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Things you can’t bring into France

By Jean
Reading Time: 3 minutes
things you can't bring into france

Preparing to study abroad in France is an exciting endeavour, but it’s crucial to know what you can and can’t bring into the country. France, like many countries, has strict customs regulations that help maintain safety and legal compliance.

This guide will walk you through the things you can’t bring into France from prohibited items to those subject to controls, ensuring your transition is as smooth as possible.

Understanding French Customs Regulations

Before packing your bags, familiarize yourself with France’s customs laws. The French Customs office strictly regulates the import of goods to prevent illegal substances and harmful materials from entering. Always check the most recent regulations before your journey as rules can change.

Prohibited Items

Certain items are completely banned from entering France. Bringing these items can result in fines, confiscation, or even criminal charges. The most common categories are:

  1. Drugs: Illegal narcotics, including recreational drugs and certain medications without a prescription, are prohibited.
  2. Weapons and Explosives: Firearms, ammunition, and explosives are banned unless you have specific authorizations.
  3. Endangered Species: Products made from endangered animals and plants, protected under CITES, cannot be brought into France.
  4. Counterfeit Goods: Pirated or counterfeit items, including DVDs, CDs, and designer clothing, are illegal.
  5. Meat and Dairy Products: Due to health regulations, you cannot bring meat or dairy products from most non-EU countries.

things you can't bring into france

List of Things You Can’t Bring Into France

Here are examples of items that students might be tempted to bring to France but are prohibited or restricted:

  1. Favourite snacks and food items: Such as salami, pepperoni, or other cured meats from non-EU countries, which are generally banned due to health regulations.
  2. Over-the-counter medications: Popular in their home country but might contain ingredients that are banned or controlled in France.
  3. Self-defense items: Like pepper spray or stun guns, which are considered weapons and are illegal to carry in France without specific authorization.
  4. Decorative plants: Some students might want to bring potted plants or seeds from home to decorate their dorm room, but these can be subject to strict import restrictions to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
  5. Exotic pets: Such as certain reptiles, birds, or small mammals, which might be legal in their home country but are restricted in France due to environmental and health regulations.
    If you want to bring your pet to France, find more info here:

Items Subject to Control

Besides the things you can’t bring into France, some items are not outright banned but require prior authorization or are subject to quantity limits.

  1. Medication: Prescription medications can be brought for personal use but carry them in their original packaging with a doctor’s prescription.
    See how to bring your medication to France here:
  2. Alcohol and Tobacco: There are quantity restrictions on alcohol and tobacco products. Adults can bring limited amounts for personal use.
  3. Cultural Goods: Artworks and antiques considered national treasures must have export permits when leaving their country of origin.
  4. Cash: If you’re carrying more than €10,000, or its equivalent in other currencies, you must declare it to customs.

things you can't bring into france

Packing Tips for International Students

You’ve picked your language school, you’ve booked your flights, there’s just the packing left. It can be a tricky task when you’re moving country whether studying short-term or long-term, so we’ve put together this handy list of what to pack for France. Some are essentials and some are to help with those pangs of home sickness you might feel from time to time.

Find out our top 20 must-haves for moving to France here:

Here are some tips for safe travel:

  • Verify Your Items: Before flying, double-check that none of your belongings are on the prohibited or controlled items lists.
  • Keep Documentation Ready: Have all necessary documents, such as prescriptions and necessary permits, easily accessible for customs checks.
  • Pack Smartly: Label your belongings clearly and keep critical items and documents in your carry-on luggage.

things you can't bring into france

Moving abroad to study is a transformative experience, and understanding what are the things you can’t bring into France is the first step to ensure a hassle-free start. By adhering to customs regulations and preparing appropriately, you ensure a stress-free move and a smooth transition into your new life in France.

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