Circular junctions existed long before the creation of modern roundabouts, these marvelous circular junctions that make driving so much easier…or at least we like to think so!
The first French roundabout was the Place de l’Etoile in Paris that was created in 1854 and which circles the impressive Arc de Triomphe that was erected to celebrate the Napoleonic victories.
The creation of that circular junction, though, was not to ease the traffic of horse-drawn carts in Paris but just to showcase the arch, to make sure that it was visible from any direction!
Modern roundabouts are a British invention as they were developed by the United Kingdom Transport Research Laboratory in the 1960’s.
The efficiency of the design proved very successful as all “traditional” French crossroads are steadily being converted into roundabouts.
Not only are they “driver friendly”, they also become true works of art and it seems that each municipality competes of inventiveness not only to create the most attractive roundabout but also the one that will be the best promotion for the local industry, annual music festival or anything that needs to be shown and seen…
Here is a short selection of some of my favourite roundabouts.