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HEALTH

UPDATE: When can second home owners travel to France?

As France exits its second lockdown, here's how the rules apply for second-home owners.

UPDATE: When can second home owners travel to France?
Second home owners have been excluded from France for large parts of the year. Photo: AFP

The roadmap for exiting lockdown laid out by French Prime Minister Jean Castex has three stages, with December 15th the key date for people looking to cross borders.

READ ALSO The next key dates in France's plan to end lockdown

Here's an outline of the latest;

I'm at my second home in France, can I return to my home country?

Yes, foreigners who were in France on a visit when lockdown came in are allowed to return to their home countries.

If you are returning to the UK, you will also need to fill in the quarantine locator form before you re-enter the country, and then quarantine for 14 days once you arrive – find this form HERE.

Can I travel to France to visit my second home?

It depends on where you are travelling from.

From December 15th, France, lifts its lockdown which means that all forms of travel – including for tourism and to visit second homes – are again allowed with no extra paperwork required.

This means that people travelling from the UK, the EU and Schengen zone countries are again be allowed to enter France and visit second homes.

All shops are open, but bars, restaurants and cafés remain closed until January and the French government asks people to keep travel and family gatherings to a minimum. There is also an 8pm-6am curfew in place – full detail on the rules around that HERE.

Public gatherings remain banned.

Ski resorts also remain closed until January, so if your second home is in a skiing area you can travel there, but don't expect the slopes to be open.

The EU's external borders remain closed, so non-essential travel to France is still not allowed for non-Europeans.

What about travel for British people?

For British travellers the situation has been slightly complicated by Brexit.

France has followed the EU's declarations on its external borders which state that at present travel within the EU and Schengen zone is allowed for any reason, but travellers coming in from outside the bloc must be travelling for an essential reason, unless they are coming from one of the short list of 'safe' countries.

At present travel from the UK counts as internal travel, but that will change on January 1st and a trip from the UK will count as an external trip.

Unless a special exception is made, that means that from January 1st, people can only travel from the UK for essential reasons, which would again shut out second home owners. Find out more in the latest travel situation HERE.

Return trip

People planning a trip to France need to also bear in mind restrictions that their own country imposes on arrivals from France, including quarantines, compulsory testing and travel forms. These apply to all arrivals – even residents and citizens of that country.

If your home country advises against international travel, this could invalidate your travel insurance.

For more in international travel rules, click HERE.

Member comments

  1. Hi All, we are stuck in UK and know it is not safe to travel for us without a vaccine, due to health issues. We have applied for our Carte de Sejours for us both on line. How will this affect our Carte Vitale when we return next year to allow us our health care? Will having an application placed, even though we cant yet return to the prefecteur to finish the carte de sejours? Any legal boffs out there to help or advise??

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POLITICS

‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief. 

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