Breakdown cover in France

Tips to stay safe if you break down

May 2012

Driving in Europe without breakdown cover can be a gamble. While some people might be fluent in French, most of us would struggle if our cars broke down. And did you know some French motorways are privately owned so they may not even allow breakdown assistance and recovery services to rescue you?

To avoid a stress-free trip, it pays to gen up so you're prepared. The AA's European Breakdown team has put together some top safety tips.

Breakdown advice for France

Please note it's compulsory to travel with a warning triangle and a fluorescent high visibility vest in France. Learn more about French driving requirements.

If you need assistance

Before you call anyone

  1. Stop your car in a safe place where possible

    – out of the way of traffic.

  2. Switch on your car's hazard lights and sidelights
  3. Put on your high visibility jacket
  4. Put up your warning triangle

    – It should be on a carriageway, clearly visible and at least 30m behind the vehicle

  5. You and all passengers must be safely away from moving traffic

Breakdowns on French motorways

Motorways in France are privately managed, so if your car breaks down, we can't send assistance to you, even if it's at a motorway service area. Instead, call one of the French assistance numbers below:

  1. an emergency telephone

    Press the button and the French police will send assistance to your location

  2. a public phone

    Dial 17

  3. a mobile phone

    Dial 112

  4. Once you've been towed off the motorway/service area, call the AA's 24-hour helpline for assistance if you have AA European Breakdown Cover.

Elsewhere in France

If you have cover, call the AA's 24-hour helpline for breakdown assistance. It is important that you contact the AA helpline first. If you contact a garage direct, you'll have to settle their bill and the AA won't be obliged to reimburse you.

If you don't have cover, call 08 25 09 88 76 or 04 72 17 12 00 from a French landline. Or, from a UK mobile phone, call: 00 33 825 09 88 76 or 00 33 472 17 12 00.

If you have an accident

Report the accident to your insurer – only they can issue instructions for the car's repair or recovery.

Please give us your motor vehicle insurance details when asked.

(updated 22 July 2013)


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