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!

This roundabout is in fact in Flanders, just at the boundary with France

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!

Roundabout advertising a local chair factory

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.

Advertising an annual Jazz Festival

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…

The zoo is not very far...

Here is a short selection of some of my favourite roundabouts.

Read more

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About the author

I am French Parisienne and lived in Asia for nearly 20 years before settling in the UK 3 years ago. I have an interest in everything and every culture and am an avid reader. French linguistics is my "specialty" but I have a passion for history and try to mingle them. Humour is very important to me, I love writing, talking, laughing, exchanging ideas, learning more from others... the world is full of fascinating people! I never leave my home without my camera, there is always something unusual, beautiful or strange to capture. I like to pay attention to details, to the world of the "small", a parallel world if you take the time to look for it...And above all, I love my country of birth, France.