a tower with trees in front of it

If a walk along the Seine followed by a glass of wine and heavenly French cooking is just the medicine you need, there’s good news. France is laying out comprehensive plans to ease internal lockdowns and allow foreign visitors, many of which won’t be required to quarantine for 14 days, thus invalidating any reasonable idea of a leisure trip.

The only catch? You’ll have to wait, but perhaps not nearly as long as once thought.

France is looking to ease lockdown restrictions beginning May 11th, with plans to reopen schools and other businesses, as well as allow residents to move more freely. In statements released on Sunday, the country also opened up how international travel will look, once a date is set.

Clarifying statements made on Saturday May 2nd, French authorities have proclaimed all travelers entering France from the EU, or UK, regardless of nationality will not be subject to quarantine on arrival into the country. This contradicts previously made statements stating everyone would require quarantine, which have been attributed to lingual differences, but there’s an important distinction.

a tower with trees in front of itWhen initial lockdowns ease on May 11th, only essential business travel will be allowed, and EU travelers must be able to prove the necessity of the business, the lack of remote work opportunity and other factors. Travel from outside the EU will still be prohibited. The only other exception is rejoining family, for long term stays.

Of course, it would’ve been helpful if the government decrees specified these points, to avoid many of the subsequent international headlines stating the country is open for leisure, with the news of lifting quarantine requirements.

A state of health emergency was extended over the weekend to July 24th, which may be an indicator of when a wider return to travel may resume. The measures will slowly open businesses and sectors beginning May 11th, with easing restrictions up to that July date, so long as major spikes or second waves are avoided.

The goal is to have cafes and general life as close to a new normal as possible, before leisure guests from abroad may arrive. Even then, it will all depend on future statistics and fighting off second waves.

So what does it mean for your holiday planning? Right now, not definitively much.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran on Sunday told crowds not to plan summer holidays yet, since the virus is unlikely to go on one itself. The pragmatic move contradicts sentiment than many areas of France, particularly beaches on the Southern coast will want to catch at least some of the waves of summer tourism.

If you were looking for a ballpark of when leisure, non essential styles of travel might return to France, all indications point to the end of July, or somewhere soon thereafter. A specific return date is expected in further statements later in the week, and it’s possible that President Macron’s concept of a full return by September holds true.

If you’re coming from the EU or UK, regardless of which passport you hold, short trips will be possible without the need to quarantine, but you’ll need to wait until a decree for when non essential business travel is officially ok. Until then, #stayhome #staysafe.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I wonder how connections at CDG will be impacted, if at all, July-Sept. I’m connecting through CDF from ATH later in the summer going back to the US

  2. @sam when trying to book Manchester to Oslo on Air France with transit mid September, the Air France website brought up documents to proof travel was essential otherwise would not be allowed travel, somoooks like the cur[rent regime applies to transiting passengers, at least though within the EU borders.

  3. We have plans booked for end of November. Wondering if things will be opened up by then. Not sure that trip will happen at this point.

  4. Your post here really put me into action this morning. I’m a Delta Diamond Medallion member and 2 million miler. After reading your post, going on to the Air France website and calling Air France directly, I decided to call Delta and explain the possible situation I could be in flying through CDG. Thankfully, they changed our flight instead of connecting in CDG from ATH to a direct Delta flight in business class into JFK at no additional fare charge or fee charge.

    This is one of the reasons I remain loyal to Delta as the fare difference per ticket is about $3,000 USD per ticket so around $6,000 USD total.

    Now, all I need to worry about is getting into Greece, getting back into the US (easier an an American citizen v flying through France) and hoping Delta Airlines will keep their one direct flight from the US-ATH roundtrip starting July 3 through the end of summer.

    1. Sam, wonderful to hear about that with Delta. I think they are a real leader in customer within the group of US airlines. Best of luck with the travels!

  5. thanks for sharing this… gives a little hope for two couples coming in august second week time frame from the US.

    however, if vaccination is required, i’ve seen enough of the bill gates’ info/ misinfo to sacrifice my money. it was only $1100 each on those AA vacation deals last december.

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