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France

If you’re travelling to France, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Transport
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Ireland has adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. Based on this, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will publish a combined indicator map each week which will show COVID-19 risk levels across the EU and EEA. Regions will be green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of agreed criteria. In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

Overview

COVID-19 Status

Travel to France from Ireland

Information about the new EU Recommendation (‘traffic lights’ system) which applies to EU / EEA countries is available here. Anyone considering travel to France should check the latest information from the local authorities regarding requirements for international passengers arriving in the country.

Information about restrictions on passengers entering France from green, orange, red and grey regions under the new EU Recommendation (‘traffic lights’ system) which applies to EU / EEA countries is available here: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/

 At present, there are no Covid-19 related restrictions for those travelling from Member States of the European Union, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, the Holy See, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Rwanda, San Marino, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. For passengers travelling from countries outside this list, entry into France is only possible for French residents, for a limited number of essential workers, or for those transiting onwards. There are Covid-19 related paperwork and testing requirements for these categories of travellers upon entry to France. Further information is available at: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/

Travel from France to Ireland

Public health guidelines continue to apply for anyone arriving in Ireland from a non-green region. For information on arriving in Ireland from abroad, please visit the website of the Irish Government (www.gov.ie) or the Health Service Executive (HSE) www.hse.ie

Security Status

High Degree of Caution

Security Status Last Updated: 21 October 2020 to take effect from 00.00 on 22 October 2020

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19

As of 17th October, France has re-entered a state of Public Health Emergency. As such, there are a range of restrictions in place throughout the country, and you are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities. 

There is currently a curfew in place from 9pm-6am in Paris and a large number of departments across the country. This means you cannot leave your home after 9pm unless you fit one of the exemption criteria as outlined on the Government website. If you fall under an exemption category, you must carry a declaration outlining your cause for being out after 9pm and carry proof of your employment if you are out for work reasons. Information and declaration templates are available on the Ministry of the Interior’s website.

If you are out between 9pm-6am, without due cause and without a declaration, you may be fined €135 and €1,500 if it is a repeat offence. Those who are caught breaking curfew 3 times may face a fine €3,750 and up to 6 months in prison. 

Throughout France, public gatherings are now limited to 6 people, with a strong request to limit private gatherings to 6 people also. It is obligatory for all those over the age of 11 to wear a face mask in all enclosed public places, shared workplaces and on public transport. Public transport and travel between regions is not restricted at this time.

Wearing a face mask in outdoor public spaces is mandatory in Paris and in several other French cities, including Lyon, Lille, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nice, and Toulouse. Failure to comply may result in a fine of €135. If the local epidemiological situation makes it necessary, local authorities in France may adopt further restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus. If you are in France and experiencing covid-19 symptoms, please consult the French government’s website for information and contact details.  

Please refer to https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19 for further information about national restrictions and to your local authority’s website for information on local restrictions in your area.

Additional advice and information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

French government advice on COVID-19 (English)

French government information on Covid-19 (French)

French Health Ministry information on COVID-19 (in French)

French Interior Ministry notice on travel to France (FR/EN)

Paris Airports

General Travel Advice

A number of terrorist incidents have taken place in France in recent years, resulting in widespread casualties. Irish citizens in France should exercise a high degree of caution, be vigilant in public places and follow the instructions of local authorities at all times. See the French government's advice about what to do if a terrorist attack occurs.

Irish citizens in France are reminded that they should be in possession of a valid form of photographic identification such as a passport or passport card at all times.

Any minor travelling without a parent must carry specific documentation. Please find information on travel requirements for unaccompanied minors travelling from France, which applies to Irish citizens ordinarily resident in France at: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1359  

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in France by dialling 112.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

You need a valid passport to visit France and we advise you to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you.

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. Due to ongoing threats to France, the French Government has reinforced its security measures and advised the public to exercise a higher level of vigilance. We advise all citizens to maintain an awareness of their surroundings, remain vigilant and to follow the security advice issued by the French authorities.

As part of the Government's Vigipirate security programme, there’s a highly visible police and army presence in cities and near main tourist attractions. Many museums, galleries and tourist attractions have security screening programmes in place and you may be asked to present your bags for inspection before being admitted.

If you’re travelling by train, make sure your luggage is clearly marked with your name and never leave it unattended. Many left-luggage offices in train stations have been closed for security reasons so try and confirm their availability beforehand or make other arrangements.

Social unrest

The political situation in France is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Strikes, marches and demonstrations often result in confrontation between the demonstrators and the riot police so we recommend that you avoid areas where large-scale demonstrations are taking place.

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in France but you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible

See the latest advice and information in English from the French police on Staying Safe In Paris.

