Driving in France

Whether you are planning on driving around France or just passing through during your travels, you are probably wondering how their driving laws differ to the UK’s and what items you need to store in the back of your boot to ensure that you are abiding their law. Also, in each different country within the continent are different requirements, so ensure that you check them out before you embark on your journey.

We are going to give you a breakdown of all the items you need, any documents needed and some general driving tips!

There are some vital documents needed whilst driving around France that can simply be stored in your bag, wallet/purse or pocket.

You need to carry your full UK driving license, including the photo and paper counterpart. However, for whatever reason, if you don’t have access to both parts, we recommend that you should always carry your passport or get an International Driving Permit which you can get your hands on for about £5.50 for most post office branches.

Motor insurance evidence.

The original Vehicle Registration Document (VSc).

We also recommend a Green Card and Camping Card International.

Your passport.

Before you hit the road, it’s essential to make sure that you have all of the compulsory items needed, which are:

Alongside the compulsory items, we recommend that you carry the below items too:

Check out our Driving in France Kit to ensure that you are fully prepared for your journey.

Some of the driving requirements in France are completely the same as the UK’s, however, it is essential to take a look at the below to familiarise yourself to stay on the right side of the law and for some handy driving information.

  • All drivers must be 18 or over
  • It’s compulsory to wear a seatbelt
  • There are toll charges on motorways
  • Radar detection devices for speed cameras are not allowed, if you are caught with one you could be fined €1500 or have your vehicle taken away. This also applied to any sat nav or GPS device, so ensure that you disable it in the settings.
  • Children under 10 must always sit in the back and must sit in an approved child seat
  • Never beep your horn in a built-up area unless you are in danger, as it is illegal
  • In slow moving traffic, the last car at the back must have their hazard lights switched on
  • If you want the car in front to give way, simply flash your lights
  • Call 112 if you need the emergency services

You are probably wondering what the drink-drive alcohol limits are, see below for information:

  • Normal drivers: 0.5g/l
  • Professional drivers: 0.5g/l
  • Bus/coach drivers: 0.2g/l

The French police take speeding offences very seriously, probably more so than the police in the UK, so it is essential to get to grips with the different speed limits before you get there. It is important to take them all into consideration could you could be faced with an on the pot fine and your car and license being confiscated.

See below for more information:

  • Towns: dry/wet roads 50km/h (although in some areas it is 20-30km/h)
  • Secondary rural roads: dry roads in 90 km/h and wet roads 80km/h
  • Dual carriageways and motorways without tolls: dry roads 110km/h and wet roads 100km/h
  • Toll motorways: Dry roads 130 km/h and wet roads 100km/h
  • Foggy conditions on the motorways: 50km/h
  • In the left hand lane on the motorway: minimum as 80km/h

However, if you have been driving for less than 3 years, you must not go over 80km/h or roads, 100km/h on urban motorways and 110km/h on motorways.

At the moment, there are low emission zones in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble which is handy to be aware of If you are driving around or passing through these areas.

We hope this post gives you everything you need to prepare to travel around France, take a look at our European driving kits and accessories to purchase everything you need in one place


Even though we try to keep this information as update as possible, the rules and regulations may change without warning, so we cannot be held responsible for any information that is out of date.



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