Travel Information Paris

Tips & Information

You will soon be going on holiday in the Paris area. We would like to send you well-prepared, so we have listed some useful information for you. We wish you an enjoyable holiday in and around Paris, 'La Ville Lumière' (The City of Light), also known as the City of Love.



En route in France
Tolls, environment sticker and refuelling

In France, you pay tolls on major transit routes, as well as for some bridges and viaducts. Current toll rates can be found here.

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 the UK. €3.11 + €1.50 postage outside France (i.e. €4.61 per vehicle)

Driving on the Périphérique in Paris is allowed without a Crit'Air sticker. The Périphérique falls outside the environmental zone (Zone à Faibles Émissions, ZFE) where Crit'Air regulations apply. This means you can use the Paris Ring Road without the required environmental sticker, regardless of your vehicle's emission class. However, if you plan to leave the Périphérique and enter the city centre or other parts of the city that do fall under the ZFE, you should make sure you have the correct Crit'Air sticker and comply with local emissions regulations to avoid fines.

For optimal driving on the Périphérique in Paris, choose the middle lane to stay flexible for merging and exiting traffic. Pay close attention to traffic signs: they indicate upcoming exits, but decision moments can come quickly. Start lining up in time for your exit to avoid hectic last-minute maneuvers. Traffic is most intense during rush hours; try to avoid these times or prepare for slower traffic and frequent lane changes. By planning your route and consulting current traffic information, you can bypass busy sections and optimise your journey time.

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.

Weather & Climate
Weather around Paris

Paris has a temperate maritime climate. This climate type is characterised by four seasons, moderate winters, and summers in which maximum temperatures are somewhat tempered.

From September to June, temperatures are fine for strolling around the city. Winter is generally not very cold, and otherwise, the many museums offer a great opportunity to warm up. In spring and autumn, showers are possible.

Going for a terrace is best during June to September with maximum temperatures around 22 to 27 degrees Celsius.

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
I don't understand
Je ne comprends pas
What time is it? 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?
Where is the pharmacy?Où est la pharmacie?
Where is the dentist?Où est le dentiste?


In France, you pay with the euro.  You can pay with your normal debit or credit card almost everywhere. There are many ATMs in France.  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.

  • Sockets in your accommodation may not be the same in France as in the UK.
    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
March 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
August 15
All Saints' Day
Toussaint
November 1
Remembrance Day
Jour de l’Armistice
November 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.

  • France is in a time zone that's one hour ahead of the UK.  We are using the Europe/London 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. 

  • 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 attractions in and around Paris

Eiffel Tower

Take the stairs or the lift and enjoy the stunning views of Paris from the first or second floor, or even from the top at 276 metres high! There are restaurants on the 1st and 2nd floors. Book tickets on time, otherwise you will have a long queue. Every evening on the hour, the Eiffel Tower is illuminated with a light show lasting a few minutes.


Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris is an impressive monument in the middle of Place Charles de Gaulle, at the end of the famous Champs-Élysées. The arch was built in honour of the soldiers who fought for France. Climb to the top for a great view. It is especially special on 14 July, France's bank holiday, when a large military parade passes under it.  

Notre Dame

Located in the heart of Paris on the Île de la Cité, Notre Dame is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. Known for its beautiful stained-glass windows and ornate architecture, this impressive Gothic church dates back to the 12th century. Although badly damaged by a fire in 2019, Notre Dame is still a symbol of French history. It is scheduled to reopen in 2024.

Palace of Versailles

A World Heritage Site since 1979, the Palace of Versailles is one of the highlights of French 17th-century art. The palace has as many as 2,300 rooms. This majestic palace is famous for its luxurious halls, including the Hall of Mirrors. The vast gardens are a wonder in themselves, with ornate fountains and perfectly maintained paths, they reflect the grandeur of the French court. 

Montparnasse Tower

The Montparnasse Tower has the fastest lift in Europe. From Paris' highest terrace, admire a 360-degree panoramic view that will take your breath away. An unforgettable experience, you can see the Eiffel Tower and other historical monuments from the air. A must-visit for unparalleled views of the City of Lights.

Disneyland Paris

Immerse yourself in a fantastic world full of magic and visit the 5 themed lands of Disneyland Park. Feel the fairytale atmosphere around Sleeping Beauty Castle and experience Disney magic in the attractions, parades, and restaurants. At Walt Disney Studios Park, dive into the heart of the action and play your starring role. 

The Louvre

The Louvre in Paris is a globally renowned museum, famous for its art collection, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. This huge museum was once a royal palace and is notable for its glass pyramid at the entrance. There are many different sections, including mummies.

Cruise on the Seine

A great activity to get to know the city from a different angle, and what's more, children often enjoy it too. For example, get on at the Eiffel Tower and cruise past Notre Dame, the Louvre, and Place de La Concorde. Cruises are available for as short as one hour. 

Sacré-Cœur & Montmartre

Visit Paris' Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre to experience the breathtaking views of the city and soak up the artistic atmosphere. Stroll through the charming streets, admire the white basilica that proudly watches over Paris, and discover the place where artists like Picasso and Van Gogh found inspiration.  

Père Lachaise Cemeter

Père-Lachaise Cemetery is a place of peace and beauty. Stroll along the picturesque paths, surrounded by impressive tombstones and lush greenery. Discover the final resting places of legendary figures such as Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde. This is not just a cemetery, but an open-air museum full of art, history, and stories waiting to be discovered.

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 information purposes only. These websites are not maintained, checked or approved by us. As a traveller, you are responsible for having the correct (border) documents for your holiday. We recommend that you check the latest info with the appropriate authorities just before your holiday.