Driving in France: Everything you need to know in 2024

There is no doubt that many people will visit France this year. In fact, France will become the world's most visited country by 2025, welcoming an estimated 93 million tourists.

From the tourist attractions of Paris to the beaches of Nice, the French have a truly enviable catalog of destinations for city breaks, camping holidays and seaside holidays.

France's proximity to the UK makes it a very accessible destination for Brits, with many choosing to explore the country by car. This will help you discover more about France.

When you think of a driving holiday, you might think that it's much easier than scanning a website, checking in for a flight, or going to the airport, but when Brits drive in France… There are some rules and regulations that you need to be aware of.

We've compiled all the information you need to make your trip go smoothly.

France entry rules and requirements

The main entry requirements to be aware of are those related to Brexit. A person entering a Schengen Area country must be in possession of a passport that was issued within 10 years from the date of entry. It must also be valid for at least three months from the scheduled departure date.

Additionally, keep in mind that you can only stay in Schengen countries for 90 days without a visa.

You may also be asked for proof of accommodation, travel insurance, return or onward airfare, and proof that you have sufficient money for the duration of your stay (this may include staying in commercially provided accommodation). equivalent to approximately 65 euros per day). hotels).

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driving in france

Many of the basic rules for driving in France are similar to those in the UK, with the important exception of which side of the road to drive on. The driver must be over the age of 18 and have a valid driving license, as well as insurance and vehicle documents (V5 etc.). There is no need to carry an additional international driving license.

In France, the speed limit on motorways is 80mph (100mph in rain), but the speed limit on A and B roads was lowered to 50mph in 2018. Always yield to the right at intersections.

If you drive a British car abroad (rather than renting a car in France, for example), you may need to display a white oval UK sticker on the rear of your car (white oval GB sticker in 2021) has been replaced). You should do so if:

  • If your license plate has only numbers and letters, but no flags or identifiers.
  • If the plate has a GB identifier with a union flag.
  • If there is an EU flag on the plate.
  • or if your number plate displays an English, Scottish or Welsh flag.

There are some other driving-related regulations that British citizens may be unfamiliar with. It is compulsory to carry a warning triangle and a reflective jacket (which must be accessible without leaving the vehicle). You should also carry headlight beam deflectors and spare bulbs for your lights.

You may also need an air pollution sticker called a Crit'Air sticker. These classify vehicles according to their emissions and may restrict access to certain parts of cities such as Paris, Lyon and Grenoble. For example, some vehicles registered before 1997 may be prohibited from driving in Paris at all between 8am and 8pm on weekdays. For more information on whether a sticker is required, please visit the French Ministry of the Environment's website.

The fine for speeding and not wearing a seatbelt is 135 euros. The drink-driving limit in France is lower than in the UK, at 50mg per 100ml of blood, compared to 80g in the UK.

Using your phone or device with your hands is prohibited, and any use of any device is against the law, even devices with Bluetooth headsets or earpieces. The use of sat-navs or radar detectors to warn drivers of approaching speed cameras is also against the law and could result in a fine of 1,500 euros.

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