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La Route Nationale 7

The following websites provides invaluable and interesting snippets, the second one being the website for the planned stop at the RN7 Museum.

Most famous French highway is demoted to series of byways
By Colin Randall The Daily Telegraph 28/07/2005

The French equivalent of America's Route 66, the Nationale Sept (N7), which carried armies of sunseekers to the Cote d'Azur until the arrival of the Autoroute du Soleil, is being downgraded to a series of departmental roads.

Large sections of the road, which stretches more than 600 miles from Paris, through Burgundy and Provence, to Menton, near the Italian border, will cease to be classified as a route nationale when the government completes a 12,000-mile programme of decentralisation by the end of 2007.

The N7 has its origins in the road-building exploits of the Romans. It has been glorified in popular culture, with songs in French and English, and in food and travel books. In common with Route 66, the N7 has a website devoted to its history.

Along with the N6, it was one of two trunk roads linking the capital and Lyons. One newspaper, France Soir, described it yesterday as "our fathers' holiday route, with its long jams and its gastronomic stop-offs".

The paper said departmental road numbers, such as the D906 in place of the N6, "simply don't have the same panache".

With the roads no longer part of the national network, France Soir said, the French would have to forget "those picnics after Avallon, the bottlenecks at Cosne-sur-Loire, the heroic effort of crossing Poitiers".

The owner of an auberge south of the forest of Fontainebleau said the N7 had retained its charm for many travellers. "There's nothing to see on the motorway; drivers fall asleep and cause crashes," she said. "On the N7, there is the countryside, villages and people."