With stunning scenery to discover there's no better way to explore France than behind the wheel of a car. Driving allows you to choose your A to B, and even take a detour on the spur of the moment, so you have total freedom to design your journey. To ensure a safe and smooth journey while in France, Eurotunnel le Shuttle has compiled this list of simple tips to remember.
What to bring
- A full, valid UK driving licence is required. Due to new updates from the DVLA the paper counterpart is no longer required and this includes when travelling on the Continent. You must be 18 or over to drive in France.
- A UK sticker to display in the rear windscreen and your motor insurance certificate(1).
- A warning triangle and reflective jacket for use in a breakdown. Without these you risk being fined around €90(2).
- Headlamp converters (for driving on the right) are compulsory to prevent dazzling drivers coming the other way(3).
What NOT to bring
- Radar detectors are illegal in France. If you are caught with one you risk fines of up to €1,500. Satnav and GPS systems which show where speed cameras are located are also illegal so make sure this function is disabled or removed completely from your device.
Be fully prepared. Call into the AA Travelshop at our Folkestone Passenger Terminal Building for all compulsory and recommended items for your vehicle whilst driving in France.
We also have maps and satnavs to will help you choose the quickest, non-motorway or most scenic route to your destination.
Ready to drive in France?
Fasten your seatbelts because, as in the UK, wearing front and rear seatbelts is compulsory when fitted.
It's illegal for children under 10 to ride in the front of the vehicle but this should help settle arguments about who gets the front seat! Children under 10 must be in the back seat and in a child seat if they weigh less than 15kg. Over this weight they can use a seat belt with a booster seat.
Now that you're all buckled in and ready to go, the main thing to remember is that people drive on the right-hand side of the road in France.
It's important to be alert when driving, so try to minimise distractions in the car until you feel comfortable in your new environment.
Tolls: you can beat the queues
If heading south, it's best to avoid driving via Paris as traffic can be heavy, unless of course the capital city is part of your trip.
The quickest way to travel between regions and cities in France is via motorways. Take plenty of change with you as you might have to pay motorway tolls at automated barriers. Alternatively, you can buy an Emovis Tag, which enables you to use the automated lanes without the hassle of manually paying with Euros. The fee is exactly the same but payment will automatically be taken from your chosen bank account in GBP.
Exclusive Eurotunnel Le Shuttle offer
Buy an Emovis Tag and beat the queues at the French motorway tolls:
- Apply for free - no fee (save €10)
- Save 50% on the annual fee, only €3 (normally €6) from the second year onwards
- €20* refundable security deposit on the tag
- €5* active usage fee - only for the months in which the tag is used and capped at €10 in any subscription year
Apply for your Emovis tag
*Subject to French VAT
Rules of the road
Don't be intimated by roundabouts. The rules are the same as in the UK except you drive in the opposite direction. When approaching a roundabout, give way to traffic on your left already on the roundabout.
Priorité à Droite (give priority to traffic coming from the right) is an old rule which may still apply at some junctions. If you see the yellow diamond with a white border sign then Priorité à Droite does not apply to the road ahead. Although many drivers now realise it's dangerous to pull straight out into a road of oncoming traffic, keep your eyes peeled for vehicles appearing from the right. The rule is usually indicated as you enter or leave an area:
Speed limits in France
For your safety on the road be aware that speed regulations start at the town name sign and end on leaving the town. Check the examples below for an overview of speed limits on different roads in changing weather conditions (ranging from fine to difficult conditions).
a: Urban areas: 50 km/h
b. Rural areas: 80km/h - 90km/h
c. Dual carriageways: 100 km/h - 110 km/h
d. Autoroute: 110 km/h - 130 km/h
Remember, there are heavy fines for breaking the limits. If you are over by 30km/h you can lose your licence and your vehicle can be confiscated if you are over the limit by 50 km/h.
