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What do you need to drive in France?

Driving in France is a popular way to explore the country’s beautiful scenery and historical landmarks. However, before you hit the road, it’s important to understand what documents and requirements you need to meet to legally drive in France. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the essential things you need to drive in France.

Essential documents

Valid driving license

To drive in France, you must have a valid driving license issued by your home country. The license must be in English or have an official translation in French. You’ll need to carry your license with you at all times when driving in France.

Vehicle registration

If you’re driving your own vehicle, you’ll need to carry the registration document or proof of ownership. If you’re renting a car, the rental company will provide you with all the necessary documentation.


It’s mandatory to have car insurance in France. If you’re renting a car, the rental company will provide you with insurance. If you’re driving your own car, you’ll need to make sure that your insurance policy covers you for driving in France.

Breathalyser kit

Since July 2012, it’s a legal requirement to carry a breathalyser kit in your car when driving in France. The kit must be unused and in-date. If you’re caught without one, you could be fined.

Safety requirements

Headlamp beam deflectors

If you’re driving a right-hand drive car in France, you must adjust your headlamps so that they don’t dazzle oncoming drivers. You can use headlamp beam deflectors to achieve this.

Warning triangle

It’s mandatory to carry a warning triangle in your car when driving in France. The triangle must be placed 30 meters behind your car in the event of a breakdown or accident.

High-visibility vest

All drivers and passengers must wear a high-visibility vest when outside the car on a public road. It’s mandatory to carry at least one vest in your car. The vest must be kept within reach of the driver.

Additional requirements

Speed limit

The speed limit on French roads is 50 km/h in built-up areas, 80 km/h on two-lane roads, and 130 km/h on motorways. These limits may vary according to weather conditions.


Children under 10 years of age are not allowed to sit in the front seat of a car. All children must be secured in an appropriate car seat or booster seat.

Toll roads

France has an extensive network of toll roads. If you’re planning to use them, make sure you have cash or a credit card to pay the tolls.

Alcohol limits

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in France is 0.5 g/litre of blood. However, it’s advisable not to drink any alcohol before driving.

Driving in France can be a wonderful experience, but it’s important to make sure that you’re legally allowed to do so. By following these essential requirements, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and history of this amazing country safely and legally.

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