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Documents - Driving Licence or IDP

It is absolutely necessary to equip yourself with all of the available information before getting behind the wheel in your chosen country. A lack of driving knowledge can quickly zap all the fun out of your holiday.

Here is a guide to some of the important rules and regulations when driving in France. Abide by these and you’ll be free to enjoy the beautiful French roads and scenery at your own leisure:

Documents - Driving Licence or IDP

It is obligatory to carry your driving license, vehicle registration document and certificate of motor insurance. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, then a letter of permission from the owner is required. In the case of your licence not having your photograph, you must carry your passport to back up the license. Being caught driving without any of these documents will result in a fine and a possible licence suspension. If you are using a rented car, talk with your car rental company for specific details.

Age Restrictions

The minimum age for driving in France is 18. Your licence will not be valid in France if you are under this age.

Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations

  • Familiarise yourself with the Highway Code
  • Vehicles are driven on the right hand side of the road
  • Always wear seat belts at all times
  • Except hands-free system, use of mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited
  • During poor daylight visibility, always use dipped headlights
  • Always carry your license while driving
  • Always overtake from the left hand side of the road
  • Prohibited to carry radar detectors
  • Only taxis, buses and bicycles can use the bus lanes
  • Give way to traffic coming from right
  • Solid and single white lines mean overtaking is prohibited
  • Emergency vehicles will always be given priority regardless of traffic light

Warning: An instant fine will be issued for using your mobile phone at the wheel.

Speed Limits

The normal speed limits on French roads are as follows:

  • 130km/hour (80mph) or 110km/hour in the rain (a little under 70mph) on expressways
  • 110km/hour on divided highways
  • 90km/hour (55mph) on main roads
  • 50km/hour (30mph) in built-up areas

Warning:  Not adhering to these limits will attract on-the-spot fines and in the case of being caught driving 50km/hour (just over 30mph) over the limit, you will face an instant ban from driving.

Drunk Driving

The tolerated Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in France is 0.05g/1L which equates to about two glasses of wine. Driving in excess of this amount or failing to cooperate with a breath test will result in a large fine and a driving suspension of around two years. Any subsequent offence will see you off the road for four years. Other more serious offences involving driving under the influence of alcohol could result in imprisonment.

Warning:  Any offence involving drugs will lead to a stretch of jail time for up to nine years.


A fee is charged for parking. Spaces marked in white are permitted for parking. Parking tickets can be purchased from the machines along the roadsides and should be displayed on the front of the car. The parking sign in the particular area will tell you the time permitted.

Warning: Parking in Paris may be very difficult unless you’re staying in a hotel. The majority of roads are pedestrianized and parking for more than 24 hours in the same space is illegal!

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