Everything you need to know when motorhoming in France

Campercontact - country information Fort La Latte Castle, Brittany
Castle of La Latte 'Fort La Latte', Brittany
Wine, cheese and bread on a French terrace - Bonifacio, France
Left: French delicacies on the terrace - Right: Bonifacio, France

Going to France with your motorhome? Do it! France is an ideal holiday destination, with a beautifully diverse landscape, a pleasant climate, delicious cuisine and lots of perfect sites for motorhomes. And for motorhome owners.

After a day of exploring the area, you can enjoy one of the many acclaimed wines, with a piece of cheese and baguette in the French evening sun. With a French Chanson playing in the background. Read this country information before you leave, and you will have everything you need to know before you set off in your motorhome to France.

Overnight stops

Are you taking your motorhome to France and looking for a place to stay overnight? Then search for campsites and motorhome stopovers. For French motorhome locations, see Campercontact. You are allowed to stay overnight for free anywhere that a passenger car (or camper <3,500 kg) or bus (or camper> 3,500 kg) may park. So, officially you can spend the night at any place where you are allowed to park. However, you should not stay for longer than seven days in one place. You can stay for a maximum of 24 hours in parking areas along motorways. If you want more than just an overnight stop and prefer to try wild camping instead, then you can only do this with the permission of the owner of the land or the police.

Emergency telephone number

Emergency telephone number: 112
Ambulance: 15
Police: 17
Fire department: 18

Compulsory to bring

The French government requires motorhome owners to have a breathalyser in their motorhome, so that if in doubt drivers can test their own alcohol levels. If you get stopped and you don't have one with you, you won't get a fine. You are allowed to have a maximum of 0.5 promille in your blood. This is a maximum of 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. For a new driver (less than 3 years driving license) a promillage of 0,2 promillage applies. Furthermore, a warning triangle and an easily accessible reflective jacket for the driver and a set of spare lamps are mandatory. Not mandatory, but a good tip (if we say so ourselves) is to bring a plug adapter or blue Euro plug with you. Many French motorhome pitches still use earthed plugs.

Roads and traffic

Speed limit

In France the following speed limits apply:

  • Within built-up areas ‚ȧ 3,5 t: 50 km/h
  • Within built-up area > 3,5 ton: 50 km/h
  • Outside built-up area ‚ȧ 3.5 tons: 80 km per hour
  • Outside built-up area > 3.5 tons: 80 km per hour
  • Motorway ‚ȧ 3.5 tons: 130 km per hour
  • Motorway> 3.5 tons: 110 km per hour. On 110 km per hour roads with 4 lanes and separate carriageways, a maximum speed of 100 km per hour applies.

Speed camera warning

In France it is forbidden to use speed camera warnings via the navigation system. However, the indication of danger zones in a navigation system is permitted.

Tolls

In France, you have to pay tolls on many of the motorways. The five toll categories and their details can be found on autoroutes.fr. For each toll road, there is an alternative route where no toll charged. If there is no alternative route other than the motorway, then that motorway is toll free.

Driving in winter

As of 1 November 2021, it is compulsory to carry 2 snow chains or to drive with 4 Winter tyres in mountainous areas during the winter period (1 November to 31 March). Mountain areas where this obligation applies are the Alps, Pyrenees, Massif Central, Vosges, Jura and Corsica. In addition, snow chains are compulsory wherever indicated by signs. If, in the event of an accident, the motorhome has not been prepared for winter conditions, the driver may be held (partly) liable.

Campercontact country information - Motorhome in the snow

Other traffic rules

  • A motorhome over 3,500 kg may not drive on the left lane on a French three-lane road.
  • Vehicles> 3,500 kg or longer than 7 meters must keep a minimum distance of 50 meters from the vehicle in front.
  • Vehicles in built-up areas must keep a distance of 1 metre from pedestrians and passing cyclists, even when they are walking or riding on the pavement. Outside built-up areas a distance of 1.5 meters applies. When passing, indicators must be switched off.
  • Using a mobile phone is prohibited. You can also get a fine if the motorhome is stationary and you have a phone in your hand.

    Pressure is still being exerted on the French authorities from various sides to reverse this regulation. For the first three months of 2021 there is an tolerance period during which no fines will be given.

    The size of the sticker is 25x17 cm. The stickers are to mark the zone that the driver can hardly see. The measure is intended to prevent accidents with cyclists and pedestrians.The stickers must be placed on the right rear side (between 0.9 and 1.5 m from the ground) and on each front side (between 0.9 and 1.5 m from the ground) of the cabin. An instructional video can be found here.
Dead corner sticker

Additional load

Is your motorhome carrying an additional load? Please read the following rules.

  • The load must not extend more than 3 metres backwards and must not protrude at the front.
  • ¬†If the load sticks out more than 1 meter, it is mandatory to attach a reflective sign to the furthest point.
  • In the dark or in poor visibility, the load must also be fitted with a red light.
  • ¬†The maximum load of a vehicle with trailer is 2.55 metres wide and 12 metres long.
  • From 1 January 2021, it will be compulsory for vehicles > 3500 kg to have blind spot stickers installed.

Pressure is still being exerted on the French authorities from various sides to reverse this regulation. For the first

Environment

French environmental zones

In France you have a low emission zone (ZFE), permanent environmental zones (ZCR) and temporary environmental zones (ZPA). The latter are air pollution protection zones where access rules are temporarily imposed when there is a pollution peak. These zones can be active for a few days and are then only accessible with a valid environmental sticker, the 'Crit'Air'. For permanent zones, the access rules always apply. 

Advice: purchase an environmental badge when travelling to France (more information under the heading: French environmental badges). Admission to an environmental zone depends on the colour and number of the environmental badge. 

Website with information about the French environmental zones. 

French environmental stickers

In France there are six different environmental stickers (called 'Crit'Air' there). Motorhomes built after 1997 qualify for a sticker. And your vehicle's emissions determine which sticker you get.   

On this website you will find a simulator which shows you which Crit'Air Vignette you need to buy for your motorhome. You can order your French environment sticker here. Stick it on the bottom right (as seen from the inside) on the inside of the windscreen.

Report a change?

The information on this page is checked regularly. However, it is possible that the regulations have changed in the meantime. All information on this page is therefore subject to change. Have you discovered an error? Please let us know via our contact form and we will, if necessary, amend it as soon as possible.