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)

Health measures in France

Local lockdown in Alpes-Maritimes

As of February 26, a curfew is in force at weekends (from 6pm on Fridays to 6am on Mondays) in Alpes-Maritimes, extending from Théoule-sur-Mer to Menton. Travel is prohibited within this area, unless for certain compelling reasons and on condition of showing a certificate.

As of February 23, shops and businesses of over 5,000 square metres, except pharmacies and food stores, are closed throughout the Alpes-Maritimes department. Border controls have also been stepped up.

National curfew

A curfew between 6pm and 6am is currently in place across France.

Leaving home and travelling around is prohibited during curfew hours, under penalty of a fine of €135, and up to €3,750 in the event of a repeat offence.

Public transport is still running in order to meet the needs of key workers, but working from home where possible remains strongly recommended.

All establishments currently authorised to open are required to close to the public at 6pm.

Cultural establishments, as well as bars and restaurants, remain closed.

As of February 1, non-food shops of over 20,000 m² are closed as a precautionary measure. New capacity gauges are also coming into force in all supermarkets and shops.

Travel is therefore prohibited during the curfew period, except in the following cases and upon presentation of a certificate:

  • To go to a place of work, training or exercise;
  • For medical appointments that cannot be provided remotely, or to purchase medication;
  • For compelling family reasons (e.g. to provide assistance to a loved one);
  • Upon judicial or administrative summons;
  • To carry out a public service;
  • For people with disabilities and their caregivers;
  • In rail or air transit for long-distance trips;
  • To take your pet out within a one-kilometre radius of your home.

Authorisation certificates can be downloaded or completed online on the Ministry of the Interior website (External link) . Certificates are also available from the Tous Anti Covid (External link) app.

Inter-regional travel is permitted, but overseas travel remains subject to providing a negative Covid-19 test result less than 72 hours old. Travellers to Corsica are required to provide a signed 'declaration of honour' (sworn statement) to the transport company upon boarding. See further information on Corsica below.

Follow real-time updates on the French government website (External link) .

Openings and closures

The following establishments are open or are permitted to open:

  • Public service counters and banks;
  • All essential and non-essential shops;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Parks, gardens, forests and beaches;
  • Public transport, with a normal level of service;
  • Hotels, for essential business trips only (with restaurants closed, only room service is permitted)
  • Hostels, tourist residences, residential tourist villages, holiday villages and family holiday homes, as well as camping and caravan sites;
  • Food takeaway and delivery services.

The following remain closed:

  • Non-food shops of over 20,000 m²
  • Cinemas, theatres, performance halls and museums;
  • Restaurants, bars and other public hospitality establishments;
  • Sports halls and gymnasiums;
  • Nightclubs and casinos.

Winter sports resorts can receive visitors, but all public on-site facilities and ski lifts remain closed until further notice.

Other measures and restrictions

Wearing a mask is compulsory in enclosed public places throughout the country for anyone aged 11 and over.

The obligation to wear a mask may be extended to places deemed relevant by the prefects of each department, depending on the local health situation. Detailed information is available from the prefectures (External link) . The map and updated data on the spread of Covid-19 in France are available on the French government website (External link) .

A fine of €135 will be charged in the event of non-compliance with wearing a mask in the places concerned, up to €3,750 in the event of a repeat offence.

Wearing a mask is compulsory on public transport. Travellers should ensure that the greatest possible distance is maintained between passengers or groups of passengers not travelling together. More information is available on the SNCF (External link) and RATP (External link) websites.

Wearing a mask is compulsory in taxis and rideshares.

Consult Covid-19 FAQs on the French government website here (External link) .

Travelling to Corsica

A specific system has been put in place for travel to Corsica.

A negative RT-PCR or antigen test result from up to 72 hours before departure is mandatory for all travellers over 11 years old. The latter will have to present a 'declaration of honour' (sworn statement) to the transport company confirming that they have fulfilled the test obligation. In this document, passengers must also certify that they have no symptoms of Covid-19 and that they are not aware of having been in contact with a confirmed case within the 14 days before departure.

The declaration can be downloaded from the Corsica Regional Health Agency website. (External link)

Travelling to French overseas territories and departments

Specific measures are in place for the French overseas departments and territories. Since January 31, travel has only been permitted on compelling grounds.

A negative PCR test result up to 72 hours old must be shown before boarding a flight to these areas.

In line with the curfew-related travel restrictions in France, people travelling to an airport to catch a flight to the overseas territories must be able to present their plane ticket alongside a document justifying this travel.

The Ministry of Overseas Territories encourages travellers to check the website of the prefecture or high commission for the latest restrictions in place overseas.

International travel

Travellers to or from countries outside the European area:

As of January 31, any arrival from or departure to a country outside the European area is prohibited, except for compelling personal or family reasons, emergency health reasons or professional reasons that cannot be postponed. The European area consitutes EU countries, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, the Vatican City and Switzerland.

To attest to one of these compelling reasons, a declaration of honour can be downloaded from the Ministry of the Interior website. (External link) It must be presented to the transport company upon boarding the flight and must be accompanied by the appropriate supporting documents.

Travellers to or from countries within the European area:

All travellers to France aged 11 or over from a country within the European area (EU countries, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, the Vatican City and Switzerland) must present a negative RT-PCR test result from up to 72 hours before departure.

Haulage workers, frontier workers and residents of frontier areas (within a 30km radius of your home) are exempt from this obligation.

On arrival in France, travellers are strongly recommended to self-isolate for seven days, and then take a second RT-PCR test at the end of this period.

Additional information on border health checks are available here (External link) .

Consult the websites of the prefectures or local authorities for more details.

Also visit the website of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (External link) .

What are the preventative actions to take to limit the spread of the virus?

There are simple actions to protect your health and the health of those around you:

  • Wash your hands very regularly;
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow;
  • Use disposable tissues and throw them away;
  • Greet others without shaking hands and avoid hugs;
  • Wear a mask if you feel ill;
  • Wear a mask in enclosed public places, on public transport, in taxis and rideshares, in shops, and in any other places deemed necessary by the prefects of each department depending on the local health situation.