 + (x mod 100) N15 > D915
79 Deux-Sèvres No downgrades known
80 Somme 1000 + x
81 Tarn 600 + (x mod 100)
82 Tarn-et-Garonne 800 + (x mod 100)
83 Var x or Nx Important roads get DN numbers
84 Vaucluse 900 + (x mod 100)
85 Vendée x
86 Vienne 900 + (x mod 100)
87 Haute-Vienne No downgrades known
88 Vosges x N57 > D657
89 Yonne 600 + x N360 > D606A / D606B
90 Territoire de Belfort x
91 Essonne No downgrades known
92 Hauts-de-Seine 900 + (x mod 100)
93 Seine-Saint-Denis No downgrades known
94 Val-de-Marne x mod 100
95 Val-d'Oise x
All RD roads used to be N roads. Most of them have recently been replaced by D roads.
Most frequent schemes:
Nxy > RDxy > RD9xy > D9xy
N3xy > RD3xy > RD9xy > D9xy
Overview:
1970 1991 1997 2004 Remarks
N3 RD3 RD3 D3
D3 D3 RD4 RD4 Minor road Châlons-en-Champagne - Sompuis, later changed to D4
N31 RD31 RD931 D931
N33 RD33 RD933 D933
N51 RD51 RD951 D951
N77 RD77 RD977 D977
N366 RD366 RD966 D966
N373 RD373 RD373 D373
N380 RD380 RD980 D980
N382 RD382 RD982 D982
N385 RD385 RD985 D985
N386 RD386 RD386 D386
N394 RD394 RD994 D994 West of N3
N394 RD394 RD994 RD994 East of N3
N395 RD395 RD995 D995
N396 RD396 RD396 RD396 Only unchanged RD number since 1991
N402 RD402 RD902 RD902
Lower classes: All Ic and G roads were given D or C numbers, in 1938, but some signs remained until the 1950's.
Routes métropolitaines were introduced in 2012. National routes in Corsica were replaced by T roads in 2014.
Sources and links: Various maps and atlases, personal experience

    Official sites:
  1. Ministère de l'Equipement, du Logement, des Transports et du Tourisme
  2. Arrêté du 29 mai 2005 portant constitution des directions interdépartementales des routes Contains information on some special road numbers 
  3. Instruction interministérielle sur la signalisation routière
  4. Nomenclature Autoroutes 1982
  5. Replacement of national roads by territorial roads in Corsica

  6. Other links:
  7. Portail SARA, Sites Amoureux des Routes et Autoroutes
  8. SARatlas
  9. WikiSara
  10. Routes Impériales Wikisara
  11. Former motorway and expressway numbers Wikisara
  12. autoroutes-news
  13. Motorway construction projects
  14. Association pour la Route Centre Europe Atlantique new east-west routes
  15. Cofiroute
  16. ASFA
  17. ESCOTA
  18. Automobi.free.fr links
  19. Old maps by Pascal Pannetier
  20. Abrégé d'histoire des routes by Jean Billard
  21. Revue Générale des Routes - news
  22. Societe des autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhones
  23. Les autoroutes Rhone-Alpes
  24. Societe des autoroutes Paris-Normandie
  25. Societe des autoroutes du sud de la France
  26. Ressources d'infos sur les routes
  27. France Autoroutes contains thousands of pictures
  28. Explanation of road classes and green signs SARA forum
  29. Roadbook Wiki
  30. Routes métropolitaines in nicematin.com
  31. La numérotation des routes françaises. Le sens de la nomenclature dans une perspective géographique

  32. Specific roads:
  33. A41
  34. A51
  35. A65
  36. A63 (N10)
  37. A75
  38. Cofiroute A86 ouest
  39. A88
  40. A89
  41. A150
  42. N19 to be upgraded to A319
  43. A466
  44. A680

  45. Other pages within this site:
  46. N19
  47. N154/N12
  48. Road sign colours
  49. Europe
  50. Mayotte
  51. New Caledonia
  52. Motorway route list
  53. National roads route list
  54. Description of kilometerage system and sections
  55. Motorways and expressways km Fusion table with 14243 points
  56. One digit A roads km co-ordinates csv 2277 points
  57. Two- and three-digit A roads km co-ordinates csv 9570 points
  58. Expressways km co-ordinates csv 2396 points

  59. Pictures:
  60. A33 west including N4 Lunéville bypass
  61. A35 positive
  62. A35 negative
  63. N4 east
  64. N4 west
Marcel Monterie

DOM-TOM (Departements d'outre-mer et territoires d'outre-mer)

Most French overseas departments have their own N and D roads, with 1-digit N numbers and 1- to 3-digit D numbers. The only motorway number is the A1 in Martinique.
Overseas territories mostly do not have road numbers. New Caledonia has a different road numbering system and Mayotte has CCT numbers.
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