What is allowed on New Year’s Eve in France?

It's the year that most people want to see the back of, but marking the end of 2020 will take place under curfew. Here's what is allowed on New Year’s Eve in France.

What is allowed on New Year's Eve in France?
New Year is France is usually marked by crowds gathering to watch fireworks on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

Will the curfew be in place?

Yes, France's 8pm to 6am curfew will not be lifted on December 31st as it was on December 24th, so most people will have to spend the evening at home, although sleeping over at the home of a friend or relative is allowed. 

Bars, restaurants and nightclubs will of course be closed and large gatherings in public are banned. Police will be out to break up groups of more than 10 people who have gathered in a public place and will be checking the reasons of anyone who is out after curfew, so forget about counting down to midnight in a public place.

And definitely forget about kissing strangers at midnight, that's not Covid-compliant at all.

READ ALSO What next for France after 'Christmas truce' on lockdown rules?


Can I meet up with friends and family?

Yes. You can have people over as long as they arrive before 8pm and leave after 6am. However, the government has urged people to keep gatherings small during the holiday period: the recommended limit is six adults, although this is a recommendation and not a rule.

Can I travel to a different region?

Travel between regions has been allowed since December 15th, so you can visit family and friends in different parts of France for New Year’s Eve. 

Can I watch the fireworks?

The traditional fireworks in Paris have been cancelled, but they have been replaced with live-streamed concerts by the likes of David Guerra and Patti Smith – and Jean-Michel Jarre, the electronic music pioneer, who will be playing a concert titled Welcome to the Other Side from inside Notre-Dame cathedral.

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France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body has outlined how Covid-19 rules will change on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules will relax in France as the country ends compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes will take effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 will return to normal on February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 will have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that will begin in February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.