Travel information France

Soon you will be going on holiday to France. We would like to send you well-prepared, so we have listed some useful information for you. We wish you an enjoyable holiday in 'la douce France'!

On the road
Tolls, environment sticker, refuelling, passport

In France, you pay tolls on major transit routes, as well as for some bridges and viaducts. Current toll rates can be found here: https://www.autoroutes.fr/index.htm?lang=en
Payment can be made in cash or by credit card, without a PIN. You can also buy a toll badge, valid in 4 countries: Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. 

On 1 July 2016, the Crit'Air law came into force in France. This allows French municipalities to establish permanent and temporary environmental zones. Within an environmental zone, all cars, including foreign vehicles, must have a Crit'Air. The environmental sticker can only be ordered on the official Crit'Air website https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/ Delivery time is about 10 days. The cost is €4.61 including shipping to Ireland. €3.11 + €1.50 postage outside France (i.e. €4.61 per vehicle)

Current fuel prices: https://www.prix-carburants.gouv.fr/
Fuelling on the motorway is always a lot more expensive than along ordinary roads. Fuelling at the big supermarkets is generally the least expensive.

France has limited charging points for electric cars but the network has expanded enormously recently.  Charging points along the way can be found on this route planner: https://abetterrouteplanner.com/

It is compulsory to have a warning triangle and a safety vest in all vehicles.

Are you going by plane and renting a car? The Irish driving license is valid in France, The driver must often be at least 21 years old and have had a driving license for at least 1 or 2 years. Only a credit card (with PIN) in the name of the main driver can be used to rent a car.

Black Saturday in 2024 is on July 20 and 27 and Aug. 3 and 10.

If you want to stay overnight on the road, there are numerous cheap hotels along the motorway. Some chains include Formule1, Kyriad, Etap, Première Classe or Ibis Styles.

Food & Drink
Groceries and eating out

Tap water in France is generally safe to drink. If a tap is labeled Eau non potable (no drinking water), it is then better to drink bottled water.

In France, bakeries and butchers open sometime between 7:00 and 8:00. Around lunchtime, they are closed for a few hours and then they are open until around 19:00. Many bakeries are also open on Sunday mornings. On Mondays, many shops are closed. The big supermarkets are open every day, all day, and often into the evening, They are often found just outside the cities, and apart from food, they sell everything from books to washing machines. Well-known supermarkets include Leclerc, Auchan, Intermarché, and Carrefour, but in France, you will also find Lidl and Aldi. Prices are about the same as in Ireland. Cigarettes and medicines are not for sale in supermarkets.

If you eat out at the campsite, you can often go early. If you go out to a restaurant outside the campsite, bear in mind that there is often no one there before 19:00.  Eating out is cheaper than in Ireland. You can have a simple 3-course menu for around € 15. Check the menu or the bill: if it says Service compris, the tip is already included.

Health
Healthcare

French healthcare is of good quality.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to necessary medical care in case of illness or accident during a temporary stay in France. It is often not necessary to advance any healthcare costs yourself. You will find the personal EHIC on the back of your health insurance card or in their app.

The pharmacy is the place to go for all kinds of medicine and self-care products. French doctors are always very generous in dispensing medicines.

In case of hospitalisation or when medical-specialist care is required, it is best to contact your insurance company directly.

No COVID-19 measures currently apply in France. There is also no need to get vaccinations.

Weather & Climate
Weather in France

France is a large country with great geographical differences. As a result, there are diverse climates.

  • On the Atlantic coast, the climate is similar to Ireland: summers can be quite warm and winters mild.

  • Inland, average temperatures can be quite high. The sun shows itself frequently, but this can be followed by unstable weather.

  • The eastern half has more of a continental climate. It can cool down considerably in the evening.

  • The southeast has a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and sunny with occasional thunderstorms.

  • In the south, the mistral or tramontana regularly blows. These winds usually blow for about three days at a time. They are dry, cold, and have strong winds.

  • Forest fires can occur in the south of France and on the island of Corsica. Especially during long dry periods in the summer months.

  • In addition to the well-known apps for weather and climate (Weather forecast, Daily Weather), meteofrance provides extensive weather info (in French).


Language & Payment
Bonnes vacances!

