Outside of the major cities, parking in rural France is often a joy, with plenty of room to choose your space. However, it’s important to be aware of where and when you can park. Here’s a rundown of your options for parking in France.
Car Parks in France
Stationnement means parking; un parking is actually a car park (parking lot). Multi-story car parks are common in all major cities – simply take a ticket on arrival to enter. Most car parks allow you to pay on exit by card – be sure to take your ticket after paying to initiate the barrier opening.
Street Parking Options in France
Street parking is legal in France in most city and residential areas unless marked otherwise (Stationnement interdit – no parking). As in most countries, you should always avoid blocking entrances to properties, parking on yellow lines, or parking too close to a junction – parking in a dangerous or obstructive manner can earn you a parking ticket.
PAYANT means it is a parking area where you are obliged to pay for a ticket. Look for a parking meter and know your car registration number, as you may be asked to enter it. Often you can pay by bank card as well as in cash or by mobile phone. Display your parking ticket clearly in your front windscreen area.
Parking is often free between 12 and 2pm, after 7pm and on Sundays. This information will be displayed on the parking meter.
What are France’s Zone Bleue parking zones?
In many smaller towns, there are Zone Bleue parking zones, which allow you to park for an hour or more for free if you display a blue parking disc. These parking discs (disque de stationnement) are available to purchase from your local Tabac or Maison de la Presse for a small fee.
The maximum time should be clearly displayed in the parking area, for example, stationnement limité à 1h30, and sometimes the time between 12pm and 2pm is not counted (so if you arrive at 10.30am, for example, you could benefit from three and a half hours of free parking).
Set the time on the disc to your arrival time and display the disc clearly through your windscreen.
Disabled parking in France
Disabled car parking spaces are common throughout France. These spaces are marked with a wheelchair sign, and you must have a disabled parking card to use these spaces legally.
Parking Fines in France
Parking fines may be issued directly onto your vehicle or sent to the address at which the vehicle is registered, as withother traffic violations.
Normally, you will be issued with a fine (une amende), but in the case of very dangerous or obstructive parking, you may also have points deducted from your French driving licence.
Find out more in our guide to driving penalties in France.
How do I pay my French parking fine?
In most cases, a parking fine will be €35 (reduced if you pay within 15 days), and you will have 45 days to pay it. You will be issued a parking ticket or ‘Avis de Contravention’, detailing how to pay, and you can pay online by bank card, by cheque, or by phone.
For parking offences considered very dangerous or obstructive, this may be a fine of €135, including points deducted from your licence.
Read our guide to How to Pay a Parking or Speeding Fine in France: Payer Une Amende
Driving in France
Whether you own a car in France, travel to France in your UK or EU-registered car, or hire a rental car – FrenchEntrée has all the need-to-know info about driving in France. Our Essential Reading articles will take you through buying, registering, and insuring your car, as well as offering tips and advice on driving and car ownership in France.