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Driving in France Banner Image 

Below are motoring regulations and advice relating to Driving in France. Please note that some of the regulations have changed so, please make sure you read this page carefully.

To help you along your way, we have added a small booklet which unlocks the mysteries of the Road Signs in France. Printing the pages both sides of an A4 page creates a small booklet to keep in your vehicle.

Road Signs in France PDF Download (PDF, 964Kb)

Free Adobe Reader DownloadIf you are having problems viewing and printing the Road Signs in France file above - select the image and follow the instructions provided to install Adobe Reader software - It's FREE!


Contents Banner

High Visibility Vests & Warning Triangle - NEW LAW
Seat Belts
Headlamp Converters & Lights
Drinking & Driving
Speed-trap detection devices
Speed Limits in France
Further Advice


High Visibility Jacket and Warning Trangle Banner

From July 1st 2008, all drivers in France, including drivers of vehicles registered outside of France, must have one warning triangle and at least one reflective jacket in their vehicle.

The Jacket/waistcoat must conform to EU Standard BS EN 471: 1994 Class 1 or 2.

This regulation will be enforced with on-the-spot fines of between €90 and €135. (See Fines below)

Note of Caution - "People are being pulled over by the Police just as they leave Toll Booths for spot checks. There are far fewer UK vehicles driving around France and they are likely to target us first." - webmasterTop

Seat Belts Banner

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted. Clunk - Click - Every Trip!

Note of Caution - "I have heard of people being pulled over by the Police just as they leave a Toll Booths and fined for releasing the seat belt whilst the vehicle was still moving. The best advice I can offer is that you keep your seat belt on until you have stopped by the window and applied the handbrake. When you return to the car, put your seat belt back on before you do anything else - especially before you move the vehicle." - webmasterTop

Headlamp Converters & Lights Banner

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility.

Replacement bulb set recommended.Top

Fines Banner

Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

Drinking & Driving Banner

France has strict drink driving laws, blood alcohol levels being stricter than in the UK (0.5 mg/ml in France rather than 0.8 mg/ml in the UK). If you are stopped and found to be over the 0.5 mg/ml, you could face anything up to imprisonment.

Rather than present you with meaningless figures relating to blood/breath alcohol levels, our advice is if you're driving, don't drink!Top

Speed-trap detection devices Banner

The use or possession of devices to detect police radar is illegal in most European countries. Penalties can include fine, driving ban, and even imprisonment.

Note of Caution - "If you have one of these fitted to your vehicle, please REMOVE IT before you travel. Just having one in the vehicle, even if it is switched off, will attract the same penalty." - webmasterTop

Speed Limits in France Banner

Speed limits, shown below, are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent! In France, anyone caught travelling at more than 25km/h above the speed limit can have their licence confiscated on the spot.

A confiscated license may mean you will not be able to drive your vehicle home - if you travelling on your own. If there is another driver in the vehicle, please make sure they are insured to drive the vehicle.

Cars, Vans, and Vehicles towing trailers with combination gross weight less than 3.5tonnes

           Motorway - 130 km/h (110 km/h when wet)
Dual Carriageway - 110 km/h (100 km/h when wet)
         Open Road - 90 km/h (80 km/h when wet)
                  Town - 50 km/h

Vehicles towing trailers with combination gross weight over 3.5tonnes

           Motorway - 90 km/h
Dual Carriageway - 90 km/h
         Open Road - 80 km/h
                  Town - 50 km/h

Note - Visiting motorists holding a licence for less than 2 years must observe the following Speed Limits: -

            Motorway - 110 km/h
 Dual Carriageway - 100 km/h
          Open Road - 80 km/h
                   Town - 50 km/hTop

Further Help & Advice Banner

Full UK Driving License: - is required. Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK license, is 18 for a car and a motorcycle over 125cc and 15 for a motorcycle under 125cc.

Motor Insurance: - third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.

Documentation: - always carry your driving license, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your license does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the license. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive. You may be asked to produce your documents at any time. To avoid a police fine and/or confiscation of your vehicle, be sure that they are in order and readily available for inspection.

GB Sticker: - UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries.

Children in Cars: - children under 10 are not allowed in the front. In the rear they must use a proper restraint system appropriate to their weight, which means a child seat if they weigh between 9 and 15 kg. Over this weight they can use seat belts with a booster cushion.

First-aid Kit: - is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: - All grades of unleaded petrol and diesel are available. As in the UK, LPG is only available at some stations. Leaded no longer exists. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps in rural areas open out-of-hours, which also means lunch-time from noon to 3pm. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad (see Travel Info). This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

Supermarkets: - Most supermarkets are closed on Sunday.

Please drive carefully and safely in France.

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