Living in France
Information for Irish citizens living in, have recently moved to, or are intending to move to France and details of Irish organisations in France.
For general information on France, the official website of the French Foreign Ministry contains a wealth of detail in English on moving to France. Information on all aspects of French administration is available on the French citizens' information website
The below information is aimed at Irish citizens who reside in, or intend to reside in France. If you are traveling to France on a short-term basis (for less than three months), please consult our travel advice page.
- Living and working in France
- Travel between Ireland and France
- Irish Groups and Associations in France
Living in France
While care has been taken in preparing the following information, the Embassy of Ireland cannot accept any liability for the information outlined below and citizens are advised to check the websites of the relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information. If you are calling any numbers below from a non-French phone, add +33 and remove the 0 at the start of each number.
- Emergency Services
- Residency and entry requirements
- French administration services
- Employment in France
- Tax in France
- Health care access
- Social security
- Police Records - Extrait de casier judiciaire
- Driving Licences
- Early childcare and school system in France
- International support groups for expatriates
European Emergency number: 112
The 112 number can be dialled all over Europe. In France, they connect you to the service you need.
SAMU (ambulance service and medical emergencies): 15Emergencies SMS: 114
Sapeurs-Pompiers (fire brigade): 18
SOS Médecins – 24/7 tel: 3624 (€0.15/min) www.sosmedecins-france.fr
SOS Œil (ophthalmology/eye treatment) - 33-35 Rue de Chazelles, 75017 Paris tel: 01 47 64 50 88
Paris Centre for Poison – tel: 01 40 05 48 48
Lyon Centre for Poison – tel: 04 72 11 69 11
Marseille Centre for Poison – tel: 04 91 75 25 25 www.centres-antipoison.net
Paris Adult Burns Centre – Hôpital Cochin tel: 01 58 41 41 41/01 42 49 49 49
Paris Child Burns Centre – Hôpital Trousseau tel: 01 44 73 74 75/01 44 73 68 75
Inter-Regional Mediterranean Burns Centre – Hôpital de la Conception tel : 04 91 38 39 38
Dental Emergency 24/7 – Hôpital Pitié-Salpétrière, 75013 tel: 01 42 16 00 00
SOS Psychiatrie (psychiatric assistance)- tel: 01 47 07 24 24
SOS Helpline (English-speaking mental health phone service)- tel: 01 46 21 46 46
www.ars.sante.fr (regional health agencies)
www.lasante.net (online pharmacy)
www.doctolib.fr (online medical appointments)
English-speaking hospitals in Paris:
The American Hospital of Paris,
63, boulevard Victor Hugo,
Tel: 01 46 41 25 25
Hôpital Franco-Britannique – Hertford British Hospital,
3, rue Barbés,
www.british-hospital.org/frTel: 01 46 39 22 22
You should be aware that whilst you are in France, you are legally obliged to carry some form of photographic identification (e.g. passport, passport card, French carte d’identité) with you at all times.
Irish citizens as EU nationals, currently have the right to live, work and travel to and around France without having to register with the French authorities. If you wish, you may apply for a residence permit "carte de séjour" at your local prefecture; this is not obligatory for EU citizens but it may facilitate your dealings with the French administration.
Irish citizens resident in France may be entitled to vote in municipal and European elections. To check your eligibility and to enrol on the electoral registers, please contact your local town hall 'mairie'. In general, you must enrol on the register between 1 September and 31 December of the year preceding the election. Further information can be obtained from your town hall or the Service Public website (in French).
Dual nationals who wish to exercise their right to vote on the basis of their Irish citizenship must ensure that they are registered as Irish citizens with their local town hall (Mairie). You can check your status on the electoral register through the Ministry of the Interior (in French). Any appeals must be made through your local Tribunal judiciaire. More information is available here.
The French Government have websites (some in English) with useful information on living in France. Please use the links below:
www.pole-emploi.fr/accueil (employment welfare agency)
www.securite-sociale.fr (social security)
www.code.travail.gouv.fr (employment rights information)
www.ambafrance.ie (French Embassy in Ireland)
www.alliance-francaise.ie (French language courses)
Various French administrative forms can be found on:
Many employment opportunities in France may be contingent on you having an adequate fluency in French.
