Places to visit
From CDG Airport
From Orly Airport
Speed cameras in Centre Val de Loire
Driving in France can be a
pleasure with quiet ,normally straight,
roads (thank Bonaparte apparently ) or madness (roads through or during rush-hour -or any
hour-in any big city). .
The majority of
people travelling in France on holiday are more
likely to experience the quieter more rural parts of
France as drivers. However, wherever you drive there
are some basic laws and common-sense tips to apply:
You will need a recognised full driving licence, the car's registration certificate (for cars registered in the UK, the V5C certificate), and proof of insurance. You should also always have your passport with you.
An international driving licence is not required for short term visitors (up to 90 days) from countries of the EU, EEA, USA, Canada; however it is either recommended for visitors from other countries.
•The wearing of front and rear seatbelts is
under 10 are allowed in the front seats of the car.
When in the rear of the car, if they
weigh between 9
and 15 kg they must use a child seat --over this a
booster cushion can be used--to give proper
• Carry a warning
triangle-- it’s a legal requirement. (your hire car
should have one)
July 2008 it has been compulsory for any vehicle
being driven in France to be equipped with a warning
triangle. This must be placed 30 metres behind your
vehicle if it becomes immobilised after a breakdown.
Emergency flashing lights must also be used.
The law also requires that there should be at least
one high-visibility reflective jacket stored in the
passenger compartment of the vehicle (not in the
boot), for use by the driver on exiting the
From 1 October 2008 a fine of 135€ will be
for non-possession of these items.
It's often suggested that the French are relaxed about drink driving - but the truth is that the police operate a policy of zero tolerance of drink driving.
If using a right-hand drive car please note the
• By law you must adjust the
direction of your headlamp beams for driving on the
right, either by using the stick-on adapters or (on
more modern cars) by making an adjustment to the
lights. Check your manual or consult your dealer if
• Drive on the right! -- Yes we
know you know but even the best and most diligent of
drivers can, after a few days or weeks of successful
right-side driving “forget”, especially when pulling
out of filling stations or small side roads –
drivers have come up with some ingenious (and some
weird) ideas to remind them --look for the one
gloved hands or the obstacles stuck to the screen --
a simple post-it note will do.
• Get familiar
with the rules for priorities when entering and
exiting roads junctions
etc; if in doubt give priority to the right. It can
be helpful to have a Frenchman in front of you --to
follow his lead so to speak --but remember the first
rule of French rules-'they are there to be broken'
so you might find yourself going through a red
Come to a complete stop at
signs. (Why English?)
flashing their lights behind you on a motorway means
‘get out of my way-my time is more important than
yours and anyway I want to go faster than you’ ;
it’s best just to quietly move over and don’t let
your ego get the better of you.
• A driver
flashing their lights on a country road may mean
there’s an obstruction or a police check ahead.
• It is illegal
to drive with your side (parking) lights on at any
time, (though you would not know this as you'll
witness a lot of it) and you must use your dipped
headlamps when visibility is low.
stickers are compulsory in France although
apparently only about half of the British cars
going abroad actually have one.
• Your driving
licence, insurance documents and car registration
documents should be carried at all times, plus It is
a good idea to have your passport with you. (Spot
checks are quite common, even in country areas)
Anyway your passports are sometimes needed at
tourist attractions as security for hiring
• If you break the rules you will
be fined. These vary from around 30 euros - to the
equivalent of paying for your holiday again - for
serious speeding offences or drunken or
Visitors must pay in cash
on the spot. Residents have 30 days to pay up.
• Expect the unexpected is a good
rule to follow in France. In rural areas don't
be surprised to meet someone tottering along
the middle of the road as if no-one else ever uses
it ! Or to have the local driver 12 " away from you
back bumper. You will most probably, on one of the
more scenic and quiet roads, wonder why the driver
coming towards you is on the wrong side of the road
-don't- its most probably you !!!
So as we have said before -be
Limits (the second figure indicating the reduced
speed limit in rainy conditions)
– 130/110 km/h (81/69 mph)
Carriageways – 110/100 km/h (69/62mph)
Other roads –
90/80 km/h (56/50mph)
– 50 km/h (31mph) or as signposted
If you have a pre planned route
print-out ie 'Via Michelin' then zero the mileage if
it has not been preset, as this is a good as-you-go
indicator as to at what distance you should have to
look for or react to signs or instructions.
If you lose your
way in a town or village the best solution is to
follow either "Toutes Directions" or "Autres Directions" (the latter if you cannot see a
specific sign to where you are going.). This will
normally take you to an interchange or roundabout on
the outskirts where it should be possible to pick up
the correct route. It also handy
to take a small
torch for map reading just in case your journey
takes longer than you think—or indeed a different
direction!—and you need to rely on your navigator in
the passenger seat if your car is not fitted with 'sat-nav'.
