Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Car Rental in France - International Drivers License needed?

Car Rental in France - International Drivers License needed?

Jul 5th, 2008, 11:53 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 33
Car Rental in France - International Drivers License needed?

Hey all

Have been reading all the posts on car rental, and have just jumped on the Kemwel website to look for quotes for our time in Provence. However, it says that we need an international drivers license at pick up...is this correct? We're Australian, and only have our Aust license - do we need to get an international one to drive in France?


Thanks
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 03:54 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 423
I've seen this question asked several times and the answer is this: You might be able to get by without a IDP, but many countries, including France, require and/or accept IDP.

Here is a link to a AAA (a US travel company) form that lists IDP countries. http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpapplc...d=212&secure=N

I am a US citizen who has rented cars in Europe many times over the last 4 years. I have always had a IDP and have never been asked for it.

But, given the good advice of others on this forum, I always have one. In the US they are cheap and very easy to get.

But I can't specifically answer what an Australian might need.
sshephard is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 04:26 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 204
It is not required/mandatory in France. It is in Italy and several other countries but France is not one of them. Our rental was with Kemwell from the Avignon location. They did not ask for an IDP..only my husbands regular drivers license from Canada. Some will say to get it for peace of mind...but the bottom line is that it is not mandatory (law). I could see if you were coming from China where your license would be impossible for the local police to translate on the spot.
crazyfortravel is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 04:30 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 204
This is what it says on the Discover France website:

Visitors staying less than 90 days and carrying a valid EU, international, or U.S. (state) license may drive in France. Although it is not a requirement of either our leasing or car rental contracts, an International License is recommended, as it can help to expedite encounters with authorities in the event of an accident or traffic infraction. (In the U.S., International Licenses may be obtained from the American Automobile Association [AAA] for around $10.00.)

Although it is not a requirement it is recommended..again if your license was in Chinese I might recommend it but it is not required for the rental or by law.
crazyfortravel is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 04:31 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 204
I should have included the link as there is some good information regarding driving in France.

http://tinyurl.com/3de3z7
crazyfortravel is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 04:59 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
It is an international drivers permit, not a licence. It is not mandatory in France but it doesn't cost very much, and could save a lot of hassle if you are involved in an accident. Get one from the motoring club in your state or territory.
Do not buy one online - they are not legal documents and are a con.
Have a look at the Australian Automobile Association website for more details.
hetismij is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 06:03 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,865
No, it's not required by law in France. But if Kemwel says it's THEIR requirement, I guess you'd better have it. It's a permit, not a license, and the only purpose it serves is to provide a translation in the local language of your license. It IS required in other European countries - Italy and Austria, e.g.
StCirq is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 07:18 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 209
Italy and Austria are the ONLY western European countries which officially require the international permit, even though the requirement generally isn't enforced, either by the rental places OR by the police. It is the sort of law that is invoked in those 2 countries to add more onto your fine if you are not behaving in a civil manner, after having been stopped for some other infraction.
analogue is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 07:20 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 209
As for Kemwel stating such a requirement, since it is not Kemwel that will be giving you the car or having you sign the contract, you do not need to pay attention to their incorrect information.
analogue is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 09:09 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,702
And in fact, the Kemwell site says only:

Is an International Drivers License required in Europe?

Some European countries do require an International Drivers license and we strongly recommend having one when travelling to a country where English is not the first language.

Carlux is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 09:17 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 204
We rented with Europcar thru Kemwell at the Avignon train station this year and with Avis thru Kemwell last year picking up at Toulouse airport. We were not asked if we had an IDP...again it is not a requirement to rent in France. If you want to get one for peace of mind, it is only about 30.00.. but we don't like throwing money away since it is just a suggested document that has no real use IMO.
crazyfortravel is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 10:12 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,323
You can also bring your international vaccination certificate to Europe if you want.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 6th, 2008, 02:21 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 33
wow quick responses! Thanks guys....will contact the Australian AA to see what the process is and costs, if it isnt too much of a palava then we will get it. BUt if not, then will just forget about it...

thanks again all am loving this forum
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 02:31 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,819
In the USA you contact TRiple A (American Automobile Assn), find their local office, stop by, show your drivers license give them $15 (not $10 anymore sorry) and someone types one up on the spot. Takes u all of 15 mins. I cannot imagine that AUstralia would be any more hassle than USA.
travelerjan is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 04:17 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,284
This seems like a good reason to choose autoeurope instead of kemwell; AE has never asked for anything but our US license.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 05:19 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,865
But Underhill, read the post above where it says Kemwel DIDN'T say it would require an IDP, it just mentioned that in some countries, it's required.

Besides, no one actually picks up a car from Kemwel - they pick it up from EuropCar or Avis or Hertz or whatever, none of which is ever going to ask whether the renter has an IDP (even in countries where it IS required, in my experience).
StCirq is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 05:54 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Just once, in Milan, did Hertz ask to see our International Drivers Permit. But in Italy it is legally required to have an IDP although most travellers never need to show it. Since, thankfully, we never had an accident or received a citation in Italy we didn't experience what the Polizia would have done if we had not had the IDP.

It sounds like an IDP is not required in France and so if that is true no point in either bothering to get one aarathi unless it makes you feel more comfortable.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 05:59 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 204
This is true...even in Italy where it is required we were not asked by Avis to show it at the time of rental. In Canada, CAA charges you extra for the photo if you don't bring a passport size shot with you and it was an extra 9.00 on top of the IDP charge. The funny thing was that they hand wrote ours in English (didn't even type it)...so I'm not sure how that even translates our license. It seems like such a sham but since it was required for Italy, we of course played along.
crazyfortravel is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 06:31 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,284
Correct, St-Cirq; we invariably get the car from EuropCar, which cares only about a passport and a valid U.S. license.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 09:04 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 209
The IDP is really easy money for those auto clubs.
analogue is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:01 PM.