So you’re thinking of taking the car to France? We’ve put together a simple guide to driving in France…...
Checklist before taking the car to France
Documentation you should carry
You must carry a full driving licence - the minimum age for driving in France is eighteen.
Proof of insurance (third party or above) your own Irish car insurance should give automatic third party cover but do contact your insurers to check you have adequate cover before you plan to travel.
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 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.
Proof of ID (Passport)
Registration document – proof of vehicle ownership
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)
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, law still states that drivers of motor vehicles and motorcyclist 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/European Union symbol make display of a conventional sticker unnecessary while driving within Europe.
Spare bulbs - by law you’re also mandated to carry a spare bulb kit for your vehicle, as the French police 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. (Standard legal limits which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers)
Built-up areas 31 mph (50 km/h)
Outside built-up areas 55 mph (90 km/h)
Urban motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation 68 mph (110 km/h)
In wet weather or if you’ve held a driving licence for less than three years, lower limits apply:
Outside built-up areas 49 mph (80 km/h)
Dual carriageways 62 mph (100 km/h)
Motorways 68 mph (110 km/h).
Motorway Tolls in France
French motorways are operated by a variety of private companies, with most featuring tolls. Tolls can be paid in cash or with a Mastercard or Visa card. (Maestro and Electron debit cards are not accepted
Visiting motorists should be warned that some French police authorities are authorised to impose and collect fines on the spot up to €750 from drivers who violate traffic regulations.