Picturesque popular spots such as the Loire Valley and the South of France are hard to beat and whether you are visiting for a long holiday or a city break, France has it all.
Tips for driving in France
Which side of the road do they drive on?
Drive on the right, overtake on the left. Unless otherwise indicated, vehicles coming from the right have priority at junctions. Roundabouts that bear the sign "Vous n'avez pas la priorité" or "Cédez le passage” indicate that traffic on the roundabout has priority.
If fitted, seat belts must be worn at all times by all occupants of the vehicle.
Driving with children
Children under 10 must not travel in the front seats without a special child restraint. The only exceptions occur when there is no rear seat in the vehicle, the rear seat is already occupied with children under 10, or there are no seat belts.
Child seats are calculated by weight not height and children under 10 must travel in an approved child seat or restraint.
Blood alcohol limit
The blood alcohol limit is 50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood. For those drivers who have held their licence for less than 3 years, this limit reduced to 20mg per 100ml of blood.
Can I use a mobile?
It’s illegal to use a mobile even with a hands-free kit.
Reflective vests, triangles & other essentials
A reflective vest must be kept in the vehicle at all times and be accessible from the cabin. It is also compulsory to carry a warning triangle.
Do I need winter tyres or snow chains?
Winter tyres are not compulsory in France but highly recommended when driving in the mountains. If used, winter tyres must be marked M&S (Mud & Snow) and have a minimum tread of 3.5mm.
You must use snow chains when travelling on roads covered in snow or when directed by road signs.
Road signs indicate where parking is restricted and must be paid for, either at parking meters or pay and display machines. A continuous yellow line means stopping and parking are prohibited. A broken yellow line indicates parking is prohibited.
You are required to carry a breathalyser, there is no punishment or fine for not doing so.
Variable speed limits
During wet weather, the speed limits reduce by 30kph on motorways and dual carriageways. The speed limit is also reduced in built up areas.
On the spot fines
The French police can impose and collect fines of up to €375 on the spot. If the offence is unlikely to result in suspension or a prison sentence, you can pay a reduced fine within 3 days. If you would like to contest the fine, you must apply for a court hearing within 30 days.
If the offence committed is likely to entail a heavy fine and the suspension of the driving licence or a prison sentence, you must leave a guarantee. The police may hold your vehicle until payment is made in cash or by a cheque drawn on a French bank.
Horns and headlights
The horn should only be used in case of an emergency. In built-up areas, use of the horn is prohibited except in cases of immediate danger.
It is recommended that you use sidelights at all times.
What should I do if I breakdown?
If you breakdown, you must put on a reflective jacket and place the reflective triangle behind the vehicle to warn other drivers. You MUST use one of the orange emergency telephones situated every 2km along main roads and motorways. These will allow you to call the police or the official breakdown service operating in that area. Call the car rental provider who will be able to advise you further.
What should I do if I have an accident?
If you’re in an accident, you MUST notify the Police and the car rental provider and get an accident report for insurance purposes. Failure to do so may result in you footing the whole bill. It is recommended that you contact ourselves at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.