All You Need To Know Before Driving in France

All You Need To Know Before Driving in France

Located at the foot of the Alpine mountains, France annually attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. Holidays in France are unforgettable at any time of the year.

By renting a car in France, you can enjoy your vacation on the Cote d’Azur, or take active rest in the country’s ski resorts. And of course, you can enjoy French cuisine in a cozy local restau-rant. And who does not dream at least once to see Paris – a city of love. With a car rental, you can make your vacation in France unforgettable.


In order to rent a car you must be at least 21 years old (age re-strictions vary depending on the category of car) and you must have at least one year of driving experience. For drivers under the age of 25, an additional fee is possible on site. Safety belts are a must. Child seats are required for children under 3 years. Children under 10 years old are not allowed to sit in front.

Speed limit

The following speed limits apply in France:

  • In the city: 50 km / h
  • On country roads: 110 km / h
  • On motorways: 130 km / h

Traffic laws

France is a right hand drive country. You cannot use a mobile phone while driving. If you still need to use a mobile phone, enable the hands-free function. In France, there are many cameras with radars to record speeding. Those who exceed speed can be immediately deprived of a driving license. The fines are usually very high.


In big cities, there are usually a lot of gas stations working around the clock. Typically, fuel prices at city gas stations are much lower than at gas stations on motorways.

Toll roads

French Autopistas freeways are toll roads. They are always marked with the letter A. The length of toll roads in France is more than 2000 km. Usually, when entering a toll road, you need to pull out a ticket and pay for it when leaving the road. It should be noted that the fare in the hot season (summer) is higher than the rest of the time.


In small towns, there are many parking meters. In large cities, the so-called ‘Blue Zones’ are widespread, where either a parking watch or a ticket is used, which must be installed in a visible place behind the windshield. In the cities of the Cote d’Azur, it is quite difficult to find a parking lot. And fines for improper parking are high. Pay attention to the mark “Payant” or “P”, which means a place (outlined in white stripes) for paid parking. In Paris, it is better to park the car somewhere on the outskirts and use public transport to travel to the center.

Peak hours

Traffic jams in France are found only in Paris and major cities. All roads are most loaded when people go to work or return from work – this is usually between 7:30 and 9:00 in the morning, and also between 5:30 and 7:30 in the evening. On Fridays, traffic jams begin earlier, especially around Paris. Between rush hours, traffic is usually free, even in Paris.

Insurance information

There are a huge number of auto insurance offers. Therefore, read this section carefully before renting a car.

The rental price always includes a limitation of liability for damage to the car and protection against theft. In the event of car damage or theft, the customer’s liability is limited to the established deductible, the amount of which is indicated in your voucher. If you intend to take advantage of the insurance offered by your credit card, then you need to contact the credit institution that issued the credit card for additional information. The security features of your rental car are indicated in the voucher received upon booking confirmation.

Vehicle movement limitation

Most rental cars are allowed in Western Europe, as well as in the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland. To travel outside of France, you need to purchase additional insurance. Attention! It is forbidden to transport a car on a ferry. Due to insurance restrictions, there are certain restrictions when renting luxury cars. Restrictions on travel to certain countries may also occur. Please make sure that your planned route is allowed on the selected vehicle.

Radar detectors

In France, the law prohibits having radar detectors in the car, even if they are not connected and are not used – the French po-lice can write a large fine and confiscate equipment (of course, if they find it). We advise you to remove the detectors and stands for them before entering France.

Things you need to have with you when driving in France

  • Warning triangle: if your car breaks down or crashes, you must warn vehicles approaching by placing a triangle 50 to 150 meters behind the vehicle. Using a hazard alarm is not enough;
  • A complete set of bulbs: all bulbs, including lenses and reflec-tors, must be operational, even in the daytime. Failure to replace faulty bulbs with external lights may result in a temporary cessa-tion of your trip and / or a fine;
  • Sticker: required by law to indicate country of registration;
  • First aid kit and fire extinguisher: European Law requires each driver to stop and provide assistance when an accident occurs, if this can be done in a safe way. For this, a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher may be required;
  • Reflective vests: Whenever you leave the car on the road, you should always wear a reflective vest to ensure your own safety. Now this requirement also applies in a number of other European countries.

About the fines system in France

As already mentioned, fines in France are most often justified in terms of size. At the same time, you can get a fine “at a discount” in many cases. If you pay a fine in the first 15-45 days, then the discount can be up to 50%, but if you delay it for more than 45 days, then the amount of the fine is increasing. If the offender has to be summoned to court in order to be fined, the amount that must be paid in the end can be doubled. As a result, the amount of the fine paid by a law-abiding citizen immediately after he or she was issued this fine can be four times different from the fine for someone who did not want to pay anything for a long time. Such a system really helps in charging fines faster, because, of course, no one wants to pay more.

Departure to other countries

When you rent a car in France, you are allowed to travel to Spain and other neighboring countries of Western Europe. When traveling outside France, various rules apply, so if you intend to travel outside the country in a rented car, indicate this when booking. In this case, an additional insurance fee will be charged. If you intend to travel to Eastern Europe or cross international borders, please contact your insurance company for more information.

One-way rental within the country is possible between certain rental locations for a possible additional charge. Additional fees apply when you rent a one-way car internationally. For some cars, one-way rentals are prohibited internationally.

Category: Cars

Tags: driving, France