Travel Passport

Why carry an IDP while driving in France?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. France highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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Top Road Trip Destinations in France

France has always been a crowd favorite when it comes to international tourist destinations in the world. Touring the capital is such a fulfilling experience, especially with its magnificent architecture, which captivated even the infamous German dictator leader’s artistic and cultural structures during World War II.

Most of the cities and communes in France have trendy food districts, elegant architecture for urban areas, and picturesque landscape sceneries in the countryside. What more is that you can drive further to some countries like Andorra, Spain, Italy, and Monaco, but an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required there unlike in France, so might as well get one.

Do you need an International Driver’s License in France?

Although it is possible to drive using your native driver’s license as an International Driver’s License is not required. It is highly recommended to use an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in France. For the very purpose of translating your native license’s data, it makes inspection from French law officials easier. Therefore, you do an International Driving License or Permit rather, when driving in France.

How do you get an International Driving License for France?

There is no authorized website or organization that can process an International Driving License. That is why the official name for the translation for your native driving license is called the “International Driving Permit.” A reliable website that processes these permits is the International Driver’s Association (IDA).

Their IDP services have reasonable prices depending on whether you want both digital and printed copy or order them a la carte. You won’t be disappointed when you get your International Driver’s Permit from the International Driver’s Association. First, you need to have a valid native driver’s license and settle all the essential documents asked from the application form on the website. From your address, zip code, contact number, and more, you need to secure them for a smooth process.

You can then get an IDP in just 2 hours if you want to drive seamlessly across the country through the International Driver’s Association.

What are the must-visit cities for road tripping through France?

Paris

What makes it famous, and what activities can I do there?

First-time tourists and well-versed travelers alike flock to Paris to spend time in its most world-renowned spots like the iconic Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the famed Notre-Dame de Paris. But some other notable places you can explore are the Musée d'Orsay, the Luxembourg Gardens, or Le Marais. If you are into some creepy stuff or if you can take it, you can visit the Catacombes de Paris. You’ll find that it is not “all scare,” but also rich in history and architecture.

You can plan your own itinerary or book a guided tour. But if you want to enjoy the city freely, it’s best to keep your options open. When driving in France with an international driving permit, using your own or a rental car would do just that. Whether you want to shop, or tour museums, explore Paris districts, or attend some classic operas, driving to your target locations can make for an unrestrained experience.

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • The Seine

A 780-kilometer river is flowing from Dijon, through Paris with its mouth emptying into the English Channel. Its two remaining natural islands are central to the rich tourism Paris offers, one of which, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, was built on.

  • Quartier Latin

It is named after the language taught in Parisian universities around it. It features the Boulevard Saint Germain, where you will find endless coffee shops and bookstores that are very popular with students in the area.

  • Champs-Elysées

A 2 km long, prestigious avenue with many residences, shops, bars, and restaurants bestrewn with the clipped horse chestnut trees ending at the Place Charles de Gaulle where the Arc de Triomphe is.

  • The Arc de Triomphe

It is a commemorative monument commissioned by Napoleon I. Its base is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, while the top observation deck lets you see the twelve avenues that meet at that point.

  • Eiffel Tower - this French global icon is the tallest building in France and the most-visited paid monument in the world.
  • Louvre Museum

It is home to the best-known works like Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and the masterpiece of Leonardo Da Vinci, Mona Lisa.

  • Versailles

It is a grand palace with the Hall of Mirrors situated on the outskirts of the city.

  • Parc Asterix and Euro Disneyland

These are theme parks within 30km that have rollercoasters, hotels, bars, restaurants, shows, dancing, theatre, and water features. Euro Disneyland even has a golf course.

  • Catacombes de Paris

It is an underground “Paris Municipal Ossuary,” whose construction was the result of the need to transfer cemetery contents due to public health concerns in the late 18th century.

When is the best time to visit?
  • June to August - Longer days of sun and moderate weather to enjoy activities
  • September to October - Breathtaking foliage descent, lower travel rates and shorter attraction queues.
  • December - Deals for budget-friendly travels are common
When is the worst time to visit?
  • June to August

Also worst, most crowded and most expensive time of the year

Lyon

What makes it famous and what activities can I do there?

