French speed limits

French Speed Limits

French speed limits, unlike the UK are variable. The limits depend on the type of road and weather conditions.

Speed limits are also indicated in kilometres per hour or km/h and not miles per hour, mph.

Speed Limits

The standard speed limit on French Autoroutes is 130km/h. This is reduced in bad weather to 110km/h and 50km/h when visibility is down to 50m.

Motorways without tolls and dual carriageways have slightly lower speed limits. Starting at 110km/h and reducing in rainy weather to 100km/h and again to 50km/h when visibility is down to 50m.

For all other roads outside of built-up areas, the speed limit is set at 80km/h which reduces to 70km/h in wet weather and then again down to 50km/h when visibility is reduced.

For urban areas, the speed limit is somewhat lower as you’d expect. The limit 50km/h irrespective of the weather unless signage says otherwise.

Along every major road, you’ll see similar speed limit signs to those in the UK. These are standard round white signs with a red border with the limit inside. You’ll also see a number of repeated signs along the way to remind you.

Don’t be surprised whilst driving along autoroutes in France if you see the speed limit change. This is quite common and especially as you approach toll-paying stations. As you approach off slips in France the speed limit will generally reduce quite quickly down to 70km/h. This is to ensure that you approach the end of the motorway safely so please ensure you follow them.

As you approach built-up areas you may not see a speed limit sign. Please don’t fall foul of this, as in France the village or town sign often denotes the start of the built-up area and therefore the reduction in the speed limit. Likewise, when you see the sign with the line through the name this denotes the end of the built-up area speed limit. As the speed limits are different for certain types of vehicle we have listed them below for ease.

Car Speed Limits

Road TypeSpeed Limit DrySpeed Limit WetSpeed Limit Poor Visibility
Motorway130 km/h110 km/h50 km/h
Dual Carriageway110 km/h100 km/h50 km/h
All Other Roads80 km/h70 km/h50 km/h
Built Up Areas50 km/h50 km/h50 km/h

Motorhome Speed Limits

Road TypeUnder 3.5t3.5t – 12t
Motorway130 km/h110 km/h
Dual Carriageway110 km/h100 km/h
All Other Roads80 km/h80 km/h
Built Up Areas50 km/h50 km/h

Caravan Speed Limits

Road TypeUnder 3.5t3.5t – 12t
Motorway130 km/h90 km/h
Dual Carriageway110 km/h90 km/h
All Other Roads80 km/h70 km/h
Built Up Areas50 km/h50 km/h

French Speed Limit Conversions

Obviously those who drive in the UK will of course be used to mph and not km/h. Many modern vehicles have digital displays allowing you to easily change from mph to km/h at the touch of a button. Older vehicles will of course generally have both mph and km/h on the speedometer however usually some of the writing is very small. To help you remember what the equivalent speed in mph is, we’ve listed to speed limit conversion from km/h to mph. To make things even more straightforward we have rounded the numbers to the nearest mph.

French Speed LimitUK Speed Limit Conversion Rounded
130 km/h81 mph
110 km/h68 mph
80 km/h50 mph
70 km/h44 mph
50 km/h31 mph

Old Speed Limits vs New Speed Limits France

In 2018 the French Government decided to reduce the national speed limit on normal roads from 90 km/h down to 80 km/h. The reduction affected over 400,000 km of roads across the country and was introduced in an attempt to reduce deaths on the roads. 

These types of roads, without any form of central barrier and similar to many A and B roads in the UK were the cause for almost 2/3 of all road fatalities, and as such the French Government had to take some form of action to try and reduce this horrific number of needless deaths.

French Speed Limit Fines

If you do not adhere to the speed limits you could suffer more severe penalties than if you were in the UK.

French law enforcement officers take road traffic offences very seriously and on the spot fines are often given out. Fines in France for speeding are graded depending upon the speed you’re travelling at, above the limit.

On the spot fines start at €68 and rise quite considerably depending upon your excess speed. The average figure we hear banded about for speeding fines tends to be around €135 however the maximum for travelling 51km/h over the limit stands at around €1500.

The fines mentioned above are not the only implications of speeding as licences and vehicles can also be seized by police depending upon the severity of the offence. You have been warned!