For members


LATEST: Which countries impose quarantine and compulsory Covid-19 tests on arrivals from France?

With France battling a second wave of Covid-19, a growing number of countries are warning against travel to the country and imposing quarantine arrivals. Here's a look at the latest situation anyone travelling abroad from France should be aware of.

LATEST: Which countries impose quarantine and compulsory Covid-19 tests on arrivals from France?
Travellers from France do not have the green light for all countries. Photo: AFP

As France reports steadily increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases, several countries have taken action to impose quarantines on arrivals from the country or certain hard-hit regions.

The quarantine rules are based on the country you are travelling from, not your nationality, so anyone traveling from France will be subject to these rules, not just French people.

Here's a roundup of the restrictions in place


On August 24th Germany added two areas of France 'risk list'. These were the greater Paris region of Île-de-France and the Riviera region of Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur.

Anyone arriving in Germany from these regions faces compulsory Covid-19 testing. Up until now affected travellers have had to be tested within 72 hours.

But from October 15th, affected travellers from risk zones coming to Germany will be ordered to go into a 14-day quarantine period. This can be ended with a negative coronavirus test. However, that test can only be carried out after the fifth day of returning to Germany at the earliest.

On September 9th the German government also added the regions of Occitanie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Corsica to the list of high-risk areas, therefore requiring travellers quarantine until they receive a negative Covid-19 test.

The implementation of this and the rules around it lies with the individual German states. Please contact the health department of the state you are visiting or living in for detailed information.


On September 16th Belgium introduced new travel warning for the two northern départemants of Nord and Pas-de-Calais, which were classed as “red zones”.

Brussels advised against travel to the two départements and said returning travellers would have to observe a period of quarantine and be tested for coronavirus.

Travellers must fill out this form.

The measure does not affect cross-border workers however.

This adds to a long list of départements classed red zones by Belgium.

They are: Paris, Ain, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Corse-du-Sud, Côte-d'Or, Essonne, Gard, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Gironde, Haute-Corse, Haute-Garonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Hérault, Loiret, Martinique, Réunion, Rhône, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-d’Oise, Val-de-Marne, Vaucluse, Var, Yvelines.

And from Friday September 18th Brussels says the following départements will be classed as red and subject to quarantine and test measures: Aveyron, Gers, Ille-et-Vilaine, Indre-et-Loire, Isère, Loire, Maine-et-Loire, Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Pyrénées-Orientales, Sarthe, Seine-Maritime, Tarn-et-Garonne and Vienne.

More info in French here.


On September 11th  Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset announced that arrivals from French regions of Centre-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France, Île de France, Normandy, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Pays de la Loire, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur would be subjected to a 10-day period of quarantine.

The French island of Corsica was also added to the list.

“We have seen a number of new infections in France, which are today already higher that the numbers in March and April,” Berset said, stressing that “this is a situation to take seriously… We're trying to keep the pandemic under control.”

At the same time, he said, the government had sought a “pragmatic” approach and thus exempted the border regions in France and other neighbouring countries from the order, set to take effect from Monday.

“The idea is to preserve life along the borders where people live and work,” he said, pointing to heavy cross-border trade, as well as the many people who live on one side of the border but work on the other.

For more on Switzerland's quarantine rules for travellers from France click here.


Norway announced that anyone who arrives from France and Switzerland from Saturday, August 8th must observe a 10-day quarantine.

The country lifted its quarantine requirements for European arrivals on July 15th, but has since reimposed them for travellers from the vast majority of EEA and Schengen area countries (including France), as well as the UK.


Finland still has strict entry restrictions in place banning all non-essential travel. You can only travel to Finland from France if you can prove either residency in Finland, a family link or a professional reason for travel. Holidays and leisure trips are not allowed.


Travellers arriving from France are required to observe a 14-day quarantine on arrival. This can be done in your home or the place where you are staying, but you should restrict movements and social contact as much as possible You will need to provide information on arrival concerning where you will quarantine and the Irish government says that “checks will be carried out to ensure compliance with this measure”.


Iceland also has a 14-day quarantine in place for all arrivals from France who were born before 2005. However there is an option to be tested at the airport and, if the test is negative, you will then not have to quarantine


Denmark's foreign ministry is currently advising against all non-essential travel to France.

This means that, although there is no quarantine, restrictions are in place for travellers arriving from France. People who live in countries to which Denmark advises against travel are required to provide a so-called “worthy” reason for entering Denmark. This can include work or family reasons but not tourism. Detailed guidance can be found in English on the Danish police website here.


Greece also has border restrictions and screening at airports. Although there is no quarantine in place you will have to fill out a travel form 48 hours before your journey


The UK imposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France from August 15th until further notice. You can find full details of how the quarantine rules work here.

READ ALSO Your questions answered about the UK and France quarantines


On September 21st Italy's minister of health Roberto Speranza said he had passed a decree meaning that travellers from 7 regions of France would have to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival in the country.

