What to expect when travelling to France this year post-COVID

If you are planning a trip to France in the near future then do expect rules and measures to be in place to keep everyone as safe as possible whilst they are there. We’ve put together a little FAQ to offer help and advice should France be on the agenda in 2021.

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Is France on the green list?

Currently, France is not on the green list, instead, it is deemed an amber country. Whilst there are no fines or penalties for visiting a destination on this list, it has been advised by The Department of Transport that people “should not be travelling to ‘amber’ and ‘red’ countries for leisure.”

The list is due to be reviewed every three weeks, so just because somewhere isn’t currently deemed a green country, it doesn’t mean it will remain this way.

If you are travelling to France, or any amber country, then upon your arrival home you will have to isolate for 10 days. In addition, you will be required to get a PCR test on days two and eight. You are still eligible to use the test-to-release system on day five, which would mean, should you have a negative result, then you no longer need to quarantine.

What are the entry requirements to get into France?

If you are arriving from the UK then you will not have to provide an essential reason to enter France. This is the case for all air, car, ferry and train passengers. You will need to complete a ‘sworn statement (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying that you have no coronavirus symptoms and have not been around anyone with a confirmed case in the last two weeks. You can find this form on the French government’s website.

What tests do you need to travel to France?

You will need a negative PCR Covid-19 test result, taken less than 72 hours before departure in order to be let into France. This includes children aged 11 and above.

Do keep in mind that you should not be using the NHS testing service when getting tested to go on holiday. We understand that private tests can be expensive, which is why we have teamed up with RightAngled, who provide at-home Covid-19 tests and ensure you have your results within 24 hours of the test arriving at the lab. Just visit their site and purchase the test with discount code ‘TIFCOVID15’ to save 15%.

Do I need to self-isolate when I get to France?

When you arrive in France from the UK, you will be required to self-isolate for seven days upon your arrival, before taking another PCR test. In order to no longer isolate, this test must come back as negative.

For this reason, France may not be the best destination to visit at the moment, unless you are visiting France for an extended period of time.

Will any shops or restaurants be open at the airport?

Depending on which UK airport you’re departing from, different shops and restaurants will be open. According to both Heathrow and Gatwick’s websites, limited shops are open and food is available for takeaway only, however, given the change in rules and that we are now allowed to eat inside as of the 17th May, this may have changed. Our advice is to keep checking the website to see if they update their information

Some shops and eateries are open in French airports, for example, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport has a range of designer stores, pharmacies and coffee shops open for passengers. This being said, it’s best just to check the website of the airports you are departing and arriving at for a full list of what is and isn’t available.

What measures are in place at the airport?

You are required to wear a mask at all times whilst in the airport, unless you have a respiratory condition.

On departure and arrival, airlines have set up temperature-taking systems and if you’re above 38°C you may be boarding denied.

When you arrive in France, depending on the airport, thermal cameras may be used to take your temperature in the baggage delivery room. If your temperature is high, you will be offered medical treatment and if a doctor feels it is necessary, then you may be asked to carry out a PCR test.

Do I need to wear a mask on the plane?

Unless you have a respiratory condition, then yes you must wear a mask at all times whilst you are on the plane. Surgical masks are the only masks allowed on the plane. If you do forget to bring it, you’re sure to find some in the terminal that you can purchase.

What is the current covid-19 situation in France?

The health situation in France is currently deemed as severe. The daily numbers are still considerably high, and the FCDO has advised against all but essential travel to the whole of France based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

Is there a curfew in France for visitors?

There is a national curfew in place from 9pm to 6am, during which time you would be an attestation (self-certified document) in order to leave your accommodation.

Are restaurants and bars open?

After a six-month shutdown, France has now reopened its restaurants for outdoor dining only. Bear in mind, there is a 9pm curfew, so booking in advance is advised to avoid disappointment.

While bars and restaurants are open to the public, they are not allowed to exceed more than 50% of their usual capacity. 

Indoor service is expected to resume at half-capacity on the 9th June.

Are shops open in France?

Non-essential shops including shopping centres are now open in France, with an eight square metre rule applying per visitor.

Covered markets must also provide 8 square metres of space for each shopper while open-air markets must provide 4 square metres.

Limits on the number of customers inside shops are set to be lifted entirely on the 30th June.

Are attractions open in France?

Cinemas, theatres, museums and sports venues are now open again to visitors. However, they will have to stick to 35% capacity and a maximum of 800 people indoors and 1000 outdoors. So again, make sure you book where you can in advance.

Do I have to wear a mask at all times in France?

Masks are compulsory in all indoor spaces in France, and in many towns and cities from August 2020, it became mandatory to wear them outside also.

It remains a requirement in most larger cities and towns and breaking the rules could get you a €135 fine.

This being said, some places in France are beginning to loosen the requirements on wearing a mask outdoors. A prefectoral decree active in Reims, Tinqueux, Cormontreuil and Betheny ended on May 3rd. The Alpes-Maritimes département, which includes Nice, relaxed the rule to wear masks on the beach, along the coast and in green spaces on May 4th.

France currently is not the most ideal place to go on holiday, however, in the coming months, this could change. Given that the FCDO has advised against travel for leisure, this could affect your travel insurance and whether or not you are covered.

There are countries on the green list that are safer and ideal for those who are after a holiday. To see the list, click here.

At Holidaysafe, we offer enhanced coronavirus cover, providing you with additional protection including cancellation cover if you test positive for covid-19 before you travel and cover should your airline go into administration because of the pandemic. To find out more and see the full list of covid-19 cover available, then click here.

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Information correct at the time of writing and publishing this article 20th May 2021.

*Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices. This code entitles you to an additional 5% off your policy, and is a discount from the base price, not including the additional cost of optional extensions or any additional medical premium.