In a recent article for The Sun, Clarkson explains that he and he and Hammond had exceeded the limit a tad and were stopped by the police as they were approaching a toll booth. The Aston was clocked at (141 km/h), while the Porsche managed to pull (143 km/h).
The Top Gear stars thought the wouldn't get into too much trouble, since the speed limit is (130 km/h). Nevertheless, the French police informed them they had ignored the (90 km/h) limit imposed on that certain stretch of highway.
The policemen expressed their negative feelings by handing the two presenters fines that required all the cash they had on them. Oh and they also took away their licenses. The icing on this law-breaking cake was a three-month driving ban in France.
They were rescued by the Top Gear film crew, but, as Clarkson put it, expect to see the next Top Gear season with a lot of Italian scenery in the background.
We've had a rather... ahem... disciplinarian talk with the French Police ourselves earlier this year. To put it shortly, they like to qualify rapid pace car movements as "jimikhhhana" and are not particularly fond of such actions. Wonder if they've seen Ken Block's latest Gymkhana...