Coronavirus: What’s the latest on travelling to and from France?

Coronavirus: What's the latest on travelling to and from France?
People line up outside Paris airport Charles de Gaulle after the United States announced its 30 days travel ban for people coming from France. Photo: AFP
With travel plans in turmoil, what's the best way to get to (or out of) France?

Getting around within France

Once you are in France, travel is severely restricted and you need a permission form for every trip you make – find out more about that here.

For tourists stuck in the country, travel to a port or airport to make your way home is allowed and the UK government has urged all its citizens currently on holiday to return home as soon as possible.

For people wanting to travel to France there are very few reasons that are counted as acceptable travel. If you live here and are heading home you can do that, otherwise you need an urgent reason for travel.

There is more detail here on exactly what constitutes an acceptable reason for travel, but coming to see family is not one of them (unless you are required to provide urgent care for them) even travel for a family funeral is not allowed and neither is travel to a second home in France.

Failure to follow the rules results in a fine of €135 in the first instance or, if you are stopped twice within a 15 day period, €1,000. Repeated breaches of the rules can result in a jail term.

Flights

Flights to and from France are still taking off, but airlines across the board are cancelling services due to a huge drop off in demand, and the French government has announced that international flights are to be reduced, so it's important to check before you make your way to the airport.

There are lots of restrictions as individual countries close their borders, and the EU has restricted all travel into the Schengen zone from non Schengen countries (although this does not apply to the UK for the moment).

British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair and Jet2 are among the airlines to have made cancellations to their inbound and outbound services between the UK and France.

Orly airport in Paris is to close to commercial traffic from March 31st. Aeroport de Paris cited a “major and brutal” collapse in the number of flights to both Orly and Charles de Gaulle airport north of the capital as the reason for its decision.

“Yesterday, we were at minus 92 percent in passenger traffic at Orly and minus 89 percent at Charles de Gaulle,” director Edward Arkwright told media.

For those wishing to fly out of France, it's important to check whether your destination country has imposed any travel restrictions or quarantine measures. You've probably heard that the US has placed a ban on arrivals from France and other Schengen nations, with the UK and Ireland now included too.

Other countries including Israel, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have also imposed strict controls on arrivals from countries, like France, now classified as high-risk. This means you could be stopped from boarding or subject to a lengthy quarantine procedure on arrival.

You can find all our latest coronavirus coverage in France here.

Ferries

Brittany Ferries announced on Friday morning that it was suspending all passenger crossings. It is continuing to provide freight services between France and the UK.

 

P&O Ferries is also boosting its freight operation, but for the moment is still running passenger services.

What's happening on the Eurostar?

As things stand, Eurostar is continuing to operate to all destinations, but have cancelled many services due to a drop in demand and requests from governments for reduced travel.

You can find out if your train has been cancelled by checking online here. If your train has been cancelled, you're entitled to be refunded or booked onto another service. Anyone who's decided to cancel a Eurostar journey planned anytime between now and April 7th will be offered an eVoucher equivalent to the full value of their current booking which can be used to book a new trip later on in the year.

Coaches

Flixbus international coach services are still running, although significant cancellations are being made as European countries including Italy, Germany, Poland and Croatia impose their own travel restrictions.

Some services from Paris, Lyon and Valence to London are still available, as are National Express coaches between Paris and London.

Skiing

On March 15th, it was announced that all ski resorts in France were to be closed with immediate effect until further notice. The National Union for Ski Regions and the National Association for Mayors in Regions with Ski Resorts advise you to consult your tour operator and insurance provider if you had a ski trip booked.

 


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