You can consult information on the citizens' information website on working and living throughout the European Union.
Pôle Emploi (national employment agency)Pôle emploi is the French employment service. Commercial recruitment agencies do not exist to the same extent as in Ireland and most advertised vacancies are notified to Pôle emploi. The agency's website allows employment seekers to receive information and apply for vacancies. Once in France, you can register at an office of Pôle emploi. There are 1,300 pôle emploi offices throughout France and you can find the one nearest you through the website.
If you wish to seek employment with an Irish company in France or with a French company which does business with Ireland, you can consult the Network Irlande website.
University students looking for work placements during the summer can find useful information on the French-language website of the French ministry of Youth and Sport.
As a resident in France, you may be liable to pay French taxes. The Embassy of Ireland is not competent to advise on tax matters. You may wish to avail of the services of a French tax lawyer or consultant. Medium and large-sized towns will have a Centre des Impôts where you can seek advice on French taxation issues. General information may be found on the French Government’s Welcome to France website in English and also the following websites:
www.impots.gouv.fr (French government site in French)
www.economie.gouv.fr (French government site in French)
Health information for Irish nationals travelling overseas can be found on Citizens Information. It is important to note that your healthcare rights and entitlements under the S1 or EHIC scheme are derived from your status as an ‘insured person’ in the Member State in which you work/worked (i.e where you have made your social contributions, not where you claim citizenship). As personal circumstances vary, the Embassy cannot advise on your eligibility for social security in France. We advise that you contact your local Caisse Primaire d’Assurances Maladie (CPAM) for information related to your healthcare entitlements in France . You can contact the HSE to enquire about your Irish entitlements.
Health Care in France
Medical treatment in France can be expensive. If you are not covered through contributions to the French system or by EU Social Security arrangements with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or S1 form, you should take out sufficient private insurance to cover the full cost of any emergency. If you are covered by the French system or by EU social security arrangements, you will still be liable to pay 20-30% of the cost of treatment. Many people resident in France take out additional private insurance, known as a ‘mutuelle’ to cover this cost.
If you are resident in France but not signed up with the French health insurance system or a ‘Carte Vitale’ holder, you can still avail of health services such as GP or vaccination appointments. You can complete a declaration of honour that you are resident in France and bring this along with your passport to your appointment. We recently teamed up with the Hotel de Ville in Paris to make an informational video on the services available to EU citizens in France.
If you are resident in France but remain an insured person in Ireland (e.g. continuing to pay social security in Ireland), you may be entitled to healthcare via the S1 form. You are advised to contact the HSE Overseas Section for further information. You may also be entitled to claim reimbursement for healthcare received in France via the Cross Border Directive or the Treatment Abroad Scheme. You are advised to research and confirm your eligbility with the HSE in advance. Further information on healthcare in the EU is available on Citizens Information.
If you are employed in France, you will normally be subject to French Social Security legislation and be liable to pay contributions to the French schemes for pensions, sickness (including health care) and unemployment. Your French employer should obtain a Social Security number for you.
Similarly, if you are self-employed in France, you will be subject to French legislation and it is important to contact a Social Security office immediately after your arrival in France. Information on social security and health cover for those who are self-employed in France can be obtained from the site here.
Normally you will be required to show your full original birth certificate in order to join the French Social Security scheme. If you were born in Ireland and require a new copy of your birth certificate, you must apply directly to the General Register Office (GRO), information is available here. Further information on the French Social Security system is available here and the EU social security rights forms can be found on the Europa.eu website
If you have been lawfully resident in France for longer than 3 months and have proof of being on a low income, you can apply to be covered by Universal Health Cover (Couverture Maladie Universelle or CMU). The CMU is a medical health cover scheme designed to ensure a minimum level of Social Security cover for basic medical costs. It is not available to people already insured under another scheme; e.g. if you are in salaried employment, or if you are covered by a student scheme. Please note that recent changes to the CMU may mean that certain categories of EU citizens are no longer eligible for CMU and must take out private medical insurance. Further information is available here
For welfare, sickness benefit and family allowance, your local Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (known as CPAM) and your local Caisse Allocations Familiales (CAF) will assist.
