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France driving guide

Driving in France

Driving in France tips

France Driving Guide 

Take your vehicle on any of our three ferry routes to France and enjoy the freedom of exploring the stunning French countryside and vibrant city routes at your own pace. Alternatively, head to France from our port near Amsterdam and make the most of an unforgettable European road trip. Whatever you decide, travelling by ferry will make your drive to France a stress-free journey.

Our France driving guide outlines the most essential requirements for driving in France. Whether you’re planning a tour of D-Day beaches, a road trip to French wine regions, or even a champagne route tour, here are the essential things you need to plan your perfect trip and prepare a hassle-free trip to France.

Requirements for driving in France

What do I need for driving in France? 

Before driving in France, ensure you have all essential items with you. If you’re asking yourself ‘What do I need to drive in France?’, here are a few must-haves for your France driving kit: your vehicle must be equipped with headlight converters and a UK sticker, unless the registration plates have the UK logo on them. Additionally, UK drivers must carry a valid UK driving license, car registration documents and proof of car insurance__.

It is required for drivers in France to carry a breathalyser kit as well as a warning triangle and a high visibility jacket or vest, which is stored within reach of the driver where it does not require exiting the vehicle. For certain areas including cities such as Paris and Lille, you’ll need a clean air sticker showing that your car sits in a low emissions category. Failure to display this sticker, known as a Crit’Air vignette, could result in on-the-spot fines.

Legal requirements when driving in France

What are the legal requirements for driving in France? 

When driving in France, there are several rules of the road to keep in mind. UK drivers should be aware that tolls are often required on French motorways, so it's important to carry some cash or a credit card for payment when driving in France in case your route takes you via French toll roads. Be aware that road signs showing distances and speed limits in France use kilometres and metres rather than miles. If holders of EU driving licences exceed a speed limit by more than 40 km/h, police will immediately revoke their licence.

The motorway speed limit in France is usually 130 km/h (80mph) but this can vary depending on traffic and weather conditions. Any changes to the motorway speed limit in France are indicated by electronic signs.

Wearing seatbelts is a legal requirement and on-the-spot fines can be issued for disobeying this law. Additionally, it is illegal to use mobile phones or headphones while driving in France. Any screens for entertainment purposes must be out of sight of the driver.

It is forbidden to use speed camera detectors when driving in France, and you must disable in-built speed camera warnings. Huge on-the-spot fines can be issued for noncompliance. When traveling with children, children under 10 must travel in an approved child seat suitable for their age and size, and they may not travel in the front seats of a vehicle. Bear these regulations in mind if you’re planning a family trip to Disneyland!

What do I need for driving in France

Taking your caravan or motorhome on DFDS ferries

Travel to France with your motorhome or caravan and make the most of a smooth, peaceful crossing, with a chance to stretch your legs and grab a fresh snack or meal onboard. Why not also make use of the extra space and bring your bikes along with you? With beautiful countryside regions to explore, the opportunities for adventure and family activities in France are endless.

Just like with your car, bringing your motorhome or caravan on DFDS ferries to France is simple and stress-free. We endeavour to make driving to France from the UK less daunting than it seems! What’s more, travelling with your own vehicle allows you to make the most of Duty Free shopping onboard and at the ports. Stock up on your favourite brands and benefit from up to 50% off vs UK high street prices.

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