French cuisine in Lyon is superb which is why it was dubbed as the world capital of Gastronomy by the food critic Curnonsky, in 1935. Up to this day, the common passion for food by the French people resounds in the hallmarked fine-dining restaurants, prestigious in-door and savvy outdoor markets, savory Lyonnaise specialties, and one-of-a-kind bouchon eateries.

Lyon is also home to many top chefs, one of which, Paul Bocuse, owned a 3-Michelin-Star restaurant rated from 1965 until 2018 when he passed, leaving the restaurant star-stripped.

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • Vieux Lyon

It is an old town that served as Lyon’s center of industry and home of its silk workers. You can visit a couple of interesting museums and explore “traboules.”

  • Fourvière Hill

It used to be the center of the city during the Roman occupation in France. It is a significant place to discover and understand Lyon’s history, especially with ancient theatre and the odeon during the Fourvière Night Festival.

  • La Croix-Rousse

It is another scenic hill district where you can admire impressive murals and colourful street art.

  • Halles Paul Bocuse

An outdoor market named after the renowned French chef Paul Bocuse, is one of Lyon’s numerous marketplaces. Going through them is an authentic way to learn the art of selling goods

  • Passerelle Saint Vincent and Passerelle du College

These are two of the few stunning pedestrian bridges that offer a beautiful view of the big rivers crossing Lyon, Saône, and Rhône River

When is the best time to visit?
  • May - For comfortable weather and temperature
  • September to October - For Moderate and cool autumn weather with the trees starting to be colorful. Key events during this time are Biennale de la Danse and Lumiere Festival
  • November to April - For budget deals
When is the worst time to visit?
  • June to August - Peak attraction season with higher rates and longer queues

Bordeaux

What makes it famous, and what activities can I do there?

If you’re a bit of a drinker, then Bordeaux is a must-visit for you. With all its wine-tasting tours and activities. You can also check out some neo-classical opera houses, theatres, and art temples to get in touch with your artistic inclinations. Have a taste of the famous canelés, a small custard cake with a thick caramel crust flavored with vanilla, and a bit of rum. It can be found in most of the bakeries around Quays Market and all over the city.

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • Place de la Bourse

It is a historic building located in the center of the city along the bank of the Garonne River. A restaurant called Le Gabriel can be found behind the Fountain of the 3 Graces.

  • Head to La Cité du Vin

The Wine City on Quai du Bacalan is where you can learn about châteaux blends and wine labels there.

  • Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux

It is a marvelous building for the performing arts which serves a lively venue for operas, dance and music performances.

  • Parc de Majolan

A relaxing stroll in this beautiful baroque park can be taken after having lunch at La Maison des Jardiniers restaurant or a picnic on the park lawn.

  • Marché des Quais

It is a great place to discover and try fresh and cooked delicacies that include oysters, crepes, cheeses, wines, and delicatessen that you can eat on the spot, along with a lot more.

  • Cathedral of Saint Andrew of Bordeaux

It is built in the High Gothic style, making it one of the most majestic cathedrals in Bordeaux.

  • Port de la Lune

Port de la Lune or Port of the Moon is a crescent-shaped port along the Garonne River. Stretching from the Quai de Bacalan to the Quai de Paludate, the port was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

  • Rue Sainte-Catherine

It is one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets, reaching over 1 km from Place de la Comédie to Place de la Victoire. It is considered one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe.

  • Museum of Aquitaine

It is one of the largest French history museums that will show you exhibits of Bordeaux region’s history from the Stone Age to the 19th century.

  • Saint-Pierre District

Experience the bar and restaurant-hopping in this lively Bordeaux town, which boasts many choices from South American to authentic English pub ambiance.

When is the best time to visit?
  • Springtime - Low rates and minimal crowds
  • December - The Bordeaux is very festive around Christmas time
When is the worst time to visit?
  • September - Harvest time for wineries, so some do not allow tourists
  • June to August - Peak tourist season

Nice

What makes it famous, and what activities can I do there?

This beautiful city’s name is definitely not a misnomer with the breathtaking backdrop view of the waters in the coastal area of the French Riviera. It is nothing short of the word “nice,” in fact; it surpasses it. Stroll along the waterfront as you take in the beauty of the city and the fresh Mediterranean air. Stand in awe of a grand fountain, vibrant buildings, and majestic cathedral.

