What are the rules of France’s new nighttime curfew?

As the health situation deteriorates in France, curfews have been extended to roughly half the country. Here's what the measures involve.

What are the rules of France's new nighttime curfew?
Photo: AFP

Nine areas of France were put on curfew starting on October 16th and from October 23rd that measure is being extended.


The areas currently on curfew are the whole of the greater Paris Île-de-France region and the “metropole” areas (the city and its surrounding urban areas) of Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, Montpellier and Toulouse.


READ ALSO What is a French metropole?

Starting at midnight Friday/Saturday another 38 départements will be subject to the measure.

They are; Loire, Rhône, Nord, Paris, Isère, Hauts-de-Seine, Val-d'Oise, Val-de-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Essonne, Bouches-du-Rhône, Haute-Garonne, Yvelines, Hérault, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Loire, Ain, Savoie, Ardèche, Saône-et-Loire, Aveyron, Ariège, Tarn-et-Garonne, Tarn, Pyrénées-Orientales, Gard, Vaucluse, Puy-de-Dôme, Hautes-Alpes, Pas-de-Calais, Drôme, Oise, Haute-Savoie, Jura, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Haute-Corse, Calvados, Hautes-Pyrénées, Corse-du-Sud, Lozère, Haute-Vienne, Côte-d'Or, Ardennes, Var, Indre-et-Loire, Aube, Loiret, Maine-et-Loire, Bas-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Marne, Alpes-Maritimes and Ille-et-Vilaine.


The curfew runs from 9pm to 6am. As happened with the areas in the first phase, the restriction will be introduced at midnight on Friday (or 00.00 on Saturday if you prefer) and from Saturday the 9pm restriction comes in.

The measures will last for six weeks.


The curfew applies to everyone, but there are exemptions for people who need to work, or travel to and from work, between those times.

Macron said: “Of course, for all those who come home from work after 9 pm, or who work at night and work later, there will be authorisation. For those who have emergencies, such as health emergencies, there will be authorisation. We will define the cases of common sense that will allow them to circulate.”


The exemptions are;

  • For work or travelling to or from work
  • For health reasons
  • Offering help to someone in need
  • Transport (for example trains or planes, you will need to show a ticket as a reason to break curfew)
  • Walking the dog within the vicinity of the home

Victims of domestic violence can also leave their homes if they don't feel safe, clarified Alexandra Cordebard, mayor of the 10th arrondissement of Paris. There is also a hotline – 3919 – that people can call for help, in addition to the police emergency number 17.


What penalty?

The penalty for breaking curfew is the same as for breaking other health rules – a €135 fine which can rise to €3,750 or six months in prison for repeat offenders.

As with the lockdown, police are on the streets enforcing the rules. In the first week of the restrictions 32,033 police checks were made and 4,777 fines issued.

Do we need permits to be outside?

Yes, it's a return of the ever-popular attestations derogatoires (movement permits) for people in curfew zones – the same as the forms that people needed when outside their homes during the strict lockdown.

Anyone outside their homes during curfew hours needs an attestation showing that they fall into one of the exempt categories and people out for work-related reasons need an additional form.

The forms are available to download HERE.

The form is available to download or in a smartphone versions or handwritten versions will be accepted.

READ ALSO This is how the curfew permission form works

Could things change?

Yes, the government has made it clear that if the curfew has no positive impact in two weeks time they may tighten the restrictions in certain areas by starting the curfew earlier, either at 8pm and 7pm. 

Macron says the aim is to bring daily cases numbers down to around 3,000 to 5,000. At the moment the numbers are have been topping 20,000 on certain days.

Announcing the extension of the curfew zones, Prime Minister Jean Castex added: “If we do not collectively succeed in curbing the epidemic, we will have to take tougher measures.

“We still have time to avoid that, but there is not much time left.”


Macron said that the aim was to cut down on socialising events to control the spread of the virus while still allowing normal daily life such as work to continue.

He added that people will have to be organised to ensure they are home by 9pm, saying: “If you live next door to the restaurant, you can leave at 9 pm and be at home. If you have a half an hour journey, you will arrange to leave at 8.30 pm.”

Public transport will continue to run as normal, to allow people who need to get to and from work to travel.



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New Covid wave in autumn ‘virtually certain’ say French experts

The head of the government's new health advisory body says that a surge of Covid cases when the French head back to work after the summer break is virtually certain.

New Covid wave in autumn 'virtually certain' say French experts

Immunologist Brigitte Autran, president of new government health advisory body the Comité de veille et d’anticipation des risques sanitaires (Committee to monitor and anticipate health risks) which has replaced the Conseil scientifique, told Le Parisien that “the Covid epidemic is not behind us” and said that the French would have to get used to “living with” the virus.

The Covidtracker website currently shows that the virus is in decline across France, with the R-rate currently at 0.7 – any figure lower than one indicates that the number of infections is falling.

Autran, whose appointment as head of the new body was confirmed on Wednesday, said that the most likely scenario was for a “new epidemic peak in the autumn”, when people return to work after the summer holidays.

“Will it be due to a new variant or the return of cold weather?” she said. “We are not soothsayers, but it is almost certain that there will be a wave.”

“Today, we must go towards living with it,” she added, reintroducing the French to an expression previously used by President Emmanuel Macron and several ministers.

“This does not mean accepting the deaths or the severity of the disease,” she went on, pointing to the fact that health authorities in France still have “levers to activate” to fight the virus. 

Despite the fact that nearly 80 percent (79.6 percent) of people over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated against the virus, she said that, “unfortunately there are still too many people who have not been vaccinated or revaccinated.”

And she said the new body would work with the government to improve the public’s access to drugs, such as Paxlovid, and vaccines.

Vaccination is still open to anyone who has not yet had their shots, while a second booster shot is on offer to certain groups including over 60s, pregnant women, those with health conditions or people who are in close contact with vulnerable people.

EXPLAINED Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster shot in France?

The French government in August voted to end to State of Emergency that allowed it to impose measures like travel bans and lockdowns, although further restrictions could be put in place if cases rise again and parliament agrees.