Coronavirus COVID-19: the situation in France

Consult French government recommendations on the travel and health measures in place.

For all government recommendations and information on the measures in place in France, consult the Government / Coronavirus Info site. (External link)

Closure of the Schengen area

• The external borders of the Schengen area and the European Union are closed for 30 days from March 17. Entry into this space for non-residents is therefore prohibited during this period, with limited exceptions. Please consult the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs website for further information: (External link) .

Confinement / lockdown in France

• A confinement or lockdown system was put in place throughout France on March 17 and will remain in place until at least April 15. Travel is prohibited except in the following cases, and only if you have a certificate: (External link)

• Travel between your home and workplace, only where absolutely necessary and if remote work is not an option;
• Travel to purchase essential work-related supplies and basic personal necessities, including free acquisitions (e.g. food distribution) and travel related to the receipt of social benefits and cash withdrawal, in establishments whose activities remain authorised;
• Travel to provide consultations and care that cannot be given remotely or deferred, including the care of patients with long-term health conditions;
• Travel for urgent family reasons, to provide assistance to vulnerable people, or childcare;
• Brief outings – limited to one hour per day and within a maximum radius of one kilometre from your home – either to exercise alone, with members of your household or to meet the needs of pets, and excluding any group sporting activity or proximity to others from outside your household;
• Travel for judicial or administrative summons, such as jury service;
• Travel to participate in missions of public interest at the request of the administrative authority.

Please consult the frequently asked questions about Covid-19 on the government website: (External link)

The penalties for violating confinement are as follows:
• A fixed fine of 135 euros for a first offence;
• A fixed fine of 200 euros in the event of reoffence within 15 days;
• A fine of 3,750 euros, punishable by 6 months in prison, for a third offence within 30 days.

Measures in place since March 15

• The closure of all public places (shops, exhibition centres, museums, bars, restaurants, theatres, discos) except those essential to everyday life, namely pharmacies, food shops, banks, tobacconists and petrol stations, from March 15 until April 15, 2020. From March 24, markets are no longer permitted without special dispensation from the relevant prefecture. Parks and gardens are also closed in Paris until further notice, by order of the Paris City Hall. Note that restaurants and bars can provide takeaway services, and that room service is permitted in hotels.

• Public services will remain active, in particular transport services, but with reduced frequency. Please consult the SNCF and RATP websites: (External link) , (External link) .

• A ban on stopovers of ships carrying over 100 passengers bound for Corsica, and a ban on stopovers or anchoring in the internal and/or territorial waters of overseas departments and regions (namely the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion and French Polynesia) as well as Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Wallis-et-Futuna, unless special dispensation is granted by the state representative for these communities.

• The closure of nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools and universities from March 16 until May 3, 2020 (subject to review).

• Working from home is strongly encouraged from March 16, for all those except key workers.


Foreign nationals currently staying in France are encouraged to contact their embassy, airline and, if applicable, the company organising their trip (tour operator or travel agency).
Information in the event of cancellation or postponement:
• Air France:
• SNCF: (External link)
• Thalys: (External link)
• Eurostar: (External link)

What are the ‘barrier actions’ to be respected in order to limit the spread of coronavirus?

There are simple actions to protect your health and that of those around you:
• Wash your hands very regularly
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow
• Use and dispose of single-use tissues
• Greet without shaking hands and avoid hugging or kissing
• Wear a mask if you are showing symptoms.