It took a while but France has caught up with the UK in speed trap deployment, they're all over the place now. There are any number of fixed and mobile systems as well as semi fixed radar traps that are in different forms either situated on a tripod, in a grey box or in the back of a parked car.
Holding a UK passport and driving a UK registered car for the moment will mean that you're not suseptible to fixed radar fines, unless you are way over the limit or are falshed by a lot of cameras. There is talk however of harmoinising european fixed speed cameras to automate cross border fines and points.... as of writing this is not yet active.
Fixed Speed Cameras in France
A fixed speed camera is composed of three main elements: an armored radar cabin, a speed detection system (radar/laser) and a camera.
There are several generations of fixed speed cameras that can recognize by the shape of their enclosure.
Speed camera radar modules:
There are several types of radar doppler models approved in France, but only the following models are used in automatic speed cameras:
- Radars Mesta 210 SAGEM (now MORPHO) in first and second generation fixed radars.
- Mesta radars SAGEM 210C (now MORPHO) in third generation fixed radars.
- Radar type PARIFEX FALCO Parifex are used 4th generation, ie the discriminating radar.
- Radars PARIFEX LYNX Parifex type are not approved for installation in tunnels, including the A86 Duplex in Paris.
The specifications of different generations of fixed radar speed traps in France.
Early generation fixed radar speed trap
There are three cabins of this type installed in the Var on the A8 and the Vaucluse on the A7. They contain old speed cameras installed before 2003. These cameras are not digital and store photos on film. These cabins are no longer active because they were replaced in the same sectors of radars new generation.
1st generation radar cabin
The first generation radar speed traps are the radars installed between October 2003 and December 2004.
These cabins have two identical faces with 3 or 4 windows on both sides, but the radar flashes in only one direction.
There are 166 fixed first generation radar installed in France.
Second generation radar speed traps in France
The second generation radar speed traps were installed in France between December 2004 and October 2006.
These cabins only include three windows on one side only. They are smaller in size and can be installed in places hitherto impossible, for example narrow central reservations.
There are 609 fixed radars second generation living in France.
3rd generation radar speed traps
The third-generation radar systems are the radar installed from October 2006.
These cabins have three windows stacked on top of each other. They are smaller in size and can be installed in places hitherto impossible, as some central reservations, masts, etc..
There are over 1400 third generation of speed cameras installed in France. But this figure increases every year, because this type of fixed camera is always installed.
4th generation radar speed traps in France
The fourth-generation radar cabins are the heavyweights radar also called discriminating radars installed since March 2011.
These cylindrical cabins have 2 windows. They are able to discerne the lane of the offending vehicle and also flash trucks at a different speed than light vehicles.
I haven't details the details of in car radar or portable and handheld units, this will follow shortly. Though they are normally well hidden or concealed in some way in unmarked cars parked by the roadside, in a shaded area with the sun behind them. Remember that hte French police are dressed in a dark blue, no high vis jackets like in the UK, so they are hard to spot. The fixed radars above tend to take the picture at a maximum of 25meters though the handheld units tend to operate in the 200 - 600 meter range!!!!