Driving In France
Take your car on any of our 3 routes to France, or head to France from our port near Amsterdam and the country’s excellent motorway network means you can travel around and explore with ease. Before long you’ll have got the hang of driving on the other side of the road and you’ll be able to enjoy driving in France to its fullest.
Avoid city centres and you’ll find that the roads are generally less congested than in the UK and often in much better condition. This is especially true on the autoroutes, but be aware that you have to pay a toll on these roads, so be sure to keep some cash or a credit card with you!
For more scenic drives, look out for roads prefixed with the letters N or RN – the equivalent of A roads in the UK – or the smaller B road equivalents, prefixed with D. There’s a free map showing all of these roads and routes that’s available from most petrol stations, just ask for the Bison Futé.
French Driving Laws
- Children under 10 may not travel on the front seats of a vehicle, unless there are no rear seat belts, or the rear seats are already occupied by other children under 10
- Children under 10 must travel in an approved child seat that is appropriate for their age and size
- Any holder of an EU driving licence exceeding the speed limit by more than 40km/h will have their licence confiscated on the spot by police
- As in the UK, wearing seatbelts is a legal requirement. On-the-spot fines can be issued, and may be severe
- It is illegal to use mobile phones or use headphones while driving in France. Any screens for entertainment purposes must be out of sight of the driver
- It is now forbidden to use safety camera warning devices, even if this is built into your Sat-Nav. In this case, you must disable safety camera warnings. On-the-spot fines can be issued, and may be severe.
- Built up areas: 31mph or 50km/h
- Outside built up areas: 55mph or 90km/h
- 68mph or 110 km/h on urban motorways and dual carriageways that are separated by a central reservation
- Motorways: 80mph or 130km/h Speed limits on motorways in built-up areas may be reduced
- There is a minimum speed limit of 49mph or 80km/h on motorways.
You MUST carry the following items in your car:
- Breathalyser kit
- GB sticker unless the registration plates have the GB logo on them
- Registration and insurance documents
- Warning triangle (excludes motorcycles)
- High visibility reflective jacket/vest within reach of driver without exiting car
- Headlight converters
- Motorcyclists must wear a crash helmet and use dipped headlights at all times.
- A ticket showing that your car sits in a low emissions category if you want to enter low emission areas such as Paris or Lille. Failure to do so could result in on the spot fines.
- All drivers in France must have 3rd party insurance or above
- For a guide to French road signs, download our PDF
- The Emergency number, Europe-wide, from mobiles and landlines is 112
If you’re looking to take a driving holiday to France, then why not check out our Great Journeys pages, with recommendations of touring routes you can discover and explore for yourself.
- Champagne Tour: Visit the home of the world’s most prestigious drink, with stops in Epernay, Reims, Troyes and more
- D-Day Beaches: Visit the sombre and sobering sights of the Normandy Landings and see the scars left on France’s northern coast
- Loire Valley Tour: Discover and explore one of France’s most naturally beautiful regions, with stops in Blois, Amboise, Chambord and more.
We are Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator 2012-2019 & the World’s Leading Ferry Operator 2011-2018!