Emission Laws in France
If you are planning on travelling to France, it might be worth considering the Air Quality Emissions Certificate, which has been enforced by the French Government. The certificate was introduced in order to lower emissions from vehicles travelling to specific areas in France (Low Emission Zones). The following locations require all UK registered vehicles to purchase an Air Quality Emissions Certificate: Paris, Lyon and Grenoble.
Find out more
Ready to refuel?
You'll find motorway service stations manned around the clock so you can fill up your tank. Prices are often cheaper at supermarkets petrol stations though so it's worth scheduling in a stop. Many fuel stations have automatic pumps where you can pay using 'chip and PIN' UK credit or debit cards.
When I get to the pumps, how will I know which one I need? Well, you're likely to see these options...
a. Petrol = Essence (super / super 97)
b. Unleaded Petrol = Sans Plomb (98 & 95)
c. Diesel = Gazole ou Gasoil
It is usual practice in French towns to allow parking on one side of the street for half of the month and then on the other side for the second half of the month. Parking may also alternate weekly or daily.
Parking is free on roads with a dotted white line or no markings. Blue zone parking areas allow free parking for a designated time. You'll need to display a parking disc in your vehicle window showing your arrival time. Look for the parking sign in the area to find out the length of time you're permitted to stay. You can pick up a new parking disc at newsagents or tobacconists and failure to display the new disc could result in a fine. Blue parking zones are shown with a parking sign with a cryptogram in the bottom corner as in the example shown here.
Street parking in Paris is limited as many roads are pedestrianised and it's illegal to park your vehicle for longer than 24 hours in the same spot.
Car insurance and motor breakdown
You must have third party insurance cover (a legal requirement) at the least, but it doesn't cover any costs incurred by you as a result of an accident. Make sure your policy is fully comprehensive and that you have your Certificate of Motor Insurance before setting off.
You do not need to carry a green card when you drive in theEU(including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland. You still need valid vehicle insurance. For more information see: Driving abroard on gov.uk.
Vehicle repatriation from Southern France could cost up to £1,300(4) . With that in mind we recommend that you have sufficient motor breakdown insurance cover in case anything happens whilst you are away. We offer comprehensive insurance packages for you and your vehicle.
It's advised that dipped headlights are used at all times outside towns in any weather. Dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles over 125cc must use dipped headlights during the day at all times. For motorhomes and caravans, lights must be used at all times when travelling in tunnels or in bad weather.
In France, the alcohol limit is 0.5mg/ml of blood. It is advisable not to drink and drive at all because if you are caught over the limit, the penalties are severe.
Motoring checklist for France
|Minimum Legal Driving Age||18|
|National Driving Licence||Compulsory|
|Original Registration Document (V5)||Compulsory|
|Motor Vehicle Insurance||Compulsory|
|Front & Rear Seatbelts||Compulsory|
|Daytime Running Lights - Motorcycles||Compulsory|
|First Aid Kit||Recommended|
|Daytime Running Lights - Cars||Recommended|
|Spare Bulbs and Fuses||Recommended|
Do Eurotunnel Le Shuttle & Eurostar use the same tunnel? Yes, Eurostar use Eurotunnel's tunnel. The Channel Tunnel (sometimes referred to as the 'Chunnel' for short) is the longest undersea tunnel in the world at 38km long.How does Eurotunnel Le Shuttle work? ›
The Eurotunnel car train service runs between Folkestone and Calais via the channel tunnel in just 35 minutes. Once onboard passengers stay with their vehicle throughout the channel tunnel crossing in bright, air-conditioned carriages. You can sit back and relax, or get out and stretch your legs.Do you stay in your car on Le Shuttle? ›
Can you get out of the car once you have been checked in? Yes, you have two opportunities in which you can leave your car. Once you are booked in, and your car is lined up at the terminal ready to board the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, you are free to browse the terminal shops before embarkation begins.Can I drive in Eurotunnel to France? ›
It is not possible to drive a car or motorcycle through the Channel Tunnel. Instead, motorists must drive onto the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle train, which boards at the Channel Tunnel terminals in Folkestone and Calais.What's the difference between Eurostar and Le Shuttle? ›
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle runs solely between Folkestone and Calais. The main Eurostar routes go to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, with some seasonal routes and connections across France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.How many cars fit on Le Shuttle? ›
A complete passenger shuttle is made up of 24 carriages and four loading and unloading wagons and can carry 12 coaches and 120 cars.”Does Le Shuttle run all night? ›
Our service is available 24hrs a day, 365 days per year. With up to 7 departures per hour at peak times, our hourly capacity ensures traffic fluidity and the fastest possible journey via the Channel Tunnel with an average crossing time of only 35 minutes.Do you pay per car or person on Eurotunnel? ›
About our ticket types
All fares include your car and up to 9 passengers. What's more, we do not charge fuel or luggage supplements. So more of you can travel for less!
Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee access to toilet facilities on the shuttles. We provide award-winning toilet facilities – including disabled toilet facilities – in our passenger terminal buildings which we recommend all passengers take advantage of before travelling.How early do you have to arrive for Le Shuttle? ›
Check-in at least 1 hour and no more than 2 hours before your booked departure time.
A member of staff will place chocks against the wheels to aid immobilisation. Open all doors, windows, air vents and skylights. This will allow all announcements to be heard and the automatic fire extinguishing system will be effective in case of fire on board your coach.Can you just turn up at Eurotunnel without booking? ›
Usually yes, but occasionally we need to restrict this at peak times or during degraded service or disruption. We strongly advise purchasing a ticket in advance to avoid disappointment, and the further in advance you book the more you save.What documents do I need to drive in France? ›
To drive in France, you will also need proof of insurance, proof of ownership of your car (V5C) and your passport.Do I need a green card to drive in France 2022? ›
Do I need a green card to drive in France? A green card from your car insurance provider isn't needed to drive in France. However, you will need to have at least third-party insurance cover on your car before you take it into France.What are the rules for driving through France? ›
A valid driving licence covering you for the vehicle you are driving/riding. An up-to-date passport (with at least six months left to run) for each occupant of the vehicle. Vehicle insurance documents, proving at least third-party cover. A valid MOT certificate if your vehicle is over 3 years old.How long does Eurotunnel Le Shuttle take? ›
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is one of the fastest ways to travel to France. Making the journey in 35 minutes, it beats the 90-minute ferry crossing from Dover to Calais.Which is better ferry or Eurotunnel? ›
What's the quickest way to drive to France? The quickest way to cross the channel is using Eurotunnel, which takes around 35 minutes compared to the 90-minute crossing of the quickest cross-Channel ferry from Dover to Calais.Does Le Shuttle go to Paris? ›
If you do decide a day trip is all you need, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is a fast and convenient way to get to Paris, with a trip from Folkestone to Calais taking just 35 minutes.How often does Le Shuttle Run? ›
Up to 4 departures per hour with daily crossings from Folkestone to Calais. Travelling to France couldn't be easier - with up to four shuttle departures an hour at peak times, you'll be sure to find a time that suits you!Where does Le Shuttle stop? ›
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle (sometimes shortened to Le Shuttle or The Shuttle) is a railway shuttle service between Coquelles (near Calais) in Pas-de-Calais, France and Cheriton (near Folkestone) in Kent, United Kingdom.