Petty theft

There is a risk of petty crime, such as wallet/handbag theft and pickpocketing, particularly at tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and on the transport systems in the greater Paris area (Métro, RER train, in particular the line B that goes to/from the airports). Since January 2019, there has been an increase in reports of organised groups of young people targeting tourists on the metro. If travelling in Paris, keep a close eye on your personal belongings, and avoid carrying too much cash.

Some overnight inter-city trains have also been targeted by thieves. On metros and trains, take particular care of your belongings when the doors are closing, as opportunistic thieves on the platform have been known to snatch passengers' bags just as the train doors close.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in France, report it to the local police station ‘commissariat’ or gendarmerie immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Paris if you need help.

Transport

Transport

Periodic transport and air traffic control strikes across France have been affecting rail, taxi/Uber and air travel across France as well as Paris metro and bus services. Check with your travel provider or airline for the latest updates. You can find real time information on rail traffic on the SNCF website and on Paris metro and bus systems on the RATP website.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in France, remember that traffic travels on the right. If you’re not used to driving on the right, be extra cautious, particularly at junctions, where traffic coming from the right has priority.

If you want to drive:

•Bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance. You must be at least 18 to drive in France and learner permits are not valid.

•Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught.

•Be aware of France’s traffic laws, such as speed limits. Speed cameras are common and the French police are vigilant.

•Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights.

Air Quality Certificate

The French authorities have announced a new Air Quality Certificate system to classify vehicles based on air pollutant emission levels and is mandatory for all vehicles in Paris, Grenoble and Lyon. The newly-introduced system requires all motorised vehicles to display a Crit'Air sticker - including foreign-registered vehicles. www.certificat-air.gouv.fr

The sticker system has been introduced to reduce the emissions output in larger cities, so on days where certain cities are at risk of reaching their Euro emissions limit, heavily polluting vehicles can be refused entrance based on the Crit'Air sticker they are displaying on the windscreen.

If you are planning to drive in France you can apply online to get the required sticker which will cost €4.80 for foreign registered vehicles. Payment can be made online and the sticker will be posted. Classifications are based on the age of your vehicle and the system applies to all vehicles, cars, motorbikes and trucks. The French authorities advise that motorists driving without the Crit'Air certificate may receive an on-the-spot fine from €68 up to €135.

Driving penalties

Follow the traffic laws carefully as there are stiff penalties for breaking the law. These can range from an on-the-spot fine, to confiscation of your driving licence, to imprisonment (for serious offences such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or negligent driving).

If your licence is confiscated, you won’t be allowed to continue driving and your vehicle will be impounded unless another fully-licensed driver is available to drive it.

Theft from vehicles

This is common, particularly in the south of France, so keep your doors locked, windows rolled up and valuables out of sight while driving and parked. In some tourist areas along the south coast, it’s common to remove the parcel shelf so that potential thieves can see that there’s nothing worth stealing in the boot.

Mobile homes and camper-vans have also been targeted by thieves so make sure you take appropriate steps such as an alarm or using a safety-deposit box to protect your belongings there.

Breathalysers

Since 2012, you’re legally obligated to have a single use breathalyser in your vehicle, (this includes motorcycles). Buy a kit that complies with French regulations and carries the ‘NF’ label. We advise you to carry at least two breathalysers at all times.

Safety equipment

You must carry a red reflective warning triangle and a high-visibility vest in your vehicle at all times. There are frequently police checkpoints at the exits of the major ferry ports to check whether drivers have the required safety equipment, so make sure your vehicle is stocked before you travel to France. If you can’t produce this safety equipment at an accident or breakdown scene or during a police inspection, you could be liable for a fine.

You must display the warning triangle 30 metres from your vehicle in case of a break-down or accident (except in the case of a break-down on a motorway where it’s not safe to walk back 30 metres – in this case, place the triangle a reasonable distance from your vehicle, taking into account safety considerations).

You must carry the high-visibility vest in the main body of your vehicle (not in the boot). You need to wear the vest in case of a break-down at any time and must put it on before you get out of your vehicle.

High traffic season

The traditional French summer holiday periods sees extremely heavy traffic on the weekends of 7 July, 14 July, 4 August, 11 August and 18 August. Allow plenty of extra time and take regular breaks on your journey on these weekends, particularly on routes connecting Paris to the south.

There can be severe traffic jams on the motorways so always make sure you have enough fuel, and refuel regularly, as it may take longer than you think to reach the next service station.

