Car hire in France
Hiring a car in France
With its beautiful beaches, spectacular ski slopes and gourmet cuisine, it’s no suprise that France attracts millions of tourists from around the world every year. It’s very popular to those visitors with a car, as they can discover quaint villages and cross the borders into neighbouring countries.
France is also home to some of the most famous cultural landmarks in the world, such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame. Outside of the capital, there is so much to discover in the country’s provinces. From pretty vineyards to magnificent architecture and charming markets to delicious cheeses, there is something to discover around every turn in the road. Just get in the car and let France show you why it has such an enduring appeal.
What you need to know
There is an abundance of hire car companies that operate out of France, so you will easily find a car that suits your needs, especially if you use Holiday Autos’ booking tool. We can help you to get the best possible deal on your hire car, so you don’t need to trawl through tonnes of websites. There are absolutely no hidden charges or credit card fees, so what you see is the price you pay. We’re on hand 24/7 should you need us and we offer a a free cancellation policy, which means you don’t get penalised for changing your plans.
Where to pick up your hire car
There are several airports in France - with the most popular being Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Paris Orly (ORY), Nice (NC) and Lyon St Exupéry (LYS) - meaning you can fly to wherever you’d like your trip to start. Usually, car supplier desks are found in the terminal building, after you’ve passed through arrivals. However, some offer a free shuttle bus service if they are outside and a fair distance away. You can also pick your car at other locations dotted around mainland France, so just check before you travel.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Where to go, depends on where you begin your French adventure. If you’ve arrived in Lyon, then you may want to dine in one of the 2,000 restaurants the city boasts or roam the streets and take in the beautiful Renaissance architecture.
From Paris, you can wander around and take in the romantic air of the city with a loved one or visit some of the most famous pieces of art in the world, such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Ancient Greek Venus de Milo.
You can head straight to the beach from Nice to top up your tan and take a dip in the sea. There are plenty of spas dotted around, including one that offers the practice of 'choco-cooning’, where you roll around in ganache and melted chocolate. As Nice is the capital of the French Riviera, it would be shame not to venture out to Monte Carlo or Cannes.
Driving in France
As a general rule, cars must drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left. However, when you’re travelling in lanes of traffic, you may overtake on the right of vehicles in slower-moving lanes. Keep in mind that when you are on a steep hill, cars travelling downhill must give way to those coming uphill.
Speed limits vary depending on where you are and what the weather conditions are like. On a dry day, the limits are 130 km/h on motorways, 110 km/h on dual carriageways, 90 km/h on normal roads and 50 km/h on built up areas. On rainy days, these drop to 110 km/h, 100 km/h, 80 km/h and 50 km/h. When visibility is less than 50 metres, they drop again to just 50 km/h. Any traffic violations are subject to on-the-spot fines of up to €375 - so make sure you stick to the limits.
Make sure you take your driving licence, proof of motor insurance and proof of ID (passport) - as these are all legal requirements for tourists wishing to drive in France.
France offers drivers spectacular views no matter where you are in the country. One of the most famous routes you can take starts in the idyllic mountain town of Grenoble and ends in Nice, down the south coast of France. On your way, you will pass through the villages of Grasse, Dignes and Sisteron, where you can stop off for a bite to eat or to pause and take in the breathtaking scenery. The journey will take you over rolling green hills, rocky terrain and through lush valleys.
La route de grande Alpes - another famous journey - starts at Lake Evian and finishes in Nice. The 460-mile cruise will see you passing through many different landscapes, including sparkling glaciers and snow-topped mountains, before you reach the finish. You could break up the journey by spending a few days trekking across the Alps or hitting the slopes.
Top attractions to visit in France
France is filled with amazing attractions from coast to coast, so it’s very unlikely that one trip will do the country justice. However, we’ve picked the must-see attractions that the country has to offer.
Travel to Normandy and hop on a boat across to Le Mont Saint-Michel. This is a medieval town that is perched on a rocky outcrop off the north-western coast of France. Measuring just 247 acres in size, the island commune is home to less than 50 people. It is also home to a breathtaking Romanesque Abbey, historic battlements and a medieval church. If you’re looking for a beautiful backdrop to your French adventure, look no further than Le Mont Saint-Michel.
The Côte d'Azur - also know as the French Riviera - is synonymous with all things glamorous, including the Monte Carlo casinos and the Cannes Film Festival. During the summer, the resorts are teeming with sun worshippers, luxury yachts and celebrities hiding away in their lavish villas. If you’re looking for the perfect beach, drive to Antibes or Saint-Tropez.
It would be remiss of us not to suggest a trip to the capital of France, as Paris is truly a sight to behold. There is something to discover around every corner, including designer boutiques, charming cafes and famous attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d'Orsay and Disneyland Paris.