The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in France

France is on many people’s list of perfect vacation destinations. There are countless things to see and do. You can explore Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Spend time looking at the artwork in the Louvre, visit Notre Dame Cathedral, the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial, and so much more. It’s a country you will want to keep coming back to. Using a rental car can help you see more of the country on your vacation.

Renting a car in France

You need to have a valid driver’s license, and if you are not from the EU, you will need to have an international driving permit. You will need to carry your information and identification with you at all times when driving.

You will need to have a number of items in the vehicle that you rent. You need to have a spare set of bulbs as well as a hazard warning triangle, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, high visibility vest, registration, at least two breathalyzers, and a pair of glasses if you wear contact lenses. When you rent your vehicle, they will provide most of these items for the vehicle. Naturally, you will have to provide your own glasses.

The minimum driving age in France is 18, but you need to be at least 20 years old to rent a vehicle, and you need to have had your license for at least a year. When you rent a vehicle, make sure that you have the emergency contact number for the rental agency, just in case you need to contact them.

Road conditions and safety

The roads in France are well-maintained, and you should not have any major issues with the conditions while driving in populated areas or even the rural areas. The traffic flows on the right side of the road. You are only allowed to use the car’s horn in an emergency. Everyone in the vehicle needs to be wearing a seatbelt. Children under 10 need to ride in the backseat and they need to be in a booster or a child seat. You cannot drive in the bus lane; they are only for buses, taxis, and bikes. Drivers are not allowed to use a cell phone while they are driving, however, you can use a hands-free system.

Drivers are not allowed to make right turns when the light is red. When driving, if you do not have a yellow diamond sign on your side of the road, you need to give way to cars that are coming from the right. The police are very strict about enforcing parking rules, so only park in properly designated areas.

Road numbering

France has a road numbering system. * A – Motorways * N – National network roads * D – Local department

In addition to the French road numbers, the roads will also have European route numbers, which are a white number on a green background.

Speed limit

The speed limits in France vary based on the type of road. The following are the speed limits for different types of roadways.

  • In Towns – 50 km/h
  • Open Roads – 80 to 100 km/h
  • Motorways – 110 to 130 km/h

If you want to see as much of France as possible, make sure you get a rental car for your trip.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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