France is a great country for hitchhiking. There are many friendly car and truck drivers. The highways cost money, and at some péages (toll points) you can get a ride easily.
There are no prohibitions about hitching in France, apart from the restricted access roads, i.e. expressways and motorways. Péages are also considered part of the motorway, and normally one is not allowed to solicit rides there. But this is not really enforced - since 2004 Daniel, was only told once to get off the tollbooth and ask for a ride on the parking nearby (what was difficult because there was no services except toilets). But the risk is relatively low.
At some péages all the traffic has to stop and pay - these are excellent spots to get a long ride further. Most cities next to a highway have a péage where all trafic has to stop.
You can get free maps in the péage offices - these also indicate where you can find the "all-stop-péage".
Some péages are really good, some not so good. If you've been waiting for a while with an indication of where to go, drop it and try with your thumb only. And also, you can try to get a ride to the next good spot in the wrong direction.
Most of the French don't speak English. So have a map to show them, where you want to go. If you know any French word, use it! French people like it, if you try your best. Say "Bonjour Monsieur/Madame", to show that you are friendly. If you're heading to Germany, you maybe need to know that Germany is "Allemagne" in French.
mappy is a good online map for France, it shows you (to) where you can take public transport.
French number plates end with the number of the département the car is registered in. For example, Parisian cars end with the number 75. See List of arrondissements of France and French vehicle registration plates at Wikipedia.
- Paris, the capital, hitching out of here is really difficult.
- Calais - the main ferryport to the British Islands.