Speed limits in France

Written by on March 11, 2013 in Rules and Regulations

Speed limits France

Make sure you know the speed limits in France, you can be fined or have your vehicle confiscated for breaking the rules.

What is the speed limit in France:

The normal speed limit on French motorways is 130 km/hr (just over 80 mph) – or 110 km/hr in rain – 50 km per hour in fog where visibility is 50m or less

The normal speed limit on dual carriageways (divided highways) is 110 km/hr (68 mph

The normal speed limit on main roads is 80 km/hr (outside built-up areas) (50 mph) this follows a change in the law in June 2018 reducing the speed from 90km per hour.

The normal speed limit in built-up areas is 50 km/hr – unless otherwise indicated. (31mph)

Look out for the speed signs but also a town name sign is an indication of a built up area and therefore the requirement is to slow down even if there is no indicative speed limit sign. Look out for this as you may pass many small towns along a dual carriageway or main road which require you to be vigilant.

Contrary to a sometimes-heard myth, toll tickets machines are not used to compute a car’s average speed between two points.  However we have been told that sometimes French police check your toll ticket as you’re leaving a toll road and from this they will be able to calculate your speed over a long distance.

These days the police (and gendarmes) are making much more use of mobile radars in unmarked cars or at the side of roads.  It is common for fellow car drivers to indicate that these mobile speed checks are in place by flashing their lights to oncoming traffic however this is frowned upon by the police so you should avoid doing that yourself.

If you are caught speeding you can face an on-the-spot fine and if you are caught driving more than 50 km/hr over the limit – an instant ban and an impounding of your vehicle will take place – we have heard of several cases where this has occurred and it takes a considerable amount of money and effort to retrieve a vehicle.

For more rules on driving in France see:

Checklist for driving in France

Rules of the Road – Driving in France

Priorité à Droite (priority to the right)

Motor Ways and Toll roads


Related Articles

European Driving Laws

Driving is a great way to explore a country you’re visiting. Going off the beaten track and discovering a hidden gem not in the guide book is one of the great joys of travel. That unrivalled feeling of freedom to go where you want, when you want. And in Europe we are spoilt for choice […]

Continue Reading

Update to French Driving Rules 2015

New rules come into force as at July 2015 for drivers and cyclists in France. You need to be aware of them since breaking the rules unwittingly won’t save you from being fined or worse, you could have your vehicle confiscated. The full rules can be found at the Government website: www.securiteroutiere.gouv.fr French Driving Rules […]

Continue Reading

New Style Driving Licence France

From 16 September 2013 France started to issue a new format driving license. The famous pink paper style licences will be phased out and a new credit card model will instead be circulated. Designed to be more secure and to fight the high level of forgeries of the old style certificate, the new driving licence […]

Continue Reading

Driving in France checklist

Foreigners driving in France – whether its their own car or a hire car from France need to know the rules of what documentation and items to carry in the car that are mandatory. Not having the correct documentation or items in the car can mean you are subject to fines if stopped by the […]

Continue Reading

Priorité à Droite (priority to the right) in France

This famous feature of French driving protocol is still causing confusion today even though it isn’t as common as it was.  Basically when you are driving in France, look out for a sign with a black cross in a white triangle with a red outline – traffic from the right entering into your road doesn’t […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed