The question of what licence you need to rent a motorhome in France will depend on the country in which your licence was issued and the MAM (maximum authorised mass) of the vehicle you are going to drive.
Most modern motorhomes and our entire fleet have a MAM of 3,500 kgs/3.5 tonnes so anyone with a regular car driving licence from within the EU (European Union) will be entitled to drive them. Some rental companies do rent out motorhomes with higher MAMs so do make sure you have the correct licence for the vehicle you are hiring before you book.
Most licences issued outside the EU also allow you drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3.5 tonnes too but not all so do check (it should be written on your licence or if not, on the website of the authority that issued it to you). Almost all rental motorhomes in France have a manual transmission so do make sure your licence entitles you drive a vehicle with a manual transmission and is not restricted to ones with an automatic transmission.
If you are from outside the European Union and your licence is not written in French, you will also need an IDP (International Driver’s Permit/Licence) to satisfy the French authorities. There is a huge amount of confusing information about this online because it went from a recommendation to a requirement in October 2013 and there is a great deal of out of date information on the internet still. The actual regulation is that you must carry a “legal translation” of your licence into French (so the French authorities can see what you are entitled to drive) and that is exactly what the IDP is (it is much cheaper than getting a formal, legal translation so that’s why it is the easiest way to comply with the regulation). You can obtain your IDP online, inexpensively so do allow time to do that before you leave home as it is can only be sent to your home address.
Here are some other tips for making sure your licence will not get in the way of a smooth handover on pick up day:-
– Check your licence is valid and not due to expire during your rental.
– Many hire companies will also want to see your passport so do carry it with you when you collect your vehicle.
– Only original documents will be accepted by hire companies so don’t assume copies will do.
– If you are bringing an IDP you will still need to bring your domestic driving licence too as the IDP is not valid on its own.
– Make sure you have licences and passports for anyone planning to drive the vehicle and keep them somewhere very safe whilst travelling to collect your hire vehicle. A hire company will not be able to hand over your vehicle if you cannot produce your licences and ID.
– Finally, do read the hire company’s “Terms and Conditions” before you book to make sure you comply with any age restrictions or other exclusions detailed in the small print to ensure you are eligible to hire the vehicle you are renting.
We send comprehensive notes to all of our clients explaining what they should bring and what to expect when they arrive so most people arrive prepared. In eight years of offering motorhome hire to international clients we have never failed to send a client out on hire when they have arrived to collect their motorhome but we have had a few near misses so urge you to bring the correct documents with you for a stress free start to your motorhome adventure in France.