The seven regions covered by the new measure are: Île-de-France, which include the capital Paris, Auvergne-Rhône Alpes in central/eastern France, the island of Corsica, Hauts-de-France in the north, Nouvelle-Acquitaine and Occitanie in the west and south west and the French Riviera region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

READ ALSO  What are the Covid-19 rules for travelling between France and Italy?


Passengers arriving from France's two 'red zones' – Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhône département which includes Marseilles – are being told to quarantine for 14 days when arriving in the Netherlands.


Arrivals from Paris and Marseille airports will have to be tested and quarantined unless they hcan produce a negative test result carried at least 72 hours before arrival.

It's also worth noting that many countries such as Australia and Canada enforce quarantine on all arrivals, so if you are travelling there from France you will have to self-isolate either at a specific location or in government organised accommodation.


Member comments

  1. Whilst I understand people wishing to ‘holiday’ in the Nordic Countries, why do folk want to leave this beautiful country anyway ? Been here 17 years and neither my wife nor I want to leave !

  2. Iceland has actually updated their rules. You’re tested at the airport, quarantine for 4-5 days, then a second test.

  3. ukdave, I don’t understand anyone wanted to holiday outside of their own country at the moment. It seems more hassle than it is worth, with ever changing rules, from one country to the next and the potential to be locked down somewhere due to an outbreak.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Reader question: Are there private beaches in France?

Amid accusations of racism at fancy seaside resorts and legal controversies surrounding US statesmen, we take a look at the law surrounding private beaches in France.

Reader question: Are there private beaches in France?

Question: I read that all beaches in France are public property, but down here on the Riviera there are a lot of ‘private beaches’ – how do the rules actually work?

In France, everyone has the right to a dip in the ocean, though it might not seem that way when walking through certain areas.

There are 1,500 of these “private beaches” in France – the vast majority of them located on the Côte d’Azur.

They have become a source of controversy recently, after two private beaches in Juan-les-Pins were accused of racism and discrimination following an investigation and video circulated by French media Loopsider. The video (below) shows how a white couples receive different treatment than North African or Black couples.

So what are these ‘private beaches’ and are they even legal in France?

In reality, none of these beachfront hotels, resorts or beach operators actually own that land, as the sea and the beach are considered ‘public maritime’ and are therefore the domain of the French state.

This means that technically there are no private beaches in France, as no one is supposed to be allowed to own the beach, though there are some caveats to that rule.

Since 1986, the State has been able to grant ‘concessions’ to allow for parts of the beach to be temporarily rented. Thus, hotels, resorts or beach operators can request a temporary rental of the beach for a specific period of time – the maximum duration being twelve years, which is renewable. If the local town hall agrees, then the renter will pay a fee (typically between €15,000 and €100,000 per year). 

This might seem like a de facto way of allowing beaches to be privatised, but the few who manage to ‘rent the beach’ are still subject to some constraints. For instance, they are only allowed to occupy the beach for six months of the year (sometimes this can be extended up to eight months with the permission of the town hall, or twelve months in less common circumstances).

At the end of the season, they are required to dismantle their installations, so permanent private structures on the beach are therefore not allowed.

So you might see a waterfront resort, but they do not technically have ownership over the beach.

What about private deckchairs or sun beds next to the water? 

This is another rule that is not always perfectly respected. Legally, any organisation that rents a part of the beach is required to leave a strip of “significant width” along the sea.

This is usually about three to five metres from the high tide mark, where members or the public can walk along the water or bring down their own towels or deck chairs down to the beach.

If a ‘private beach’ has deck chairs or sun-loungers right up against the water, there is a good chance the renting organisation is not following the rules.

Beachfront property

As the public has the right to be able to access the beach, homeowners are not allowed to block passage and can even incur fines for doing so. 

The public must be able to pass through land to get to the beach, and cannot be blocked from the beach in front of a property.

Public access to the beach came into the spotlight due to a controversy surrounding a property of former American presidential candidate and statesman, John Kerry.

Kerry’s family owns a villa in Saint-Briac-sur-Mer in Brittany, and has fought a three-decade legal battle to be able to block the coastal trail on the property, which by French law, should be accessible to the public. 

Despite the family siting potential ‘security threats’ should the beach front path be open to the public, local authorities backed plans to continue allowing public access in 2019.

What about building a waterfront property?

First, keep in mind that building in general in France is a heavily regulated process that requires planning permission.

You will not be able to build within 100 metres of the shoreline. If you buy a pre-existing coastal property, you will need to remember the three-metre rule discussed above and, as the Kerry family discovered, you are not allowed to block public access to the beach. 

For ‘coastal zones’ specifically, there are more strict regulations and most plots of land by the sea are listed as protected natural areas, and therefore are not allowed to be built on.

Can access to the beach ever be forbidden?

Yes, as per the Coastal Law of 1986, local authorities can forbid access to the beach for “security, national defence or environmental protection.” During the Covid lockdowns several local authorities banned access to beaches to avoid illicit partying.

There are also several rules about what you are allowed to do – and not to do – while visiting French beaches, and some of them might surprise you. 

READ MORE: The little-known French beach rule that could net you a €1,500 fine