French police hand out 900,000 lockdown fines including to holiday home owners

A total of 915,000 fines have been issued since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, according to the French government, while in Brittany, police have clamped down on holiday makers and second home owners.

French police hand out 900,000 lockdown fines including to holiday home owners
Photo: AFP

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the country's police had carried out 15.5 million stops since March 17th, the first day of the strict nationwide lockdown, and handed out 915,000 fines.

Fines were initially €38 but were quickly raised to €135.

“Remaining in lockdown is extremely difficult,” Castaner said in an interview with BFMTV.

As he thanked the French for showing “exemplary behaviour” in respecting the government's rules, he noted an increased number of “slip ups” lately.

“It's our duty to maintain a high level of controls,” he said, to ensure that people in France continue to follow the rules.

Holiday makers 

Police in Brittany have over the past week increased the number of checks on tourists and holiday home owners in the region, after a Parisian couple was fined for having rented a property on the coast of the Finistère département.

The couple were ordered to return to Paris.

Police told France Bleu they had issued several similar fines, including to second home owners reminding them that changing location was strictly forbidden during lockdown. Those found to have broken the rules were fined €135.

At the beginning of the lockdown on March 17th the government said people would be allowed to travel to the second homes, as thousands have done, for the lockdown period.

READ ALSO: No, you can't go to your holiday home in France during lockdown

But once the lockdown began, people are expected to stay put. 

In a statement to The Local, the government made it clear to British owners of second homes in France – and indeed those in France – that they should not be changing their place of residence during lockdown.

“People, French and British alike, are not allowed to travel to their second home until the end of lockdown,” read the short but concise statement.

France's nationwide lockdown has imposed a new order of social distancing that has been crucial in limiting the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Since March 17th, people have been told to stay home, only going out for essential errands such as grocery shopping, important doctor's appointments, walking the dog or some brief physical exercise.

Before Easter, the interior minister said that under no circumstances should people travel for holiday purposes, and that the number of checks would increase to ensure that people complied with the rules.

Member comments

  1. In my town, I find a lot of young boys hanging around everytime I go out to buy essentials. They don’t seem to be out for anything important, and most certainly aren’t carrying the mandatory attestation d’deplacement. I hope the poilice crack down on these potential torublemakers, rather than on the generally harmless holiday makers moving to their own second homes.

  2. Hmm. I’m willing to be those boys live in a tiny apartment with several people, and are suffering much more from the confinement than people sulking because they can’t go on holiday.

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Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

This weekend represents the first chance to 'faire le pont' and have a long holiday weekend - and the French seem set to make the most of it with warnings of extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday.

Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

Thursday, May 26th marks the Christian festival of Ascension and is a public holiday in France.

More importantly, it’s the first time this year that French workers have had the opportunity to faire le pont (do the bridge) and create a long weekend.

In France, most public holidays fall on different days each year and if they happen to fall on the weekend then there are no extra days off work.

This year that happened on New Year’s Day (a Saturday) and both of the early May public holidays (the workers’ holiday on May 1st and VE Day on May 8th, which both fell on a Sunday).

READ ALSO Why 2022 is a bad year for public holidays

But as Ascension is on a Thursday, workers have the option to take a day of annual leave on Friday and therefore create a nice four-day weekend.

And it appears that many are planning on doing just that, as the traffic forecaster Bison futé is predicting extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday evening, as people prepare to make their after-work getaway and head to the coast, the countryside or the mountains to fully profit from their holiday weekend.

According to Bison futé maps, the whole country is coloured red – very heavy traffic – on both Wednesday and Thursday as people take to the roads to leave the cities.

Map: Bison futé

Meanwhile Sunday is coloured black – the highest level, meaning extremely heavy traffic and difficult driving conditions – across the whole country. 

Map: Bison futé

If you were hoping to take the train instead you might be out of luck, SNCF reports that most TGV services are sold out for over the holiday weekend.