Travel to France: What to expect when arriving at a French airport

As travel begins to open up more people are flying to France, but with countries around the world offering widely varying health protocols, what can passengers arriving in France expect?

Travel to France: What to expect when arriving at a French airport
Junior transport miniser Jean-Baptiste Djebarri inspects the temperature controls at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: AFP

France has gradually reopened its borders since June 15th, with all travel from within the EU, UK and Schengen zone now permitted plus travel from the 12 non-European countries on the EU's 'safe' list.

Some limited travel is permitted from countries such as the USA, which are not on the safe list, but for the moment tourism from those countries is not allowed.

READ ALSO When will Americans be able to travel to France again?

And as more passengers begin to travel, airlines – which grounded virtually their entire fleets during the lockdown – have begun to expand their services.

So if you are flying into France, what can you expect at the airport?


France is not operating any compulsory quarantines at present.

French ministers had imposed voluntary quarantines on arrival from the UK and Spain in reciprocity for those countries quarantines, but now they have been lifted there are no restrictions on arrivals from Europe.

For arrivals from outside Europe you will be given information about carrying out a 14-day quarantine at a location of your choosing. This is voluntary and there are no checks in place.

You will see lot of signs reminding you to social distance. Photo: AFP

Temperature screening

Both Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports have temperature screening on arrival, set up in the luggage area using thermal cameras.

Passengers who record a temperature of above 38C are invited to proceed to a second temperature check, done with a contactless thermometer. If that too shows an elevated temperature, the passenger will be given information on how to access a Covid-19 test. 

Covid-19 testing

Both Paris airports have pop-up testing centres within the airports and passengers arriving from a country where the virus is circulating are invited to get tested.


The testing is voluntary – although strongly advised – for most passengers but for arrivals from these 16 countries were the virus circulation is still strong testing is shortly to become compulsory. Test results are sent out by email within 48 hours.

The test is free.

Bordeaux airport is also offering free testing in the arrivals lounge of the airport, as is Lyon.

Free testing at Bordeaux airport. Photo: AFP


Masks are compulsory in all French airports and on all forms on public transport, including taxis and Ubers.

Once you get into France, masks are compulsory in all enclosed public spaces and not wearing one can net you a €135 fine.

READ ALSO When and where do you ave to wear a mask in France

Businesses and tourist operators in open air spaces are also within their rights to require visitors to wear a mask.

Hygiene gestures

Within French airports and all public spaces you will find hand gel dispensers and signs reminding you to keep at least 1m distance where it is possible to do so.

You will see floor signs marking our 1m distance and some seats will have signs saying they are not in use, in order to space out people in the seated areas of the airport.

The French government also advises that people do not shake hands or do la bise (the French double cheek kiss greeting), to wash their hands regularly and to cough and sneeze into their elbow.

READ ALSO The heath rules and guidelines that tourists in France need to know about

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Property bargains, energy prices, and myth-busting: 6 essential articles for life in France

Where you could bag a property bargain in France, how energy prices aren’t soaring in France, and why the leaves are falling earlier than usual - plus a couple of myths well and truly busted - here are six essential articles for life in France.

Property bargains, energy prices, and myth-busting: 6 essential articles for life in France

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MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

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Can second-home owners in France get a carte de séjour?

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And no, it’s not because the French would riot if their bills exploded, or not entirely, anyway.

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It might look like autumn outside in certain parts of France, but it certainly feels like summer.

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Here’s what he had to say about the experience.

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