Frequently asked questions

Driving in France

So, you’re thinking of taking the car to France? We’ve put together a simple guide to driving in France…...

Remember that before taking the car to France

You should remember:
1.    The minimum age for driving in France is eighteen.
2.    Drivers of vehicles must carry and be able to produce a valid driving licence.
3.    Proof of insurance (third party or above). Your own Irish car insurance should give automatic third-party cover but contact your insurance company to check that you have adequate cover before you travel.
4.    Proof of ID (a valid Passport)
5.    Vehicle registration document – i.e.: proof that you own the vehicle and / or have permission to take it abroad.

Brexit: In the event of the UK leaving the EU with no deal, holders of UK driving licenses and UK registered cars should note the following:

Drivers licence: Non-EU licence holders are required to have an International Drivers Permit, while driving in the EU.

UK registered / insured cars will no longer benefit from the EU’s automatic third-party motor insurance cover and will need a physical ‘Green Card’ as evidence of Insurance. These are issued by insurance companies, currently fee-free.

Drivers towing caravans or trailers will be required to have two green cards for insurance purposes – one for their vehicle and one for the unit they are towing.

When driving in France you are required by law to carry the following items:

  • Reflective jackets (one for each occupant, these must be kept inside the vehicle within easy reach of passengers)
  • Warning triangle (compulsory in every vehicle with 4 wheels or more)
  • Headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
  • Breathalysers / alcohol test (as of January 2013 the French government announced that the introduction of an €11 fine for not carrying one has been postponed indefinitely, however the law still states that drivers of motor vehicles and motorcyclists must have an alcotest ready for use in their vehicle even though no penalty will be imposed if they cannot present one during a police road check)
  • Irish registration plates incorporating the IRL / EU symbol or display a conventional ‘country of origin’ sticker unnecessary.
  • Spare bulbs - by law you’re also mandated to carry a spare bulb kit for your vehicle, as the French police may deem it necessary to replace it there and then on the grounds of safety. For a few pounds to buy a kit, you could avoid unwanted attention and a fine.

Important Information for Driving

Speed Limits in France
Speed limits in France are determined by place, vehicle and by the weather.

  • Built-up areas 50 km/h
  • Outside built-up areas 80 / 90km/h depending on region
  • Urban motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation 110 km/h
  • Motorways 130 km/h (lower in built-up areas. Minimum 49mph (80km/h)

In wet weather or if you’ve held a driving licence for less than three years, lower limits apply.
 
Useful Links
Irish Department of Foreign Affairs: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/
The Automobile Association: https://www.theaa.com/european-breakdown-cover/driving-in-europe/country-by-country
The RAC: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/travel/driving-abroad/

 

Ireland / France routes

Drivers of vehicles must carry and be able to produce a valid driving licence. Irish Drivers with a full driving licence don’t currently need an additional licence to drive in the EU. In the event of the UK leaving the EU with no deal, holders of GB driving licenses and GB registered cars should note the following:

  • Non EU licence holders are required to have an International Drivers Permit.
  • GB registered/insured cars would no longer benefit from the EU’s automatic third-party motor insurance cover, and will need a physical Green Card as evidence of Insurance. These are issued by insurance companies, currently fee-free.
  • Furthermore, drivers towing GB registered caravans on trailers will be required to have two green cards for insurance purposes – one for their vehicle and one for the unit they are towing.

However, drivers will no longer benefit from the EU’s automatic third-party motor insurance cover,and will need a physical Green Card as evidence of Insurance. These are issued by insurance companies, currently fee-free. Furthermore, drivers towing caravans on trailers will be required to have two green cards for insurance purposes – one for their vehicle and one for the unit they are towing.

Ireland / Britain routes

Drivers of vehicles must carry and be able to produce a valid driving licence. UK and Irish Drivers with a full driving licence don’t currently need an additional licence to drive in the EU. In the event of the UK leaving the EU with no deal, visitors to Ireland and the UK will continue to be permitted to drive with their home country full driving licence.

However, drivers will no longer benefit from the EU’s automatic third-party motor insurance cover, and will need a physical Green Card as evidence of Insurance.  These are issued by insurance companies, currently fee-free.  Furthermore, drivers towing caravans on trailers will be required to have two green cards for insurance purposes – one for their vehicle and one for the unit they are towing.