Travel by car to France – what to remember?

Are you planning a car trip to France and don’t know what to expect? Do you want to buy a car on the spot and are wondering how to prepare for the trip, what should be in your car and how to register a new vehicle on the spot? Read our article, and you will much more easily prepare yourself for a car trip in France.

What should you know about travelling by car in France?

Every driver who wants to legally drive in France must have a valid driver’s license and a third-party liability insurance. Also remember that larger French cities have enforced ecological zones. What does it mean? Every driver must have a special eco sticker on the windshield to legally enter a specific city in France.

In France, regardless of the mode of transport you plan to use, you need to know that it should be insured. Under French law, only an insured car can be legally used in France.

Any tourist who enters France is required to have a driving insurance that applies regardless of the length of stay. That’s why you need to insure your vehicle to legally use it and drive on French roads.

Remember to place an eco sticker on the windshield of your car. Otherwise, you are subject to high penalties.

The first requirement under French law is that your car shows a special sticker on the windshield. The Crit’Air eco sticker is required especially in large and densely populated cities where the levels of air pollution and vehicle noise are measured.

Every driver is required to affix an eco-label to the windshield of their vehicle so that, if checked, the police can easily match your vehicle to a specific category. The sticker is valid until the license plates are replaced.

What do the colours of eco-labels mean?

In France, there are as many as six types of eco stickers, whose colours refer to six different levels of pollution. Each driver must have an appropriate eco-label depending on the type, age of the car and noise level. The stickers are inspected in special ecological zones in large cities of France. This type of eco sticker can be purchased online or ordered from the French Ministry’s website.

The black sticker number 5 is designed for cars equipped with older Diesel engines. In France, stickers are required depending on the region (in large cities), but they may not be required in smaller regions. You should also remember that depending on the selected city or region of travel, certain rules apply regarding the entry of cars on weekdays.

Which eco sticker should you choose for your car?

The choice of the appropriate environmental sticker depends on the type and age of the vehicle, the specific car model and the vehicle engine. Your windshield eco stickers never expire.

What are the consequences if you do not have an eco sticker? If you do not have one, you will have to pay a fine of approx. EUR 68, or approx. PLN 300, but the fine can be as high as EUR 385. The police and special patrols of municipal employees inspect drivers in ecological zones; therefore, you should be prepared for such a trip. How does the inspection work? First of all, police officers scan QR codes on vignettes and can immediately verify whether a violation has occurred.

If you are planning a trip to Paris, remember that eco stickers on the car’s windshield are only required during certain hours, namely, from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on business days. On weekends and nights you can drive your car without them. Currently, class 4 (brown) stickers are required, but by 2024, green class 1 stickers will be available for passenger and other types of cars.

A must-have for a driver in France, or what is worth knowing about mandatory car equipment in France?

Every driver and tourist wishing to legally drive a car in France must know what tools to have in the car. Under French road laws, every car must carry specific tools to be able to move safely on public roads.

The following items are necessary for every car moving on French territory:

  • Properly equipped First Aid Kit;
  • Warning triangle to signal a fender bender or a road accident;
  • A set of spare bulbs – the must-haves for unexpected failures;
  • Reflective vests for the driver and passengers, which ensure safety on the road, e.g. during unforeseen car breakdowns or road accidents.

However, you must also remember that France enforces traffic rules resulting from the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Under applicable laws, the police cannot fine a driver if s/he does not have a fully equipped car in accordance with the requirements of French law, provided that the driver has a properly equipped car in accordance with Polish applicable laws. If you are going to France in a Polish car and you have a first aid kit, reflective vests, a fire extinguisher and all other items required by Polish law in your car, you can drive in France completely legally.

Be sure to pay attention to the following aspects when buying a car in France.

Are you going to France to buy a car? First of all, remember to complete all the necessary formalities in the appropriate office.

You bought a car in France and want to register it, but don’t know how to do it or how the whole process of registering a car in France works? Check how the process of registering a car imported from Poland looks like in France.

What else to remember before going to France?

Are you planning a trip to France and want to be really well prepared for your trip? Remember the applicable rules and regulations in France and take out mandatory car insurance to legally drive on French roads. Also, do not forget to always have an eco-label affixed to a specific area of your windshield.

Travel by car to France – what to remember

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