Unlocking the World

Traveling to France during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 25th January 2021
Provence, France
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on January 25.
(CNN) — If you're planning a trip to France, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

France has some of the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions in the world. Although it reopened to visitors over the summer, it went back into full lockdown during November and is only tentatively emerging now. Arrivals are limited to residents of the European Union and those who fulfil the French government's exemption criteria.

What's on offer

Paris's perfect, historic boulevards, the fashionable sweep of La Croisette in Cannes and the rolling lavender fields and vineyards of Provence. France remains one of the world's most enduring tourist destinations.
With superb food, even better wine and landscapes and cities to satisfy every kind of traveler, it never disappoints.

Who can go

Those arriving from European Union countries, as well as those from Australia, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Rwanda, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Thailand can enter France without any restrictions. French nationals and permanent residents may return from any country. Arrivals from the UK are currently restricted, thanks to the new variant.
Those arriving from other countries must meet strict exemption criteria, complete a sworn declaration that they do not have any Covid-19 symptoms and have an exempted international movement certificate. These are available from the French Interior Ministry.

What are the restrictions?

As of January 24, anyone arriving in France from the EU by air or sea must provide a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure.
Although this rule does not apply to those entering from an EU country via land, inbound travelers must still abide by France's strict rules on movement.
Those coming to France from any other countries for an essential purpose are also required to provide a negative test result taken within 72 hours of departure.
Once they've entered, travelers must spend seven days in quarantine before undergoing a second PCR test.

What's the Covid situation?

France has been one of the hardest hit countries in Europe, suffering over three million cases and 70,000 deaths as of January 21. However, the numbers are far lower than they were in early November, when more than 86,000 cases were reported in a single day. In late December, case numbers fell to under 9,000 a day. But they've since increased again, with 26,877 new cases reported on January 21. The situation remains critical, with ongoing concerns about hospital capacity.
France relaunched its test and trace app in October. TousAntiCovid is available for iPhone and Android devices.

What can visitors expect?

France has brought back many of the tough measures which marked out its first lockdown in early 2020. A nationwide nightly curfew from 6 p.m to 6 a.m came into effect on January 16. Bars, gyms, museums and theaters are closed, although shops and libraries are now open. Masks must be worn at all times on public transport and in enclosed public spaces. Although ski lifts were expected to reopen by the end of January, the French government announced on January 21 that they will remain closed to the public for the time being.

Useful links

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