Where can you travel to from France once French lockdown ends?

France will hopefully be ending its lockdown on December 15th, allowing international travel again. But with many countries retaining their own restrictions, where can you go from France?

Where can you travel to from France once French lockdown ends?
Photo: AFP

Rules in France

Travel both into France and around the country is currently heavily restricted by the lockdown – essentials trips are the only ones allowed and every trip outside the home requires a permission form (attestation).

Anyone travelling abroad during lockdown needs to have a motive that applies to one of the option on the permission form such as work or imperative family reasons.

But if Covid-19 numbers allow, many of these restrictions will be lifted on December 15th.

READ ALSO Calendar: The next key dates in lifting France's lockdown

From that date, it will be possible to travel to a different part of France, or even to a different country to visit friends or family, as long as you remain within Europe.

One travel restriction will remain – French skiers who try to cross to neighbouring Switzerland where ski resorts are open face quarantine on their return, the prime minister warned on Wednesday.

International travel

But if you want to head abroad, you may well find that you face restrictions, quarantines or even outright travel bans.

Most countries' rules are based on where you are travelling from, not what passport you hold, so if you are travelling from France you need to abide for rules for French travellers, even if you are not French.

Most countries are allowing their own citizens and residents to return – so if you want to head back to your home country for Christmas you should be able to although much will depend on flight availability and cost.

Many countries have in place testing and quarantine requirements such as Canada which requires all arrivals to be subject to two weeks of quarantine, whilst those arriving in Australia are also subject to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense. Australia has also capped the number of people on arriving flights, meaning the cost of travel can be exorbitant.

American citizens and permanent residents of the US can travel to their home country if flights are available

Coming back into France, there is no requirement to quarantine but arrivals from most non-EU countries will have to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours to be able to board the plane.

Here's a look at some destinations around Europe:


The UK currently doesn't have any restrictions on travel for tourism or family visits, but travellers entering from France are subject to a quarantine.

From December 15th, the UK says it hopes to have a system in place to cut quarantine from 14 days to 5 days – but you would still have to quarantine for the first five days and then get a test. There is no facility to get a test before leaving France and present a negative result on entering the UK.

You also need to fill out the contact locator form before crossing the border into the UK – full details here.

Once in the UK, you will find a 'tier' system in place. In general this is a lot less strict than the French lockdown, but in some areas bars and restaurants remain closed.

Restrictions will be lifted for a few days over Christmas but 'Christmas bubbles' will be in place. Less fun than Christmas baubles, these mean that each household can only see two other households over the festive period – so if you're planning to visit family make sure you have made it onto the shortlist of their favourite relatives.

Good news if you're rich though, as 'high net worth business travellers' could be excluded from the quarantine.



Ireland does not have entry restrictions, but arrivals from countries designated 'red' and 'orange' zones must quarantine for 14 days, although this can be shortened if you take a Covid test after five days in the country and it is negative. France is currently a red zone on the EU map. Everyone entering Ireland must fill out a contact locator form. More details here.

Once in Ireland there is no lockdown, but visits to another person's home are generally not allowed. Shops and leisure establishments can open, as can cafés and restaurants but not pubs. Some restrictions will be lifted from December 18th to allow people to visit family at Christmas.


France is on Germany's 'high risk' countries list, meaning that all arrivals from France have to quarantine for 10 days – although it is possible to take a test after five days to shorten the quarantine.

Germany has a partial shutdown in place, where bars, restaurants are leisure facilities are closed and this will remain in place until January 10th.

Germans are currently only allowed to meet up with one other household, although this rule will be relaxed slightly over the festive season. Full details here.


The Italian government has announced stricter lockdown rules running from December 4th to January 15th.

The new rules require negative Covid-19 tests for arrivals into Italy and between December 21st and January 6th all travellers arriving in Italy must undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Within Italy, non-essential travel within regions is banned. More details here.


Spain requires a negative Covid test for travellers from most countries, including France. The test must be a PCR (nasal swab) test taken within 72 hours of travel. Once you arrive with the negative test, there is no requirement to quarantine – full details here.

Within Spain, travel is banned between regions – although this will be allowed over Christmas to visit family – and gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. More details here.


Travellers from France no longer need to quarantine on arrival in Switzerland (only arrivals from the French overseas territory of French Polynesia) and there are no restrictions on the types of travel allowed into Switzerland.

Once in Switzerland, restrictions are fairly loose and restaurants are open. The government recommends keeping travel and meetings to a minimum, however it is reportedly also considering a ban on singing outside a family context (so whoever the Swiss version of the Von Trapp Family Singers are should be fine).

Switzerland is one of the few countries to have opened its ski resorts, but the French government has warned against French people heading over the border to ski, saying it will be taking measures including spot-checks at the border and 7-day quarantines for returning French skiers.


France has been designated a red zone by Belgian authorities, which means that most arrivals from France will have to quarantine. All arrivals in Belgium must fill in a Passenger Locator Form which can be found here.


Sweden has no restrictions for arrivals from France. Once in the country the government is advising people to keep travel and contacts to a minimum, but there is no lockdown and most businesses are open. More details here.


