80km/h or 90km/h? Map shows the speed limits in different parts of France

80km/h or 90km/h? Map shows the speed limits in different parts of France
Working out the speed limit can be quite confusing. Photo: AFP
If you're driving in France this summer you will of course need to know the speed limits. Buts 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.

Here the speed limit varies depending on where you are for complicated reasons that link to last year's '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 having a 90km/h limit, some having an 80km/h limit, some having a mixture and some still debating the issue with decisions expected later in the year.

So ahead of the summer holidays when people will be travelling to different départements, here is the latest information on which limits are in force in which areas.

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

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