In recent years the number of automatic radar units monitored by the French police has increased considerably and the number of fines has risen accordingly. The government’s latest innovation is a website where speeders can pay tickets online: https://www.amendes.gouv.fr/portail/index.jsp?lang=en. You can browse the website in English. The highest payment authorized is 1,500 euros.
There has been long and heated debate about the radar units. Many elected officials would like to get rid of them, or at least significantly limit their use. Even though traffic radar guns are not very large, drivers learn quickly to identify them so it is possible to avoid getting a ticket if the speeding is moderate. Some officials have even suggested installing signs several hundred yards before each radar unit informing drivers of its location, which I think would clearly defeat the very purpose of installing them. The units are very unpopular, for obvious reasons, but average speed on French roads has gone down and so has the number of fatal accidents.
By the way, savvy players in the private sector know enough to make sure they own the most common variations of their website’s domain name so that others cannot steal their traffic, clientele and so on. In this case, a private company created a site called amendes-france.org and took in a fair amount of money before the site was closed. Consequently, some people had to pay their speeding tickets twice!
So be careful and use the direct adress (see above, or on the ticket you received by mail) instead of using a search engine. Official french websites always end up in gouv.fr (for gouvernement). And remember that you should pay your ticket no later than 45 days after it has been sent.
After that time you’ll have to pay a “pénalité”, an additional charge for being late ! It’s always a good idea to pay your speeding ticket as soon as you receive it. If you pay 1 to 15 days after it has been sent (or less than four days after it was handed to you), you might only have to pay a “amende forfaitaire minorée”, so a little less than the regular ticket.
And remember : be careful on the road !