Ask any Australian, and they will tell you the received wisdom is that the roads of Europe are crammed full of traffic all going nowhere fast.
These photos were taken on a recent drive back from Preuilly to London. You could probably put them in order for yourself just by looking at the grot accumulating on the windscreen.
There is no trickery involved here - this really is how the roads are in France - IF you're not driving on the first (or last) day of the school holidays, a Sunday afternoon, or in Paris. The way to check out what the traffic conditions are likely to be is on the Bison Futé website. Not only is there a map showing problems in real time, on this page you can download a prediction for the rest of the year about how much traffic is likely to be on the roads.