Driving in France with a foreign licence
Traffic rules aim to limit the risk of accidents, particularly fatal ones.
Everyone is required to comply, whether or not they are usually resident in France.
If you come to France for a short visit (such as holidays), you can drive using your foreign licence. It must be valid and either written in French or accompanied by an official translation into French or an international licence.
If you reside in France, you may use your foreign licence for one year, under certain conditions. Beyond one year, you must exchange your foreign licence for a French licence.
For further information: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/N19126
France plans to endorse the driving licences of bearers of foreign licences driving in France (virtual driving licence points system).
Endorsements will be carried out if the driver commits an offence in France.
If the maximum number of penalty points are taken (down to zero points), the driver will be prohibited from driving in French territory for one year. If this prohibition is not respected, offenders risk a prison sentence of two years and a fine of €4,500, as well as immediate immobilization of the vehicle.
In France, the maximum authorized speed is:
- 50km/h in urban areas;
- 80km/h outside urban areas on two-way roads with no central reservation (some sections of some roads may be limited to 90km/h);
- 110km/h on double carriageways with a central reservation (100km/h in wet weather);
- 130km/h on motorways (110km/h in wet weather).
If these limits are not respected, drivers will be issued tickets and offence notices will be sent to those who commit offences.
Driving while holding a telephone or wearing audio devices such as headphones and earpieces is forbidden, and offenders risk:
- a flat-rate fine of €135;
- 3-point endorsement of their driving licence.
Moreover, the use of a mobile telephone held in the driver’s hand in combination with another driving offence results in immediate suspension of your driving licence. If no other driver, with a valid driving licence, can drive the vehicle, then it will be immobilized.
The authorized amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.5g/litre. It is reduced to 0.2g/litre for public transport drivers, bearers of probationary licences and learner drivers.
Driving, or accompanying a learner driver, is prohibited after using substances or plants classed as drugs, whatever the quantity absorbed.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in immediate suspension of your driving licence. If no other driver, with a valid driving licence, can drive the vehicle, then it will be immobilized.
If the offence is observed at the roadside and the vehicle is immobilized, the latter will be impounded for seven days and only a person with a driving licence and insurance may collect it.
It is compulsory to wear a seatbelt in all vehicles, both at the front and at the back. Children must be properly seated and attached using special restraint devices.
It is compulsory for drivers and passengers of motorized two-wheel vehicles to wear helmets and gloves.
A high-visibility jacket and a warning triangle (in addition to hazard lights) must be present in all vehicles.