We picked up and returned our hire car at Charles De Gaulle airport so we were certainly thrown in at the deep end from the beginning !
Our experience of driving in France was a positive one with a couple of exceptions.
French drivers are impatient and prone to using their horns at the slightest provocation.
If you come from a country where people seldom use their horns this can be unsettling and sometimes stressful as if you are unsure or hesitant French drivers will give you a blast.
On highways, although there are posted speed limits, they are often ignored.
In our experience there was a huge difference in the amount of traffic we encountered in different areas.
In Normandy, the Loire Valley and Burgandy in May there were not many cars on the road. Perhaps in the busier Summer months this could be different especially in the wine areas of Burgandy.
However the South of France in May was another story with very heavy traffic on the Cote D'Azur and long delays at toll booths on the large toll roads servicing the area. I hate to think what it would be like at the height of the Summer season.
In general the roads were good and on the whole wide enough for two cars.
Of course in the centre of very old villages that were built in the days before cars were invented there is no way a car could pass and these places need to be explored on foot.
Parking areas, often free, were provided on the outskirts of all the pretty villages we visited in Provence. In larger towns like Grasse we were alert for parking signs and used the paid parking. In busy times when tourists are many this may not be easy.
Most tourist attractions like Mont St Michel, Aiguille du Midi ( Mt Blanc ) have large parking areas to cope with tourists and they are sometimes free.
Places like Cannes and Nice have paid parking and if you can cope with the traffic AND negotiate a place in them you'll be doing well. We managed in Cannes but caught a train to Nice to avoid problems.