France has some of the toughest Covid-19 restrictions in the world. Although it reopened to visitors in the summer of 2020, the country has been locked out twice since then and is now in the process of reopening provisionally after a less restrictive third lockdown.
What’s on offer
The historic boulevards of Paris, the fashionable sweep of La Croisette in Cannes and the rolling lavender fields and vineyards of Provence. France remains one of the most sustainable tourist destinations in the world.
With delicious food, even better wine, and landscapes and cities to satisfy all types of travelers, it never disappoints.
Who can go
From March 12, travelers arriving from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom, as well as EU countries, can enter provided that they submit a negative result to the Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and a statement that they have no symptoms of Covid.
Cross-border commuters are exempt from the mandatory test requirement.
Currently, those from all other countries outside the EU must have a “compelling” medical, family or professional reason for their visit.
From June 9, these restrictions will be relaxed for travelers from outside the EU provided they have a “health pass,” according to President Macron.
No details on the specifications of this pass have yet been clarified, but it is likely that it is a vaccine certificate and / or a negative PCR test.
What are the restrictions?
Travelers entering France from countries outside the EU for compelling reasons are asked to spend seven days in quarantine at a location of their choice.
The list has been expanded to include other family situations so that couples and parents separated between France and another country can travel to visit each other and / or their children.
As noted above, these restrictions are due to be relaxed on June 9.
People arriving from French Guiana, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Arab Emirates are required to present a negative PCR test carried out at least 36 hours before travel and subject to a 10-day quarantine.
What is the Covid situation?
France is one of the hardest hit countries in Europe, with more than 5.9 million cases and nearly 108,000 deaths as of May 13.
Cases exploded earlier in the year, with 117,900 new cases reported on April 11. But the numbers have dropped significantly since then, with 19,461 cases reported on May 13.
However, the situation remains critical, with lingering concerns about hospital capacity.
Authorities have stepped up the vaccination campaign in France in response to the latest increase in cases. On April 6, the Stade de France, the largest stadium in the country, was converted into a huge vaccination center, and at least 39 similar centers are expected to open in the coming days. More than 28 million doses of vaccination have been administered in the country as of May 13.
France relaunched its test and trace application in October. TousAntiCovid is available for iPhone and Android devices.
What can visitors expect?
France again went into national lockdown on April 3 due to a sharp increase in coronavirus cases.
However, President Macron has since established a roadmap to ease restrictions in the country with caution, and some measures have already been lifted.
Domestic travel restrictions were lifted on May 3, meaning residents are now allowed to travel to the country again.
The nationwide nighttime curfew, which went into effect on January 16 and now runs from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., will be reduced from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. starting May 19.
Elementary schools and nurseries reopened on April 26 after being closed for three weeks, while high school students returned to classroom lessons on May 3.
Starting May 19, outdoor restaurants, cafes and terraces will reopen for outdoor service, with a maximum of six people per table, and non-essential stores will also reopen.
Spectators will be allowed to enter the arenas on the same date, and museums, monuments, theaters, auditoriums with a seated audience are allowed to reopen with a maximum capacity of 800 people indoors and 1000 outdoors.
Gyms can reopen from June 9, while indoor dining will resume in restaurants and cafes, with no more than six diners per group.
At this point, a “health pass” will be put in place for people attending stadiums and major events, as well as for international tourists visiting France. The exact details of this pass have not yet been specified.
The curfew, which is due to be pushed back to 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. from June 9, will be completely lifted on June 30.
Masks must be worn at all times on public transport and in closed public spaces.
Official website of the French government
Advice for foreign nationals planning trips to France
All Anti Covid application
Covid-19 official advice
Our last blanket
Learn more about how France imposed new Covid-19 restrictions and how feminist street art is becoming mainstream in Paris.
In other developments, the European country has passed a law protecting the “sensory heritage” of its rural areas, and its future for sleeper trains looks bright.
Want to know what it feels like to try to become French? CNN’s Channon Hodge made a comeback in 2008.