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Documents - Driving Licence or IDP

It is absolutely necessary to equip yourself with all of the available information before getting behind the wheel in your chosen country. A lack of driving knowledge can quickly zap all the fun out of your holiday.

Here is a guide to some of the important rules and regulations when driving in France. Abide by these and you’ll be free to enjoy the beautiful French roads and scenery at your own leisure:

Documents - Driving Licence or IDP

It is obligatory to carry your driving license, vehicle registration document and certificate of motor insurance. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, then a letter of permission from the owner is required. In the case of your licence not having your photograph, you must carry your passport to back up the license. Being caught driving without any of these documents will result in a fine and a possible licence suspension. If you are using a rented car, talk with your car rental company for specific details.

Age Restrictions

The minimum age for driving in France is 18. Your licence will not be valid in France if you are under this age.

Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations

  • Familiarise yourself with the Highway Code
  • Vehicles are driven on the right hand side of the road
  • Always wear seat belts at all times
  • Except hands-free system, use of mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited
  • During poor daylight visibility, always use dipped headlights
  • Always carry your license while driving
  • Always overtake from the left hand side of the road
  • Prohibited to carry radar detectors
  • Only taxis, buses and bicycles can use the bus lanes
  • Give way to traffic coming from right
  • Solid and single white lines mean overtaking is prohibited
  • Emergency vehicles will always be given priority regardless of traffic light

Warning: An instant fine will be issued for using your mobile phone at the wheel.

Speed Limits

The normal speed limits on French roads are as follows:

  • 130km/hour (80mph) or 110km/hour in the rain (a little under 70mph) on expressways
  • 110km/hour on divided highways
  • 90km/hour (55mph) on main roads
  • 50km/hour (30mph) in built-up areas

Warning:  Not adhering to these limits will attract on-the-spot fines and in the case of being caught driving 50km/hour (just over 30mph) over the limit, you will face an instant ban from driving.

Drunk Driving

The tolerated Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in France is 0.05g/1L which equates to about two glasses of wine. Driving in excess of this amount or failing to cooperate with a breath test will result in a large fine and a driving suspension of around two years. Any subsequent offence will see you off the road for four years. Other more serious offences involving driving under the influence of alcohol could result in imprisonment.

Warning:  Any offence involving drugs will lead to a stretch of jail time for up to nine years.


A fee is charged for parking. Spaces marked in white are permitted for parking. Parking tickets can be purchased from the machines along the roadsides and should be displayed on the front of the car. The parking sign in the particular area will tell you the time permitted.

Warning: Parking in Paris may be very difficult unless you’re staying in a hotel. The majority of roads are pedestrianized and parking for more than 24 hours in the same space is illegal!

Paris Driving Guide

When you visit Paris it feels like you are in the center of everything. Art, fashion, architecture, culture, and of course all of the little details that make Paris seem like the capital of romance. Known as The City of Lights, in some ways Paris is all the more beautiful by night, when even the iconic Eiffel Tower is illuminated. Spend your days at the Louvre (although they say it takes four days to see all of it), the Musee D’Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, walking the Champs Elysees and exploring the Arc de Triomphe, or simply relaxing at one of the many sidewalk cafes. Take your time in Paris, there is much to see and even more to do.

Paris to Versailles:

43 min to Versailles (21.3 km)

You simply cannot go to Paris without a daytrip to Versailles, even if you think that exploring an old castle is just not on your bucket list, you are likely mistaken. The grandeur and opulence, even extravagance of the Palace of Versailles is unmistakable and will leave you in awe. Although Versailles is fairly close to Paris, allow for enough time to slowly take in the sites, including the Hall of Mirrors, a 73 meter (240 foot) gallery lined with 357 mirrors and commissioned in 1678 by Louis XVI. Besides being a spectacular and even entrancing site, it is also the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.

After taking in the sumptuous state apartments, take the time to wonder through the meticulously designed gardens. It was Andre Le Notre who transformed what was once a marshland into the manicured gardens which include a series of fountains.

Paris to La Route du Champagne (Epernay to Reims):

1 hour 39 (142 km): Paris to Epernay:

32 min (29.3 km): Epernay to Reims:  

France is responsible for many fine things, French Kissing, French Fries, the Moulin Rouge and Champagne. So during a trip to Paris, you really do owe it to France to pay homage to the picturesque region from where this bubbly is made. After all, without champagne, how would we celebrate anything? The car ride along the Route du champagne may be one of the more beautiful you’ve ever experienced, with rolling vineyards as far as the eye can see.

The La Route du Champagne (The Champagne Route) consists of an abundance of champagne houses, northeast of Epernay is the Vallee de la Marne circuit, which generally charge less than the other champagne circuits. Here you’ll find that the champagne is mostly made from a combination of grape varieties, Pinot Noir, Pinont Meunier and Chardonay. If you’re unfamiliar with these or other grapes, a trip to the La Route Champagne will certainly educate you.

Find that you take a liking to one of these or other areas surrounding Paris? At Cheaperthanhotels we have places to stay in and near large cities all over Europe and from the list of very reasonably priced accommodation, you are likely to find a number that suit your budget.

Here at Cheaperthancars, we believe in an ethos of, when travelling, spend less and do more. By this we mean that by spending less on accommodation and rental cars, you’ll be able to allocate your hard earned cash to more important things, such as day trips out of the city and activities in and around Paris on which memories are made. Head on over to our accommodation website at Cheaperthanhotels where you’ll find a large amount of very affordable options, and here with rental cars that will get you to where you want to go without breaking the bank.

Your Cheaperthancars Team

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