These French websites have colour-coded maps and graphics that can be understood by non-French speakers so they may help you plan your journey:

Incident assistance

Failing to stop and help a third party in difficulty, if you witness an incident (on the road or elsewhere) is an offence in France. If you need to stop on the roadside to help someone, you must put on your high-visibility vest before leaving your own vehicle.

Taxis

You should only use properly licensed and marked taxis. Beware of people claiming to be taxi drivers who often tout for business at the arrivals areas in airports, train stations or at major bus stations – registered taxi drivers are not allowed to solicit business in this way.

Drivers of unlicensed taxis frequently don’t respect rules on fares and, more importantly, will not have undergone security and police checks that are compulsory for registered taxi drivers. There have been recent cases of assaults on foreign tourists by unlicensed taxi drivers so if you’re in any doubt, don’t use the service.

Licensed taxis are marked by a white roof sign and the driver's professional identity card is displayed on the left-hand side of the windscreen. A meter will be visible in the centre of the dashboard and there will be a sticker in the left rear window setting out the main rules governing taxis and fares.

Truck drivers

If you’re a truck driver, make sure you are familiar with French traffic regulations, particularly details on when you can or can’t use the motorways.

Cyclists

Paris and many other cities now have public bicycle-rental schemes. As a cyclist, you’re not allowed to cycle on the footpaths unless a cycle lane is marked as part of the path. Obey all relevant traffic rules and take appropriate safety precautions, particularly if you’re not familiar with cycling on the right-hand side of the road. Avoid cycling if you’re under the influence of alcohol.

All cyclists must wear a high-visibility vest when cycling outside urban areas at night.

Vehicle hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Car sharing

We’re aware of various websites offering car-sharing possibilities but we can’t vouch for the validity of these companies. Any decision to avail of such services is taken at your own risk.

Train

If you’re travelling by train, make sure your luggage is clearly marked with your name and never leave it unattended. Many left-luggage offices in train stations have been closed for security reasons so try and confirm their availability beforehand or make other arrangements.

Some overnight inter-city trains have been targeted by thieves. On metros and trains, take particular care of your belongings when the doors are closing, as opportunistic thieves on the platform have been known to snatch passengers’ bags just as the train doors close.

Eurostar operates from Paris, Lille, Calais and Brussels to London St Pancras. Bookings are through www.eurostar.com or (from within France – premium rates apply) 0892-353539.

You can book trains from within France through www.voyages-sncf.com.

 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties. If you are found in possession of illegal drugs or smuggled goods, you can be held in pre-trial detention for the period of the investigation (which can last for several months or even years). If your vehicle was carrying illegal drugs or smuggled goods, French Customs can impound it for the investigation period.

Buying property in France

If you’re planning to buy property in France, we strongly advise you to consult an independent legal advisor from the beginning of the process. Be aware that as a property owner, you may be liable for annual taxes on the value of your property.

The Embassy cannot advise you on buying property or intervene in property disputes.

Health

Health

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

European Health Insurance Card

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

Apply for your EHIC and find out more information.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.

Aedes Albopictus (Tiger Mosquito)

The Aedes albopictus, more commonly known as tiger mosquito, is present in south-western and south-eastern regions of France, as well as Alsace, Vendée and the Paris metropolitan area. The aedes albopictus is considered capable of carrying diseases such as dengue, zika, chikunguya or West Nile virus. However, the vast majority of cases of these diseases detected in France were contracted outside of the country, with only a very small number of locally-transmitted cases of dengue, West Nile virus and chikunguya detected in southern France. Travellers are encouraged to consider adopting sensible precautions such as using an insect repellent where mosquitos might be present.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you require urgent assistance while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number, 0033(0) 1 44 17 67 00, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox.

This mailbox will be monitored regularly.

Embassy of Ireland
12 ave Foch
75116 Paris
(entrance 4 rue Rude)
France

Tel: +331 44176700
Fax: +331 4417 6750

Monday to Friday 09:30am - 12:00pm

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Pierre Joannon
Honorary Consulate General of Ireland
St. Michel
69, avenue du Roi Albert
La Californie
06400 Cannes
France

Tel: + 33 6 77 69 14 36

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Ole Gregre Bockmann
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Gare Maritime Sud
50100 Cherbourg
France

Tel: + 33 2 33 44 11 11
Fax: + 33 2 33 23 44 40

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr Bruno Boccard
Honorary Consul of Ireland
158 Avenue Roger Salengro
69100 Villeurbanne
Lyon
France

Tel: + 33 6 70 40 14 01
Fax: + 33 4 78 89 64 20

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Kevin McGreevy
Honorary Consul of Ireland
8, rue des Trente-Six Ponts
31400 Toulouse
France

Tel: +33 6 49 73 82 68

Email: Email us