This article may contain compensated links. Please read disclaimer for more info.
France is one of the most varied countries in Europe, with many things to see, do, and taste. Taking a road trip in France is just about one of the coolest things you can ever do, and with a car, some good tunes, and the best company, you are set for one of the most memorable adventures in your life.
This article gives information and our best tips on how to rent a car in France. After reading this quick guide, you will see that renting a car in France is very easy!
Main Requirements for Driving in France
If you plan on driving in France, you need to be aware that there are certain requirements before getting behind the wheel. The following are the documents that you must have with you at all times and other driving requirements for legally driving in France.
- You need to be an adult
- Valid Driver’s License
- Current registration and proof of purchase (if driving your own vehicle): When driving your own car, a valid driver’s license, as well as registration or proof of ownership, is required to be with you at all times in the car.
- Valid Passport: A passport is required for both the driver as well as any other people in the car.
- Valid Car Insurance: For car rentals in France, double-check your contract and agreement that this has been included in the paperwork or is in the car and is up to date.
Towing: If you intend on towing anything behind your primary vehicle when traveling to France by car, ensure that you have all the proper licensing documentation from the country of origin. This includes a sticker on the license plate from your country that matches the plate on your car
Getting the Best Rental Car Deal in France
As good Parisians, we don’t have a car in France, so most of the time, our French road adventures start from the rental car office.
We use, and we recommend booking your rental car with RentalCars.com. This site is excellent because it reviews all the major rental companies, such as Hertz, Avis, etc., and more and makes a price comparison for you. This helps to ensure that you get a great price without all the time and work.
The requirements for renting a car in France are the same as the requirements for driving mentioned above. In addition to the above requirements, most rental companies will also request:
- A debit or credit card to cover the deposit
- A valid driver’s license that has been issued for at least 12 months prior to renting the car.
How old do you have to be to rent a car in France?
All drivers must be 18 years of age in order to drive and rent a car in France. Even student drivers with a permit and with an adult are not allowed.
Do you need an international driver’s license to drive in France?
An international driver’s license in France isn’t required by law. However, it is a good idea to get one if your trip also takes you to other European countries, as some countries do require that you carry an IDP with you in addition to your valid driver’s license.
UK citizens do not need an International driver’s license to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein if they have a photocard driving license issued in the UK.
Best Tips for Renting a Car in France
1. Book the car early for the best deals
As with train tickets, booking early is a safe bet for finding the best car rental prices in France. As you get closer to your travel date, availability dwindles, and prices get more expensive (search for your dates and compare car rental agencies).
2. Be careful with your start date!
Your car reservation won’t necessarily need to begin on the first day of your trip. If, for example, you’re flying into Paris and spending a couple of days in the city before driving off to Normandy, you won’t need the car until you leave Paris.
3. Be smart about auto insurance
Call your insurance company and your credit card company to confirm auto coverage before renting a car in France. In many cases, you’ll be covered, so you don’t need to take the additional coverage options offered by the car hire company.
4. Go for a small car
Unless you need a lot of space, go for a small car when you rent a car in France. Gas is expensive. Streets are tiny, and parking spots can be tinier or difficult to find.
So if the rental agency proposes you an upgrade to a roomier, nicer car, just say ‘non merci,’ and stand your ground.
5. Don’t skimp on Travel Insurance for your holidays in France
On top of car insurance (Collision Damage Waiver / Loss Damage Waiver), you should have your own travel insurance. And since anything can happen while on the road, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be insured.
SafetyWing is an excellent travel + medical insurance covering people from all over the world while outside their home country. You can sign up for SafetyWing insurance for a few days or longer periods and even if your journey has already started. Check here what is included and what is not and get a quote for your next trip to France.