The Rules of Driving in France, Episode 16

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In this episode about the rules of driving in France, Annie and her husband  David talk about driving in France. Should you rent a car? How safe is it? Is driving hectic in France? We start with misconceptions, then we explain differences you should know about, and we also give you tips so you can relax. Have you considered setting out on your own to explore the French countryside? This episode will help you decide if it's for you or not. Where will you go? Vineyards? French villages? Renting a car does open a lot of options for you!

Testimonial

«I just returned from a trip to France. We could not take a train due to the strikes and ended up driving across France from the Dordogne to Paris. What a wonderful experience! The podcast on driving in France was a HUGE help with parking, highways and the red plus signs at traffic lights. Thank you so much!» Robin Friedberg OConnor

If you found this episode helpful, also check out Tips for Driving in France, Episode 138.

Episode Highlights—Click Show Notes Below For More Details

  • Common misconceptions about driving in France
  • Things to consider before renting a car in France
  • French terminology you need to understand
  • Navigation tips
  • Speed limits in France (that's a gotcha!)
  • More gotchas (unexpected rules and customs)
  • Indication signs
  • Danger signs
  • Direction signs
  • How do roundabouts work?
  • Parking in France
  • In case of emergency
  • Final thoughts

Book Your Car in Advance Especially if You Need an Automatic!

Renting an automatic is not as difficult as it used to be in France, but depending on the place where you’ll pickup they may or may not have a car that suits your needs. Shop for your rental car in advance!

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Driving in France, Resource

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Phil RobersonBob SheldoncampskunkNancyAnnie Recent comment authors
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ron witzke
Guest
ron witzke

Great podcast. I wish I had heard it 10 years ago when I learned of driving in France the hard way.

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

Hi Annie
I disagree with you comments about French drivers. I have lived in France for more than four years full time and find driving in France frightening and dangerous. My sense of the lack of safety was confirmed in reading this EU commission report http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/pdf/observatory/trends_figures.pdf

campskunk
Guest
campskunk

my wife and i had a wonderful two weeks – flew into CDG, got a rental car, and made a grand counterclockwise circle around france. the only hectic part were the first and last days – getting out of and back into paris. there’s no way we could have seen the countryside as we did any other way. normandy, the loire, perigord, biarritz, the pyrennes, narbonne, and on across the riviera and up into the alps. the highlight for my wife, a edward and wallis simpson fanatic, was finding and touring chateau cande, where they were married. the highlight for… Read more »

Ron Witzke
Guest
Ron Witzke

After returning to the States, this past June, from a trip to France including traveling from Monpazier to Tours and then Paris , I received a speeding ticket in the mail at home for going 5km over the limit. I don’t know where I received the ticket, as it was by camera. 5 km is about the width of the speedo needle. I paid the fine on line, 40Euros, but it is a reminder that in France, unlike the States, the speed limit is not guidance, but unforgiving. I always reread/listen to this episode before returning to France which we… Read more »

Bob Sheldon
Guest

I drove in France for 3 weeks after spending a week in Paris. I found driving in France no more challenging than driving in the US northeast where you also do not want a car in a large city. It gave me the freedom to go where I wanted and to stop at any place that looked interesting. You can not do that using mass transit.