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • Vieille Ville or Vieux Nice

It is a neighborhood just below Castle Hill which is made up of tall tenement houses with the base floors occupied by shops, restaurants, and mini galleries of local artists

  • Castle Hill of Nice

Above the old neighborhood, sits this chateau that offers a marvelous panoramic view of Nice.

  • Promenade des Anglais

This renowned seafront stretching for seven kilometers across the bay, is endearingly called “La Prom by the French locals. This is where everyone hangs out from artists, to skaters, avid beach goers, and even buskers.

  • Musee Massena

It is considered an architectural treasure of La Prom built by an outstanding Danish architect throughout the Belle Epoque.

When is the best time to visit?
  • September to October and Mid-March to April

You can take advantage of low room rates during these times but you can enjoy Mediterranean weather all year-round

When is the worst time to visit?
  • May to August - The peak season is crowded, hot, humid and expensive.

Ceret

What makes them famous and activities to do in the place?

One of the amazing perks of having an international driving permit when driving in France is that you can cross the borders from this beautiful french city to Spain where an IDP is required. It is about a 2-hour drive between Ceret and Barcelona resulting in the strong influence of Catalan culture on the city. Watching bullfights, making pottery or dancing Sardana during the festival of the same name are a few of the things you can try out while you’re there.

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • Ermitage de St Ferreol

Ermitage de St Ferreol is a small chapel where you see a panoramic view of the Valley and the mountains.

  • Pont du Diable

It is named “the Devil’s Bridge” because of the architectural feat it encountered in the popular legend of its construction. It was the world’s most massive bridge arch at that time, with a span of 46 meters long.

  • Eglise Saint-Pierre

It is a sacred space of thirty steps surrounds the church in which all violence is prohibited. The church and several altarpieces are classified as Historical Monuments.

  • MúSIC Museum of Musical Instruments

This museum was established in 1987, to promote the rich diversity of traditional dance and music in promoting and enhancing the current musical scene.

  • Mediatheque

With a surface area of 1075 square meters and housing roughly 25,000 documents, this multimedia library has been open since 2007. The best news about it for anyone who would visit is that wifi is available and is free of charge at all levels.

When is the best time to visit?
  • May to October - Pleasantly warm temperature and limited rainfall
When is the worst time to visit?
  • December to January - Bad weather, typically cold with the fewest hours of sunshine

Marseille

What makes it famous, and what activities can I do there?

The oldest city in the country is a must when driving in France. Being one of the oldest cities in western Europe is one reason it is essentially a port rather than a tourist destination. The warm, lively atmosphere brings out the variety of culture that has melted into its core. This means people from all over the world go here for a living in lieu of just touring. A holiday in this quite gritty but nonetheless worthy town is an intrepid spirit’s gratifying adventure.

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • The Mucem

This is the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, which takes on a multidisciplinary approach in shedding light to the rich history of the Mediterranean region.

  • Palais Longchamp

It is an edifice located on Boulevard Jardin Zoologique in the center of Marseille. It serves as a historic monument featuring splendid gardens and an old zoo which replaced live caged animals with colorful cement animal statues.

  • L’Estaque

It is a village that charmed many talented impressionist painters like Paul Cézanne, boasting a range of colors, from scarlet rooftops, sage vegetation, umber hills to cyan seas.

  • Le Panier

In this lively, culturally rich neighborhood, hosting museums and quirky boutiques is one of the oldest districts boutiques.

  • Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde

It is the most iconic landmark in Marseille and offers the best view point in the city.

  • Calanques National Park - is situated between Marseille and Cassis along the coast. An early morning stroll with your camera is best to capture its landscapes.
  • Noailles’s Market

Found in Rue du Marché des Capucins, it is a vivacious market of many fresh produce stalls, spices, and freshly baked pizzas.

When is the best time to visit?
  • September to November and December - Least expensive travel rates and least amount of tourists
When is the worst time to visit?
  • February to March

This time of year is prone to le mistral or high winds, especially during the transition from winter to spring.

  • May to August

The busiest months with high levels of tourism especially with Festival de Marseille and Bastille Day on July 14

Lille

What makes it famous, and what activities can I do there?

