Speed Limits, Tolls and Road Conditions
Understand the speed limits on different types of roads in France and find out about French road tolls (péage), speed cameras, road signs, traffic alerts and petrol stations...
Special rules apply when driving in Paris, Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg, Grenoble and Toulouse
Certain areas of these towns are road pollution-restricted zones (zone à circulation restreinte) or ZCR. Any car wishing to drive within the zones fixed by local municipalities must display a special pollution rating sticker on the windscreen. This is known as the Crit'Air vignette. Vehicles that produce the most pollution (deemed "unclassified") will be banned in these zones between the hours of 08:00 - 20:00 from Monday to Friday.
- All vehicles, including those not registered in France and those displaying a disabled sticker are required to display the Crit'Air vignette
- An online simulator is available to calculate the level of pollution your car produces (in French)
- The Crit'Air vignette may be purchased online from the French government website. The cost is €4.18 including postage and the vignette takes up to 30 days to arrive
Speed limits in France UNLESS otherwise marked by signs:
- Autoroute (national highway/freeway system/motorway system): 130 Km/h and 110 Km/h when raining. Many sections of the French national road network have reduced speed limits to 90 or 110 Km/h) to reduce pollution. These areas are clearly marked with speed limit signs
- Expressways: 110 Km/h and 100 Km/h when raining
- Two lane roads or single lane roads separated by an island: 110 Km/h and 100 Km/h when raining
- Regional roads: 90 Km/h and 80 Km/h when raining. From 1 July 2018, the speed limit will change to 80 Km/h on these roads
- Built up areas (towns and villages): 50 Km/h
- Any time visibility is less than 50m: 50 Km/h
Note: The speed limit in the Alpes-Maritimes (06) is 110 Km/h on the motorway (A8).
The major roads in France are generally in good condition, especially the motorways, or autoroutes, for which motorists pay to use via the péage, or toll, system. It is usual to have to pay at regular intervals along the route.
- A complete list of all the road signs in France and what they mean (PDF in French)
Autoroutes signs are shown with the letter A. Routes Nationales are marked with the letters N or RN, and are major roads for which there are no charges. Routes Départementales, marked with the letter D, are smaller country roads.
The autoroute road system is toll-paying with several companies owning the tolls for a particular region. Autoroutes France is a portal for all French toll companies. The price of a toll will be shown at the entrance to the gates. Most toll fees can be paid in cash, by (chip and PIN) credit card or via a subscription with the relevant toll company. For more information on the péage charges, where to find service stations and details of hotels along the way, visit the Autoroutes France website.
- A full list of the autoroute companies and the areas they manage, with links to their websites
The French Government website Sécurité Routière provides information on road security and laws, but no longer provides information on the placement of fixed speed monitoring radars.
- Learn more about speed cameras (in French)
- Learn how the penalty system for speeding works (in French)
Warning signs may be placed between one and two kilometres from the first radar, instead of the traditional distance of 400m. Several fixed and mobile speed cameras may be located within this zone. Speed camera warning signs are to be gradually reintroduced to French roads between 2013 and 2016, so coverage may not be universal.
Road Conditions and Travel Updates
Bison Futé (website in English) is the official French national centre for information on road and traffic conditions.
- Real-time data on accidents, road closures or other unexpected problems for all areas of France
- Tel: 0800 100 200
All fuel stations sell diesel (gazole) and unleaded petrol (essence; sans plomb) in 95 and 98 octane. Many stock autogas/LPG (liquefied petroleum gas, GPL in French). Some stations may also have SP95-E10 unleaded petrol (Super Carburant SP95-E10), which is a mixture of 95-octane unleaded petrol with 10 percent ethanol. This product may not be compatible with all petrol-fueled vehicles; drivers are strongly encouraged to consult their car manual or with their vehicle manufacturer to determine if this product is suitable for use.
Many fuel stations have automatic pumps at which drivers can pay by credit card (some are card-operated only). Note: credit cards that are not "chip and PIN" format (and instead require a signature) do not work in automatic pumps in France.
- Petrol and diesel price comparisons throughout France (in French)