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Driving in Marseille

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Marseille.
|-Driving in Marseille

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Marseille, like many other large cities in France, can be a bit chaotic for those not used to it. The traffic can be heavy, especially during peak hours, and the local drivers are known for their aggressive driving style. It’s important to stay alert and be prepared for unexpected maneuvers from other drivers.

2. Choosing the Right Car

Compact cars are recommended for driving in Marseille due to the narrow streets and limited parking spaces. Smaller cars are easier to maneuver and park. Manual transmission cars are more common in France, but automatic cars are also available.

3. Parking in Marseille

Finding parking in Marseille can be challenging, especially in the city center. There are paid parking lots and garages available, but they can be quite expensive. Some residential areas offer free parking, but spaces are limited. It’s advisable to consider public transportation or walking for short distances within the city.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in France with an international driving permit (IDP) for up to one year. After that, you will need to obtain a French driving license. The IDP must be accompanied by your original driver’s license from your home country.

5. Obtaining a French Driving License

If you’re planning to stay in France for more than a year, you’ll need to exchange your foreign driver’s license for a French one. The process involves submitting an application to the local prefecture, along with your original license, a translation if it’s not in French, and other required documents. It’s advisable to start this process well in advance as it can take several months.

6. Familiarize Yourself with French Road Rules

Before you start driving in Marseille, make sure you’re familiar with the French road rules. This includes understanding road signs, speed limits, and parking rules. Remember that in France, you drive on the right-hand side of the road.

7. Consider Alternatives to Driving

Given the challenges of driving and parking in Marseille, you might want to consider alternatives. The city has a good public transportation system, including buses, trams, and a metro. Bicycles are also a popular mode of transport, and the city has many bike lanes.


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