If you have worked in France and would like information on how to prepare for your retirement, please go to this advice page for further information on this subject. General information on availing of state pensions in another EU Member State is available here and here. Students and Healthcare in France
Student employees may be required to contribute to the French Social Security scheme. Those travelling under an exchange scheme may be covered for health care by the exchange authorities. If neither arrangement applies, students who are Irish nationals may be entitled to immediate necessary health treatment provided through the French Social Security scheme under the European Community Social Security regulations, but a European Health Insurance Card issued in Ireland prior to departure will be required.
If you require a Casier judiciaire (a record of any prosecutions and convictions in Ireland), you can contact the local Garda Stations in the area in which the you last resided in Ireland or online. . Addresses of Garda Stations can be found here
If you require a Casier Judiciaire from the French Authorities for a period you resided in France, please see the website of the Casier Judiciaire National. Only the person concerned may request a Casier judiciaire and it is not possible to make a request on behalf of another person.
If you require English-speaking legal services when in France, non-exhaustive lists are available here and here. Alternatively, you can contact the Embassy for details of English speaking lawyers in your region.
All queries regarding renewal of an Irish driving license while in France or documents required to exchange your Irish driving license for a French one (e.g. letter of entitlement or driver statement), should be submitted directly to the Irish National Driver License Service (NDLS). When contacting the NDLS, you must provide your driver number and information regarding a driver will not be shared with or sent to a third party. Information on use of a EU drivers license when in France is available here. French Drivers licenses, or ‘permis de conduires’ are issued by the National Agency for Secure Documents.
The primary school system is divided into two sections. The first section being the Ecole Maternelle from the ages of two-and-half to six. You can enrol your child in a public Maternelle at your local town hall. The next level is Ecole Primaire starting from the ages of six to eleven. Information on the French education system is available here. Public crèches are available, including for infants of pre-maternelle age. You can pre-register a place before the birth of your child.
Age 6-7 Cours Préparatoire (CP)
Age 7-8 Cours Elémentaire 1ere année (CE1)
Age 8-9 Cours Elémentaire 2eme année (CE2)
Age 9-10 Cours Moyen 1ere année (CM1)
Age 10-11 Cours Moyen 2eme année (CM2)
The senior cycle has two divisions: Collège (ages 11-15) and Lycée (ages 15-18)
Age 11-12 6ème
Age 12-13 5ème
Age 13-14 4ème
Age 14-15 3ème
Age 15-16 Seconde
Age 16-17 Première
Age 17-18 Terminale
All registration of children in the French school system is handled directly by your local mairie (town hall). Further information in English is available here. Please find a list of some bilingual private schools in Paris and surrounding area.
In France, public school holidays are as follows:
2 weeks approximately for the Toussaint (October-November)
2 weeks approximately for Christmas/New Year period
2 weeks approximately for the winter break (February-March)
2 weeks approximately for the spring break (April-May)
2 months for summer holidays (July and August)
The dates for the school holidays will vary depending which jurisdictional education academy listed the school is administered by:
Zone A: Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Rennes, Toulouse.
Zone B: Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Besançon, Dijon, Limoges, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Poitiers, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg.
Zone C: Bordeaux, Créteil, Paris, Versailles.
ICS - International Counselling Service
Offers individual, family, couple and group therapy for adults, adolescents and children.
Tel: 01 45 50 26 49
English speaking anonymous crisis line (branch of the Samaritans in France)
Tel: 01 46 21 46 46
MESSAGE Mother Support Group
An English-speaking network for mothers and mothers-to-beliving in the Paris region.
Tel: 01 58 60 00 53-
Website for victims of domestic abuse.
