How to drive in France
This article is in English because it’s about how to drive in France and what to expect on the road. It’s essential to understand that not to have any accident and not to have any ticket during your holiday.
You’ve made your decision, you’re going to rent a car during your stay in France!
Despite the fact that driving abroad can be a little tricky due to the different laws, here are some pieces of advice so that you can be more comfortable during your experience in France.
Renting a car is certainly the best solution to leave big cities and discover traditional villages.
In general, in companies where they rent cars, the employees speak English. You just need to show your driving licence and your passport. It can be smart to reserve your rental car online before your vacation, if you want to have it immediately when you arrive at the airport.
It’s important to know that most of the European cars are manual. You can rent an automatic car but you will pay more because automatic cars are more comfortable and bigger than the cheapest ones.
As there are tolls on the freeways and the price of gas is quite expensive, you can simulate the cost of your driving with this website : http://fr.mappy.com/ , for instance.
If you decide to spend the night in a big city, parking can be a problem. It’s better to pay for a covered parking lot.
If you stay in a city for a few hours, you can pay for street parking with meters. In Paris, you need a card with a chip and a code if you want to use them. If you don’t have this type of card, you can go to covered parking lots (which can be quite expensive per hour) and pay cash at the office of the parking lot.
Street parking can be difficult because there are less parking spots than cars. In general, you can park in the street for free from 7.00p.m.
Read the signs well before leaving your car somewhere.
After this sign, it’s forbidden to park, even after 7.00 p.m:
There is a lot of traffic in big cities and most of the freeways only have two lanes, so you can be stuck in traffic jams between 6.30 and 9 in the morning and 4.30 and 7.00 p.m during weekdays.
In the countryside, the roads are narrow, you have to follow the speed limits and be careful because you can run into wild animals.
Wherever you are, you have to follow the speed limits because otherwise you can have a fine. There is no tolerance for the French police, so if you see this sign, you must drive at 50 km/h. If you drive 54 km/h, for example, you can have a fine !
Never turn right when the traffic light is red. You must stop until it becomes green.
Never pass on the right.
Always give way to the right, when there is no sign or traffic light at an intersection.
Use you blinkers, even when you are in a roundabout.
Pedestrians tend to cross the road wherever, so be careful all the time.
Be safe and enjoy your holiday!