31 May Driving in France While You’re at the Euros

If you plan on taking to the road in France for the Euros, check out our essential driving tips before you go.


Autoroutes in France are dotted with numerous tolls which can add up, particularly on a long journey so it pays to do your research before you go. The costs vary but as a rule of thumb is about 7 – 10 cent per kilometre travelled in a car and you can add half as much again if you are towing a caravan.

Journey Car Car towing trailer/caravan Distance in Kilometers
Bordeaux to Paris € 54.80 € 85.50                                 641 KM
Lille to Paris € 16.30 € 23.20                                 225 KM
Bordeaux to Toulouse € 19.40 € 31.00                                 245 KM
Lyon to Paris (A6) € 33.70 € 52.70                                 466 KM
Marseille to Paris € 58.30 € 91.80                                 744 KM
Nantes to Bordeaux € 28.90 € 44.10                                 346 KM
Nantes to Paris € 36.40 € 56.00                             384.6 KM
Rennes to Paris € 28.80 € 44.30                             348.8 KM
Toulouse to Paris (A20) € 35.70 € 55.20                             683.5 KM

Tolls can be paid in cash or with the following cards: Eurocard, Mastercard, and Visa. (Debit cards Maestro and Electron are not accepted).

There are alternative non-tolled routes in France that are very easy to drive on (similar to dual-carriageways). You can simply locate these routes by selecting the “show routes without tolls” option on Routeplanner.


French authorities are quite stringent on all motorists carrying the correct documents and compulsory equipment when driving. These include a warning triangle, headlamp converter and a reflective jacket. The jacket must be kept within the passenger compartment of the vehicle and be put on before exiting the vehicle in an emergency/breakdown situation.

It is absolutely prohibited to carry, transport or use radar detectors. Failure to comply with this regulation involves a fine of up to €1,500 and the vehicle and/or device may be confiscated.

In January 2013, the French government announced that the implementation of the sanction for drivers not carrying a breathalyser – a fine of €11 – has been postponed indefinitely. So theoretically you are still required to carry a self-test breathalyser when driving in France but there is no current legislation demanding a fine for non-compliance.


Visiting motorists should be warned that some French police authorities are authorised to impose and collect fines on the spot up to 375 EUR from drivers who violate traffic regulations. French traffic police take their job very seriously so it is not the time to try your Irish charm!


There is good news for anybody planning on taking their car to the Euros or holidaying in France this summer as the fuel crisis that affected the county during the month of May is greatly improving. However, it’s still a good idea to know some fuel-saving practices before you hit the road. Click here for more information.


You may have rented a car before and have a preferred agency in mind. AvisEuropcar, Hertz, Budget and Sixt have branches at most major towns all over France. Keep an eye on their websites or your airline’s website as they may offer good deals or discounts. Car rental companies in France are required to provide basic liability insurance to renters for the duration of their trip. However, it’s important to check with each company about their collision damage waivers as these vary from company to company.


Check the car for damage with an employee from the car rental company before signing a rental agreement, and again when the vehicle is returned. Have the damage-free condition confirmed in writing, or note any damage. Disputes can sometimes arise after you arrive home so it’s a good idea taking the time to take some phone pictures of the car both when you pick it up and when you return it.


Check all the switches, indicators and other controls carefully and if any are unfamiliar or don’t work, ask the rental firm for guidance.


Check the refuelling requirements in advance and keep fuel bills as proof of a full tank when the vehicle is returned. Consider taking a photo of the fuel gauge, particularly if dropping the car off without a hire company employee present.

Insurance Cover

Third-party insurance is a must but in some countries the minimum statutory cover may be higher and if cover is insufficient, the hirer is personally liable for the excess. There may be a charge to increase cover.

Additional Insurance

If you can, choose comprehensive damage cover without an excess, but check what is actually covered as some may exclude damage to tyres, rims, the underbody or stone chips.

Theft Insurance

This is recommended if it is not included in the comprehensive insurance.


You can get parking discs for ‘blue zone’ parking areas from police stations, tourist offices and some shops. You should also factor in road tolls when planning your journey as well. It’s a good idea to keep money aside to cover these costs and to keep some spare change handy but don’t leave it lying about in your car. Every rental vehicle registered in France has a recognisable license plate number which makes it easier for thieves to identify.


When you’re travelling to the games, be it by car or on foot, it’s important to be familiar with your surroundings and know as much as possible about where you are.

To help stay safe, download the ‘Simon’s Green Army’ app for free. The app provides Irish football fans with detailed information about the Euros host cities, including bars/restaurants, ATM locations, train stations, Fanzones, stadiums, tourist spots and much more.

While providing useful information for Irish fans abroad, the app informs fans about the services that the Dublin Simon Community provide and the growing issue of homelessness back home.

Download the app here.


If you plan on taking your own vehicle, The AA offers European Breakdown Cover. Some of the benefits include:

  • 24 hour English speaking emergency telephone assistance throughout Europe.
  • Roadside assistance for the duration of your motoring holiday.
  • Emergency roadside repairs or towing to the nearest garage in over 40 European countries.
  • Location and dispatch of spare parts(s) needed to complete repairs overseas.
  • Vehicle recovery to the Republic of Ireland.
  • Provision for emergency car hire, accommodation or alternative travel.
  • Emergency accommodation if you have to wait for repair work to be completed.

Barry Aldworth

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