France was the first country in the world with an ordered roadnumbering. Already in the time of Napoleon, roads were numbered in an administrative way and in the early years of the 20th century, the concerned road types were mentioned on the ‘panneax’.
Through these facts, France was the first country where people could travel long distances on comfortable and well numbered roads.
N Route National
D Route Departmental
G.C. Grande Cummunication
I.C. Chemin d’Intérêt Commun
V.O. Chemin Vicinal Ordinary
R.F. Route Forestiere
‘France is Paris’, as the French say. All routes run from Paris. The numbers 1 to 17 in a clockwise manner. The higher the number (until 212), the farther away from the capital. Every department has it’s own ‘road numbering’ rules for it’s roads.
In the thirties, many G.C. and D routes were included in the N classification. The re-numbering of the signs was on behalf of the municipalities and departments. Although, this did not happen very quickly. For this reason, and the outbreak of war, some signs are not provided with a numbering on photos of signs in time of war. After D-Day, this caused confusion with the allied forces as with for example the panneaux St.e Marie du Mont.
The signs for the G.C. and D routes were highly produces by the Dunlop company. The company was known for it’s blue metall plates with a very characteristic font. The large N roads were mainly provided with the impressive Panneaux Michelin.