You are likely to be subjected to delays and we therefore strongly recommend that you arrive in plenty of time for your reserved departure. If you miss your booked departure you may also be required to purchase a new ticket.Do you sit in your car on Eurotunnel? ›
You and your pets stay in your vehicle throughout the journey - sit back and relax to get through the Eurotunnel, it only takes 35 minutes to cross.Does Le Shuttle have WIFI? ›
Enjoy wireless internet access for free. The wireless network covers the Passenger Terminal Buildings and Flexiplus lounges in both the UK and in France.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is the fastest way to cross the Channel. Our service from Folkestone to Calais lasts just 35 minutes, less than any ferry to France.What is the difference between Eurotunnel and Channel Tunnel? ›
Eurostar and Eurotunnel are completely different companies but they share use of the Channel Tunnel. Eurotunnel is operated by Getlink, the company that owns and operates the Channel Tunnel, connecting the UK with France, while Eurostar is a customer of Getlink and runs its passenger trains through the Chunnel.How can I get cheaper Eurotunnel? ›
To access cheap Eurotunnel tickets, it's best to book early. Advance fares tend to be significantly less expensive. If you're a frequent traveller, you can also register for either Frequent Traveller Standard or Frequent Traveller Flexiplus, with savings of up to 50% available.Do they check passports on Eurotunnel? ›
Citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland – You will need a passport that is valid for the duration of your stay in the UK, ID cards are no longer accepted unless exempt. Click here for more information.Where do you catch Le Shuttle? ›
We are near Folkestone, and have our own motorway exit at junction 11A of the M20 straight to our check-in booths. Click here for directions. Caution: Do not follow a satnav route that includes 'Terminal Service Rd'.Do you have to pay to use the toilet in France? ›
The Lowdown on French Toilets
Most public toilets are free since 2006, but the ones in train stations and shopping malls like the Carrousel du Louvre may require a small fee to use.
Both the Ashford Truckstop and Stop 24, are located a short distance from the Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal and provide amenities including catering outlets, shower and toilet facilities and over 80 secure truck parking spaces located at both sites.
- Simply drive up to the check-in barriers and our automatic number plate recognition will detect your vehicle and find your booking.
- If we are not able to find your booking, simply enter your eight digit booking reference number, or insert the payment card used to make the booking.
I done it several times, arrived late at night, checked in and stayed overnight in the coach car park. There are usually a few other motorhomes and vans staying too. It's great for an early start the next day, but can be a bit noisy especially with the roof up.What happens if I miss Eurostar? ›
"What if I miss my Eurostar / National Rail journey as a result of delay? If you miss your Eurostar service as a result of delays or cancellations to your National Rail service on your outbound journey you will be placed on the next available service to your Continental destination at no extra charge."How long are you under water on the Eurotunnel? ›
The passenger trains slow down on approach to 160kph/100mph when they enter the tunnel so they only spend about 13 minutes under the sea section of the tunnel. Although the shuttles have a standing start from the terminals each side, they still get up to around 160kph/100mph.Do cars get searched on Eurotunnel? ›
Officials may select you for security checks or searches, but this is nothing to worry about. From border control you drive directly onto the shuttle.Can you take food through Channel Tunnel? ›
When planning what to bring on a long car ride, don't forget about feeding yourself, your passengers, and pets. Travelling with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle means you can have snacks in the car with you, but please be aware of what you can and cannot bring now that the UK is not part of the European Union rules apply.How far in advance do you have to book Eurotunnel? ›
We aim to release our availability at least 6 months in advance. The current availability can be checked online or by calling our Contact Centre.What sticker do I need on my car to drive in France? ›
French 'clean air' stickers (Crit'Air vignettes)
You now need a clean air sticker - called a Crit'Air vignette – displayed on your car when travelling to certain cities.
To drive in France you must be 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. You do not need to carry an additional International Driving Permit (IDP). If you do not own the vehicle you're driving, you should get written permission from the registered owner.Do I still need a GB sticker in France? ›
From 28 September 2021, you must identify that your vehicle is from the UK when driving abroad. If your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack), you do not need a UK sticker to drive in France.
If you're driving in most European countries
All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third party cover to drive in: the EU (including Ireland) Andorra.
