What are the rules on travel around France after May 11th?

What are the rules on travel around France after May 11th?
Although city and suburban public transport will start to increase after May 11th, the country's high speed TGV trains will still be running only a limited service, on a pre-book basis only, in order
As France prepares to begin lifting its lockdown after May 11th, restrictions on travel - both international and domestic - remain. Here's a look at the new rules.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's detailed plan to start lifting lockdown restrictions, as presented to the parliament on Tuesday, does away with the need for the signed, timed and dated attestation form for most trips outside the homes.

READ ALSO IN DETAIL: This is the plan for post-lockdown life in France after May 11th

But there are exceptions to this – journeys within France of more than 100km require a travel certificate, and international still needs an international travel permit.

You can find out more about the latest on international travel here, but what about journeys within France?

What is the rule?

A journey of more than 100km away from your home is allowed for essential reasons only, either crucial work travel or urgent family reasons, Philippe told the parliament.

Any such journey will also require an attestation, although it's not clear at this stage whether this is the same attestation that we have been using for all journeys or whether a new form will be created.

Can I travel between départements and regions?

There is no specific restriction on crossing into a different département or region, provided the journey is less than 100km.

Although city and suburban public transport will start to increase after May 11th, the country's high speed TGV trains will still be running only a limited service, on a pre-book basis only, in order to keep inter-regional travel to a minimum.

People are also asked – although not ordered – to keep non-essential journeys of under 100km to a minimum.

Philippe said: “Now is not the time for weekend visits”.

What counts as an urgent family reason?

This wasn't specified in the speech, but Philippe did add that simply visiting family does not count as an urgent reason.

He added that at present, visiting grandparents aged over 65 – those most vulnerable to the virus – should not happen, in order to protect them.

It's likely that more detail will be published on this in the days to come, but the current attestation includes a category for urgent family reasons and that specifies providing urgent care to children or sick relatives.

How is the 100km measured?

Whether the 100km limit refers to the length of your journey or the distance as the crow flies from your home is not clear.

It seems likely that some discretion will be exercised around journeys around the 100km mark, but the basic principle is that people should not be undertaking long journeys.

 

Will there be local restrictions?

It's possible. Local officials have the power to make adaptations to all aspects of the national plan.

Local authorities in places with a high level of second homes have already become concerned about excess movement of people and the mayor of Chamonix, for example, has imposed a ban on short-term rentals.

So we could see extra travel restrictions or at least extra enforcement in certain areas.

Can I leave my second home?

At the beginning of the lockdown many thousands of people, particularly Parisians, left the cities and went to second homes in the country.

Many students also left university and returned to stay with their parents, while some foreigners who were staying at second homes in France decided to remain.

As France begins to return to work and schools start to reopen, many of these people are considering returning to their main residence.

However the rules as announced give no exemptions for returns from second homes more than 100km away from the main residence.

 

Quizzed on this on Wednesday, Junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said exiled Parisians would be able to return to the city “but in an orderly fashion”.

“A number of these Parisians, who have gone into temporary exile, are now making reservations (for train tickets) to return,” he told France 5.

“The idea, of course, is to get them back in an orderly fashion, if they physically need to go to work or if they are willing to put their children back in school,” he said.

He said train numbers will remain limited and will sell only half the normal number of tickets in order to maintain social distancing. Train travel is only possible with pre-booked tickets.

There was no mention of limits on people making the journey by car.

People who have their permanent home in another country are allowed to return home.

This was mainly intended for tourists who were stuck in the country when the lockdown began so if you do decide to travel now be prepared to explain to a gendarme why it is essential that you go home now, especially if you are travelling a long way through France.

 

Can I move to France?

The French government has asked that all house moves – either international or within France – are put on hold if possible. However if it is absolutely necessary, for example you will be left homeless if you don't move, you can still move house and that includes moving from another country into France.

You will need to complete the international travel certificate, plus a certificate for travel within France ticking 'vital family reason' as your reason for travel. You should have with you some proof of your new address in France and be prepared to explain to a gendarme why your move is vital and cannot be postponed.

Do I need a mask?

If you are on public transport, yes. From May 11th masks will be compulsory on all public transport including taxis.

Do I need a medical certificate?

There is currently no requirement for a medical or quarantine certificate, although if you have tested positive for coronavirus you should self-isolate for 14 days and no travel should be undertaken.

 


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