Driver's licences in France
Residents of France holding a valid Canadian driver's licence are permitted to drive cars in France with some conditions. The length of time drivers are able to use these licenses varies depending on the province or territory that issued the Canadian driver's licence.
Holders of valid driver's licences issued by the following provinces are permitted to drive cars in France with their Canadian licences for a one year:
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Prince Edward Island
Before the one-year expiry, Canadian residents can make use of their reciprocal agreements to exchange their licences for French ones. The exchange must be completed online. A fee is charged for this licence.
- If the licence is in English, it needs to be translated by an officially accredited translator. You can obtain a list at of officially accredited translators at your local City Hall in France or at Cour de cassation (French only) ;
- All official documents concerning your Canadian driver's licence must be requested to the provincial authority directly. The Embassy does not have access to those files and cannot provide assistance in this matter.
Drivers with Ontario licences must have had their licences for at least 24 months over the last 3 years.
Drivers with licences from the following provinces and/or territories are permitted to drive cars with Canadian licences for 3 months:
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
Canadians from theses provinces or territories wishing to extend their stay have a 3-month period to apply for a French licence by registering for the theoretical and practical French driving examinations.
The driver’s licence issued by the Canadian province will be kept by the préfecture and given back at the time of return to Canada upon surrendering of the French licence. You must report this exchange to the provincial authority that issued your driver’s licence in Canada.
Driving in France
Drivers who received their licence less than 3 years ago must abide by more restrictive speed limits:
- 110 kph on highways, 80 kph on most other roads and the legally tolerated maximum amount of alcohol is 0.2 g/l of blood. (or 0,10 mg/l of air).
- For a 3-year probationary period you hold only 6 points on your driving licence. During the probationary period, every year, an additional 2 points are added to your licence if you do not commit any offences.
Drivers who have held a licence for at least 3 years must abide by regular speed limits:
- 130 kph on highways, 80 kph on most other roads and the legally tolerated maximum amount of alcohol is 0.5 g/l of blood. (or 0,25 mg/l of air).
- Your licence holds 12 points that you lose if you commit offences to the French highway code.
Various driver’s licences are:
- Licence B Automobile
- Licence A Motorcycle (all kinds)
- Licence AL Light motorcycle (125 cm3)
- Licence AT Motorized tricycle or quadricycle
- Licence A or B for vehicles driven by persons with disabilities
- Licence C Heavy vehicle
- Licence D Public transport
- Licence E Trailer
Licences have 12 points that can be lost following offences. For further information, contact the prefecture of your department.
French law requests that vehicle owners have a liability insurance certificate (third-party damages) at all times. A sticker certifying coverage, provided by the insurer, is to be placed on the windshield. Canadian travellers must have international insurance certificates.
For more information, you can also consult Permis de conduire (French only) on the French Service Public web site. You can also refer to Exchange of non-EEA driving licences (installation in France).
Lost or stolen driver’s licence
If you have to replace your Canadian driver’s licence while abroad (the document is not valid anymore, or it has been lost or stolen), you must contact the provincial office for driver’s licences of the province where the document was issued.
If your driver's licence has been lost or stolen, you can report it at a local police station. A "receipt" in lieu of a driver’s licence will be provided to you while you await the replacement.
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