France autoroute by Spedona, used under CC licence

14 Feb Driving in France

Whether you’re heading for the Eiffel Tour, the chateaux of the Loire Valley or the beaches of the Côte d’Azur, here are some helpful tips if you are considering bringing your car or hiring one when you touch down in France.

Car rental

There are a wide range of car rental companies you can choose from like Hertz, Argus Car Hire and Sixt. To ensure everything is in order, it is pertinent that you take time to read the terms and conditions in advance of your flight.


French car rental companies usually have unlimited third party insurance included in the agreed price. However, it is worth double checking this with your selected provider at the time of purchase.


On most motorways you will come across toll charges where you can pay either by cash or credit card. They are pricey enough; as a rule of thumb they are about 7-10 cent per kilometre travelled and you can add about half that again if you are towing a caravan.

Cost of fuel

Fuel prices are down everywhere at the moment because of falling international oil prices. The AA’s most recent international fuel price report finds an average price of a litre of petrol at 1.28 cent per litre and 1.10 cent a litre of diesel in France. This slightly differs to what we are currently paying here at home with our latest average price of a litre of petrol is 126.5 cent and 112.8 cent for diesel.

Driving in France

The obvious difference is that you drive on the right, the ‘wrong’ side of the road for us. If you haven’t had that experience before it can be a little scary and you need to be careful. Roads are generally excellent though and tourists in their millions use them every year with no problem.

The charm of the Irish football fans is world-renowned, but attempting it on the French may prove a problem. The best advice is to mind your manners. Fines can be heavy and your car can be impounded if you can’t pay immediately. Obey the rules & carry both original and copies of your passport and drivers’ licence.

Amongst other requirements, you must have a warning triangle and a reflective jacket in tow. The emergency jacket must be stored in the passenger compartment and worn when exiting the car in the case of an emergency or breakdown.

Make sure you’re never stuck by investing in European Breakdown Cover from as little as €15.

Main image by Spedona, used under CC licence.

Linda Pototzki