Coronavirus COVID-19: the situation in France

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

For recommendations updated in real time concerning measures taken on French territory, consult the Government / Coronavirus Info site. (External link)

Visitors

Following an improvement in the health situation in France and in Europe, and in accordance with the recommendations of the European Commission, as of June 15, France lifted all movement restrictions at its internal European borders (land, air and sea) put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

People from European countries (EU member states as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican) can therefore enter French territory without restrictions related to coronavirus.

In a reciprocal arrangement, visitors from the UK are no longer subject to restrictions, but remain subject to a two-week quarantine upon arrival.

On July 1, France proceeded to a gradual, differentiated opening of the borders outside the Schengen area, dependent on the health situation in the associated countries.

In parallel, to fight against the virus, France set up a reinforced control of flows at its borders on July 25. France has drawn up a list of 16 countries in which the virus is heavily circulating and from which it will not be possible to enter France without a negative test before boarding or on arrival.

• These 16 countries are: South Africa, Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, United States, India, Israel, Kuwait, Madagascar, Oman, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Serbia, Turkey.
• For the United Arab Emirates, United States, Panama and Bahrain, a coronavirus test is mandatory 72 hours before departure. Travellers will be required to show a negative test result before boarding a plane bound for France or they will be denied boarding.
• For the rest of the countries on this list, a coronavirus test is mandatory on arrival, upon exiting the plane.
• Entry into French territory for countries with a high circulation of the virus is only possible in specific situations, such as French nationals and people who live in France.

Additional information on health checks at French borders: FAQ du ministère de l'Intérieur français (External link)

Overseas territories

  • Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint-Barthélémy, Saint-Martin and Reunion: non-urgent travel has been permitted since June 22.

  • On July 11, the state of health emergency and quarantine measures for travellers entering Reunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélémy and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon were lifted.

Before travelling to these islands from mainland France, a negative coronavirus test result from within the last 72 hours is mandatory for all passengers over 11 years of age. A PCR test is performed free of charge in a laboratory on presentation of your flight ticket.

  • French Polynesia: all quarantine measures were lifted on July 15 and borders were reopened to international tourism. All travellers must declare a negative coronavirus test result from within 72 hours before the flight, and present the registration receipt at Etis.pf.

  • New Caledonia: international flights remained suspended until July 31.

  • Guiana and Mayotte remain in the 'orange zone', with the state of health emergency extended until October 30.

Please consult the individual destination or local authority websites for more details.

For more information: Coronavirus - Advice for Foreign Nationals in France from the French Foreign Ministry (External link)

Travel information in the event of cancellations or postponements:
• Air France: https://www.airfrance.fr/FR/en/common/page_flottante/hp/news-air-traffic-air-france.htm
• SNCF: https://www.sncf.com/en/passenger-offer/travel-by-train/coronavirus-our-response (External link)
• Thalys: https://www.thalys.com/fr/fr/situation-sanitaire-coronavirus-mesures-commerciales-exceptionnels (External link)
• Eurostar: https://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/service-information/coronavirus-and-eurostar-service (External link)

Health measures in France

After a period of lockdown from March 17 to May 10, the measures in force at this stage apply to the whole of France, with the exception of Mayotte and Guiana, where the virus is actively circulating.

On July 20, wearing a mask (already mandatory on public transport) was also made mandatory in enclosed public places throughout the country, for anyone aged 11 and over. The places include stations and airports, restaurants, cafés and bars, hotels and other shared accommodation, museums, shops, administrative offices and banks, covered markets, libraries, religious buildings, covered sports establishments, etc. A complete list of places is available on the French government’s website for the Ministry of Solidarity and Health here (External link) (French only).

From July 31, mandatory mask-wearing was extended to places deemed relevant by the prefects of each department, depending on the local pandemic situation. Detailed information is available from the prefectures. Consult the map and updated data on the circulation of Covid-19 in France (External link) on the government website.

In addition, from August 28, wearing a mask is mandatory for pedestrians in all public spaces in Paris, both in the inner suburbs and in the wider departments of Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine and Val-de-Marne, as announced by the Paris prefecture. Cyclists and joggers in Paris are not required to wear a mask.

A fine of 135 euros may be applied in the event of non-compliance with the rules in the places concerned. In the event of a repeat offence within 15 days, the fine will increase to 1,500 euros.

The complete list of these places is available on the website of the French Government's Ministry of Solidarity and Health here (External link) (French only).

  • Wearing a mask is compulsory on all public transport. Passengers should maintain the greatest possible distance between themselves and other passengers or groups with whom they are not travelling. Find out more on the SNCF (External link) and RATP (External link) websites

  • Wearing a mask is compulsory in taxis and rideshares

  • It is possible to travel throughout the country, including overseas territories, for non-essential reasons

  • Parks and gardens, beaches, lakes and other bodies of water are open

  • Major museums and landmarks are open across the country. Wearing a mask to visit is compulsory. Leisure parks and outdoor spaces with a maximum capacity of 5,000 people are open in all zones. Likewise for all theatres and concert halls, subject to strict social distancing rules. Activities involving more than 1,500 people must be properly declared, so that the necessary precautions can be guaranteed.

  • Cinemas, casinos and games halls are open across the country, and summer camps can open their doors in compliance with health protocol

  • Restaurants, cafés and bars are open across the territory in compliance with health protocol (wearing a mask when moving around inside the establishment, tables spaced one metre (roughly 3 feet) apart, and tables for a maximum of 10 people), except in ‘orange zones’

  • Group accommodation (tourist residences, holiday villages, campsites, etc) are open in 'green zones' in compliance with health protocol. At hotels, new health rules are offering customers reassuring reception conditions

  • Individual, team and contact sports are permitted, with preventative measures adapted to the different categories of activities concerned. Combat sports remain prohibited at this stage, to be reviewed before the start of the new school year in September

  • Major festivals, sporting events and gatherings of over 5,000 people are suspended until at least September. Events for up to 5,000 people are permitted in open-air spaces, and in covered spaces subject to fulfilling specific health rules

  • Trade shows, fairs and congresses will be able to resume their activities on September 1 without capacity limitation, but in strict compliance with barrier gestures, including the wearing of a compulsory mask.

  • Nightclubs remain closed until further notice

  • Ferries carrying over 100 passengers are prohibited from calling into ports in Corsica, and from calling into or anchoring in the internal or territorial waters of the French overseas departments and regions (Islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion and French Polynesia) as well as Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Wallis-et-Futuna, unless special authorisation is granted by the representative of the competent State for the community in question. River cruises have been authorized to reopen since July 11. More information here (French).

The epidemiological situation will be reassessed from September 2020 concerning nightclubs and international sea cruises.

FAQs on COVID-19 from the French government (French) (External link)

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

The situation is improving in France, but we must remain cautious. Follow these simple steps 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
  • Wear a mask on public transport, in taxis and in shops where required.