Tel: 116 006
The trust aims to alleviate the financial hardship of repatriating loved ones’ remains to Ireland.
www.fle.fr (French language centres)
Travel between Ireland and France
Aer Lingus, Air France and Ryanair provide services from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to numerous destinations in France. Transavia has a service from Dublin to Paris. There are also flights operated by Aer Arann from Cork, and Flybe and Easyjet from Belfast.
Travel by Rail
French cities such as Paris, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Nimes and Strasbourg benefit from a large variety of rail connections to other European cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Madrid and Milan. It is also possible to travel extensively throughout France by rail.
SNCF is the national train service, including the high-speed TGVintercity trains and TER regional commuter trains. In many large French cities, public transport includes metros, trams and suburban trains.
Travel by Ferry
There are a high number of direct maritime routes between France and Ireland, departing from the ports of Cherbourg, Dunkerque, Saint-Malo and Roscoff and arriving into Dublin, Rosslare and Cork. Some routes are freight-only and do not accept passengers. Please see ferry operators’ websites for up to date timetables:
Driving in France
It is important to ensure that you hold a full and valid Irish or international licence. The minimum driving age in France is 18. Driving in France is on the right and you should familiarise yourself with the French rules of the road. The speed limit is generally 50 km/hr in built up areas, 90 km/hr on main roads and 130 km/hr on motorways. The motorway speed limit reduces to 110 km/hr if the road is wet, for licence-holders of 3 years or less, and for heavy vehicles at all times. Fixed cameras and mobile police patrols carry out speed checks. If found to be speeding, you will be fined and your licence may be confiscated immediately by the police.
Non-EU licence holders are required to have an International Drivers Permit to drive in the EU. It is required by law to carry the following items whilst driving in France: reflective jackets for driver and each additional passenger, warning triangle for vehicles with 4 wheels or more, breathalysers, spare bulbs kit, and headline beam deflectors. Most motorways are subject to tolls. Ensure that you have enough money with you to pay tolls before setting out on your journey, as machine toolbooths do not always accept Irish credit cards.
There are severe penalties in France for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The alcohol limit is 0.25 mg/l. Driving with alcohol in your system can lead to heavy on-the-spot fines, confiscation of your licence and/or imprisonment.
Non-EU registered/insured cars do not benefit from the EU’s automatic third-party motor insurance cover and will need a physical ‘Green Card’ as evidence of insurance. The vehicle’s registration status must be transferred if the stay is over 90 days. A number of French cities have low emission zones. Information on driving in France is available here and here.
Irish Groups and Associations in France
If you have recently moved to France, you may wish to meet with other Irish citizens who are part of a local organisation or business network that can provide you with general advice, information and guidance.
There are many different types of Irish societies and organisations in France including Franco-Irish Friendship societies, as well as Irish music organisations, Irish dancing schools, and Irish and Celtic festivals. Other groups promote Irish sport, film, the Irish language or other events for the community.
Below is a selection of some of these groups and societies. If you wish to add a group to the list, please contact the Embassy. The list provided is for information purposes only. Please note that the Embassy is not responsible for the content of external websites of activities of groups/societies.
Irish Groups and Associations
Irish diaspora group in France
Business and Professional Network
Friendship Societies and Twinning Associations
There are 164 twinning agreements between Ireland and France - a list of participating villages, towns and cities.
Irish Music Associations
GAA Clubs in France
- Ar Gwazi Gouez Rennes GAA
- Entente Gaélique de Haute Bretagne, Liffré
- Gaelic Football Bro Leon, Brest
- Gaelic Football Bro-Sant-Brieg, St-Brieuc
- Gwened Vannes Football Gaélique
- Nantes Don Bosco GAA
- Lorient Gaelic Athletic Club, Lorient
- Kerne Football Gaélique, Quimper
Other clubs in France
- Anjou Gaels
- Clermont Gaels
- Lugdunum Club Loisir Gaélique, Lyon
- Azur Gaels, Valbonne
- Tolosa Gaels, Toulouse
- Burdigaela Gaelic Football, Bordeaux