- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Additional Information
- Local Laws and Customs
- Embassy Contact
General Travel Advice
Irish citizens need a valid passport or passport card to enter France.
Irish passports do not have a minimum validity requirement while travelling to the UK or within the EU. When travelling within Europe with an Irish passport, it should be valid for the duration of your stay.
Irish citizens do not require a visa to enter France.
Visitors to France are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities and stay fully informed of what's going on by monitoring local news and social media. While in France, you must carry photo ID with you at all times.
Citizens can also follow the Embassy in Paris and Consulate in Lyon on social media (Twitter: @IrlEmbParis, @Irlande_Lyon) to ensure access to relevant updates and alerts.
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. Specific emergency numbers are:
- Ambulance: 15
- Police: 17
- Fire brigade: 18
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned 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.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
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.
Since mid-March 2023 there have been on-going spontaneous protests in France. These protests can occur with little notice and some have featured violent confrontation. Travellers to France are advised to monitor the media, avoid demonstrations, and follow the advice of local authorities.
France is currently seeing ongoing co-ordinated strike action affecting transport networks. If you intend on travelling within France remember to stay up to date with information provided by your transport provider.
Always keep yourself informed of what is going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
Minors Travelling Alone
Any minor travelling without a parent must carry specific documentation. Please find here information on travel requirements for unaccompanied minors travelling from France, which applies to Irish citizens ordinarily resident in France.
You can contact the emergency services in France by dialling 112. 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.
There is an ongoing risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. Due to the ongoing threat of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, 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. See the French government's advice about what to do if a terrorist attack occurs.
As part of the Government's Vigipirate security programme, there is 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.
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
- Bring photocopies of your passport when travelling and leave one your accommodation
- 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.
If you are a victim of a crime while in France, report it to the local police station ‘commissariat’ or gendarmerie immediately. Learn more about what to do if your passport is lost/stolen. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Paris if you need help.
The French authorities have recently introduced new regulations regarding unaccompanied minors travelling from France, which applies to citizens ordinarily resident in France. See details here.
If you are planning to drive in France, remember that traffic travels on the right. If you are 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. If your licence is confiscated, you will not be allowed to continue driving and your vehicle will be impounded unless another fully-licensed driver is available to drive it.
- Be aware of and adhere to France’s traffic laws, such as speed limits. Speed cameras are common and the French police are vigilant.
- You are legally obligated to have a single use breathalyser in your vehicle (including motorcycles). We advise you to carry at least two breathalysers that carry the ‘NF’ label and comply with French regulations at all times.
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you are stopped at traffic lights.
- An Air Quality Certificate to classify vehicles based on air pollutant emission levels ad is mandatory for all vehicles in Paris, Grenoble and Lyon. All motorised vehicles (including cars, motorbikes and trucks) must display a Crit'Air sticker - including foreign-registered vehicles. You can apply online and the sticker will be posted. On days where certain cities are at risk of reaching their Euro emissions limit, heavily polluting vehicles may be refused entrance based on the Crit'Air sticker they are displaying on the windscreen. Failure to display a sticker may result in an on the spot fine.
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 is common to remove the parcel shelf so that potential thieves can see that there is nothing worth stealing in the boot.
Mobile homes and camper-vans may also be targeted by thieves so make sure you take appropriate steps such as an alarm or using a safety-deposit box to protect belongings.
You must carry a red reflective warning triangle and a high-visibility vest in your vehicle at all times from the moment you arrive in France. 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. Failure to comply may result in a fine.
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:
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.
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. 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.
If you are a truck driver, make sure you are familiar with French traffic regulations, particularly details on when you can or cannot use the motorways.
Paris and many other cities have public bicycle-rental schemes. As a cyclist, you are 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 are not familiar with cycling on the right-hand side of the road. Avoid cycling if you are under the influence of alcohol.
All cyclists must wear a high-visibility vest when cycling outside urban areas at night.
If you are hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you are 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).
If you are 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.
Please find information here on regulations regarding unaccompanied minors travelling from France, including those ordinarily resident in France.
Local Laws and Customs
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 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.
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.
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.
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
(entrance 4 rue Rude)
Tel: +331 44176700
Fax: +331 4417 6750
Monday to Friday 09:30am - 12:00pm
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Pierre Joannon
Honorary Consulate General of Ireland
69, avenue du Roi Albert
Tel: + 33 6 77 69 14 36
Email: Email us
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Ole Gregre Bockmann
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Gare Maritime Sud
Tel: + 33 2 33 44 11 11
Fax: + 33 2 33 23 44 40
Email: Email us
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Kevin McGreevy
Honorary Consul of Ireland
8, rue des Trente-Six Ponts
Tel: +33 6 49 73 82 68
Email: Email us
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you 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.