There are a number of things to see and do in France - from the stunning culture and delicious gourmet cuisine of downtown Paris to the pristine beaches and laid-back attitude of beautiful Nice: the gem of the French Riviera. Exploring France on your own terms is important as it provides the freedom and flexibility that travelers seek and that's why the majority of people planning a trip to France choose to tour by car.
Before you rent a vehicle during your visit to France it's important to be aware of the laws in place regarding licensure and the legal driving age in France.
Many people planning a trip to France will be pleasantly surprised to learn that they may use their own driver's license to legally drive in France. Residents of the US, Canada, EU, and EEA do not need to obtain an international driver's permit for their trip to France, though if any traveler intends to stay for more than 90 days he or she is required to obtain a French driving license. If you're planning a one-way trip by rental car to one or more neighboring countries in Europe Auto Europe recommends that you obtain an international driving license as this will make your trip smooth and hassle-free.
Whether you're a college student considering a discounted long-term car rental from Peugeot or you're traveling to France with licensed teenagers, it's important to know the requirements for driving age in France before you book a car. It may seem like a good idea to allow your teenager to take the wheel during your trip so that you can enjoy a break and take in the scenery, but Auto Europe recommends that you avoid this. Here are a few reasons why:
The minimum age to legally drive in France is 18. Even if the driving age is lower and your teenager is a licensed driver in the US he or she cannot legally drive in France unless he or she is 18 years of age and has held a license for at least one year.
The age requirement to rent a car in France states the individual must be at least 21 years old, but any driver under the age of 25 could be susceptible to a young-driver surcharge depending upon the car rental supplier you book with.
Additionally, if you do intend to have a young driver spend time behind the wheel of your rental car then it is imperative that he or she is listed as an additional driver on the rental agreement. If you forego this step your rental car insurance coverage may be seriously compromised and you could face significant charges and liability in the event of an accident.
Driving in downtown Paris or other busy areas in a foreign country can be stressful for even the most experienced of drivers. Keep this in mind while weighing the decision about whether or not you should let a younger driver take the wheel during your trip. Even if your child has a few years of experience behind the wheel in the US and is of legal driving age in France, new traffic patterns, more aggressive driving tendencies and unfamiliar French road signs can all be challenges better left to a more experienced driver. Ultimately this is a judgment call which you'll have to make for yourself.
Regardless of your driving background, Auto Europe recommends that when planning a trip to France you shouldn't put anyone (regardless of age) behind the wheel if you think they may not be up to the task. Touring France by car can be a pleasant, relaxing experience and it shouldn't be stressful. Chauffeur service within city limits is a popular option for drivers of any age who enjoy private transportation without the stress that can come with driving in an unfamiliar environment. If you do plan to rent a car, be sure to read our driving tips section so that you are well prepared.
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