Travel news For Members

MAP: The speed limits in different parts of France

The Local
The Local - [email protected]
MAP: The speed limits in different parts of France
Speed limits vary across France. Image: AFP/The Local

If you're driving in France this summer you will of course need to know the speed limits. But this apparently simple question has a complicated answer and depends on where you are.


In good news, speed limits on the autoroutes are the same throughout the country - 130km/h or 110km/h when it rains - and speed limits in towns are also standardised and clearly signed.

But it's when you get onto the largely rural secondary routes (two lane highways without a central reservation) that things get confusing.

In these areas, the speed limit varies depending on where you are for complicated reasons that link to the 2018/19 'yellow vest' protests and before that to attempts by the government to cut road deaths.

In July 2018 the government decided to lower the speed limit on secondary routes from 90km/h to 80km/h.

They insisted it was a safety measure, but the issue became one of the early rallying points of the 'yellow vest' protesters, who insisted that the move was merely an extra unofficial tax on people living in rural areas, where most of the secondary routes are and where residents are largely dependent on cars to get around.


Thousands of speed cameras were vandalised around France. Photo: AFP

Furious protests followed and thousands of speed cameras were vandalised - at one point it was estimated that 80 percent of the country's speed cameras were out of action.

Eventually the government decided on a compromise which defused the anger, but lead to the current rather confusing situation.

Local authorities were given the power to reverse the speed limit cut on some or all of their roads if they wanted to, meaning a return to 90km/h.

In reality this has lead to some départements keeping the 80km/h limit, some going back to the 90km/h limit on some or all of their roads, and some yet to make a decision.

On the below map the 80 km/h areas are shown in pale blue and the 90 km/h areas in dark blue - although some areas have only partially reinstated the 90km/h limit. Areas that are still deciding are marked in purple, but for the moment they maintain the 80km/h limit.


Being clocked breaking the speed limit can earn you points on your licence and a fine.

READ ALSO  Driving in France: These are the offences that can cost you points on your licence


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also