From the Eiffel Tower to the island of Corsica, France has plenty to offer for tourists looking for a break away from the daily grind. Whether travellers are looking for a city break to Paris or a relaxing retreat in Southern France, the country has it all.
There are more than a dozen flights each day from Heathrow Airport to destinations in France including Paris, Nice, Lyon and Toulouse. Plenty of airlines serve the country, including British Airways and Air France.
Around 17 million British tourists visit France every year. Most trips are trouble-free, but the most common problem reported is pickpocketing, so visitors are encouraged to keep their wits about them.
Travel in a post-pandemic world can be tricky as we move on from the coronavirus restrictions. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about visiting France before you head off on your holidays.
What are the travel rules for going to France from the UK?
As with many destinations, travel rules depend on vaccination status. As of February 12, fully vaccinated travellers from the UK no longer need to present a negative Covid-19 test before travelling to France.
However, fully vaccinated travellers aged 12 and above must continue to provide proof of vaccination and a sworn statement certifying that they are not suffering from coronavirus symptoms and haven’t been in contact with confirmed cases in the 14 days prior to travelling.
The French government recognises those fully vaccinated as having received their final vaccine dose at least seven days prior to travel for the three double-jab vaccines, or 28 days for the second Johnson & Johnson doses. Travellers may also be asked to complete an EU passenger locator form before boarding.
Travellers aged 18 and over who had their full vaccine course over nine months ago and have not since received a booster jab must follow the rules for unvaccinated passengers to enter France.
What are the travel rules if I’m not fully vaccinated?
From February 12, travellers from the UK to France who are not fully vaccinated no longer need to self-isolate on arrival. However, they will need to complete an international travel certificate to prove the reason for essential travel. Acceptable reasons can be found on the French government’s website.
A negative PCR test must be taking within 72 hours before departure, or an antigent test 48 hours before leaving. A similar sworn statement must also be provided.
Travellers may also be required to take a test on arrival. Thos who produce a positive test result on arrival will be required to self-isolate. There may also be a requirement to complete the EU-PLF form before boarding.
The UK Government advises travellers they should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate travel to another country. Travellers should arrange to take a private test from a private coronavirus testing provider and results must be certified by an approved private test provider to be accepted.
What Covid-19 measures are in place in France?
Some travel operators such as airlines may specify types of masks to be worn on board and may encourage travellers to take spares for long journeys. Visitors should check with their travel operator before travelling.
Wearing masks on public transport is compulsory for all users aged 11 and over, with fines for those who are not compliant. Masks are also compulsory in taxis and private hire vehicles without a plexiglass screen.
PCR and rapid antigen tests are no longer free for international travellers visiting France. The minimum cost of these supervised tests is €44 for PCR tests and €22 for rapid antigen tests.
The pass sanitaire is currently required to access a number of places. These include hospitals and retirement and nursing homes. This can be obtained by fulfilling one of the following three criteria:
- A vaccination certificate
- A negative PCR or antigen result from a test taken within the last 24 hours
- A document (dated more than 11 days ago and less than six months ago) proving you have recently recovered from coronavirus.
Children under 12 are exempt from the ‘pass sanitaire’ requirements. France will accept the UK’s proof of Covid-19 recovery and vaccination record. Those travelling with a printed PDF proof of vaccination status must ensure it dates from November 1 or after to ensure that the certificate can be scanned successfully.
If travellers test positive for coronavirus in France and are fully vaccinated (including a booster), they must self-isolate for seven days from the day on which they first develop symptoms, or seven days from the date of the positive test result. Self-isolation can be reduced to five days with a negative PCR or antigen test (supervised, not self-administered) on day five as well as no symptoms over the previous 48 hours
Those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must self-isolate for 10 days from the day on which they first develop symptoms, or 10 days from the date of the positive test result. Self-isolation can be reduced to seven days with a negative PCR or antigen test (supervised, not self-administered) on day seven and no sign of symptoms over the previous 48 hours.
Travellers are warned that they will have to extend their stay until the end of their isolation period. This could be in the current accommodation and the French authorities do not provide or pay for quarantine accommodation.