France has nearly 25,000mi/40,000km of national highways, of which nearly 6000mi/9600km are four-lane superhighways, known as 'autoroutes'. These enable you to make the most of your car rental visiting the little travelled corners of France. Many of these superhighways are toll roads, called 'autoroutes a peage'. These toll roads were developed starting in the 1960s by private concessions, after the government realized that it was lagging behind neighboring countries in developing a national superhighway system. The French government also maintains a good network of secondary national highways, denoted on maps by an 'N' before the route number. (These highways are also referred to by the initials RN, for 'Route Nationale,' followed by a number.) Local governments maintain local roads, known as 'Routes Departementales,' which are often the most scenic and are denoted by a 'D' in front of the route number. Highways in France tend to be jammed in late July/early August and again in late August/early September, when it seems that all of France is heading to popular vacation spots.
To rent a car in France, you must be at least 21 years old (age may vary by car category) and you must have held your license for 1 year. Drivers hoping to rent a car under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. Seatbelts are mandatory and children must be at least age 10 to sit in the front seat. Child seats are mandatory for children up to age 3.
Speed limits in France are as follows: City 31mph/50kph Open Roads 68mph/110kph Highways 81mph/130kph
Rules of the Road
Traffic travels on the right and drivers customarily yield to drivers approaching from the right. Fines for traffic violations are collected on the spot in either Euros or travelers? cheques. A flashing red light means do not enter.
In the larger cities of France, you will find many gas stations open 24 hours. Gasoline tends to cost more when you buy it at a station on the highway.
There are toll highways in France that are labled as 'Autoroute peage.' These highways are marked by blue signs with the letter 'A.'
Pay parking meters are quite common in many small towns. Most large cities have 'blue zones' where you display a parking disc or ticket on the dashboard of your car when you park. These discs are available at police stations and tourist offices. More information is available on our Parking in France page.
Car rental insurance in France and elsewhere in Europe varies widely, so please review the information below prior to making your reservation. Regulations of the country where you rent the car will be in effect for the duration of your rental.
All our car rental rates include fire and third party liability insurance. Our inclusive rates also provide collision and theft coverage at an advance purchase discount. You may elect to decline collision and theft coverage. If you plan to take advantage of coverage offered by your credit card, please contact your card issuer directly for details. Specific insurance information for your reservation will be printed on your confirmation voucher.
The following guidelines apply to rentals commencing in France.
Fire and third party liability insurance is mandatory and is included in all rentals. Third party liability insurance offers unlimited coverage in case of damage or injury to people or property outside of the rental car.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and theft protection are included in our inclusive rates at a discount. CDW, if purchased at the rental counter, costs approximately US$10 - US$80 per day. Theft protection, if purchased at the rental counter, costs approximately US$3 - US$18 per day. CDW and theft coverage reduce the deductible (responsibility of the client) to US$690 - US$3870 due to damaga and the responsibility due to theft to US$845 - US$5808, depending on the vehicle type. Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) is available at the rental counter for approximately US$4 - US$14 per day. Super CDW may be offered locally to reduce the deductible as low as zero. Optional insurance coverage is available with select suppliers only, rates subject to change without notice.
Most rental car categories can be driven anywhere in Western Europe without restriction. Due to insurance regulations, there are restrictions on luxury car categories in France and on travel in certain countries. Auto Europe has special rental programs for driving into Eastern Europe. Please take a minute to ensure that your intended itinerary will be possible with the car you plan to rent.
Cars and vans rented in France are not allowed into the following countries: Albania, Bosnia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and Yugoslavia. Some luxury cars are not allowed into Italy.
NOTE: For an additional fee, travel into most or all of these countries can be arranged for specific car categories with advance notice.
Domestic one-way rentals are available between select locations, additional fees may apply. There are fees for international one-way car rentals and not all vehicles are allowed.