What changes in France on Tuesday as lockdown is eased

There are big changes in France on December 15th as lockdown is eased - but plenty of restrictions remain in place. Here's what is possible from Tuesday.

What changes in France on Tuesday as lockdown is eased
The rules change in France on Tuesday, meaning inter-regional travel is now allowed. Photo: AFP

The plan announced by French Prime Minister Jean Castex last week is a slightly tweaked version of the original plan, reflecting the fact that case numbers in France remain higher than the government had hoped.

So although some restrictions have been scrapped, others remain in place and some new ones have been added.

Here's what changes:

No more attestations

This is the big one. Previously, every trip outside the home required both an essential reason and an attestation permission form, but from Tuesday this restriction is lifted and people are allowed out for any reason, for as long as they like. Filling out the form before leaving home is no longer necessary.


Trips out to visit friends and family have not been counted as 'essential' reasons during lockdown, but from Tuesday this is again possible, although the government is advising people to keep gatherings to a minimum. Six adults is the recommended maximum for gatherings, although this is a recommendation and not a rule.


Both international travel and travel to different regions of France are again possible for non-essential reasons, so tourists and second home owners can again visit France, and people can travel to see relatives and friends in other parts of the country or other countries.

There are no restrictions on entering France if you are coming from within the EU, the Schengen zone or (until January 1st) the UK, but plenty of countries have restrictions in place for people arriving from France – full details HERE.

READ ALSO Who will be able to travel to France over Christmas?

Sport for children

Under 18s will can again take part in sports in indoor areas, although sports centres and gyms for adults will remain closed until January.

Nursing home visits

Visits to the country's Ehpad nursing homes will again be possible, albeit with a strict health and testing protocol in place.

But as some restrictions lift, a new one is added.


The curfew covers the whole of mainland France and runs from 8pm and 6am and everyone must stay at home between these hours.

There are only a few reasons to be out during curfew, and these are stricter than the rules for leaving home during lockdown. Shopping and exercise are not accepted reasons for being out (although dog owners can still take their pet out for a late-night walk and comfort break).

People who are travelling to France and arrive at or after 8pm are allowed to travel onwards to their final destination, but should keep tickets handy in case of a police check.

Everyone who is out during curfew hours needs an attestation, this is not the same form as the one required during lockdown, but a new form which is available HERE from December 15th. It is also available via the TousAntiCovid app.

The curfew will be lifted on December 24th, but not on December 31st.

READ ALSO This is how France's nationwide curfew will operate

There are also some rules that remain in place


Cultural centres had been due to reopen on December 15th, but this has now been delayed in light of the health situation. These will now stay closed until at least January 7th.


There was never any intention to reopen these in time for Christmas and they stay closed until at least January 20th.

Ski resorts

Ski resorts also stay closed until January. Although it will be possible to travel to resorts in the Alps or Pyrenees, ski lifts and other infrastructure will remain closed, largely ruling out skiiing holidays.


The mask rules remain the same – masks are compulsory in all indoor public spaces in France, while many areas also have local rules in place mandating masks in the street and other outdoor public places as well – these include all of the big cities and around 400 smaller towns and communes.

READ ALSO Nine graphs to understand the Covid-19 situation in France

The standard health recommendations remain in place, physical distancing, hand-washing and avoiding kissing or handshakes, particularly with people in high-risk groups such as the elderly.

Anyone caught breaking the rules still in place faces a €135 fine.



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French MPs vote to add the right to abortion to the constitution

Lawmakers in the French parliament voted on Thursday to add the right to abortion to the constitution in response to recent changes in the United States and Poland.

French MPs vote to add the right to abortion to the constitution

Members of parliament from the left-wing La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party and the ruling centrist coalition agreed on Thursday on the wording of the new clause, which was then put to a larger vote.

“The law guarantees the effectiveness and equal access to the right to voluntarily end a pregnancy,” reads the proposed constitutional addition to article 66.

It was passed in the Assemblée nationale with a large majority – 337 to 32 against, but still needs to be approved in the Senate.    

“It’s a big step… but it’s just the first step,” said centrist MP Sacha Houlie from Macron’s Renaissance party.

The initiative was prompted by the US Supreme Court’s explosive decision this year to overturn the nationwide right to termination procedures for Americans.

In Europe, the conservative government of Poland has also heavily restricted abortion rights.

LFI lawmaker Mathilde Panot said the move was necessary in France to “protect ourselves against a regression”.   

In a speech to parliament, she cited the late French writer and women’s rights activist Simone de Beauvoir.

“We only need a political, economic or religious crisis for the rights of women to come into question,” she said.

The agreement was a rare instance of cooperation between the hard-left LFI and the centrist allies of President Emmanuel Macron – who no longer have an overall majority in the National Assembly.

A previous attempt to inscribe the right to abortion as well as contraception into the constitution, with different wording, was rejected by the conservative-dominated Senate in October.

Many conservative and Catholic politicians have announced their misgivings, seeing it as unnecessary given the legal protections already in place.

“It appears totally misplaced to open a debate which, although it exists in the United States, does not exist in France,” far-right leader Marine Le Pen said in a statement this week.

“No political group is thinking about questioning access to abortions,” she said.

Parliamentary records initially showed Le Pen voting in favour of the change on Thursday, but these were later corrected to reveal she was not there for the vote. Her spokesman said this was due to a medical issue. MPs from her party and the right-wing Les Républicains abstained.

Abortion was legalised in France in 1974 in a law championed by health minister Simone Veil, a women’s rights icon granted the rare honour of burial at the Pantheon by Macron upon her death in 2018.