Driving in France



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   Links, France


It is now the law in France to carry a high visibility jacket and a warning triangle in your car, or any type of motor vehicle. These can be purchased from any hypermarket in France, and are not expensive.


This safety measure is intended to protect drivers at the scene of a road traffic accident. You don’t want to become another casualty! The law does not apply to motorcycles, though it is highly advisable to carry them with you when possible. Fines do apply - up to a few hundred euros.



Advice and the Law


Drive on the right! Be very careful when setting off from service stations or restaurants on the left side of the road. Take care when overtaking and allow more space between you and the car in front so you can see further down the road ahead. France has strict drink driving laws, blood alcohol levels being stricter than in the UK (0.5 mg/ml rather than 0.8). So beware!


Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere. Speed limits, shown below, are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are now frequent on the roads of France. 


In France, anyone caught travelling at more than 25km/h above the speed limit may have their driving licence confiscated. Speeding and other traffic offences are subject to on-the-spot fines.


A full UK driving licence is required. As in the UK, seat belts should be worn front and rear. Below are motoring regulations relating to France.


Take care in built-up areas where the old rule giving priority to traffic coming from the right (Priorité à droite) still applies unless a yellow diamond indicates you have priority. On roundabouts you generally give priority to traffic already on the roundabout, in other words, coming from your left as you enter the roundabout.


Children under 10 are not allowed in the front. In the rear they must use a proper restraint system appropriate to their weight, which means a child seat if they weigh between 9 and 15 kg. Over this weight they can use seat belts with a booster cushion.



Speed Limits





Open Road

Dual Carriageway


Alcohol mg/ml


130 km/h (110 when wet)

90 km/h (80 when wet)

110 (100 when wet)

50 km/h


vehicles towing trailers with combination gross weight over 3.5t

110 km/h

50 km/h

100 km/h

50 km/h


Visiting motorists holding a licence for less than 2 years

110 km/h

80 km/h

100 km/h

50 km/h






You must always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance with you in the car. This is the law in France.


If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.


UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker  when driving in European Union countries.


Headlamp converters are highly recommended.


Motorcycles over 125cc must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.


Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and a motorcycle over 125cc and 15 for a motorcycle under 125cc.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.





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