With Google translate you will of course go a long way, but it is also nice to know some phrases.   We'll help you on your way:

HelloBonjour
GoodbyeAu revoir
Yes / NoOui/Non
PleaseS'il vous plaît
Thank youMerci
SorryPardon
What is your name?Comment vous appelez-vous?
I am / my name isJe m'appelle..
I do not speak FrenchJe ne parle pas français
Ik begrijp het nietJe ne comprends pas
I don't understand
Quelle heure est-il?
How much does this cost?C'est combien?
Where is the restaurant/bar?Où est le restaurant/bar?
Where is the nearest bank?
Où est la banque la plus proche?
Where is the swimming pool?Où se trouve la piscine?
Do you accept credit cards?Acceptez-vous les cartes de crédit?
Leftà gauche
Rightà droite
Stop!Arrêtez !
Straight aheadTout droit
Can I see the menu?
La carte, s'il vous plaît.
I would like a beer/glass of white wine/glass of red wine
Je voudrais une bière/un verre de vin blanc/un verre de vin rouge, s'il vous plait
Cheers / Sláinte  
Santé !
Can I have the bill please?
L'addition, s'il vous plaît
Where is the toilet?
Où sont les toilettes?
Where is the hospital?
Où est l'hopital?
Waar is de apotheek?Où est la pharmacie?
Waar kan ik een tandarts vinden?Où est le dentiste?


In France, as in Ireland, you pay with the euro. The price level is about the same as in Ireland. You can pay with your normal debit or credit card almost everywhere. There are more ATMs in France than in Ireland. Please note that withdrawing money with a credit card is usually not free of charge.

Other useful info
Good to know
  • When traveling to France, you will need a valid passport or ID card with which to identify yourself. You will not need it to cross the border.

  • Sockets in your accommodation may not be the same in France as in Ireland.
    In France, there are two associated plug types, types C and E. Plug type C is the plug that has two round pins and plug type E is the plug that has two round pins and a hole for the socket's male earthing pin. France operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

    It may be handy to bring 2 pin domestic Euro conversion plug.

    Important public holidays in France:

Easter Sunday
Pâques
Mar 31
Easter Monday
Lundi de Pâques
April 1
Labour Day  
Fête de travail
May 1 
Liberation Day
Le jour de la libération
May 8
Ascension Day
Jour de l’Ascension
May 9
Pentecost  
Pentecôte
May 19
Pentecost Monday
Lundi de Pentecôte
May 20
Bastille Day
Quatorze juillet 
July 14
Assumption Day
Marie l’Assomption
Aug 15
All Saints' Day
Toussaint
Nov 1
Remembrance Day 
Jour de l’Armistice
Nov 11


  • France is a dog-friendly country, but not all dogs are allowed. You will need an EU pet passport for your dog or cat, available from your vet. Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before traveling. The compulsory chip must be inserted before the rabies vaccination (may be done on the same day). More information can be found here.

  • The center of France is 1 hour ahead of the center of Ireland. We are using the Europe/Dublin and Europe/Paris time zones.  

  • Are you traveling alone with a minor child, for example, because you are divorced? Or are you taking a friend of your child with you? Then you must be able to prove that you have permission from the parent(s). You can do this with a permission slip.

  • Put the phone number of a contact person in case of emergency as an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number in your phone. 

  • Black Saturdays: In 2023, Black Saturday will be on Aug. 5. The weekends before and after are also very busy.

  • Tip: before departure, photograph your passport/ID, insurance card, bank card, emergency numbers, and other important items. Mail or app them to yourself or other travel companions, so you can still have important data to hand in case of loss or theft.

10 tourist sights of France

Mont Saint-Michel

Les Gorges du Verdon

Intercommunal Toursit Office Lacs et Gorges du Verdon
Place Martin Bidouré, 83630 Aups

Website: https://www.lacs-gorges-verdon.fr/
https://goo.gl/maps/2A8BSgSDv5y1wZqr8

Château Chambord

41250 Chambord
Loir-et-Cher, Centre-Val-de-Loire

Website: https://www.chambord.org/en
https://goo.gl/maps/Hch8c63oSB1v64Jf9

Mont Blanc

Dune du Pilat

La Grande Dune du Pilat
Route de Biscarrosse (RD 218)
33115 Pyla-sur-Mer

Website: https://www.dunedupilat.com
https://goo.gl/maps/s9wx5kSveLEYSUfm7



Pont du Gard

400 Rte du Pont du Gard
30210 Vers-Pont-du-Gard
Website: https://www.pontdugard.fr/en
https://goo.gl/maps/K8zEDxX8r5GB6Ktd6

Carcassonne

Paris

St. Tropez

Alignements de Carnac

Alignements de Carnac
LIeu-dit le Ménec, 56340 Carnac  

Website: https://www.menhirs-carnac.fr/en/
https://goo.gl/maps/VHN7LkxPuzgZViHN7

Disclaimer: The information on this page has been carefully compiled. However, we do not accept any liability for incorrect or incomplete information. The links we use to other websites are for informational purposes only. These websites are not maintained by us,