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Can UK drivers hire nine-seat vehicles in France?

My family are coming over in July and need to hire a nine-seater vehicle. They are all aged over 21 and have held licences for over two years. According to French law, will they be able to hire a nine-seater?

The answer is yes: the only legal requirement to drive a nine-seater car or van in France is to have a B category licence – one which allows you to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes – to be insured, and to make sure the car has a contrôle technique if it is over four years old. 

After that it becomes more complicated, as many rental agencies have their own legal age limits.

Avis, for example, requires all renters to be over 21 and to have held a licence for over a year, and charges extra if renters are under 25. It does rent out nine-place cars which are derived from vans – the Renault Master, for example – with the usual over-21 requirement.

Most are very comfortable, with extra air conditioning and USB sockets for each seat.

One other thing you should be aware of is that nine large people can overload a nine-seater minibus.

Many have a useful load of around 880kg to 900kg, so nine people weighing 100kg each will put you on the limit, even before you count their suitcases.

It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure a vehicle is not overloaded.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
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