Driving in France can be a real pleasure compared to other countries of Europe. Read our guide to motoring through France to help you enjoy a smooth and hassle free journey.
Many holiday makers choose to drive through France to their holiday destination. Driving has a number of benefits; it’s cheaper, you can take more luggage than on an airline, and you have the chance to enjoy some of the scenery and culture of France along the way.
Roads in France are generally of high quality with little congestion outside big cities, so driving can be an enjoyable experience. France’s network of motorways or autoroutes are identified as A roads. Most are toll roads with fees payable by cash or credit card.
If you're taking your car to France from the UK, it's very easy to get across the channel. There are a range of crossings and carriers to choose from at competitive prices in our Ferry Guide. If you don't want to drive your own car to France, you can book a cheap flight and then hire a car in France.
Driving Products and Services
European Breakdown Cover is an essential ingredient of any motoring journey to France. A vehicle breakdown situation can be very stressful at the best of times, but a breakdown abroad could be a nightmare. With European breakdown insurance from Breakdown Direct, situations like this don’t have to become a crisis. When you call their European motoring assistance helpline, you can be sure their staff have the experience, expertise and ability to save your holiday with the minimum of hassle.
Save money on your channel crossing with French Connections. Book cheap ferry tickets on all the cross channel routes including Calais, Cherbourg and Le Havre. If you want a faster crossing then you can also book Eurotunnel fares for the Channel Tunnel.
Don't want to take your own car abroad? Maybe you want to hire a newer or larger vehicle, or fly to the sun and rent a car locally. Book great value car hire with French Connections. See our car hire page for details.
Tips for Driving in France
Driving through France needn't be as stressful as a long journey in the UK. Many holidaymakers tell us that they find driving in France an easy and comfortable experience. We've got the best hints and tips from regular travellers, to help you get your holiday off to the best possible start.
On Autoroutes, or A roads, there are numerous attractive rest areas or Aires, ranging from picnic/toilet/petrol stops to full-scale service stations with restaurants and shops selling local produce. If you won't be arriving at your holiday property until the evening, when local shops are likely to be closed, services are a good place to purchase something for supper. Make sure you read our full guide to French Autoroutes.
Avoid seasonal congestion at the beginning and end of August when most French people holiday en masse. Also avoid if possible the week around July 14th and around August 15th, both big national holidays. HGVs are banned from the roads on Sundays all year round so motorways are quieter on this day outside seasonal peaks.
If your holiday property is situated in the west of France, you could save hours of driving through France by taking the ferry to Cherbourg or Le Havre rather than the shorter Dover to Calais route. You'll spend more of your journey sat comfortable on the boat and less of it behind the wheel.
If you have a long drive in the UK to reach the channel ports, break your journey by staying the night in Dover, then catch a lower priced ferry early the next morning.
Some of the rules of the road differ in France compared to driving in the UK, make sure to read our guide to French Driving Laws to make sure you're fully prepared for your journey