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Driving Guide for France

The driving rules in France are similar to other countries in the European Union. If you come from the EU, you will easily adapt to driving in France. It you come from another foreign country, you will encounter road signs and conditions you have not see before. Use this guide to understand the differences you will face and learn some valuable information for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Driver’s License

Type of License

Requirements

EU license

All EU licenses are valid in France

Non EU license

Licenses printed in English are valid in France

An IDP is necessary if your license is in a different language

IDP is recommended for all Non EU license holders

All Licenses

Must be current and valid

Must be carried while driving

It is not required to have an international driving permit (IDP) for France, but it is highly recommended to avoid possibly confusing situations. If you are from the UK, click here for more information about an IDP. Follow this link if you are from a different Non-EU country.

 Speed Limits

Type of Road

Speed Limit (normal roads)

Speed Limit (wet roads)

Urban roads

50 km/h

50 km/h

Rural roads

90 km/h

80 km/h

Minor highways

110 km/h

100 km/h

Major highways

130 km/h

110 km/h

Speed limit signs in France are circular with a red border. The number is black and always expressed in kilometers per hour (km/h). The roads are usually clearly marked with the required speed limit. If you are unsure of the allowable speed, adhere to the general guidelines listed above. Do not forget that the speed limit reduces by approximately 10% when there are wet roads.
The French police have become stricter about speeding. It is part of an effort to reduce the amount of dangerous accidents. It will be in your best interest to abide by the posted limits to save money and trouble. Drivers are often required to pay fines on the spot. You should ask for a receipt in this case to make certain you are paying the fair price.   

Rules of the Road

Category

Description

Important rules

Drive on the RIGHT side of the road

Cars on the right have the priority at intersections

Only pass other cars on the left side

The Driver

May not use any mobile phone devices

Is strongly recommended to use headlights at all times

Max blood alcohol content is .05% (strictly enforced)

Passengers

Children under 10 years old must travel in the back seats

Small children must have the proper safety seats

Everyone must wear a safety belt

Other rules

Radar detectors are prohibited

Always yield to pedestrians

There are very high penalties for driving with a radar-detecting device. The fine can be as high as 2000 EUR. Drinking and driving is a very bad idea. Police have the authority to randomly stop cars to conduct a sobriety check. The punishment for driving under the influence of alcohol carries a large fine and possible jail time. To be safe, it is strongly advised to not drink and drive. To evade other traffic violations, you should become familiar with the road signs in France.  If you stay sober and practice defensive driving, you will have a great driving experience.

Parking in Country

Day

Hours

Price

Monday – Saturday (street)

9:00 – 12:00

0.70 – 1.00 EUR/hour

14:00 – 19:00

Sunday (street)

All day

Free

Every day (garages)

All day

1.00 – 3.00 EUR/hour

10.00 – 20.00 EUR/day

(1.00 EUR = 0.90 GBP, 1.40 USD)
There are many different places to park in France. It is the cheapest, yet most difficult to find parking spaces on the street. If you are going to park on the street, make sure you understand the proper parking procedure. Some places have automated ticket machines, some require tickets purchased from local newsstands and others call for the blue time disc. If you are uncertain about the parking situation, you should ask someone or find a parking garage. In a garage, you will be able to park legally and safely for as long as you wish.
*Information on this page is accurate as of May 25, 2011