A Holidaymakers Guide to Driving in France

Driving in France is pretty simple, apart from driving on the opposite side of the road if you’re from the UK even so once you’ve got to grips with it you’ll be zooming around the French Riviera in no time. It’s definitely the best way to explore the country in your own way.
Whether you’re driving for business or pleasure there are a few things you should know about driving on French roads. Before you set off on your journey of delicious food, stunning locations and world-renowned monuments, here’s what you need to know.

Which documents do I need to drive in France?

In France, you may be asked to produce your documents at any time therefore make sure that you have them with you at all times to avoid the risk of a fine.
You will need:
• A valid full driving license (provisional does not count)
• A vehicle registration document (V5c) – the original not a copy, called “carte grise” (grey card) in France
• A motor insurance certificate
• Passport

What do I need to take in my car when driving in France?

GB Sticker – a GB sticker needs to be clearly displayed on the back of your car. You are exempt from this if your car has Euro-plates

A warning triangle – It is a legal requirement to have a warning triangle stored in your car in case you break down or are involved in an accident

A fluorescent safety vest – this is also a requirement for if you break down, you must wear this when standing on the side of the road so that you can be seen clearly

A breathalyser – this is the most recently introduced legal requirement for drivers in France. If you fail to produce a breathalyser when requested you will receive an on the spot fine of €11.

Additional Requirements

Any device that is capable of detecting speed cameras or able to warn drivers of the location of speed cameras is forbidden when driving in France. If you’re caught with a device like this it can result in a 1,500 euro fine.

In addition to this, during your first three years of driving after passing your test, you must not exceed 50 mph on roads, 62 mph on urban motorways and 68 mph on motorways.
If you’re bringing your own car to drive in France, you must adjust the beam pattern of your headlights to suit driving on the right so that the dipped beam doesn’t dazzle oncoming drivers.
Motorcycles over 125cc must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.

If you’re planning on driving in Paris, you must also remember a pollution sticker. Since January 2017, all cars driving in the capital must display a clean air sticker that shows how much the car pollutes. They are only around £3.50 to buy but if you forget you can be liable for a 135 euro fine.

French Tolls

The French roads are delightful to drive but that’s because you have to pay for them. It can be expensive to travel on the French motorways and this is made a tad worse by the fact French fuel is not as cheap as it used to be.

French motorways are split by tolling stations that charge a fee for access to the roads. These will be clearly marked ‘Péage’ on the blue and white signs, and you can pay with either cash, Mastercard or Visa card.


If you are heading to France this year, check out our comprehensive airport and car hire directory. We have located the best value car hire for when in France! Just don’t forget your excess insurance cover though, it saves you from costly fees should they arise! Speak to the Direct Car Hire Excess team today and get a free quote.

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