Driving in France

Posted on June 9th, 2016.

French Roadtrip


Heading to France in your motor any time soon?

We’ve compiled a few handy lists and tips for you before you go.

Driving in Europe is really nothing to worry about, the only significant difference is driving on the other side of the road, which you will get used to in no time.

Before you head off on your trip it’s important to make sure you have everything you need just in case of an emergency.


  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • Vehicle registration document
  • MOT certificate
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Headlamp beam deflector
  • Warning triangle
  • High viz vest
  • Maps or satnav
  • GB sticker or GB-Euro reg plate
  • Snow chains (snow conditions)
  • European Breakdown cover

Optional Extras

  • Spare bulbs
  • Breathalyser
  • Torch
  • First aid kit
Driving tips for France


Call 112 in the event of an emergency

Seat Belts
Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to travel on the front seats of vehicles without using a special child restraint, unless there is no rear seat in the vehicle, or the rear seat is already occupied with children under 10, or there are no seat belts.

The legal limit for alcohol in the blood is 0.05 grams per litre except for bus and coach drivers who must have no more than 0.02 grams. For drivers with less than 3 years experience the alcohol limit has been lowered from 0.5 grams per litre to 0.2 grams per litre.

Many of the French highways are controlled by private companies which have tolls.
Payment can be made in cash or by credit card.

Speed Limits
Speed limits vary from 130kmh on motorways to less that 50kmh in built up areas. The speed limit is also reduced during bad weather / visibility conditions.

Driving Offences
Unlike the UK, some French police authorities are authorised to impose fines on the spot up to €375 from drivers who violate traffic regulations.

For more serious offences, instead of, or in addition to, a fine or prison sentence, the vehicle can be confiscated.

Mobile Phones
As in the UK, hand-held mobile phone are prohibited whilst driving.

Radar detectors
Using or carrying a police speed trap detection device is illegal in France and penalties can include a fine, driving ban, or even imprisonment.