Taking its toll

One of the big differences in owning a car in France as compared to Australia, is that there is no annual registration fee to pay.

Our car in France

From our point of view (as Aussies in France) that’s a saving of a whopping $696.50 each year.

Happy car

Instead, there’s a bi-annual  roadworthy check of your vehicle (contrôle technique), and compulsory insurance. The tolls on the major highways are quite hefty, but you can hardly complain about those:  after all, it’s a user-pays system, so what could be fairer than that?


Watch out for the “Péage” sign as you join the autoroute and take your ticket – and beware that there may be multiple tolls along the way.


We were taken aback at one 17 euro toll, the first time we ever drove the 3 hours down from Paris to Argenton-sur-Creuse, and we gasped at the 36 euros it cost to go through the Tunnel de Fréjus on the way back from Italy.

Toll receipt

On our recent round trip to Spain we estimate that we spent a total of 200 euros on tolls.


Luckily, most tollgates accept credit cards – but remember to check the symbols above each lane to ensure you enter the right one, and always have some loose change on hand.


You have to bear in mind that a lot of time is saved taking the tollways, and so, as with many things in life, it’s a trade-off.


Fore-warned is forearmed, so if you would like to avoid any nasty surprises, I have found a couple of useful links:

This one helps you calculate your trip costs:


And this site lists the applicable tolls:



and also explains other important driving regulations, such as France’s new law regarding on-board breathalyzer kits and how you aren’t allowed any device that will show the location of speed cameras:


Knowledge is power, so they say.

Driving in France

So bon voyage!


About frenchfry36

South African by birth, British by right, Australian by oath, French by choice.
This entry was posted in France, Travel, Travel in France and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Taking its toll

  1. Debra Kolkka says:

    I had to get a resident’s permit to buy a car in Italy, which was no easy task. We pay car registration in Italy, but it is much less than in Australia. Insurance is very expensive though.

    • frenchfry36 says:

      Car insurance seems very reasonable in France, but that’s onlly based on what we pay for our little (and older model) car.

      • Debra Kolkka says:

        We pay €1200 per year for insurance and that is just the compulsory 3rd party insurance. We can’t comprehensively insure our car as it is more than 5 years old. We can suspend it when we go back to Australia, which helps a bit.

      • frenchfry36 says:

        Ouch! We keep ours insured all year round to allow friends and family the option of using it when in France, but only because it’s cheap enough to do so!

  2. Debra Kolkka says:

    I have a Telepass in Italy so I can drive through the Alt Stazione. Each month the fees are deducted from our bank account….much easier than finding change all the time. I wish we could do it all over Europe.

  3. Sandra murphy says:

    hi, we are an Aussie couple in a similar situation but its only just beginning (June 11). I’m wondering if I could contact by email as we can’t find much relevant info on buying a secondhand car in France no matter how much I search. I would really appreciate any help at all.

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