Travel Till You Drop Logo

Renting a Car in France in 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Renting a Car in France

If you want to explore a new landscape with your family or friends, France is a country worth visiting. When I first visited France, I used public transport to explore everywhere. However, after a few visits, I realized that it is way better to travel privately to explore the landscapes and countryside in depth.

In my perspective, if you want to enjoy full freedom and relaxation, it is best to consider renting a car from a reputable company like in France. But before you do, make sure you review the rules and regulations and follow my guide to make sure you’ve checked the boxes. So, let’s get started. Here is everything you need to know about renting a car in France in 2024.

How to Rent a Car in France?

At first, I was very cautious when I visited France. I explored most of the local roads on local transport, either taxis, trains, or tour buses.  But after a few visits, I decided to try something a bit different and rent a car!

While most of France I will recommend traveling out and about in a rental, but Paris, I’d say get your defensive driving skills up to par before you ever try to conquer this one.  Stick to the trains and taxis and try driving outside of the city before tackling downtown.  Even walking across a few of those streets downtown made me think twice!

While renting a car in France is not difficult, there are a few things you’ll need to know before getting behind the wheel!

  • First, you can easily book your rental online. Click on and you’ll have your car booked in minutes.
  • You’ll need a valid driver’s license, passport, and credit card. Most allow a US driver’s license to pass, but some countries may require an international driver’s license.
  • Most rental companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old, but some may have higher age requirements, so make sure you review the fine print.
  • If your trip is less than ninety days in France, acquiring rental cars and international driving permits along with a notarized translation in French may be possible.
  • If you’re a non-EU citizen, it is not necessary to acquire international license permits by law. However, getting one can be a good idea. To obtain the permit, you have to spend 15 US dollars, and you’ll get your permit, it will be valid for one year.
  • Yes, they drive on the right side of the road 😉

Types of Cars Available

To test your driving skills, you can find various options available for renting a car in France. You can easily discover a car here that suits your needs and budget. Whether you want to rent a Mini car (Renault, Twingo, or similar), an Economy, a Ford Fiesta or similar, or a Compact Fiat 500 L or similar, you can easily get it from any reputable rental company. I find that the smaller cars are easier to maneuver and park, so here, bigger is not necessarily better!

From compact cars for city driving to spacious SUVs for exploring the countryside, you’ll find the perfect car for your trip. Whenever I need a perfect rental car in France, I usually check first to find the best deals and packages at very affordable rates. It is recommended to rent a car in France by visiting their site before booking your train or plane tickets, as this can often result in better deals and more flexibility for your travel plans.

Driving Rules and Regulations

Exploring the enchanting scenery of France in a rental car can be exciting; however, like every other country, France also has a few driving rules and requirements that you may not be familiar with. Make sure you know all the rules and regulations before driving on the road.  Here, I will discuss some of the most important rules with you based on my personal experience.

  • Fastening your seat belt is mandatory on the road in France.
  • Your age limit must be 18 or above.
  • Driving licenses issued by UK, EU, or EEU countries are acceptable in France.
  • If you’re using the toll road, you can pay the toll via cash or credit card. On automated tolls, you can still pay in cash if you’re a tourist.
  • You cannot have an open container of alcohol while driving.
  • You must follow the posted speed limits.
  • Avoid honking your horn unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not use your phone while driving.
  • Children under 10 must travel in a child restraint system.
  • You must drive on the right side of the road.
  • Speed limits vary depending on the type of road, so it’s important to pay attention to signs.
Driving Rules and Regulations
Credit: Felipe Simo

Rules for insurance coverage of rental cars

If you’re renting a car in France, it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage offered by the rental company. Insurance coverage rules for rental cars can vary depending on the rental company and location. However, there are some common types of insurance you might encounter when renting a car:

  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW): This type of insurance covers damage to the rental car in the event of a collision, theft, or vandalism. Basically, it is the amount of the claim that you have to pay in case of any mishap.
  • Third-Party Liability Insurance: This insurance covers damage or injury caused to third parties, such as other drivers or pedestrians, in case of an accident.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI): PAI provides coverage for medical expenses for you and your passengers in the event of an accident.
  • Personal Effects Coverage: This type of coverage protects you against the theft or damage of personal belongings inside the rental car.
  • Supplemental Liability Insurance: This rule provides additional liability coverage beyond the limits of standard third-party liability insurance.

