The summer season has arrived in France and the country is preparing for an influx of visitors to kickstart its tourism and hospitality sectors. This week, France entered its fourth and final phase of its staggered end to lockdown restrictions. The Louvre is welcoming visitors, the Eiffel Tower is preparing to reopen and indoor dining is back. If you're planning to visit France, here's an overview of current restrictions and what you can expect from your trip.
Can I travel to France from the EU?
France has adopted the EU digital COVID-19 certificate which facilitates the return of free movement across the bloc. It's a digital or paper certificate that indicates the holder meets the conditions for travel: is fully vaccinated (the last dose administered at least 14 days before departure), or has recovered from COVID-19, or holds a negative COVID-19 result from a PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel.
If you're coming from an EU country with a good epidemiological situation, that is an area classified green in the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control’s traffic light system, you are not required to present a digital COVID cert to travel to France.
Can I Travel to France from a non-EU Country?
Yes, provided you are traveling from a country with a good epidemiological situation. France uses the EU traffic light system for international visitors, categorizing countries into red, amber and green, depending on the COVID-19 situation there. Under the system, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Lebanon and Israel are among the countries classified as green.
This means that fully vaccinated visitors from these parts of the world are permitted to travel to France without restrictions. They must, however, be fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) including Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (known as Janssen in France). Visitors from green countries who aren't vaccinated must present a negative antigen or PCR result from a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure to France.
The UK is among the countries on the amber list, which means that fully vaccinated travelers can visit but they must also take a pre-travel antigen or PCR test and get a negative result before traveling to France. Without taking a test, vaccinated travelers from amber countries will have to quarantine for seven days upon arrival in France.
Fully vaccinated travelers from red countries including Argentina, Brazil and South Africa, where the virus is circulating widely, are not permitted to enter France for non-essential travel reasons. They can travel for essential reasons if they take a COVID-19 test before traveling and quarantine for seven days. Red country arrivals who aren't vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days if they're traveling to France for essential reasons.
Do children need to be vaccinated to enter France?
No but children between the ages of 11 and 18 must present a negative PCR or antigen test to travel to France.
Can I Get Tested in France?
Many countries, including the US, require passengers to present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their flight home from an international trip. Both PCR and antigen tests are widely available in France. You can find your nearest test center here.
What's Open in France?
France is now in the final stage of its four-stage journey out of lockdown. Nationwide curfew has ended and masks are no longer required outdoors, but you'll still need to have one when entering enclosed public spaces, and on public transport and in crowded outdoor areas.
Local authorities can now decide what restrictions to implement so do check ahead to find out what the local restrictions are in the region you are traveling to because they might be different. Les Landes in the south of France, for example, has delayed moving to the final stage of lockdown until July 6 but generally the situation is coordinated across the country.
Outdoor dining terraces in cafes, restaurants and bars has returned across France, and indoor dining is back at 50% capacity with a limit of six people per table. People can now visit the Louvre as cultural attractions, concert halls, theaters and museums welcome visitors back. The Eiffel Tower, which has been closed since October, will reopen on July 16. Non-essential shops and markets are also open, albeit with guidelines in place.
Source: Lonely Planet