Traffic laws in France: What you should know

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Knowing the most important rules of the road can ensure safe travels for driver and passengers. Here are the highlights of the top rules for driving in France.

Drive on the Right Side of the Road

Motorists drive on the right side of the road. This means that the solid white line indicating the edge of the road (where applicable) should always appear on your right. The opposing lane of traffic should be on your left. The left lane of a road with multiple lanes is used only for passing.

Speed Limits

Speed limits depend upon the area and the road conditions. For instance, cities and towns have a standard speed limit of 50km/h unless otherwise posted (some urban areas can be restricted to 30km/h like in Paris). Cars towing a trailer or caravan must drive within 45km/h to 65km/h depending on the percentage a trailer weighs more than the vehicle towing it.

On the highway, speed is limited to 130km/h and to 110km/h in wet weather conditions.

Legal Alcohol Limit

Despite wonderful wines, Champagnes and other Cognacs, you will better drive sober in France too. The legal alcohol limited is 0.5 for all drivers. It is a lawful requirement for drivers to carry a disposable breathalyzer test kit in every vehicle.


As a general rule, pay attention to all parking signs and ask when in doubt. It is unlawful to park in front of a fire hydrant, and it is prohibited to park a car on a public road spot for more than 24 hours at a time. Overnight parking is not permitted anywhere in France, although it is OK to park in a rest area if you need a rest. Depending on the region you will visit, you will find private parkings that can be a good and safe alternative to park your car for a few hours or days.

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