The title of European Capital of Culture awarded to Lille over a decade ago was not the height of its ability. It was rather a humble beginning, for in the following years Lille has grown to become a cultural hub second to none in northern France and, some would argue, even beyond. There is a strong Flemish flavour in Lille, which manifests itself literally, through Lillois cuisine, and figuratively, through the ornate buildings of the charming old town (Vieux Lille).

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • Palais des Beaux-Arts/BOZAR

Even though it is actually based in Brussels, it is still a popular spot in Lille for being the Center for Fine Arts Museum.

  • L'Opéra de Lille

From American dancers and choreographers, Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown along with opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa all performed in this small-town venue building which was destroyed by a fire in 1788 and was rebuilt in 1914.

  • Grand' Place

It is home to Braderie flea market every September and during Christmas time containing small shops, boutiques, and book stalls.

  • La Citadelle

It is the largest and best-preserved bastion in France located northwest of Lille. This elaborate structure was designed in 1670 as part of the French Spanish Netherlands

When is the best time to visit?
  • September to December

Lille is pleasant year-round, with relatively mild winters. Fall ushers in the famed opera season—also a good time of year to indulge in Lille’s cold-weather comfort food

When is the worst time to visit?
  • June and October to September

Strasbourg

What makes it famous and what activities can I do there?

Strasbourg is a unique city that combines French and German culture to shape the architecture of the city. Strasbourg ranks among the most popular tourist cities in France, welcoming anyone from anywhere internationally. The city is surrounded by some amazing churches and cathedrals.

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • Petite France (Little France)Petite France

It is a charming old town in France with half-timbered buildings withstanding the times since the medieval period.

  • Strasbourg Cathedral

It is a Gothic European cathedral that truly stands out, as it was the tallest building in the world for about 227 years until 1874.

  • Strasbourg Astronomical Clock

This clock is one of the great tourist attractions in the Alsace region of France serving as a perpetual calendar, a planetary dial, and it also shows the real position of the sun and the moon.

  • Maison Kammaerzell

This hotel is the most elegant old burgher’s house in Strasbourg which is appraised as a jewel of Alsatian architecture.

  • Ponts-Couverts

It is one of the most popular tourist spots in Strasbourg consisting of towers and footbridges. It owes its name to the series of roofed, wooden footbridges which existed upon its construction.

  • The Historical Museum

This museum located in the Grande Boucherie has a wide range of exhibits of paintings, graphic art, weapons, and everyday objects collected from the Middle Ages, French Revolution, Napoleonic and modern eras.

  • The Alsatian Museum

It is a museum which displays a collection of artifacts portraying the cozy and rustic Alsatian lifestyle as it used to be centuries ago.

When is the best time to visit?
  • May to October - For ideal weather, colorful scenery due to foliage and wine festivals
  • December - Strasbourg dresses up as the “Capitale de Noël” with festive Christmas markets spread throughout the city.
When is the worst time to visit?
  • August to September - It is the busiest month for tourism with expensive hotels and flights

Nantes

What makes it famous and what activities can I do there?

This industrial wasteland in the middle of Loire became a cultural hub after the shipbuilding industry ended in 1980. Nantes filled with interesting landmarks such as castles and cathedrals, with a lot of trendy venues, art galleries, covered halls of rum and cheese storage, and fashion showrooms in an exquisite shopping mall.

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • Marché de Talensac

The place to meet locals is the belly of the city, where everyone does their shopping. Inside the 1937 are specialities such as rum- and lemon-flavoured gâteau nantais, pungent curé nantais cheese, and fish straight from the trawler.

  • Place Viarme

It is a marketplace surrounded by cafes and bars where you can bring your own cheese, charcuterie, or oysters and enjoy them with muscadet.

  • Musée d’Arts

It was established in 1801 by Napoleon I which recently reopened after a six-year renovation. Now, it has an additional 30% of space and invites visitors to a new building completely devoted to contemporary art.

  • Loire estuary

It is a natural extension to the city that has been opened for locals and tourists. Landscape changes from industrial sites to fishing villages, farms and wetlands filled with wildlife, to shipyards and containers at Saint-Nazaire.

  • Passage Pommeraye

An 1843 forerunner of shopping malls having elaborate statues and embellishments and an intricate staircase leading to panels of boutiques with fashion showrooms, cake, jewelry, and leather shops.

