With the Premier League done and dusted (g’wan the Foxes), now there’s only one thing football fans are thinking about: Euro 2016. And, thanks to Shane Long and Jonathan Walters, we’re there too. Even better, it’s in France, so no better excuse for an epic summer road trip. Lads, it’s time to start planning.
Group E games
First up, tickets
Group stage tickets are gone. UEFA are running a ticket exchange enabling ticket buyers to sell-on unwanted tickets at face value. More information can be found here.
Irish Ferries sail from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff twice a week and from Dublin to Cherbourg once a week.
Stena Line also sails from Rosslare to Cherbourg three times a week.
Brittany Ferries sail once a week from Cork to Roscoff.
You could also take your car or camper van on a ferry to the UK and through the Channel Tunnel.
Road tripping in France
Travelling in France is a breeze. All the cities are well connected, by good, fast, well-maintained roads. Most French autoroutes are toll motorways and remember, there will be thousands of others travelling in the same direction as you, so plan accordingly. If you have time, use the more interesting minor roads to discover the real France. You can get more information on non-motorway travel in France here.
Hiring a car?
Baffling rates, confusing fuel and insurance policies and costly penalties: hiring a car in Europe isn’t always straightforward. So if you’ve decided to fly to France and hire a car, here’s a useful guide to hiring a car in Europe, from Liberty Insurance.
Tips for driving in France
- Budget: For parking, fuel and toll roads. Tolls – which you can pay by cash or card – are pricey and you should expect to play about 7-10 cent per kilometre. This goes up by 50% if you have a caravan. Fuel prices are not too much dearer than here. The average price – at the time of writing – for a litre of petrol is 1.28 cent per litre and 1.10 cent for a litre of diesel. You could find that your Irish credit cards are not always accepted at stores or petrol stations in other countries so check before you go.
- Think right: It’s easy to forget to drive on the right, particularly after doing something familiar, such as leaving a petrol station or car park. If in doubt, put an arrow sticker pointing to the right side of the road you should stay on. Place it within your field of vision, but above your eyes.
- Speed limits:
- Built-up areas 50km/h; outside built-up areas 90km/h); 110km/h on urban motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation barrier; 130km/h on motorways.
- Minimum speed limit on motorways is 80km/h.
- In wet weather and for motorists who have held a driving licence for less than three years, lower speed limits apply: 80km/h outside built-up areas, 100km/h on dual carriageways and 110km/h on motorways. French police apply speeding restrictions strictly and if you exceed speed limits you will face heavy on-the-spot fines.
- Sat navs: If yours indicates the location of fixed speed cameras, you must have the ‘fixed speed camera points of interest’ function deactivated.
- Drink driving: Blood alcohol content must not exceed 05% per 100mg. For drivers with less than three years’ experience, this drops to 0.02%. By law you are required to carry a self-test breathalyser when driving in France.
- Must Haves: You must carry your valid full driving licence, your vehicle’s registration document, your motor insurance certificate, a warning triangle and a reflective jacket.
- Headphones and headsets: It is illegal to use any device that is attached to the ear while driving.
- Seat belts: Front and rear seat belts must be worn by occupants if fitted.
- Passengers/children in cars: Children up to the age of 10 must travel in an approved child seat or restraint, adapted to their age and size. Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to travel on the front seat unless there is no rear seat in the vehicle, or the rear seat is already occupied with children under 10, or there are no seat belts.
- Built-up areas: Where you see the sign “priorité a droite” give way to traffic coming from the right.
- Roundabouts: Where you see a sign that reads ‘Vous n’avez pas la priorité’ or ‘Cédez le passage’, traffic on the roundabout has priority; where no such sign exists, traffic entering the roundabout has priority.
- Use of the horn is prohibited in built-up areas, except in cases of immediate danger.
- Security: Don’t leave wallets or expensive gadgets in view at any time, even when you are in the car.
Be aware that laws are strictly enforced. Break them and you could have your licence confiscated and your vehicle temporarily impounded if no alternative driver with a valid licence is available.
Where to stay
Unless you’re one of those “Sure, we’ll just sleep anywhere” fans, and you haven’t booked anywhere yet, try Kuoni, the official accommodation agency for the tournament. You should also check out AirBnB. Don’t rule out camping either, it is a popular pastime in France and you can find more information here.
What’s the security like in France at the moment?
You can find recent travel and security updates from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website here, so check before you go.
Before travelling, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
In case of emergency You can call 112 anywhere in the European Union in case of an accident, assault or any other distress situation. If you need consular assistance while in France, contact the Embassy of Ireland in Paris on 01441 76700 or by email.
Music A good road trip needs good tunes. Here’s a sing-a-long Spotify playlist to download before you go.
Party time There will be designated fan zones in each city with entertainment laid on for the travelling supporters. Expect a carnival atmosphere.
Car insurance If you’re taking your own car, before you go check with your insurance provider to make sure you have the minimum cover you need to drive in France. At Liberty Insurance, all their motor policies give you the minimum cover you need by law to use your car in any EU country, including France, for up to 93 days. Get a car insurance quote in minutes.
Finally, getting to the all important group E games and what to do when you get there: