Driving holidays in France are one of the most popular rentals we broker deals for. We have suppliers in airports, cities and towns across the country so you can find a convenient place to collect your hire car, or you can even rent one in the UK and drive it across via the tunnel or any of the ferry services. Just let us know what you need when you book, and we’ll make sure that you have all the correct insurances and documents you need to get your holiday on the move.
Driving in France is pretty straightforward, but there are some laws and tips you should be aware of before taking to the open road – here’s what you need to know:
- Drive on the right-hand side of the road. If you need some tips on how to do this, check out our guide here.
- Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal, go retro, pull over, order a coffee somewhere scenic and send a postcard instead!
- A new law was introduced in 2012 which makes it mandatory for all cars to have a breathalyser on board. You can buy these before you travel, but they must carry the ‘NF Approved’ logo. Halfords and the AA are just two retailers which sell them, however when it comes to drinking and driving, the best advice is – don’t. The limits are very strict and the penalties can be severe.
- It’s illegal to use any device which alerts you to up and coming speed cameras. If you use a satnav or any other GPS system, you should be able to disable this service in the settings menu.
- All passengers must wear a seatbelt and any children under the age of the 10 must travel in the back and sit in an appropriate child seat. If you need a booster seat, let us know when you book and we’ll make sure your rental car is supplied with one.
- If a tram is picking up or dropping off passengers, it’s illegal to overtake it.
- Just as in the UK, speed limits in France vary according to the road conditions, but they are signposted in km/h instead of mph. Pay attention to the signposted speed limits and stick to them, drivers with an EU licence who exceed the limit by more than 40 km/h will have their licence confiscated on the spot by the police.
- If you are stopped by the police for any reason, you will need to produce some ID and documents which prove you have the authority and insurance to drive a hire car in France. Keep these with you at all times and save yourself a possible fine.
- You can carry spare petrol in an appropriate fuel can, but not on a ferry if you choose to drive across. Simply pop a can in the boot and fill it up once you arrive.
- You might need a ski-rack for any time spent on-piste in the Alps. Let us know what your requirements are when you book and we can help to arrange any special kit you might need for transporting your skis and accessories.
- Toll roads operate across the country. Some will bill your car electronically and you can pay for this when you return the vehicle; others require cash payments so make sure you have some money or a credit card with you.
- You won’t struggle to find a patisserie or market anywhere in France so it’s always worth keeping a picnic blanket in your car, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to park up and use it.
- If you need it, the emergency services number in France is 112.
Driving in France is easy once you’ve mastered being on the other side of the road so enjoy the ride. If you learn any other tips or discover any road rules we haven’t already listed, please let us know and we’ll add them to this guide. Have a great trip!