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10+ car essentials for driving in France

Tracked VehicleDriving in France is a joy. They have good quality roads and very little traffic and their motorways – autoroutes – are fabulous.

However, before you point the car at the Alps there are some items you need to make sure you have with you. Let's start with the paperwork.

You should always carry:-

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Proof of Ownership (V5 Log book)
  • Insurance Documents
  • M.O.T. (If your car is over 3 years old)

It’s always good to have a copy of the European Accident Statement form in English. This form must be completed in the event of an accident. Full details of how to complete it are included with the form.

Your UK insurance for your car will always resort to third party insurance once you cross the channel. If you wish to have comprehensive insurance whilst abroad you will need to upgrade unless it is included within your current policy. If in doubt best to check.

Breakdown Insurance is also worth considering. If you breakdown on an autoroute the operators of the breakdown service on the autoroute will come to you. They will try to fix your car at the road side, tow you to a rest area or tow you to a local garage. The fees for doing this are set by the French government. Elsewhere you are on your own unless you have cover.

Other items you should carry include:-

  • Two NF certified breathalysers
  • Reflective jackets for all passengers
  • Warning triangle
  • Headlamp beam deflectors
  • Spare set of bulbs
  • GB sticker (non GB-euro symbol plates only)
  • No speed camera detectors or sat-navs with camera locations
  • Snow chains

There is no fine in place if you don’t carry breathalysers, so if you don’t have them it shouldn’t cost you any money. Note that the reflective jackets must be carried inside the car so that they can be put on by each individual before they exit the car, you must have one for each person in the car.

All of the items are available online and most of them are cheaper than chips.

The speed camera detector issue is complicated in that you can have them enabled but they mustn’t be accurate to within a distance that varies according to the type of road you are on. Best just to disable the feature and assume cameras are everywhere.

Allegedly the fixed position camera located on the way to Geneva airport at the exit of the E712/E25/A40 onto the A40 at Etrembières generates the most revenue of any in France. Here the limit changes from 110 kph to 70kph in short order.

Snow chains are best carried singularly in a supermarket poly bag each, along with an old hat, gloves and a pack of wet wipes.

Finally, a small first aid kit, pen, spare pair of glasses, maps, scobby snacks and water would be a good idea.

As with most things the rules and regulations change so best just to check online if anything has changed.

Monsieur Mogul


Monsieur Mogul – Our man in La Plagne

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author

alone and not those of Ice and Fire Ski and Snowboard Holidays

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