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Driving to France this Summer – What You Need to Know!

Our DFDS ferry is booked and my Mini Travellers are excitedly ticking off their holiday countdown in preparation for our trip to France. Between the European Championships and the centenary of the Battle of the Somme this year, plus Disneyland and the culture, food and atmosphere of the French towns and cities, we are all really looking forward to our break. We are taking our car with us so we can really explore the area. I’ve been doing a bit of research on the legal requirements when driving in France and also the other practical things to do to get ready for driving on the continent.

Driving to France

Must have the following in the vehicle:

  • Documents – Full Valid Driving License, proof of insurance (third party or above), identification (passport), proof you own the vehicle (V5 logbook)
  • Reflective/Hi-Vis jackets – enough for everyone in the vehicle and these must be within reach not in the boot so they can be put on before leaving the car in an emergency
  • Warning Triangle and a set of spare bulbs
  • Breathalysers/alcohol tests x2 – although it has been announced that fines are not issued for not carrying these, it is advised to still have them


The car must display the correct GB sticker or plates.

The headlamp beams must be deflected, either using stickers or manually in the car.

Any sat navs that can spot speed cameras should have that function switched off, as it’s illegal there and also to have any TV screens in the driver’s line of sight so be careful with any in-car entertainment systems

I’ve ordered this large scale road map,  so that I can work out which toll roads we will be using and what money we will need for them, before our journeys.

Before our trip, I am upgrading our usual breakdown cover to include Europe and also booking the car in for a service to make sure tyres, oil etc are all as they should be before we head off.

Driving to France

When travelling with children, it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that all kids are restrained with the appropriate car seats and seat belts. The use of car seats is determined on weight and children under the age of 10 must use an approved child seat or restraint.

There is a useful table for this, along with more info on French driving laws on the RAC website and more info and tips here together with our post about driving long journeys with kids.

So, I’ve got a few things to sort out before we go, but it’ll all be worth it when we board that ferry and head for our French adventure!

Emily Gettins

Emily Gettins writes regularly for Mini Travellers and lives in the North East with her husband and three little boys.


  1. June 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm — Reply

    Having spent a week traveling around France I can honestly say it is incredible so much to see and do. The French are such wonderful people and the roads are generally quieter although we did get stuck in one epic traffic jam but we must have done 1000 miles this week so 1 is pretty good going, have a wonderful time you will love it x

  2. June 6, 2016 at 10:42 pm — Reply

    Interesting to read about speed camera detectors on sat navs – I wonder what the logic is behind this?

  3. June 10, 2016 at 10:54 pm — Reply

    I had it on my list to look into driving laws in France as we are off camping there in August, but this list has saved me that job! Thank you. *off to write a list!

  4. June 11, 2016 at 10:43 pm — Reply

    This was a really interesting post to read- thanks for this Karen. We are off to Amsterdam in the summer and are driving through France and I had no idea about any of this- lets hope my husband does!

  5. June 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm — Reply

    This sounds like an awesome trip! France is beautiful and would be an awesome place to explore. Very cool! Thanks so much for sharing your plans and adventures!

  6. April 15, 2017 at 11:46 am — Reply

    You really choose the best places in Europe to travel. That’s an amazing place to visit with pictures,I totally start packing weeks in advance of a big trip! Thanks for sharing it and keep it up as i check your posts frequently!

  7. September 26, 2017 at 1:59 am — Reply

    what a great write up!

  8. September 26, 2017 at 5:14 am — Reply

    this place is so relaxing!!

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