Guide for Driving a Rental Car in France

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Though Paris is an obvious pick for tourists heading to France, the country has many delightful destinations that you're likely to miss without getting out of the big city. Picturesque coastal towns, historic castles, and rural wineries abound for those willing to seek them out. Book a rental car in France and you'll have all the delights of this European destination laid out at your feet.


Picking Up Your Rental Car


Charles De Gaulle International Airport


Visitors to France will likely arrive at one of the busy international airports. The Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) handles most international travel into this area. Car rentals are available on-site, so your vehicle is just a short walk away. If you're headed to the south of France, you'll likely arrive through the Toulon Hyeres Airport. Car rentals here are located near the P3 car park.


Tips for Driving in France

  • Vehicles in France drive on the right side of the road.
  • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt at all times.
  • Children under the age of 10 cannot ride in the front seat without a special child restraint system.
  • Children under age 10 or less than 4'7" tall must ride in the appropriate child safety seat.
  • It is illegal to drive with headphones or earphones in.
  • The busiest roadways in France are the A1, A10, A6, A7, and A9. Prepare for delays in these areas, particularly during busy holiday seasons.
  • Tolls are common on French motorways and typically average about 1 Euro per 10 miles.

Required Items for Driving in France


Driving in France


When you're driving in France, you must have the following items in your vehicle:

  • A reflective jacket for each occupant in the event of a breakdown
  • A warning triangle
  • A breathalyzer
  • Spare light bulbs
  • French "Clean Air" stickers for driving through Paris, Lyon, or Grenoble

Many rental vehicles are already equipped with some or all of these items. Inspect your rental thoroughly before you leave the branch to make sure you're properly equipped for your journey.


French Road Signs


Most road signs in France are similar to those around the world, and are easily understood. However, you should watch out for those indicating the 'Priorité à droite', or right of way. If you see a red-bordered triangle with thick black arrow, or a yellow diamond with a white border, you have the right of way. If you see a red-bordered triangle with a black X or a yellow diamond with a black slash through the center, you must yield. Exercise extreme caution around intersections to make sure you know who has priority.


Speed Limits


Speed Limits in France


The typical speed limits in France are:

  • Metropolitan Areas: 50 km/h (31 mph)
  • Rural Areas: 90 km/h (55 mph)
  • Non-Toll Motorways: 110 km/h (68 mph)
  • Toll Motorways: 130 km/h (80 mph)
  • Paris Ring Road: 70 km/h (44 mph)

Keep in mind that these are only the most common speed limits found in France. Always watch for posted speed limits and adhere to these carefully.


Brush up on road rules and recommended routes for your travel in France and you can enjoy all the convenience of a car for your next trip.


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Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

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Paris Orly Airport (ORY)

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Paris Gare de l'Est Train Station

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Paris Gare du Nord Train Station

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Paris Lyon Train Station

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Paris Montparnasse Train Station

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