With this INSIDR guide, renting a car and driving around a foreign country will be a breeze. Don’t be discouraged by the rules and signs of the road in France as after you have read this article you will know everything that you need to know about driving and renting cars in France, easing any nerves for your upcoming French road trip…
CAR HIRE IN FRANCE
If you are thinking of renting a car in France or even hiring a driver, here are some basic rules to know before getting into a car in France.
1. The driver of a car that is carrying any passenger without a buckled seatbelt will occur a fine of 135€.
2. Children 10 and younger must be buckled in a booster seat.
3. Motorcycle drivers and their passengers are forbidden to ride without helmets. Additionally, they must also carry reflective jackets in case of a breakdown.
4. When driving, you may not use headphones or headsets.
5. The legal limit for blood alcohol levels is lower in France than in most other countries so do not drink before driving!
RENT A CAR IN FRANCE
CAR RENTAL IN FRANCE
Here are INSIDR’s recommended car rental companies throughout all of France.
Auto Europe or Europe by Car: These companies offer a comparison of France’s rental cars, showing you the best deal out there!
CAR HIRE SOUTH OF FRANCE
Whether you’re planning on renting a car in Paris or in the South of France, the listed companies above will provide all different levels of cars and price ranges throughout France. If you don’t want to rent a car you can also try out Bla Bla car, an app that allows you to share city-to-city car journeys with great drivers, all over France! Wherever you may be renting or however you may be renting in France, listed below are some basic tips to be aware of before renting a car in all of France.
1. Reserve your rental car in advance to obtain the best price.
2. Almost all cars in France run with stick shifts, so should you require an automatic rental car be sure to request this before continuing with your booking.
3. When picking up your car, take a good look around the car and even take some photos of any scratches or other damaged spots. Also remember to turn on the date function on your camera to provide a record should you be questioned about any damages that you did not make.
4. Know which kind of gas your rental car takes, whether it be diesel or gasoline (petrol) (l’essence).
5. Re-fuel and return your car on time to avoid any additional fees.
CHEAP CAR TO FRANCE
If you are planning on renting a car and entering France from another European country or even renting a car in one French city and traveling to another, you will need to enter the motorway and pay a road charge (péage). If you plan on traveling around Europe or France quite a bit, we reocommend getting a Liber-t tag that can be placed on your dashboard. It will charge your credit car at every barrier, allowing you to continue driving without stopping to get out cash or a credit card at every barrier. You can take routes that do not include barriers (tolls), and you may find these routings cheaper. However these routes may take much longer and therefore result in having to fill up your gas tank many more times.
If you want to calculate the cost of the toll charges for a particular journey, click here.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT DRIVING IN FRANCE
All of your questions about driving in France are answered below…
The legal driving age in France is 18 years old but you must hold an International Driving Permit. Should you only have a valid U.S. driver’s license, you may still drive so long as you have a certified translation of your license in French. You must always have your driver’s license on you while driving, and obey the rules of the road. Here are some shortcuts to help you better understand the roads in France!
“A” roads, such as A71, are motorways, or Autoroutes
“N” roads are the National roads
“D” roads are departmental roads
Highway : 130 km/h, if raining 110 km/h (80 mph, 70 mph)
Dual carriageway : 110 km/h, if raining 100 km/h (70 mph, 60 mph)
Open road : 90 km/h, if raining 80 km/h (55 mph, 50 mph)
Town : 50 km/h (30 mph)