  • Le Lieu Unique

It is a center or art nouveau tower for contemporary culture accessible and affordable for everyone who wants to enjoy it in Nantes.

When is the best time to visit?
  • September to November

The slowest time of tourism due to chilly weather with cheaper accommodation arrangements

  • March to April - Have mild summer and spring weather for outdoor activities
When is the worst time to visit?
  • June to August - The busiest months for tourism
  • December to February - Snowy, not enjoyable for warm weather travelers

Aix-en-Provence

What makes it famous and activities to do in the place?

This provincial area in southern France is the perfect getaway from the busy life in the city. Start your countryside escapade at the town hall, which is open for visitors. Walk around peaceful gardens and boulevards, spend an afternoon in art galleries and museums, and shop at open-air local markets. This provincial area is where you can also grab a lovely dinner from the nearby restaurants or even cook your own meals through the fresh ingredients!

What are the popular places to visit here?
  • Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

It is a town hall turned post office with a tall clock tower which seats prominent government officials

  • Musée Granet

It is home a neoclassical sculpture collection, an American exhibition with pop art works, and original pieces from Paul Cézanne and Picasso

  • Le Cours Mirabeau

This is a scenic boulevard lined by towering trees, creating a beautiful tunnel effect with cafes, restaurants, and shops along the street

  • Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur d’Aix-en-Provence

It is an important national monument in France of Gothic and Neo-gothic architectural influences

  • Atelier Cézanne

This is post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne’s studio

  • Musée Estienne de Saint-Jean

This is a museum featuring furniture, figurines, ceramics, and other archaic objects that showcases Aix culture

  • Caumont Centre d’Art

It is an exquisite hotel with a museum sitting between the courtyard and the garden

  • Le Terrain des Peintres

It is a lovely park that inspired numerous Paul Cezanne masterpieces

  • Le Grand Marché

This is the largest open grand market in Aix

  • Vasarely Foundation

modern, optical illusion centered museum displays the impressive collection of eye-catching art by Victor Vasarely

When is the best time to visit?
  • March to May and September to November

Moderate weather and influx of Parisians and tourists alike, when the weather is as moderate as the influx of people

  • December to February - Cost-wise, many hotels offer lower rates
When is the worst time to visit?
  • June to August

Summer is when hotel and restaurant availability is scant, and prices are at an all-time high

What routes can I take while driving in France?

Route 1

  • Leave Paris southbound via the A6
  • Morvan Regional Natural Park -
  • A6
  • Lyon
  • St-Jean Cathedral
  • Museum of Beaux-Arts
  • A7 south
  • Valence
  • Boulevards de Valence
  • Avignon
  • Palais des Papes
  • Marseille
  • Mediterranean coastline
  • Frejus, Cannes
  • Detour further south
  • St. Tropez
  • Nice

ROUTE TWO

Driving time: Approx. ten hours and 30 minutes

  • From Paris via E5
  • E5
  • Orleans
  • Short detour
  • Cathedral Ste-Croix.
  • Take smaller roads following River Loire
  • Chateau de Chambord
  • Merge into A85 east
  • Join E9
  • E11
  • Bourges
  • Jacques Coeur's Palace
  • A71
  • E11
  • Head south, then turn off east to Vichy.
  • Source des Celestins
  • Parc des Sources
  • D906
  • E70
  • Pilat Regional National Park
  • A7 south
  • The third stop of Route 1
  • Nice
  • Hotel La Perouse

Going to Strasbourg

  • West: Paris, Benelux → A4 highway
  • South: Switzerland, Lyon → A35 highway (links with Colmar and Mulhouse)
  • Northeast: Germany → A5 highway
What alternate routes and itineraries can I take to avoid traffic?

An important tip when driving in France is to avoid southbound roads on Friday nights, Saturday mornings, and northbound roads on Sundays and holidays. You may want to avoid the busy Paris districts, Lyon, and junction roads of A9 and A7 southern Avignon at peak travel season. Here are suggested alternate itineraries and routes when traveling from the north into driving in France:

  • To Brittany: take the A16 towards Rouen, then the A84
  • To the south-west of France: take the A16, the A28, then the A87
  • To Germany: The A6 than the A4 to Metz, head towards Strasbourg
  • To the Alps : The A26, direction Dijon, then the A39 and A4
  • To Italy: The A26, direction Dijon, then the A39, the A43, and then the tunnel at Frejus
  • To the Provence and the south: The A26, direction Dijon, the A31, A6, A7

Most Important Driving Rules in France

Knowing the technical and the practical driving rules when driving in France can be really helpful in navigating your way through this beautiful city. Despite being on the same continent, the driving standards in France are very different from that of the UK. Inversely, driving in France is generally the same as how it is in the US. Here are some reminders about driving rules, standard practices, and some tips for driving in France.