5. Breathalyser kit. You may be aware that up until recently, all drivers and motorcyclists had to carry a personal breathalyser kit with at least two disposable testing units. However, in 2020 the rule changed to no longer make it a legal requirement.Is my UK driving Licence valid in Europe? ›
You need to carry your UK driving licence with you. You do not need an international driving permit ( IDP ) to visit and drive in the EU , Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have: a paper driving licence.How much over the speed limit can you go in France? ›
If you exceed the speed limit by over 50 kph, the speed fine in France is €1,500. If you're travelling between 20 kph and 50 kph over the limit, the speed fine in France is €135. If you're breaking the speed limit by under 20 kph when the speed limit is less than 50 kph, the fine is €135.Do I need a spare bulb kit for driving in France? ›
Spare bulbs and fuses are in the driving in France requirements as it's the law in France and most other European countries. You don't need to get a replacement for each and every bulb and fuse but a standard spare bulb kit will cover 95% of all you'll ever likely to need.What documents do I need to drive in France after Brexit? ›
If you will be driving in France after Brexit, you can do so using your British driving licence, however, if your licence was not issued by a mainland UK authority, for example in Gibraltar, Jersey or the Isle of Man, it must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit which you can get from the post office.What tunnel does Eurostar go through? ›
Where is the Channel Tunnel? The Channel Tunnel runs between Calais in northern France and Folkestone in south Kent. Vehicle traffic for Le Shuttle gets on in Calais and gets off in Folkestone. Calais is about three hour's drive from Paris and Folkestone is about an hour and a half's drive from London.Is the Chunnel and Eurostar the same? ›
Eurostar and Eurotunnel are completely different companies. Eurostar is the high speed passenger train that operates from St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International going to Paris, Lille, Brussels, Calais, and Disneyland Paris.Do freight trains use the Channel tunnel? ›
The Channel Tunnel is the only link for moving goods by rail between the UK and continental Europe. Shippers transport goods through the tunnel on through-freight trains. These travel from UK terminals through the tunnel and into mainland Europe.Do freight trains use Eurotunnel? ›
More than 450 million tonnes of goods have been carried through the Tunnel mainly on board the Eurotunnel Truck Shuttles but also on the freight trains of the Railway Operators.
Are there toilets onboard the shuttle? Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee access to toilet facilities on the shuttles. We provide award-winning toilet facilities – including disabled toilet facilities – in our passenger terminal buildings which we recommend all passengers take advantage of before travelling.How early do you need to arrive for Eurostar? ›
The check-in procedure for Eurostar train journeys takes roughly 20 minutes from start to finish, so it's recommended that you arrive at least 45 minutes before your Eurostar train leaves.How safe is the Channel Tunnel? ›
Is the Eurotunnel safe? Eurotunnel is a very safe way to travel. There are numerous systems in place and exercises conducted to keep it this way.Which is quicker Eurotunnel or ferry? ›
Is Eurotunnel quicker than a ferry? The boarding times for Eurotunnel Le Shuttle are quicker than most ferry crossings. And if you arrive early or late within a 2-hour window, you may be offered a space on the next available departure without any extra charge.Where do you catch the Eurostar? ›
London St Pancras International is our main Eurostar hub and connects the UK with some of the most exciting cities on the continent.Do you take your car on the Eurostar? ›
Eurostar only run passenger trains, so if you want to take the car, take a look at Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.Do freight train conductors sleep on the train? ›
In the United States, train conductors are not provided sleeping accommodations because they have to stay awake throughout their work period. Sleeping on the job is a fireable offense. On American passenger trains, there are two types of crews.How much do Eurotunnel train drivers earn? ›
How much does a Train Driver at Eurotunnel make? The typical Eurotunnel Train Driver salary is £44,661 per year. Train Driver salaries at Eurotunnel can range from £28,298 - £53,034 per year.How long does Le Shuttle take? ›
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is the fastest way to cross the Channel. Our service from Folkestone to Calais lasts just 35 minutes, less than any ferry to France.How Fast Is Le Shuttle? ›
Speed: Cross the Channel in only 35 minutes*, at 140 km / hour! Eurotunnel Freight provides the quickest way to cross the Channel with a truck. Each step of the journey is designed to maximise the utilisation of your vehicles with minimum stoppage time.