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Back to France after COVID-19 Lockdown: What to Know Before You Go

Posted on March 23, 2022 by Gillian Thornton
Senior couple waiting at airport wearing face masks

Thousands of British Francophiles are heading back to their favourite country this summer as travel gets back to pre-COVID levels. 

So, if you are planning on heading to France, what do you need to know?

Keep in the know

The latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) on travel for UK Citizens can be found on the FCDO’s website

For the latest official information from the French government, log on to the website for the French Embassy in the UK, who pull together all the latest information and updates on quarantine and safety measures.

France entry requirements

For travellers aged 18 and over, France will recognise you as fully vaccinated if you completed your initial vaccine course within the last 9 months. If you were vaccinated over 9 months ago and have not since received a COVID-19 vaccine booster, you must follow the rules for unvaccinated passengers to enter France.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated must provide a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours, or an antigen test result taken within 48 hours pre-departure.

Further details on entry requirements can be found on the FCDO’s website.

Health measures

Make sure you are aware of all the health and safety measures in France.

At the moment, French regulations state that face masks are mandatory on public transport and in all health establishments. Anyone caught without a mask in these areas faces a fine of €135 (around £120), so make sure you pack a supply of masks for your trip. 

Channel Tunnel crossing between France and England

Travel beneath the Channel

The big advantage of visiting France is that you can travel in your own car, either through the Channel Tunnel or by ferry, but unsurprisingly there are new rules here too.

Eurotunnel passengers must remain in their own car for the 35-minute undersea journey, to keep contact with other people to an absolute minimum.

Terminal buildings are now open with limited shops and services available including toilets, but you will need to wear a face mask in both the Folkestone and Calais terminals. Toilets are available in the terminals and the boarding lanes, but are closed on board the Shuttle.

Pets can still travel so long as they have a valid pet passport. The pet reception area in Calais is now open again too, so you can exercise your dog before boarding the Shuttle. 

If you’re concerned about last-minute health issues or border closures, the Standard Refundable Ticket option means you will receive a full refund, should you need to cancel for any reason.

Sail across the sea

Brittany Ferries operate ferries from Portsmouth, Plymouth, Cork and Rosslare to ports in both Normandy and Brittany, including a number of overnight sailings.

Passengers need to wear masks at all times and are instructed when to leave their car to ensure social distancing on stairwells. 

Also operating to France on the short Channel route from Dover to Calais is P&O Ferries.

Safety measures against coronavirus include no unwrapped food items, plenty of hand sanitiser stations, and social distancing measures. Club Lounges are open as is the popular Mini Cruise programme.

Pei Pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris France

Visitor attractions in France

Most major attractions are now open with strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place. If you have set your heart on visiting a particular museum or theme park, be sure to do your research before you travel. Expect limited capacity and allow more time to take your turn.

Above all, book ahead online to avoid disappointment. This is the current situation at a few popular choices:

Gillian Thornton

by Gillian Thornton

A member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, she is an award-winning freelancer and specialist in France. She also writes widely on the UK and Europe, plus a mix of far-flung destinations from Cape Town to Cambodia. Gillian is a regular contributor to France Today, Woman’s Weekly, My Weekly, The People’s Friend and, as well as writing for This England and Platinum magazines.  Look out for her articles on subjects ranging from holidays for the over-50s to ocean and river cruising, walking breaks to heritage days out.  And her favourite place?  ‘Usually where I’ve just been!’