Guide to Driving in 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.
  • Proof of ID (Passport)
  • Registration document – proof of vehicle ownership 

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Checklist before taking the car to France

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

  Built up areas Outside built up areas Urban Motorways / Dual Carriageways  Motorways
Normal conditions 50km 80km 110km 130km
Wet weather or novice driver  50km 70km 100km 110km

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

Driving Penalties

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.

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