COVID-19 rules for France

If you are still considering a trip to France this summer we thought we would put together a rundown of the current situation as it applies in France in relation to COVID-19. This is current as of 20 August and we will update this post regularly as new announcements are made.

It is important to note that the situation for travel could change at any time. Other countries have reinstated lock-downs in localised areas to control new outbreaks. There is a possibility that the rules will change while you are away which could impact your holiday or return to your home country. The European Union will review the situation every two weeks and make any changes to the rules if it is necessary.

Travel insurance has been impacted at present so make sure you are aware of the implications of this. In some instances it may be difficult to get a policy.

Face masks are mandatory in all enclosed spaces. In recent days there have been calls to further broaden the wearing of face masks given the increase in case numbers. The wearing of masks is being mandated in cities when you are outdoors in public spaces. It is up to local authorities to determine what happens in their area and as such there is no single rule across the country.

If you are travelling on Air France or Air Corsica you must be wearing a surgical mask. Home-made or fabric masks are not allowed.

Who can travel to France?

The European Union (EU) has published a list of countries that are permitted to travel to the EU. The list will be updated every two weeks. There are no quarantine requirements for the countries on the list on arrival to France.

The list that applies from 8 August is:

All EU member states including Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Merino, Switzerland and Vatican City.

Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

China will be included on the list once EU citizens are granted the same access to China.

Since 15 August people travelling back from France to the UK must self-isolate for a period of 14 days. You can find the current advice on the UK foreign travel advice site.

Citizens of countries not on the list are unable to enter the EU for non-essential reasons. You will find the official statement in the latest press release including details of exemptions.

Be aware that just because your country is allowed into France does not necessarily mean you will be able to travel there. Countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand have either banned non-essential travel completely or have strongly advised against it for their citizens.

Check your government’s travel advisory website before making any plans.

Getting to and from France

For those who are able to travel to France the next concern is the availability of transport both getting to France and within the country once you are there. Remember that face masks are compulsory on all forms of public transport and you will not be able to travel without one. It is your responsibility to bring one with you. Carriers will not provide you with a mask.

Airlines – all airlines that fly to France from within the EU and the UK and Ireland have resumed services although on a reduced schedule. Long-haul flights into Europe are still significantly impacted and may not be flying at all.

Trains – French services are operating across the country but timetables may have changed. Services are operating through the channel tunnel and between other European countries. Again check to see the regularity of services with the operators.

Ferries – services are running generally as normal. Given ferries are used for the transport of goods into Ireland and the UK they have continued to operate on normal schedules.

Current situation in France

The lockdown has generally been lifted in France and most of the country has reopened with necessary measures in place. The list below summarises the current situation:

Masks are mandatory on all public transport. This includes buses, trains, aircraft, ferries, taxis and private hire vehicles.

Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces for example, shops, banks, shopping malls and libraries.

Masks are becoming compulsory in public outdoor spaces in cities across the country.

Many tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and Louvre require visitors to wear a mask.

You can be fined €135 for non-compliance of mask rules.

Bars and restaurants are open with health measures in place.

You can travel freely within France and all restrictions on movement within the country have been lifted.

French workers are still working from home where possible to limit numbers of people on public transport.

Crowds are limited in public spaces.

Visitors are asked to follow the usual hygiene protocols ie. regular hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow etc.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 whilst in France you must self-isolate and call 112. You must not attend doctors or hospitals in person unless advised by French health professionals after calling 112.

Quick facts

The EU has an approved list of countries that may travel to the EU.

The list currently includes:

All EU member states including Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Merino, Switzerland and Vatican City. Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Countries not on the list are unable to travel to the EU for non-essential purposes.

Check the travel restrictions of your own country before making any plans.

Within Europe and between the UK, Ireland and France airlines, trains and ferries are all operating. Schedules are reduced in many cases still.

Long haul flights into France are still significantly impacted and may not be operating at all

Masks are mandatory on all forms of public transport

Major tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower require visitors to wear masks.

The compulsory wearing of masks in all enclosed spaces became effective on Monday 20 July.

France has opened back up but there are restrictions in place for many businesses

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