Tips for renting and driving a car in France

French man on vacation
French man on vacation

For people who are looking to drive in France for the first time, many aspects may seem similar, however certain factors of French driving are unique compared to other countries’ laws and regulations.

Companies that rent cars in france? – Enterprise, Europcar, Dollar Rent a Car, Hertz and Avis are all leading car rental companies that will quote competitive prices for as short as 1 day rental. However I would suggest using a comparison site which will compares all of the leading companies and provides the cheapest results based on specific search terms. An example of a leading international car comparison site is Car Hire Centre which provides comparison for 170 countries across the world, supplying well maintained cars at cheap and competitive prices.

Rules for driving a car in France – Certain rules apply for all drivers on French roads, regardless of whether the car is owned or rented. For example, you must be 18 years old minimum to drive a vehicle, furthermore all forms of motorised transport must carry a warning triangle and safety jacket within the car at all times. Rules such as these are implemented to retain high safety levels. Laws are also instated to make travelling with children safer too. Kids aged 4 and below must use a booster seat by law, moreover children aged 10 or younger must not ride in the front seat of a car. Finally children under the age of 9 months must sit in a rear facing booster seat, in the front seat, with airbags deactivated, to ensure maximum safety. Failure to comply with any of these rules may lead to seizure of the vehicle by law enforcement.

Rules for renting a car in France – If you are driving in France for less than 90 days, your original driver’s licence must be carried at all times when using a rented vehicle, accompanied with an approved/valid international driving permit. Furthermore, in order to be eligible to rent a car in France you must be 21 years of age and also be in possession of a valid credit card. A “young driver’s surcharge” may be required to pay between the ages of 21-24, depending on the company.

Motoring regulations in France – France operates basic speed laws which are transferable across all the country. On city roads, the speed limit is 31 mph, open roads, 68 mph and finally highways, 81 mph. Tolls are also a feature on French roads (levied on motorways). A few example prices are Calais – Reims €39.70 and Calais – Paris €21.00.

Route Nationale vs Autoroutes – Route Nationales (trunk road) are large motorways in France which covers great distances across the country for no toll fee. These roads tend to be more congested because of their free use. Autoroutes are the same concept as a trunk road, however they do require a toll (“Péage”).

This article was written by Luc Horncastle, Car Hire Centre

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