All arrivals in Norway from France must observe a 10-day quarantine, and most people will be required to quarantine in a hotel – full info here.

Once in Norway there are limits on gatherings, which vary in different parts of the country. More details here.


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.

Travellers entering from France will need to produce a negative Covid test before being allowed in. Detailed guidance can be found in English on the Danish police website here.

Countries can change their rules rapidly, so please check with your destination country before you travel.

Member comments

  1. So, is it true that from the 15th you can travel all over the world as long as you follow the rules of the country you are going to and get tested before you board a plane back to France or get tested back in France?

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What are the new Covid rules as France scraps its State of Emergency?

France has ended its Covid-19 state of emergency after more than two years - so what does this mean for daily life in France and travel rules?

What are the new Covid rules as France scraps its State of Emergency?

As of August 1st, France has ended its Covid-related state of emergency, which was put into place at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and was extended several times. Instead the parliament has adopted a bill giving alternative measures in case of a resurgence in the pandemic.

Here is what has changed;

Lockdowns and curfews – The new legislation has taken away the possibility of further lockdowns and curfews without a parliamentary vote.

Although such measures have not been in effect for several months, it was previously possible for the government to implement lockdown measures or a curfew, without needing the agreement of Parliament. 

The vaccine pass – This too has not been in effect for several months, but similar to lockdowns and curfews, the government would need to go through Parliament if it wished to re-instate the vaccine pass.

The health pass – the health pass (giving people the option of showing either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative Covid test) has been required to enter health centres or nursing homes, but this came to an end on August 1st, so there is now no venue in France that requires either a health or vaccine pass.

The scientific council – As of Sunday, July 31st, the scientific council on Covid-19 and the vaccine strategy steering committees have been scrapped and replaced by a new committee to monitor and anticipate health risks. These two bodies, which the government relied on during the Covid-19 pandemic, were dissolved when the State of emergency came into effect.

The new committee will be made up of sixteen scientific or health professionals – yet to be appointed – who will issue opinions on strategies for all types of health risks including infectious diseases of humans and animals, environmental and food pollutants and climate change.

Mask rules – Since May face coverings have face coverings have been ‘recommended‘ rather than ‘required’ on public transport and only remained compulsory in hospitals and other health centres.

Since the end of the state of emergency the government can no longer require masks to be compulsory in health settings, but individual hospital directors, doctors or pharmacies can require masks to be worn.

AP-HP, the public hospitals of Paris, have decided to maintain the requirement to wear a mask in their establishments.

Individual businesses can set dress code standards and require masking on their premises, but general masking in public spaces is no longer required.

However, obligatory masking “could be made compulsory again in the form of ministerial or prefectural decrees, depending on the evolution or degradation of the health situation; if a new problematic variant of the virus is identified,” according to RFI

TravelThe end of the State of emergency means the end of all Covid-related restrictions at the border.

Since August 1st travellers to France – whichever country they are travelling from – no longer need to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test, an attestation that they are free of Covid symptoms or any justification for their journey. Basically, travel goes back to how it was before the pandemic.

However, the government has retained the right to reinstate compulsory Covid-19 testing at the border if the health situation changes, for example the emergence of a concerning new variant.

This can be done if the Health Minister has reported its necessity and “after the opinion of the competent scientific authority” and does not require a debate in parliament to impose.

The government will maintain the ability to bring in extra testing for those entering or leaving France until March 31, 2023. 

Covid-19 testing – Covid-19 tests will remain free for residents of France who are registered in the French health system and have completed their vaccine scheme. Visitors to France, those not registered in the French system or the unvaccinated will have to pay for a test – prices are capped at €22 for an antigen test or €54 for a PCR test. Tests remain widely available at pharmacies, medical laboratories and health centres.

Self-isolation – if you test positive for Covid you are still obliged to self-isolate. The length of your isolation period depends on your vaccine status and when you test negative for the virus – full details here.

Arrêt maladie – if you test positive for Covid and need time off work you can obtain an ‘arrêt maladie‘ via the online Ameli platform, the MSA, or your healthcare provider. In some situations, this may also apply to you if you are the parent of a child under 16 years of age or of a person with a disability who must isolate due to Covid-19.

Vaccines – Vaccination against Covid-19 remains free and open to all adults without prior condition.

For a fourth dose (or second booster), those eligible include: adults over the age of 60, residents of nursing homes and longterm care units, immunocompromised persons, adults aged 18 to 60 years who are identified as being at risk for severe Covid-19, pregnant women, starting in the 1st trimester of pregnancy, and finally people living with or in regular contact with vulnerable or immunocompromised individuals. 

For those aged 80 and over, a telephone number remains available to help arrange for their vaccination at home or at a health professional’s office.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster in France?

Tracing tools – Several of these resources will remain in place until next year. First, ‘Contact Covid,’ which monitors and supports infected people, as well as those they have come into contact with, will be extended until January 31, 2023. The national screening information system (Sidep), which centralises all test results, has been also extended, in this case until June 30, 2023.