Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
Resource for people that would like to live or travel in France.

Americans in France

Guide Home

About the Exam



Driving Terms






Parking Related

Right of Way

Roads & Streets




Special Conditions

Traffic Lights

Vehicle Code


Roads and Streets in France

Roads in France tend to be smaller and the speed limits tend to be higher than in the US. There are three different types of roads in France Autoroutes, nationals and départementals.

The Autoroute is a freeway/highway toll road; in some parts of the Autoroute there are no tolls. The Autoroute has a speed limit of 130 kph/78 mph or 110 kph/66 mph when it is raining.

Départementals and nationals can vary in size from two or more lanes to single lanes. National's can go from department to department but of course départemental's can't. Their speed limits have nothing to do with if you are on a départemental or national, they have to do with their physical nature. If the départemental or national you are on has a physical separation between the directions of traffic, something that can stop cars from crossing over, then the speed limit is 110 kph/66 mph or 100 kph/60 mph when it is raining. If there is nothing separating the directions of traffic but a broken or solid white line then the speed limit is 90 kph/54 mph or 80 kph/48 mph when it is raining.

In cities or towns the speed limit is 50 kph/30 mph rain or shine, unless otherwise posted. The streets tend to also be smaller than in the US. Streets in cities can be confusing, as street signs are sometimes on buildings or can't be found at all. Also street names change quite often, sometimes from block to block. Traffic lights are not like in the US, in that their location is only on one side of the intersection. In France they are thought of as are stop and yield signs, they are not found across an intersection but where the street you are on meets the intersection.