What are the documents or legal requirements for driving in France?

License

As a general rule among all European Union and European Economic Areas since 2013, you can drive in France if you have a valid European license. You do not have to exchange your native license with a French license. A non-European license is valid in France provided that it does not have any restrictions or suspensions.

You can use your US license when driving in France; just make sure you have a translated document of your license in French.

Being a tourist in France or any other country, you must always carry identification documents. These can be checked or required to be presented during police stops. Car rental for driving in France may also require you to present your passport. So be sure to check your things if you have all the necessary things before going about in France.

Passport

Being a tourist in France or any other country, you must always carry identification documents. These can be checked or required to be presented during police stops. Car rental for driving in France may also require you to present your passport. So be sure to check your things if you have all the necessary things before going about in France.

International Driving Permit

In case you’re wondering if you need an international driving permit in France, it is not required to have one. But it is highly recommended for traveling to France so you can visit other countries around the area that do require one, like Spain and Italy.

An International Driving Permit can prevent language barriers problems, and it can be used as proof of identification during police stops. Some rental agencies can also require an international driving permit for car rentals in France.

What is the standard guide for driving in France?

You must have all the necessary qualifications to be able to drive in France. You must be of age and a holder of a valid driver’s license before you can drive in France. The age requirement for driving in France is 18 years old. So even if you can legally drive in your home country at 16 or 17, French roads are off-limits for you.

Before you get behind the wheel in France, you have to be of sound mind and body to be able to carry out all the responsibilities of a good driver, especially if you are a tourist.

So, what do you need to remember when driving in France?

When driving in another country, it is essential that you have basic knowledge about its roads and rules. Read the following if you haven’t researched it yet.

Speed limit

The national speed limit is 130 kilometers per hour. Driving on main roads in France has a limit of 80 kilometers per hour, while 50 kilometers per hour is the standard limit for built-up areas.

Seat Belts and Car Restraints

Both drivers and passengers should wear seat belts at all times. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that all passengers wear seatbelts, especially for those below 18, to be properly restrained in the vehicle.

Traffic Lights

The light-up sequence of French traffic lights can suddenly switch from red to green precariously without switching to amber first. A continuously flashing amber light indicates that you can continue cautiously if the road is clear while still giving other vehicles or pedestrians the right of way. Sometimes having a green light would still mean that you have to give way.

A flashing red light indicates no entry, and if accompanied by a yellow arrow, you may proceed in the direction of the arrow but still give way to vehicles and pedestrians traveling in that direction.

Approach Warnings

Horns should be used only to give essential caution to other road users for a specific duration within a day. Flashing passing lights must be used as a warning of approach when driving in France from sunset to sunrise. The use of horns in all built-up areas is prohibited except in total emergency cases. It is also forbidden to use multi-tone horns, sirens, and whistles.

Right of Way

Like most countries, the French drive on the right side of the road. Vehicles approaching from your right have the right of way at intersections unless indicated differently by present traffic regulators. It is a standard to give way in most roundabouts. Drivers approaching these roundabouts must give way to vehicles that are already in them or about to enter from your left.

Overtaking

The general rule for overtaking is that it should be done on the left. But in some cases, when heavy traffic affects specific lanes, you may overtake on the right of other cars on slow-moving lanes. You should be very careful in overtaking so as not to cause any accidents. Police may stop you from driving and ask for credentials. You may present your International Driving Permit along with you4r native driving license/

Alcohol Influence

The blood alcohol level limit is 0.05% for private vehicle drivers. At the same time, 0.02% is the limit for bus, coach, and new drivers with less than three years of experience. Random breath tests can be done by the police, and such tests, including a drug test, are compulsory either after a driver caused an accident or committed a serious violation.

