France & Monaco

Translated by: John Agrafiotis

Last updated: Sep 23, 2021 @ 6:22 pm

Currency:
Driving license: EU citizens need only the European driving license. Non EU citizens must have an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Visa – Passport: Citizens of the EU, the EEA and Switzerland don’t need a visa. For further information please check this site.
Border Crossing: Borders with Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany are open. Entering from Andorra, you must stop and be prepared for delays during busy times. Leaving to Andorra, you generally do not need to even stop, but you must slow down and be prepared to stop if requested.
Insurance: EU citizens just need a Green Card. For non EU citizens, make sure that your International Motor Insurance Card is valid for France.
Fuel: Fuel is more expensive on autoroutes (highways). Cheaper fuel can be found at super markets. Credit cards are widely accepted. There are some fuel pumps that work only with credit cards. On those you must firstly insert your card and then fill up your vehicle. Unleaded gasoline is called essence sans plomb. Check the following website for accurate fuel prices.
Equipment: Drivers and passengers must wear helmets (strictly controlled), jacket and gloves (both not strictly controlled). According to a not well known law, all motorcycle helmets are required to have reflective stickers. Officially you need four reflective stickers; front, rear and on both sides (left and right). The surface of each sticker needs to be 18 cm2, and within each sticker you need to be able to draw a 40mm diameter circle, or a 12.50 cm2 rectangle with a minimum length of 20 mm. The stickers should not be removable (without damaging the helmet) and should remain reflective over time. However, as it is said in many forums, it has never been strictly enforced for the French and so is the case for foreign visitors.
Time Zone: GMT +1
Maximum Allowed Blood Alcohol Level: 0,05% strictly controlled
Speed limits: Speed limit varies on French roads, depending on weather conditions. In dry weather, on rural roads with 2- or 3-lanes there is a limit of 90 km/h, on 4-lane expressways (in rural areas) 110 km/h, and on highways (in rural areas) 130 km/h. If it rains, limits are lowered to (respectively) 80, 100, and 110 km/h. The urban speed limit of 50 km/h is unaffected by weather. The general speed limit is lowered to 50 km/h on all roads if there is fog or any other low-visibility conditions (visibility less than 50 meters).
Specificities: Red flashing light equals to no entrance. Yellow flashing light = Attention. Sign: Danger Prioritè à Droite means that priority is to the right. Sign: Passage protégé means that you come close to a road that has priority. Motorcycles must have their lights on all day long. On a two-way street where there are 3 or 5 lanes, the middle one is used for overtaking from both directions. On a highway, the lane marked with a white dashed line is the “slow” lane.
Overtaking a tram moving on a bidirectional road can be done only from the right. If the tram is moving on a one way road then you can overtake it from the left side. Finally you must not overtake a stopped tram. The police motorcyclists are usually also motorcyclists in their normal life. They will not bother you unless you do something really stupid.
Fines: Police are authorized to impose and collect fines on the spot, but they must issue a receipt for the amount paid. If you are arrested by the police for speeding (30km/h over the limit) your driving license is being confiscated for 3 years. There are lots of speed traps on the road.
Tolls: Tolls roads are marked with blue sign (also marked as «peage»). Green signs are for non toll roads. On highways near cities, no tolls are charged. You can pay tolls with a credit card and you don’t have to sign any card receipt. At some toll stations you have to pay on the spot and at others you just take the ticket on the entrance and pay on the exit. Toll prices can be found in this page.
Parking: There are lots parking spaces just for motorcycles. We suggest using them as the law for illegal parking is becoming increasingly strict.
Signs:
Aire de repos: Resting area
Allumez vos lanternes (or feux): Switch on your lights
Attention au feu: Attention traffic lights
Attention travaux: Attention roadworks
Autres directions: Other directions
Chaussee deformee: Attention bumpy road
Cedez le passage: Give priority
Centre ville: Town center
Chambres d’Hotes: B&B
Col or Pas: Mountain pass
Fermi: Closed
Gendarmerie: Police station
Gratuit: Free
Interdit aux piétons: Crossing is prohibited (for pedestrians)
Nids de poules: Attention potholes
Ouvert: Open
Prochain echangeur: No tolls at next exit
Route barrée: Road closed
Sens unique: Oneway
Serrez ΰ droite: Drive at the right side of the road
Sortie: Exit
Suivre: Follow
Sur: Open
Toutes directions: All directions
Vitesse adapter securite: Reduce speed for your safety
Voie unique: One line road
Voitures: Cars
Useful Phone Numbers:
European emergency number: 112
Ambulance: 15
Police: 17
Fire Department: 18

Useful Links:
Wikitravel France
Wikitravel Monaco
France Tourism official page
Visit Monaco official tourism page
Lonely Planet France
Lonely Planet Monaco

Related trips:
Rocinante (In Greek language only)
Travel to Western and southern point of Europe (In Greek language only)
Highlands, castles, pub and … ghosts! (In Greek language only)
26 out of this world days at Europe’s ridge and its surroundings (In Greek language only)
French Alps (In Greek language only)
Los Taxidious Periplanisious (In Greek language only)
Italian – Swiss – French Alps (In Greek language only)

* If you are from France or Monaco or have been recently in those countries and you would like to add some information or correct some of the above listed, do not hesitate to contact us.

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