Saturday 7 December 2019

Tips for travelling to France for the Euros. All you need to know

Driving in France
Driving in France

A quick checklist for those heading over to France for Euro 2016.

We’re getting close to the Euro 2016 tournament in France and if you’re planning on heading over to support the boys in green, you’ll most likely have a lot of your journey sorted. Here’s a quick check list of all you need to know about travelling to France for the football.

France is experiencing a politically unsettled period with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets to demonstrate against President Francois Hollande’s enforced labour reforms. There is talk of major strikes hitting the tournament, but it’s worth remembering the French are well used to taking to the streets. The likelihood is that all parties will put their differences behind them by the time Ireland kick off their first match against Sweden in Paris on the 13th of June. 

Ireland are in Group E. The schedule of group games is as follows:

June 13: Ireland v Sweden (Venue: Paris)

June 18: Ireland v Belgium (Venue: Bordeaux)

June 22: Ireland v Italy (Venue: Lille)

Irish fans can expect to see a lot of France with the games very spaced out over the country. Bordeaux is 580km from Paris, while Lille is over 800km from Bordeaux.

Petrol pump
Petrol pump

Petrol shortages

There may be petrol shortages in France, so if you’re driving, you would be advised to fill your tank as often as possible. If you’re heading on a long trip, say from Paris to Bordeaux, fill the tank before you leave Paris, and if possible carry a jerry can of fuel in the boot. Obviously all caution should be taken when carrying fuel on board. However, you’re likely to encounter huge queues at the pumps along the way. The petrol on the motorway forecourts is generally the most expensive, so if you can find a suburban shopping centre with a petrol station in the car park it’s probably your best bet. You can follow which petrol stations are out fuel here.

Travel insurance

Make sure you take out travel insurance before you go. Hopefully you won’t need it at all, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind alone.

European Health Card

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is free and allows you to access the public health care system of the member state you are travelling to. You can apply for one on the HSE website here. If you already have one, make sure it is still in date.

Motorways in France
Motorways in France


You’re driving on the right hand side of the road, so if you’ve never done this before take it easy for the first day or two until you’re comfortable with it. The speed limit is 130kph and the signage on the motorways is blue and very accurate so if you’re Sat Nav is telling you otherwise, you can trust the road signs to get you where you need to go. The tolls are quite expensive so make sure you budget for that (travelling from Paris to Bordeaux is likely to cost about €40).

When entering the toll booth, if travelling by car and not van, and you’ve no load on your roof, make sure you choose the booth for credit card payment as you’ll avoid the huge cash queues and get ahead of the traffic.


Make sure your passport is in date and valid. Scan your passport and send it in an email to someone at home and yourself so you can access it if your passport is lost or stolen and you need to get replacement documents. You are advised to carry your passport on you at all times as you are definitely going got be asked to produce it.

Wine and beer
Wine and beer


Enjoy yourself, but drink responsibly. The French enjoy a tipple as much as anyone, but public drunkenness is most definitely frowned upon. Refrain from carrying alcohol outside of designated fan zones and remember to stay hydrated. The temperatures are set to rise, so drink plenty of water and wear strong UV protective cream. The drink driving limit is the same as in Ireland.

Book accommodation well in advance

Accommodation will be very hard to come by so if you haven’t booked any, you should do so as soon as possible.

Credit Cards

You can pay for almost anything with credit card in France, regardless of the amount, so rather than carrying wads of cash about, depend on your flexible friend.

Train station in Marseille
Train station in Marseille

Travel early

There are likely to be long delays at every turn so when you’re travelling by public transport, set out as early as you can and expect to be left in the queue for longer than you’re used to.

Speak French

Even a few basic phrases will go a long way in France. The French are fiercely proud of their language and almost all of them will expect you to at least make an effort in French. Even just being able to ask for things in French and say please and thank you will help.

Department of Foreign Affairs

Register with the DFA before you go so you can be reached in an emergency.

Follow the Department’s Twitter accounts here, here and here


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