Parking

Road signs indicate both general and paid parking areas. It can only be allowed on the right side of two-lane roads and on both sides for wide one-way streets. Parking illegally will result in towing and impoundment of your car. You will have to go to the local police station to pay a fine for the violation, and the vehicle released separately.

Tolls

You can use the calculator on the Association of French Motorway Companies (ASFA) website to know how much you will have to pay. Fees may vary depending on the distance traveled and the car type, so you should know the category your car falls in. A car belongs to Class A, but a motorhome or campervan will be Class B.

Junctions

Junctions or roundabouts are indicated by a triangular sign with a red border and three arrows forming a circle in the center. Drivers approaching one must give way to traffic already on the roundabout. In the absence of a sign, the right of way rule also applies to these areas.

Fines and Confiscations

Fines are imposed, and confiscation of vehicles may happen in some cases, and your car can be confiscated. The main violations where this can happen are:

  • If you do not stop during a police contrôle (being stopped or checked by police)
  • When driving without a license or insurance
  • Exceeding the speed limit by over 50 km/h
  • Multiple offenses of driving under the influence of alcohol
  • During hit and run situations
  • When driving a vehicle with the wrong license category which does not cover that vehicle

Breakdowns

If your car breaks down, you are not allowed to call your own assistance company for help because motorways in France are privately managed. If this happens, orange emergency telephone lines are placed every two kilometers along main roads and motorways for emergency calls to the police or the official breakdown service within the area. You may dial 112 if no emergency road telephone is accessible. You will be towed and charged accordingly.

What conditions are considered as “Dangerous Driving?”

Dangerous driving includes driving when unfit, like driving while being injured, visually impaired, physically, and mentally compromised. Falling asleep at the wheel can cause accidents, and it is also considered “dangerous driving,” If you are found guilty of any of the following, you can be fined, banned, or worse, end up in prison.

What should I do during police stops and checkpoints?

Keep in mind that random compliance checks are normal in France, so don’t be too anxious about police stops. You need to cooperate and communicate with the local authorities and follow instructions during these checks. Identification documents or legal requirements for driving in France are often needed for verification. Here’s a run-down of what you have to do:

  • Slow down towards the side of the road, then stop your car.
  • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • Communicate with the police officer about the reason for stopping you.
  • Present your identification card, whether it’s an ID check or a violation.
  • Wait for further instructions.
  • Cooperate with the authorities when asked to be spoken with at the precinct.
What do I do in case of car accidents?

If you ever get involved in a car accident, always remember to exchange car insurance details with the other driver. Switch your hazard lights on and set up a red warning triangle at 50 & 150 meters behind your car to warn approaching vehicles.

If two or more cars are involved, it is standard practice that you will be asked by the French driver involved to fill a “constat amiable” or an amiable declaration, which is an accident report sheet. Call your insurance company at once.

Traveling to a country is best enjoyed when you are renting a vehicle and exploring every top destination with no limitation. With the presence of an IDP, it makes that goal attainable as it will act as the translation for your native driver’s license. So, when you’re faced by law officials who speak in the native French tongue, your IDP will translate your information for you if you can’t communicate in French.

REFERENCE

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Carp-france.com | Motoring in France
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Country Profile - France
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Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Driving in France | Roads, Rules & Tips | insurance4carhire
Driving in France Advice | What are The Laws? | RAC Drive
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MEDIATHEQUE LUDOVIC MASSE
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Population in France 2020 | Statista
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List of States and authorities whose national driving licenses are likely to be exchanged for a driver's license French, under bilateral agreements and reciprocal practices driving license exchange
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Motorway information france - regulations | ASFA
Nantes, France Weather And Climate
Number of People killed on the road by accident in France | Statista
Race Policy in France
Talmont-Saint-Hilaire
THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Ceret 2020
THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Nice - 2020
The Best Time to Visit Marseille, France for Weather, Safety, & Tourism
The Best Time to Visit Strasbourg, France for Weather, Safety, & Tourism
The Constitution of France in the Context of EU and Transnational Law: An Ongoing Adjustment and Dialogue to Be Improved
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The Mucem
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The World Bank
VOLOTEA - The Passage Pommeraye
What is ghost broking? | Uswitch
What Languages Are Spoken in France? - World Atlas
Which countries used the Euro
World Facts Inc

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