Car hire in France
The range of cheap rental cars in France is very wide. On this page, you’ll find tips and advice on what to keep in mind when hiring a car in France.
- Daily rental: The cars are typically rented out on a day-to-day basis. Because of this, it’s a good idea to avoid returning the car later in the day than when you picked it up. If you do, you will be charged for an extra day. Also consider that the weekly rate sometimes is cheaper than hiring the car for five or six days.
Tolls: Many of the French motorways are tolled. Especially in the summer this can get quite expensive. It is, therefore, a good idea to check the toll fee in advance on autoroutes.fr.
- Speed cameras: There are plenty of speed cameras in France so make sure to follow the speed limit. Nowadays civilian police cars can also have speed cameras installed.
- Fuel: Keep in mind that the French word for diesel is “gazole”, so that you don’t choose the wrong fuel by mistake.
- Valuables: French rental cars have a special number on the licence plate, which, unfortunately, makes them easy for thieves to identify. Make sure to never leave your valuables in the car!
- Refuelling: Avoid filling the tank up on Sundays as the unmanned petrol stations might not accept your credit or debit card.
- Keep right on the motorways! Only use the left lane for overtaking.
Rules and requirements for car hire in France
- Age limit: You must be at least 21 years old and have had your driving licence for a minimum of one year. Some of the car rental companies might have an even higher age limit, and most of them charge extra if you are under 25 years. Drivers over 70 years are also not always allowed to hire a car in France.
- Mobile phone: Holding your mobile phone in your hand while driving is prohibited, even if you are not talking to anyone. The fine is €130.
- Children: Children under 10 years must be in the backseat of the car, and children under 4 must use a child car seat.
- Breathalyser: There must always be a breathalyser in the car. There should be one in every rental car, but make sure to check in case there is not.
Insurance and excess
If you use our search engine, the necessary insurances such as theft cover and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) are included. The excess, however, can be quite high. For this reason we recommend that you use a credit card with excess insurance. Find out more about insurance by following this link.
Car hire and driving in central Paris is rarely particularly smooth or easy. Outside Paris, however, you’ll find several nice places to go that are best reached by car. One of the most famous attractions is Normandie, which is by the coast north of Paris. Another nice destination is the Champagne region in the vicinity of Reims. Spending a few days in Paris without a rental car, and picking the car up when you’re ready to explore the surrounding areas is a plan that usually works very well.
France has beautiful coastlines, perfecet for road trips and excursions. Our favourite road trip is on southern coast towards the Mediterranean, with stops in Montpellier, Marseille and Nice.
Car and road facts
France has over 60 million inhabitants and over 35 million cars. The country also has one of the world’s biggest road networks with over 500 000 miles of road. More than 4400 miles of this is motorway. Most of the motorways in France are tolled.
The most popular cars
Peugeot, Citroen and Reunalt are three of the biggest French car manufacturers. These three brands dominate over half of the French car market and, collectively, they manufacture approximately 1 million cars a year for the local market. The French are proud of their own cars. If you are renting a car in France, it will probably be a Peugeot, Citroen or Renault.