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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.