Plus, you must always stop at any zebra crossings, to allow
people to cross safely, which is enforced by law, and when going through a town you will
find a lot of them, but you should be very careful when you are the pedestrian, as the
French do not seem to obey this rule as much as they should!
Also, please do watch your speed! If you are stopped for speeding you can be fined
on the spot and the fines have to be paid in cash there and then, which can be quite
expensive. If you cannot pay or you are travelling more than 25km/h above the speed
limit, then your car can be impounded and you could end up with a very hefty fine or even
lose your licence, so be careful, especially when on the toll roads, as you do not want
your driving holiday to come to an abrupt end with an encounter with the local law
When driving on the motorways, the speed limit is 130km per hour, but this is reduced down
to 110km per hour in bad weather conditions, and on duel carriageways and main roads the
same rules apply where the speed limit is reduced in bad weather. But if you are
just travelling on a duel carriageway, the speed limit is 110km per hour and on main roads
it is 90km per hour, with the periphery being 80km per hour and towns or minor roads being
a maximum of 50km per hour.
The French Government do publish information on exactly where speed traps are located and
this is one of the reasons why it is illegal to have a radar detector fitted to your
vehicle. Also, with the amount of satellite navigation systems available such as
TomTom, you will find that many have a warning system for speed cameras, but this is also
illegal to have this facility on, otherwise you could end up with a hefty fine if you are
In bad weather, fog etc, even during the day, it is compulsory to use your main driving
lights but you do not have to keep your lights on during the day at any other time.
Obviously you must have deflectors fitted to your headlights if you have a right-hand
drive vehicle, as this is to stop your head lights dazzling traffic travelling in the
opposite direction, and do also remember it is law that you must carry a complete set of
replacement bulbs and a warning triangle with you at all times. But it is always advisable
to check the regulations prior to your holiday in France,
as they do change from time to time and a good place to access this information is the AA
You also need to have a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher with you and because in
France the law states that if you are the first on a scene of an accident, you must stop
and provide assistance, and these may very well be required! And in the event of an
accident you would need to call the police, which is accomplished by dialling 17 and they
will also despatch an ambulance or the fire brigade if these are needed.
You will no doubt come across the term La Priorité ŕ Droite, which basically means that
the vehicle coming onto a road has priority from the right, this is even the case when a
minor road is entering a main road, so do be careful, especially when in the towns and
villages as you would need to give way, even if it is you on the main road.
Officially this rule no longer applies unless clearly sign posted yet it still causes
confusion and in Paris it is still widely practised,
so you could end up feeling like you are being cut up, even though this may have been how
the French were taught to drive when the Priorité ŕ Droite rule was still widely used!
Yet by generally planning your holiday prior to travelling, this will give you more peace
of mind and will help you to locate all the tourist attractions that you want to visit
whilst on your holiday in France. Also, when it comes to shopping, most places shut
for at least two hours each day and most hypermarkets, etc are not open on a Sunday,
whereas museums and other attractions are, so you can make general plans for your whole
Plus if you use a route planner such as Microsoft AutoRoute, it can provide you with lots
of other information as well, like being able to calculate how long it will take you to
travel between one place and another, and you can also find numerous different hotels,
petrol stations, restaurants and even cash points to name but a few!
The other good thing about using a route planner, is that if you do not have a sat nav
system, you can get fantastically indepth maps that will take you directly to your desired
destination without getting lost, especially if you are travelling around the periphie
around Paris! But yes, getting lost can also be fun, yet it can be daunting if you
do not know the area.
But with these few general rules out of the way, just enjoy the experience, the beautiful
scenery, the French wine (not when driving!) and food
and have a great family vacation, whilst on your driving holiday in France.