France has nearly 25,000mi/40,000km of national highways, of which nearly 6,000mi/9,600km are four-lane superhighways, known as 'autoroutes'. Many of these superhighways are toll roads, called 'autoroutes a peage'. 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.
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.'
Speed limits in France are as follows:
Touring France by car is the only way to ensure you are able to experience both the city and rural areas of this beautiful country. Driving in France, or in any new place for that matter, can seem intimidating at first, but Auto Europe will have you driving like a native Frenchman (or Frenchwoman) in no time! Just follow these tips and you'll enjoy stress-free time behind the wheel while touring France.
If you're planning a road trip through
the French countryside you can use common sense when parking your rental car, but for those spending time in France's major towns
and cities there are a few general rules which you should follow.
City Parking in France
In France's cities, often the numbers on a street will dictate which side of the street drivers are allowed to park on. This can change in different neighborhoods and on different days. You will also want to be on the lookout for illegal or tow-away zones as you search for convenient city parking. Below are a few important French phrases to keep in mind.
Additional areas to avoid parking:
Parking in Blue Zones
Blue Zones ("zone bleue") are located in most major French cities and drivers can park their cars for free for up to one hour Monday through Saturday between the hours of 09:00 and 12:00 and from 14:00 until 19:00. Parking in France is also free without limitations in these areas on Sundays and during public holidays.
If you need to park in a blue zone prior to 12:00 or after 14:00 then you must obtain a small parking disc ("disque de controle/stationnement") and display it in your car's windshield. These discs are available for free (or for a very small fee) from garages, travel agencies, tourist offices and police stations. When you use one of these discs to park for free in a blue zone you should record your arrival time in the left box and remember the time displayed in the right box - if you overstay your free time you could be fined.
Ticket Machines and Parking Meters in France
Ticket machines have replaced traditional parking meters in most French cities. Parking signs with the words "Horodateur" or "Stationnement payant" give an indication that drivers must obtain a ticket from a nearby machine when they park in this area.
In most cities in France parking must be paid for between 09:00 and 19:00 with the exception of 12:00 and 14:00 (when it is free). Travelers can expect to pay up to 1 Euro per hour and more if they park at transit hubs like rail stations.
Parking Fines in France
In France, as in most parts of the world, if you park illegally you can expect to receive a fine. Drivers can expect to be fined approximately 11 Euro if they do not pay for parking or if they overstay the period which they have paid for. This amount will triple if the traveler does not pay the fine within three months.
Fines for illegal parking vary based on where and how you park illegally in France but typically these fines start at 35 Euro and can increase to as much as 135 Euro. As with other traffic and parking fines in France if you do not pay the fine within 3 months you can expect the amount you owe to increase three-fold.
NOTE: While driving in Paris it is illegal to leave your car in the same spot on a public road for more than 24 hours. As long as you move your car once during each 24 hour period you can continue to park on the same street.
If you plan on driving in France, becoming familiar with the country's driving laws is a wise choice. Here, we will discuss the rules and regulations which you should be aware of before your trip.
Auto Europe's Map of France
Whether you've come to enjoy the fantastic vineyards of the Bordeaux region or prefer to bask in the famous big cities, our France map will ensure that you can get where you want to be while in the country. As European travel specialists with over 60 years in the industry, we have the need-to-know information for tourists who travel to France to have fun rather than wasting time trying to plan their itinerary, regardless of when you decide might be the best time to visit Europe. This handy France map is provided as a resource, offering travelers hands-on information about landmarks, hotels, attractions, restaurants, and so much more. You can easily view the map on your smartphone, and have access to it whenever the time may arise providing you have wireless service in France. We urge you to bookmark this page so you're not lost during your time in this beautiful country.