Motorways or Dual-Carriageways are clearly
signposted but beware that some exits also serve for
traffic joining the major road.
Do not forget
that most accidents involving British drivers
occur at roundabouts where you must go to the right
and give way to traffic on your left.
ARRIVING IN FRANCE REMEMBER THAT PETROL STATIONS ARE
RARELY MANNED AFTER 7PM.
After that time
they use the French charge cards. They may not take UK charge and credit cards even the
new Chip and Pin cards though this seems to be
getting less common. The cheapest places to
purchase fuel are at the large supermarkets.
• Motorcycles over 125cc must use
dipped headlights during the day at all times.
Drivers who are
going to be spending any time in France should try
to familiarise themselves with all the rules of the
road, including traffic signals, signposting,
road-markings, speed limits etc..
euros with you - small change- for paying peage/tolls as some are not manned at all times--and
remember if you are in a right-hand drive car its your passenger who pays!
If you are in a
hire car and are unfortunate enough to have an
accident, you must fill out a damage assessment form
(you will find them in the glove compartment of your
rental car or you may request it from your insurance
company) It must be signed by the other party, and
in the event of a dispute / refusal to complete the
form, you should immediately obtain a constat
d'huissier (or so everyone advises us) ,this is a
written report from a bailiff (huissier) but where
you find one is a mystery to us. Perhaps they live
in small huts by the side of the road waiting to be
called upon to give an opinion. When we find out
we’ll let you know. In the event of an injury, call
the SAMU, ambulance,(15) or the fire brigade (18).
The police are only called out to accidents when
someone is injured, a driver is under the influence
of alcohol or the accident impedes the flow of
traffic. Please notify your car hire company as soon
If your car
breaks down, try to move it to the side of the road
so that it obstructs the traffic flow as little as
possible. You are advised to seek local assistance
as, at the present time there is no nationwide road
assistance service in France. On auto routes use the
orange SOS phones which are situated every 2 km on
motorways and every 4 km on dual carriageways and
other major roads. Each one has a number. You will
be expected to give your name, your location and
your vehicle details.The use of warning triangles or
hazard warning lights is mandatory in the event of
an accident or break down.
Know the signs.
Give way to
right Give way to
left and right Stop - full stop!
priority You have
Take special note of last two
signs as the 'Prioity ends' means you can have
someone pulling out in front of you from the right
because they have Priority
! An apparently ancient rule that still applies,
sometimes bizarrely but one you must adhere to.
You should also know the
Directions - other directions.
passage - give way.
Péage - Toll.
Sortie - exit.
Directions - All directions.
Aire de repos
- Rest stops
Allumez vos lanterns (or feux) - Turn on your
Attention au feu - Beware of traffic signal
Attention travaux - Beware roadworks
Chaussèe dèformèe - Bumpy road ahead
Centre ville - Town centre
Ferme - Closed
Gendarmerie - Police station
Gravillons - Loose chippings
Nids de poules - Potholes
Ouvert - Open Prochain sortie - Next exit
Rappel - Remember
Route barrèe - Road closed
Sens-unique - One-way
Serrez a droite - Keep to the right
Suivre - Follow
Sur - On
Vitesse adapteè sècuritè - Adapt your speed
Voie unique - One lane road
Voitures - Cars
Car Check List
1.Reserve your car well in
advance especially if you are booking for the
holiday season. And always remember to get the best
rates, book on line. Just like with airline tickets,
early bookings ensure better value.
2.Bring you Driving
License, Credit Card and Rental Voucher with you on
collection of your car.
with all the driving instruments and find out what
type of fuel your car takes.
4.Check to see if there is
any additional charge if returning your car to a
different location than where you collected it,
known as a one-way rental.
5. Book your infant or
child seat well in advance, most car companies have
a limited supply. Check for any additional charges.
6. Always check the car
rental company’s fuel policy before starting your
rental. Check if the car should be returned full of
petrol or empty, as it could cost extra on your
7. Always inspect the car
for any marks and dents that are not stated on your
contract, before you drive away be happy with the
condition of the car, you can always change the car
or model if not satisfied.
8. Check the rental company
has provided you with a road map of the area you are
travelling and plan you journey before driving away.
9. Remember if you want a
second named driver that they must have a full
drivers license with them, which they must produce
themselves at the rental agency. There is usually a
small additional charge for a second driver.
10. As most rental
accidents happen on the first day of rental, Extra
concentration is needed when starting off as you may
be driving on a different side of the road.
Check out the website
http://www.autoroutes.fr/en/homepage.html for great information on driving in France.
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