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Fashionistas on the road: traffic rules in France

I love road trips. They give me a sense of freedom. And it’s not just a sense, it’s the truth. My husband and I don’t usually book in advance our accommodation, we just drive and when we reach a destination that we think it’s worth it, we stop for a few days and visit it. Of course, we have an idea of the places we want to go to but we don’t plan out trip from A to Z. So what if we wanted to travel from Munich to Vienna? Those Prague Summer Nights seemed to be sexier😎

One of our favorite travel activities is to cross borders 🤗So we came to a conclusion: it’s very important to know the traffic rules of each country you pass through. It might seem awkward, but even though you travel on the same continent, some rules are different depending on the country.

Today’s article is about traffic rules in France

1.Driving license

Of course, you must have a driving license to drive on the French roads. But you also must be over 18. It doesn’t matter that in your country of residence you are qualified to drive at a lower age. Oops.

2. French clean air stickers (Crit’Air vignettes)

They apply in certain areas to identify the emissions that vehicles produce and they were introduced in late 2016. As of summer of 2017, they are currently in use in Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, and Lille. Prices for stickers (foreign registered vehicles) have been set at 4,8 EUR/vignette. You can buy your sticker and find out more details on the official site of Crit’Air.


When driving in France, you must carry the following documents:

  • a valid full driving license (not provisional);
  • vehicle’s registration document (original) – it’s called carte grise in France;
  • insurance certificate;
  • passport/ID.

4. Speed limits

Unless otherwise signposted and on dry roads:

  • 130 km/h (on toll motorways(;
  • 110 km/h on dual carriageways and motorways without tolls;
  • 80 km/h on other roads – which goes into effect on 1 July 2018
  • 50 km/h in towns.

Note that if you exceed the speed limit with 40 km/h, your license will be confiscated on the spot.

Don’t use devices capable of detecting speed cameras. It’s illegal: you will pay up to 1500 EUR and your device together with your car will be confiscated. What about a bag from Gucci, instead?

5. Road rules

  • Priority: you must give priority to the vehicles approaching your right unless otherwise indicated. Of course, you must give way to ambulance, police and fire brigade vehicles. In rural areas, it is very important to be aware of the priorité à droite as it is not uncommon for traffic on minor roads to have the right-of-way when joining main streets;
  • Seat belt: All drivers and passengers must wear the seatbelt. It’s the drivers’ responsibility to ensure that all passengers under 18 are wearing a seatbelt or appropriate restraint;
  • Headphones: it is illegal to wear headphones, bluetooth or wireless. If you get caught using your phone while you’re driving, you are liable for an on-a-spot fine of 135 EUR. And your license will be suspended (starting with 2018). So, you’d better use a car you can connect your phone to. Oh, and you can’t use your phone if you are in a stopped car that is NOT in a parking. Dommage, as they say.
  • Traffic lights:
    • The sequence of French traffic lights is red, green, amber (yellow) and back to red;
    • there is no amber light after the red one;
    • flashing amber lights indicates caution, proceed but give way to the vehicles that are coming from the right;
    • flashing red light indicated no entry. It may also indicate a level crossing;
    • the yellow arrow indicates the way in which you may proceed, provided you give way to vehicles traveling in the flow of traffic which you are entering and to pedestrians.

6. Drink driving

I know fashionistas are elegant and they don’t drink (too much) or take drugs but we are there for our sisters that took a wrong path.

Tha maximum legal limit is 0,05%. And if you have less than 3 years experience, the maximum legal limit is 0,02%. But hey, good news, if you are an alcoholic fashionista, you should plan a trip to Kenya, Canada or Ireland (the legal limit is 0.8%).

7. Tolls

Prepare your cash, Visa or Mastercard, French motorways are operated by a variety of private companies and you will pay to drive onto them. Please note that Maestro or debit cards are not accepted. Do not be greedy, you won’t find a better road.

8. Parking

Don’t park if you see a broken yellow line. Don’t even stop if you see a continuous yellow line. Or of course, if you see a sign that prohibits stopping/parking.

Please look at the road signs, paid parking is very popular in France. Even though you might think it’s free, you could get a little surprise on your windscreen if you get caught. And you usually do get caught.

9. Nope, that’s about it.


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