Driving In France Requirements

Generally, driving in France is easy. However, you should be aware of particular travel requirements as well as basic information especially when driving. For instance, the minimum driving age in the country is 18 years. This is one of the basic requirements for driving in France.

For information on driving requirements in France, read on …

Documents Needed

Obviously, you need your passport anytime you’re traveling abroad. Nonetheless, when driving in France, you’ll also need a couple of more things. Here’s the list:

  • Insurance Documents
  • Proof of Ownership also known as the V5 Log Book
  •  Driving License
  •  M.O.T (Applies if your vehicle is more than 3 years old)
  •  Passport

French Road Signs

Once you understand it, French signposting is excellent. Instead of road numbers, place names are prominent. One of the most common signs is TOUTES DIRECTIONS – it means ‘’ALL DIRECTIONS.’’ This road sign is handy for diverting traffic around a village or town. Therefore, unless these two are your destination, you need to follow the sign. The variation you need to be on the lookout for is AUTRES DIRECTIONS – simply means ‘’OTHER DIRECTIONS.’’ It appears together with another signpost that indicates a particular place. For example, if you happen to see RENNES in conjunction with AUTRES DIRECTIONS, unless the former is on your route, you need to go the other way.

The positioning of French road signs can sometimes be confusing. For example, the sign that indicates go straight on if usually tucked close to the junction, on both sides of the road. It points across instead of straight ahead. Save for the major highways, priority is often given to traffic that joins a road from right. Consequently, you should always keep an open eye for this warning sign – PRIORITE A DROITE.

Driving In France Requirements


Drink Driving in France

When it comes to alcohol, 0.5 grams/liter is the maximum legal alcohol level. The only exception for this is for coach and bus drivers. They shouldn’t be more than 0.2 grams/liter of alcohol in their blood.

If a driver has less than 3 years’ experience, the government lowered the alcohol limit from 0.5 grams/liter to 0.2 grams/liter.

The French police are at liberty to undertake random breath tests. This is especially true after an accident that has caused injury or a driver has committed a grave motoring offense. In such situations, tests are compulsory.

Paris Pollution Stickers

Paris has what is known as an ‘’environmental zone.’’ This is similar to the London Congestion charge area. It’s illegal to drive within this zone without displaying a sticker on your windscreen showing your car’s rating. On particular days, cars with high rating can’t be driven to Paris city center. For more information on how to get a Paris pollution sticker, click here. During peak hours, older motorcycles and cars aren’t allowed in the city.

Review The Requirements Here


Speed Limits

The radar speed traps are highly common in France. The fines associated with them (which are very heavy) must be paid on the spot. If an incoming vehicle flashes its lights at you, it often means that there’s a trap ahead. It’s an indication that you must exercise caution. Nevertheless, flashing headlights are also an indication that the driver is warning you it’s his or her right of way.

Radar detectors aren’t legal in France, whether they’re used or not. It certainly means that if you’re caught with such an equipment inside your car, you’re liable to both a fine and confiscation of the vehicle and device. As a result, you need to make sure that your remove radar detectors from your car prior to commencing any journey to France.


One of the most notable things about breathalyzers is the fact that as much as they’re a legal requirement, they don’t carry a fine. While the French government had initially indicated that they would charge a fine on this item, they’ve never effected the fine. Recently, the authorities indicated that they had scrapped the fines indefinitely.

Consequently, you shouldn’t go through all the trouble and cost of taking some. Breathalyzers have a use by date. Additionally, they aren’t reliable and don’t work even when exposed to extreme temperatures.

Simply put, the decision is yours to make. Technically, you’re breaking the law by not carrying them. However, the offense doesn’t carry any endorsement or fine.

Read More On French Driving Requirements


GB Sticker

Is your car towing a boat, trailer, caravan etc? Regardless of what you’re towing, you must put a GB sticker on it too. Is your EU Number Plate the new style one that features both the Euro flag and GB on it? If yes, then you shouldn’t experience any problems with the authorities for the most part. However, if you keenly read the French regulations, you’ll notice that those aren’t the correctly stipulated size since they aren’t big enough.

Hi Viz Vests

If you’re involved in an accident or you breakdown, you should get out of your vehicle, stand on the hard-shoulder or at the roadside. That includes everyone in your car. Therefore, for example, if you’re carrying four passengers, you need to carry a hi viz vest for each of them. You need to place the vests not in the boot but inside the cabin. That gives you an easy time when wearing the vest before getting out of your car. The French police are very strict on this requirement. If they see you trying to locate vests under your beach balls or suitcases, you’ll most likely be issued with a fine.

Read About My Journey Through France


Safety Camera Warnings

Presently, it’s illegal to utilise safety camera warning devices when driving in France. This is regardless of the fact that it’s built in your Sat-Nav. To be on the safe side, you should disable all safety camera alerts prior to driving in France. If caught, fines might be quite heavy.

Summarised Driving in France Checklist

When driving in France, you need to carry with you the following (you can leave some items on the list at home):

  • Valid and full driver’s license
  • Proof of Insurance
  • V5C
  •  National ID/Passport
  •  Two NF certified breathalyzers
  • Warning triangles
  • Reflective jackets
  • Headlamp beam deflectors

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