Renting a car while on vacation is one one of the best ways to see a country. A plane or a train might be faster, but find a car rental in France to see this country in the most intimate way.
France has tremendous romantic appeal and countless, quaint country towns that are well worth exploring. Keeping this in mind, here are five main things to remember before renting a car in France.
1 – Road Rules
When traveling to any country, road rules will most likely be different than what you’re used to. In France, the legal age to drive is 18, but the minimum age to rent a car is 20. Once you rent your car, keep in mind the following:
- Using a mobile phone is prohibited and may result in a fine
- Seatbelts are required for everyone in the vehicle
- The French drive on the right side of the road
You’ll want to pay attention to the speed limit signs on each road as well. As a general rule, most highways have a limit of 80 mph/ 130 kph, local roads 49 mph/ 80 kph, and urban roads 31 mph/ 50 kph.
2 – Insurance
As for insurance, car rental companies in France are required to include liability coverage along with each rental. However, the default insurance often only covers the basics. Additional insurance is usually only a small additional cost, and it’s a good idea to utilize it. This is especially true when driving in a foreign country; having coverage for issues like a flat tire is more than worth the additional cost.
You’ll also have the option of insuring any belongings that you keep in the rental car, which is another option that most travelers take advantage of. This way, if the worst happens, you’ll have peace of mind that everything will be taken care of.
3 – Parking and Traffic
Obviously, parking and traffic will vary depending on where exactly you are driving, what time of year your trip is, and any events happening locally. It’s important to know that parking laws in France are strictly enforced, even in rural areas, so always make sure to park accordingly. Actually finding somewhere to park can be difficult, although parking spots are clearly marked so you won’t be left wondering if you’ve parked correctly.
As for traffic, always allow time in your journey depending on where exactly you will be driving. Rural areas, for example, will most likely be free of traffic, but driving through places like Paris will add at least a few hours to your trip.
4 – Drivers Licenses
You will, of course, need to have a driver’s license to rent a car in France. Anyone with a European Union license will need to have had their license for at least a year prior to renting a car. For all other licenses, drivers will need to obtain an international driving license.
5 – Best Driving Routes
Popular driving routes are heavily-traveled for a reason, so it’s always helpful to do some research into what route would be the best for your trip. There are options for everyone, no matter your hobbies or vacation plans. The route along the Gorges of the Ardeche, set along the Ardeche River, is a great choice for a scenic and peaceful drive.
If navigating wine country is more your style, you could choose the Route des Grand Crus, which will take you through Burgundy’s wineries and vineyards. There are also many routes along the coast and through the French Alps, so you certainly won’t have a shortage of choices.