France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Priorité à Droite (Priority of Right)
Which driver has priority to go first at traffic intersections? When driving in France, it's essential to know. The system may differ from what you're used to.

Vous n'avez-pas la priorité sign, France
Rond-point: "You do not
have priority..."

4 Priorités successives sign, France
"4 Priorities-of-the-right
in succession..."

An X in a triangle means
"You do not have priority."
At the next four intersections,
priority goes to the driver on
the right.




The concept of vehicle priority (priorité) is more elaborate and important in Europe than in some other parts of the world (including the USA).

To drive a car or ride a bicycle safely in France, you must understand and obey the vehicle priority rules. If you do not follow traffic regulations, drivers will not know what to expect from you, and there may be problems, or even accidents.

We all know that traffic moving along a road has priority (right-of-way) over traffic stopped at a STOP sign and waiting to enter the road, but there are many other situations governed by signs and regulations.

Road Intersections

At road intersections, if there is no sign or signal (such as a STOP, YIELD or priorité sign) or a traffic signal dictating priority, the car to the right has priority.


Most road intersections outside of cities and towns, and many within them, are rond-points (roundabouts/traffic circles) moving in a counter-clockwise (anti-clockwise) direction. Traffic that has already entered the rond-point has priority. When there is no vehicle approaching from your left, you may enter the rond-point.

Narrow Roads & Bridges

If a street, road, bridge or tunnel is too narrow for two vehicles to pass at the same time, there may be signs indicating priority (that is, who gets to go first). The sign has a larger arrow in one direction and a smaller arrow in the other direction.

The larger arrow shows priority.

If it is pointing in the direction you are going, you have priority. If not, you must yield to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.


Bicycles are popular for transportation, sport and touring in France, and have been for more than a century.

Cyclists have the same rights on the road as motor vehicles, and must follow all traffic regulations, just like cars. More...

You must share the road with cyclists on streets in cities and towns, and on two-lane Nationale and Départmentale highways, accommodating them as you would any other vehicle.

Cyclists riding in a group should ride single file along the right edge of the road, leaving gaps between cyclists so that cars passing/overtaking can "leap-frog" cyclists one at a time, moving back in line when a vehicle approaches from the opposite direction.

At corners, cycists should signal any turns. They have priority if they are in front of you. In roundabouts/ traffic circles (rond-point), cyclists may enter when traffic permits (that is, nothing approaching from the left), and should signal their intentions as they move through the circle. If there is a cyclist in front of you, do not pass, but follow as you would any other vehicle, watching for the cyclist's signals. More...


In the absence of a traffic signal, pedestrians at crosswalks have priority, and you must stop to let them cross. This law is commonly observed by all drivers, including bicyclists.

Car Hire/Rental

Typical Car Rental Cost

Driving in France

Fuel & Charging

Highway Tolls & Payment

Car Parking

Car Travel in France

Bicycling in France

Transport in Paris

Transport in France


Serene - a novel of the Belle Epoque


Antique French car, Dieppe, France

Antique auto in Dieppe, Normandy.


Priority traffic sign, France Priority traffic sign, France

Who has priority?
At this sign, you do, because of the big white arrow pointing the way you're going.

At this sign, the other vehicle has priority because the small arrow is pointing the way you're going.

Serene - a novel of the Belle Époque, by Tom Brosnahan

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