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Road signs in France

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Road sign in Brest.

Road signs in France refer to all conventional signals installed on French roads and intended to ensure the safety of road users, either by informing them of the dangers and regulations relating to traffic as well as elements useful for decision-making, or by indicating to them the landmarks and equipment useful for their travel on the national territory. They generally largely follow the general European conventions concerning the use of shape and color to indicate their function. France is a signatory to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.[1] France signed the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals on 8 November 1968 and ratified it on 9 December 1971.[2]

These road signs can also be found in some overseas territories of France.[3]


The first road signs with modern symbols were created in France in 1902 by the Automobile Club of France, which had been founded in 1895.[4] When cars started appearing in France in the 1900s, there were signs for motorists and cyclists with the words "Moderate Speed" or "Slow Down". On 11 October 1909, the first attempt at international unification of road signs was made in Geneva. Four round-shaped obstacle signs were adopted: "break", "Z-bends", "Level crossing with barrier" and "X-crossing".

In 1926, the four danger signs created and used since 1909 were definitively changed from the disc shape to the triangle shape still in use today. Unguarded level crossings were added, and in 1928, at Switzerland's request, one-way, direction, parking and no parking signs were adopted. In 1931, France signed the Geneva Convention concerning the unification of road signs and signals.

On 15 July 1942, during the occupation of French territories by Nazi Germany in World War II, a decree was signed amending the traffic rules: a sheet was to be placed around danger signs and the colour of the vignettes (previously dark blue) was to become black, as was the German custom. However, these changes were probably not implemented.[5]

After the end of the war, a general instruction dated 1 August 1946 on road signs was published. This was the first document to regulate in detail all applications of road signs. Colours were standardised. The shape of some signs was changed, such as danger signs, the corners of which were now rounded. Some graphic elements were changed. New signs appeared: height limits, double speed limits for buses and cars, prohibition of lorries, thawing barriers, etc.

Warning signs[edit]

Priority signs[edit]

Regulatory signs[edit]

Information signs[edit]

Service signs[edit]

Location signs[edit]

Railway signs[edit]

Temporary signs[edit]

Additional signs[edit]

Retired signs[edit]

Obsolete signs since 1998

Obsolete signs since 1977


  1. ^ "Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals - unece" (PDF). United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). UNITED NATIONS. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  2. ^ "United Nations Treaty Collection". treaties.un.org. Retrieved 2023-12-07.
  3. ^ "Signalisation routière" (in French). CodeFast.fr. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Histoire des inventions. Mais quand sont apparus les premiers panneaux routiers?". www.leprogres.fr (in French). Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  5. ^ Duhamel, Marina (1994). Un demi-siècle de signalisation routière – Naissance et évolution du panneau de signalisation routière en France (in French). Edts des Presses des Ponts et Chaussées. ISBN 9782859782207.