If the idea of a road trip to France gets you seriously excited, you’re not alone. It’s a great drive from the UK, and even more fun it you do it in a hire van!

The reasons for undertaking this kind of journey are numerous (a house move, supply run, or much-needed break are common examples), but you’ll undoubtedly have a few questions on your mind before you set off.

Most of these questions will revolve around what you’ll need to know about while driving in France. It is, as you’d expect, a little different from the UK. So, we decided to put together some of the most important things you need to be aware of before you hit the road.


Get your docs in order

As you might expect, there are a fair few documents to think about when driving in France.

At the moment, if you’re a UK driver, you’ll need:

  • proof of insurance;
  • proof of ownership (or that you’ve been given permission by the owner to drive in France); and
  • personal identity documents.

If you’ve got a green card from your insurance company, you’ll need that, too. So, get everything in order long before you set off – it’ll be a huge weight off your mind.


Remember the safety essentials

It’s unlikely that anything will go wrong while you’re driving in France, but it’s always best to be prepared for the worst.

So, make sure you pack a warning triangle (or two), a high-vis jacket and a French government-certified breathalyser if you’re ever worried about the legality of your driving after a small alcoholic beverage.

It’s also worth fitting headlamp beam deflectors and a GB sticker. Oh, and while you’re at it, take some time to brush up on the speeding limits for different conditions in France – they’re not quite the same as the UK and change depending on whether it’s wet or dry.


Be wary of the potential fines

There are two things to be aware of when it comes to potential fines while driving in France:

  • the use of hands-free mobile phones and Bluetooth devices while driving are now banned; and
  • you’re no longer allowed speed camera detectors.

If you’re caught going against either of the laws above, you could find yourself in for some pretty heavy fines. Don’t risk it!

It’s also worth bearing in mind that in Paris, you need a pollution sticker. These are pretty cheap, but if you’re found without one by the authorities, the fine could be rather nasty.


Keep in mind the key driving differences

Driving on French roads is pretty similar to the UK, but there are two key differences.

The first is that they drive on the other side of the road. This is surprisingly easy to forget and does take some time to acclimatise to, so don’t brush it off as an “obvious” aspect of driving over there.

Secondly, when driving in French cities and approaching unmarked intersections, you must give priority to road users coming from the right. Again, a difference that definitely takes some getting used to!

We hope that’s helped you with more information about driving a hire van in France. This leaves just one thing to get sorted – the hire itself! If you’ve reached that stage of your planning, just get in touch with the Squab team to find out how we can help.