Legally, if you’re asking yourself what do I need to drive in France, it’s not a lot different than driving in any European country.

The obvious list is a: 

·         legal car (road worthy, tax and MOT);

·         spare wheel, jack and nut spanner;

·         decent tread on your tyres (legal minimum is 1.6mm, same as UK);

·         valid car insurance policy with European cover;

·         light correctors;

·         GB sticker.

Before you leave the country, check out your car to ensure it complies with the accepted degree of roadworthiness (all  production cars are standard issue, so the only problem might arise with a say a kit car, or a heavily converted car) and that you do indeed have a spare wheel, jack and spanner. This is a genuine threesome. It’s pointless having a spare wheel and jack, but no spanner, and so on. Also, before you set off, do say to yourself, can I change a wheel? Are you able to physically change a wheel, or should you call the breakdown service to do it for you?

It’s no point late at night, in the pouring rain, on a deserted stretch of road, trying to experiment with wheel changing techniques. Before you set off, change a wheel in your drive. It’s like a dress rehearsal and it’s best to do it as a dry run before you might have to do it in a pressure situation.

Check out your types. When driving in France, tyre tread is as important as in the UK and for every tyre that isn’t up to scratch (at least 1.6mm tread), you could be fined 1,000€. And just check the spare as well. If it’s one of the most ridiculous narrow emergency spares that tight-fisted manufacturers nowadays insist on using, it should be okay, because they are designed to really get you from the puncture site, to the garage, and so get little use.

Most insurance companies give you an automatic Green Card these days, which gives you European cover in the designated list of countries for 90 days. Before you set off, check just what you are covered for though, as policies differ and the level of cover can also differ. Always read the small print.

Beam correctors are essential. UK cars drive on the left, so there low beams are directed into the left had curb, so as not to blind oncoming drivers. Put the car in the right hand lane and the low beam hits oncoming drivers. Headlight beam reflectors change the direction of the beam to the right hand curb, making the car safe to use in the dark, or at times of low visibility.

Many UK number plates now have a ‘GB’ on the left-hand side; if yours does not, slap a sticker on the back of the car in a visible place.

Having good European breakdown cover is not a legal requirement, but you’d be mad to travel without it. A good place to get this and all the other essentials you will need is the AA.

In France, it is the law to have in your car a: 

·         warning triangle;

·         hi-visibility (yellow) jacket for you and one other (get ones for all your passengers as well to be on the safe side);

·         breathalyser.

Warning triangles are mostly standard throughout Europe. It is a requirement that if you breakdown

It is also a good idea to carry a number of other items and these are listed in the eBook French Roads: A Guide. This eBook continues to discuss the merits of key items which you should have in the car when travelling to France, as well as more thoughts on some of the above necessary items.


Manche Hosts Grand Depart

Mont-Saint-Michael  The 2016 Tour de France Grand Depart will be hosted by the Manche Department of France. This is the first time that the department has hosted a Tour start.


French Roads Cars Up

Cars on French roads.The number of cars on French roads will rise to 35m by 2030, up 14% from 30.8m currently.


Paris Jams Worst

Paris will have the dubious distinction of being the worst place in the world when it comes to losing money because of traffic jams.


Macho Macho Man...

If you see a car on French roads with the departmental plate moniker of 2A, or 2B, then be afraid, very afraid.


Pollution Cuts French Roads Speeds

Speeds on French roads around Paris and in the Ile-de-France region could be reduced in a bid to lessen air pollution.


Call For Protest on French Roads

Motorists are being encouraged to join a go-slow on French roads on the weekend of 12th April, 2014, to protest against Government plans to reduce the speed limit on national and departmental roads to 80kph, from the current 90kph.


More Bikes on French Roads

French roads should have more cyclists on them says the Government.


Gas Powered Ferry

Brittany Ferries has placed an order for the largest ever ship to join its ferry fleet and it will powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).


New National Speed Limit on French Roads?

The national speed limit on French roads may be reduced to 80kph (50mph).


Deaths Down on French Roads

French roads are becoming safer.

New figures from the French Government put the number of deaths on the country’s roads in 2013 at 3,250. This represents a fall of 400 from the 2012 figure, but a staggering 15,000 less than the figure in 1972. Back then, some 18,000 were killed on French roads.


New Peripherique Speed Limit

The new speed limit on the inner ring road which circles Paris (the Peripherique) has been cut from 80kph (50 mph) to 70kph (43mph).


€25,000 Bill For No-Fault Motorway Crash


A French roads authority has charged a driver €25,000 for bill repairs even though he was the victim of a hit and run.


French Roads Blocked by Protesters

French roads are being blocked by protesters again.

On Thursday, French farmers took to the roads around Paris to protest against rising taxes. The farmers used tractors to block roads and generally disrupt the traffic.


No Tint On French Roads

Cars with tinted windows are not welcome on French roads say the police.


New High Speed Rail Link

Bordeaux and Toulouse are to be joined by a new high speed rail link.


HGV Tax Protests

Protests over the weekend have targeted the French Government’s plans to impose an eco-tax on freight traffic on French roads


Storm Batters Northern France

The north of France caught the brunt of a major storm today, causing loss of life and travel disruption the French Roads team can report. It was the same storm which ravaged the English south coast and it hit land late Sunday night.


Last Paris Peugeot

The last Peugeot has been produced at the company’s Paris plant at Aulnay-sous-Bois. Synonymous with driving in France, the Peugeot car is seen everywhere on French roads.


Volvo Cuts Workforce

The owner of Volvo Trucks - a regular site on French roads - has just announced that its cutting 2,000 jobs.


Call Me A Cab

The French want more taxis driving in France, especially in Paris.

The call from the Government for an increase comes for two reasons: it’s difficult to get a cab in the capital at peak times and there is increased competition in the shape of tourist cars with drivers (voitures de tourisme avec chauffeur, VTCs).


Eurotunnel Record

Eurotunnel scored a record one-day user figure over the summer: on 17th August, 15,982 vehicles used its service. This was the largest daily total since the Eurotunnel began taking vehicles under the English Channel and onto French roads in 1994.


Tut-Tut Tuks-Tuks

The police in Paris are concerned that tuk-tuks are becoming a nuisance on French roads and they are calling for more regulation.


French Road Deaths Down

Driving in France has become that bit safer says the French Roads team.


Driving in France Costs To Increase

Driving in French is likely to become more expensive as one of the main Autoroute operators wants to raise the cost of its tolls.


Drunk Driver Sleeps It Off In Car

A driver who had overindulged was discovered asleep at the wheel of his car by the police. Being asleep in charge of a vehicle on French roads is an offence, especially when you are drunk. It later proved that the man, who had stopped at a red light, was four times over the legal drink drive limit.


Red-Nosed Rudolf Picks a Fight on French Roads

Rudolf certainly has a red-nose on some French roads in the Lot region as drivers have been told to look out for drunken deer who not only stagger onto the highways, but are attacking stationery cars.


SatNav Ferry Error

The Sun newspaper reports that a couple who wanted to board a Brittany Ferry’s service from Plymouth to Spain for a 20-hour trip had a shock when their SatNav directed them towards a different vessel entirely.


MyFerryLink Sunk by Competition Commission

French road users who cross the English Channel with new ferry company MyFerryLink will have to think again. MyFerryLink has been told to stop operating its services within six months.