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I was watching the movie "The Day of the Jackal (1973)", where Jackal was driving on a road, past this road sign.

enter image description here

It shows one country(Italie) & one city(Paris) on the road sign. I never saw a country name on a road sign.

Do road signs showing one country and one city exist?

  • 6
    Here is one with a country and a street, if that's of interest. – Nate Eldredge May 26 '17 at 1:02
  • 10
    This sign is oddly specific. Normally, it's just "Paris" and "toutes directions". – Simon Richter May 26 '17 at 5:20
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    While this kind of signs are not uncommon, it is very unlikely that the combination is Paris and Italy, as there are many cities in France that will be 'in the way' and will be signposted. Best I heard of is/was the sign 'last exit before Belgium'. – Willeke May 26 '17 at 10:43
  • 1
    Aroung my place, there are several roadsigns indicating countries (Austria, Switzerland), though they do not spell out the country name but use the country codes in a white oval that is/was also used on cars. An example can be found here – Sabine May 26 '17 at 12:35
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    New York interstate pointing to Canada. interstate-guide.com/images190/i-190_ny_st_07.jpg – cde May 26 '17 at 13:42
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Sure they do, here's a few:

enter image description here enter image description here (credit ojdo.de, CC licensed)

However, these are uncommon for anything larger than city states, because drivers are usually trying to go a specific city, not an entire country. In the second sign from Stockholm's ferry terminal, you'll note that "Tallinn" (Estonia), "Riga" (Latvia) and "St. Petersburg" (Russia) are listed individually, but "Finland" is listed as a country because there are services from Stockholm to both Turku and Helsinki.

  • 10
    I wouldn't say these are uncommon for anything larger than city states, at least not in Europe. For example, here is a freeway sign from Austria that shows not only "Slowenien" (Slovenia) as destination, but even has additional signs for D (Germany) and Slo (Slovenia). Note that this is not even close to Germany, Germany is on the other side of Austria than Slovenia. Wikimedia Commons has many more fotos with countries shown as destination on this freeway. – Philipp Wendler May 26 '17 at 5:09
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    It is likely because the country (border crossing) is not really on a city. It is a warning that by going in that direction you cross a border. The city is irrelevant in this scenario. – TomTom May 26 '17 at 6:05
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    "However, these are uncommon for anything larger than city states" - well, Finland is larger than a city state. – O. R. Mapper May 26 '17 at 12:43
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    @DavidRicherby For the sake of the question, I think it's good enough. "I never saw a country name on a road sign." Finland is definitely a country name. – Mast May 27 '17 at 8:41
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    @MikeScott Monaco the city and Monaco the country are exactly the same thing. You can't point to one without pointing to the other. It's like saying, "I can't tell whether your name refers to you or to your parents' son." There is no context in which you are not both of those things; there is no context in which Monaco is not both a city and a country. – David Richerby May 27 '17 at 8:54
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Yes, they do exist. The first situations that come to my mind are:

  • On motorways when you are approaching the border and there are not many "big cities" ahead. For example: Sign for France
  • When you're close to the border you might not want to cross it inadvertently (for example, until a few months ago, I could drive a 125cc motorbike in Spain but not in France). For example: Sign for France
  • When the route is not obvious or you have more than one option you could also see a sign somewhat far away from the border. For example: Sign for Andorra, going through toll or toll-free road
  • 3
    +1 I immediately thought of the "Francia" signs too :) And I think we all agree that France is "larger than city states"! – walen May 26 '17 at 7:57
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There exists plenty, even if they are way common than in old times.


Scope of road signs is not always the same, but generally they should help you move to a destination and at the same time give you a general sense of your position. And you, as a driver, back in the days, had no GPS, few highways, and was traveling by landmarks.

In this case, for example:

  • He is in France, near the border, on a secondary road
  • The big sign you are referring at, points him to the Route Nationel 7 and in the direction of Paris. Paris is an important landmark, so when you pass the border and you are not on a major road, you are likely to use it as a reference point to get oriented. It's like the sign is saying "North-North West", but in a human readable form.
  • The other sign simply points to Italy. When you are near a border you don't get the list of options, because usually there are none: you can cross the border at a specific point, and all that you can do is to go to Italy. So there is no "Italy - Turin" and "Italy - Naples", because there is only a single gate. If you want to go to Rieti from France your first problem is to go to Italy, so a sign saying "Italy" is more than enough
  • Last but not least: there is a small sign on the right, that you didn't notice or just ignored, and that is not appearing in the picture. It's a local sign pointing at the road to -I think- Menton. So, the big sign give you hints on how to get out of the local road and go in the direction of two mayor landmarks, and the small local sign help you to find your way around locally.

And just remember this is the border in France ages before GPS, Schengen, highways (at least in France) and so on. It's not like today, that you can cross the border everywhere, on a major highway connecting two nation, and things like that.


Ok, here we go. Sadly I couldn't find the exact one, but this is the same just in the opposite direction:

enter image description here

This is from the Italian side of the border.

  • 3
    If the sign was listing major waypoints, one might expect it to list Marseille or Nice, rather than Paris. But the more specific point is that RN7 ran specifically from Paris to the Italian border. Paris isn't just a major waypoint: it's the other end of the road. (This is consistent with, e.g. directions on Paris Metro lines always being given by naming the station at the end of the line, rather than giving a direction.) – David Richerby May 27 '17 at 8:36
  • @DavidRicherby that is not limited to the Paris Metro. The Washington, DC Metro also uses endpoints for direction. For example, you can ride the "Blue Line to Franconia-Springfield", which reverses direction at Franconia-Springfield and becomes the "Blue Line to Largo Town Center". – Columbia says Reinstate Monica May 27 '17 at 15:12
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    @RobertColumbia Sure, but I was pointing out that this scheme is used in France (which is where the sign is), not claiming that it's unique to France. – David Richerby May 27 '17 at 15:54
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There are several signs here in northern Baja California, Mexico, that reference cities in both Mexico and USA e.g. Tijuana and San Diego, and once in Tijuana most signs will have San Diego and an area or street in Tijuana rather than a city.

enter image description here

But there are definitely some, particularly close to the border, that have both Tijuana and USA.

One example I could find an image of easily was a pedestrian sign

enter image description here

Same on the other side where it may say Chula Vista and Mexico or San Diego and Mexico.

enter image description here

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