MAP: The French towns and cities where face masks are compulsory outdoors

An increasing number of French cities - as well as hundreds of small towns - are making masks compulsory outside as well as in indoor public spaces.

MAP: The French towns and cities where face masks are compulsory outdoors
Photo: AFP

Several French cities have announced that they will be following Paris and Marseille in making masks compulsory in all outdoor public spaces.

The French government rule only makes masks compulsory in enclosed public areas – at risk of a €135 fine – but local authorities have the power to go further and many have chosen to use it.

Health minister Olivier Véran has urged people to wear masks “if you're in the street full of people, and not sure about being able to keep a safe distance.”

As France's biggest cities report ever-increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases, many have chosen to make masks compulsory outdoors.

The first city to make the move was Toulouse, closely followed by Nice and Marseille.

Paris authorities later that week announced that masks would be compulsory in outdoor public spaces in the city and its three surrounding départements – Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine and Val-de-Marne.

Over the weekend Bordeaux, Orléans and Strasbourg also brought in the 'masks everywhere' rule.

Lyon and Rouen followed suit on Monday.

In Strasbourg the rule affects Strasbourg itself, Schiltigheim, Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Lingolsheim, Bischheim, Ostwald and Hoenheim, but also six other communes of more than 10,000 inhabitants in the départment: Haguenau, Sélestat, Bischwiller, Obernai, Saverne, Erstein.


Many other smaller towns and communes have brought in mask rules, while other towns have only made masks compulsory in certain areas, such as crowded tourist areas or outdoor markets.

Here is a selection of the smaller towns.

La Rochelle is one of several towns making masks compulsory in some outdoor places. Photo: AFP

Which towns have brought in outdoor mask-wearing rules?

In Brittany, the measures are widespread. Local authorities in Finistère département have made it compulsory to wear masks in the outdoor markets of 31 communes including the port city of Brest. 

In the popular tourist destination of Saint-Malo, the mayor has made masks compulsory in the walled 'old town' area. Mayor Gilles Lurton explains that the old town attracts “permanent residents, secondary residents, day-trippers and resort tourists, thereby increasing the number of visitors to the old town.”

In the town of Locronan, the rule applies to all streets.

Just to the east, in Brittany's Côtes-d’Armor département, mask-wearing in outdoor markets is mandatory in nearly 70 communes including the picturesque tourist hotpot of Dinan.

In Lille local authorities made masks compulsory in all pedestrianised areas of the town, including parks and gardens. 

In La Rochelle, on France's western coast, every person older than 11 must now wear a mask in the Old Port area as well as the streets and markets of the town's central zone. 

In Cannes masks are required at outdoor markets. 

In Argelès-sur-mer, also on the south coast, masks are now compulsory in the central beach area and in outdoor markets, with a possible €38 fine. In nearby Canet-en-Roussillon the rule applies only to markets. 

Meanwhile, the towns of Grau-du-Roi and Mandelieu-la-Napoule have made masks compulsory on all streets in the town centres, with a €38 and  €35 fine respectively. 

This just a selection and there are more than 400 communes in France that have brought in some kind of regulations, and the list is growing every day.

A full map of the towns affected can be found here.



Member comments

  1. In the Vendée, the only practical advice is to carry a mask with you when you visit a new place. There are rules for the department but Mayors now add particular places, times, or types of route, using their local knowledge. Outdoor markets and pedestrianised streets are examples of the places which can be mask free in one village or town but not another. A market which is mainly outdoors may be classified as indoor because a small part is covered. Local rules I’ve come across all seem to be necessary, i.e. crowded places.

  2. Not true in Mandelieu la Napoule
    I live there only compulsory in enclosed shopping areas not in street or open market.
    Correct facts please

  3. Still no compulsion in Mandelieu-la-Napoule except in shopping malls and shops nothing outside.
    Facts please get it right

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‘Serious malfunctions’ at French research unit headed by Didier Raoult

A criminal investigation is set to begin into the Marseille research unit headed by controversial scientist Didier Raoult, after a report found "serious malfunctions".

'Serious malfunctions' at French research unit headed by Didier Raoult

The findings of the joint investigation into the IHU at Marseille by the Inspection générale des affaires sociales (IGAS) and the  l’Inspection générale de l’éducation, du sport et de la recherche (IGESR) prompted Health Minister François Braun and Research Minister Sylvie Retailleau to refer the unit to the city’s public prosecutor, urging it to investigate “serious malfunctions” at the institution.

Raoult was head of the unit from its foundation in 2011 until his retirement this summer.

The controversial microbiologist gained significant worldwide attention during the Covid-19 pandemic for his vociferous promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, despite a lack of evidence on its effectiveness.

READ ALSO Five minutes to understand: Whatever happened to French professor Didier Raoult?

He was succeeded as director by Pierre-Edouard Fournier.

The ministers said that a number of issues highlighted in the latest report are “likely to constitute offences or serious breaches of health or research regulations”.

Fournier, and the institute’s seven founding members – including the University of Aix-Marseille, Assistance Publique-Hospitals de Marseille, the Research Institute for Development or the army health service – will now be summoned by their supervisory bodies to “implement a proactive action plan as soon as possible” which “will condition the continuation of the activity of the IHU-MI and its funding by the State”, according to the joint communiqué of the ministers.

The IHU was already under judicial investigation for “forgery in writing”, “use of forgery in writing”, and “interventional research involving a human person not justified by his usual care without obtaining the opinion of the committee for the protection of persons and the authorisation of the Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé (ANSM),” the Marseille prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

In an earlier report, the ANSM had noted “serious breaches of the regulations for research involving humans”, during some clinical trials.

READ ALSO Maverick French Covid doctor reprimanded over ‘breaches’ in clinical trials

François Crémieux, the director of Marseille public hospitals, told local newspaper La Provence on Tuesday that the establishment “shares the observation of managerial excesses of certain hospital-university managers occupying key functions within the infectious diseases division”.

“The legitimacy of the IHU has been affected. It has lost its scientific credibility. It must now be regained. 800 highly skilled professionals work there every day,” he added.

Raoult bit back at the report in a tweet, saying: “I regret that the IGAS/IGAENR mission does not take into account the detailed legal and scientific response that I have provided”.

Separately, Raoult will be in court on Friday as his defamation case against Karine Lacombe, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sorbonne University Faculty of Medicine, comes before judges.