Additionally, your personal auto insurance or credit card may offer some coverage for rental cars, so it’s worth checking with them before purchasing additional insurance from the rental company.  But make sure you call the card and ask them first.  There may be certain stipulations you have to follow to be covered, even when purchased.

Exploring France by Rental Cars

Now, if you acknowledge all the hard and fast rules, it’s time to fasten your belt, and you’ll have the freedom to explore all that France has to offer.

Make sure you plan your route carefully and take breaks to enjoy the scenery along the way. If you’re renting a car from a reputable company, you will be able to enjoy a wide range of insurance coverage options to ensure a safe and worry-free journey.

From the Alps and Pyrenees, Cevennes National Park, to fascinating regions like Brittany, Burgundy, Alsace, or Central France, France has much to explore and enjoy.

Exploring France by Discover Cars                   
Credit: Pedro Lastra

Traveling on French Motorways

In France traveling on motorways, also known as “autoroutes,” are common. It is an efficient way to explore the country seamlessly. In France, all roads starting with A are mostly tolls, and you are not to exceed speed limits from 130 km/h to 110 km/h. However, speed limits can be lower in certain areas, such as near cities or as your driving in adverse weather conditions.

Moreover, you’ll need to pay to use motorways. The toll fees vary depending on the distance traveled and the type of vehicle. These motorways are well-maintained, have smooth roads, and have clear signage, making them ideal for long-distance travel.

Furthermore, Autoroutes in France also have some fascinating rest areas and service stations with beautiful scenery where you can take a break, refuel, or grab a bite to eat. These rest areas are well-equipped with facilities like restrooms, picnic areas, and sometimes even playgrounds for children.

So, if you want to explore the country’s diverse landscape with ease, definitely rent a car and hit the motorways.

Traffic Conditions in France

Now, if you’re planning to visit large cities like Paris, Lyon, or Marseille, I advise you to avoid these areas during rush hour. as terrific traffic jams and all out chaos are common in France. However, traffic conditions can vary depending on the region and time of day. During peak travel periods, such as holidays and weekends, heavy traffic can occur on major highways which lead to popular tourist destinations. To avoid such difficulties, especially with your family, I advise you to plan your travel outside of peak hours, use traffic information services, and explore alternative routes or modes of transportation.

Returning your car

Once you’ve fully enjoyed your trip or want to take a break from driving, it’s time to return your car to your rental company. Different rental companies have different policies on rental car returns.

However, it depends on the circumstances; for example, if you want to return your rental car to a different location, you may be charged an additional fee. Many reputable companies offer services for receiving their cars at the airport. You can follow the sign “rental car return” available at airports. 

If the destination is closed, you can arrange another return location with the company to return the car. Also, ensure you refuel the car before returning it and check for any damage. Photos are also a good way to track anything.  You can take them before and after to prove that you were not the culprit in any damage they may try to blame on you.


In conclusion, I highly recommend renting a car in France at least part of the time while you are there.  It’s a great way to explore this beautiful country and make it to locations you wouldn’t have found otherwise.  Furthermore, if you’re staying there with your family, local transport can be more costly for you than renting a car. 

Not only can you enjoy your entire trip without any disturbances, but you can also provide the comfort of luxurious transportation while traveling all around the country. So why wait? Start planning your French road trip today and discover what this stunning country has to offer.

Jill Charpia
Author Bio
Jill Charpia

Jill Charpia, founder of Travel Till You Drop and creator of inspiration. A full-time Wanderluster, lover of oddities, the weird, and the dark. Traveled to over 70+ countries and counting; Now dedicated to sharing her travels around the world in hopes of inspiring hearts and open minds. want to know more? Click here to learn more About me.

Find me on – Instagram | Facebook | TikTok 

About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

Join me to get exclusive travel tips, giveaways and more!

I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.