EXPLAINED: What are the rules of France’s nationwide curfew?

The whole of France is under curfew, so here's how it works including the eight reasons that allow you to be outside your home.

EXPLAINED: What are the rules of France's nationwide curfew?
Photos: AFP

The curfew came into force across the country on Saturday, January 16th and remains in place until further notice.

It was initially 6pm to 6am, but on Saturday, March 20th it was pushed back by one hour to 7pm to 6am.

In general people should not be out of their homes at all between those and any trip out of the house during those hours will require an attestation (permission form) listing your reason for being out. The areas of France on ‘lockdown light’ revert to curfew rules after 7pm. 

You can find the “exemption form” HERE and it is also available on the TousAntiCovid app.

People caught outside without a form, or people outside for any other than the permitted reasons, face a fine.

The fine is €135 for the first offence, €200 for a second offence and rising to a maximum of €3,750 and a six month jail term for three offences within 30 days.

There are 8 accepted reasons for being outside the home after 7pm

  • Work, teaching and training – travel between home and work or place of education.
  • Doctors’ appointments and treatments – travel to the doctors of for treatment “which cannot be done remotely”.
  • Urgent family reasons such as caring for a vulnerable or infirm relative or for childcare (family visits are not included in this category)
  • Disabilities – Travel for those with disabilities or their carers
  • Service of “general interest” – travel for services of general interest at the request of the authorities.
  • Transport (for example journeys by train or plane – you will need to show a ticket as a reason to break curfew)
  • To answer an official legal summons or take part in an official administrative process 
  • Walking the dog within a maximum radius of one kilometre from home.

Victims of domestic violence can also leave their homes if they don’t feel safe. There is also a hotline – 3919 – that people can call for help, in addition to the police emergency number 17.

Some clarifications have been issued:

  • Shops and businesses open to the public must close by 7pm, but other people are permitted to work later or travel home from work later.
  • Collecting children from school or crèche after 7pm is allowed
  • Having a delivery to your home is allowed (so you can order takeaway for dinner but you cannot go out to collect your order).
  • Public transport continues to run after 7pm, although some services have been scaled back

Member comments

  1. So for “travel between home and work or place of education.”, how is it that you can prove that you’re going home from work? For the “transport” reason you need to show a ticket, but for this you just show your navigo or what? My work has already said “Nous n’avons pas besoin d’attestation spécifique pour les déplacements professionnels”, so it’s up to you to prove you’re on your way home in the unlikely event that you actually get stopped?

  2. So I will be visiting my son in the Rhone valley next week, an 8 hour drive. When I return do I have to leave so as to be home by 7pm curfew or so long as I don’t get out of the car after 7pm can I arrive back home later under the “transport” exception? Will I need to fill out an attestation?

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Carte vitale: France to adopt a new ‘biometric’ health card

The French parliament has approved a €20 million project to launch a 'biometric' version of the carte vitale health insurance card.

Carte vitale: France to adopt a new 'biometric' health card

As part of the French government’s package of financial aid for the cost-of-living crisis, €20 million will be set set aside to launch a biometric health card, after an amendment proposed by senators was approved.

Right-wing senators made this measure a “condition” of their support for the financial aid package, according to French left-wing daily Libération, and on Thursday the measure was approved by the Assemblée nationale.

While it sounds quite high tech, the idea is relatively simple, according to centre-right MP Thibault Bazin: the carte vitale would be equipped with a chip that “contains physical characteristics of the insured, such as their fingerprints” which would allow healthcare providers to identify them.

The carte vitale is the card that allows anyone registered in the French health system to be reimbursed for medical costs such as doctor’s appointments, medical procedures and prescriptions. The card is linked to the patient’s bank account so that costs are reimbursed directly into the bank account, usually within a couple of days.

READ ALSO How a carte vitale works and how to get one

According to the centre-right Les Républicains group, the reason for having a ‘biometric’ carte vitale is to fight against welfare fraud.

They say this would have two functions; firstly the biometric data would ensure the card could only be used by the holder, and secondly the chip would allow for instant deactivation if the card was lost of stolen.

Support for the biometric carte vitale has mostly been concentrated with right-wing representatives, however, opponants say that the implementation of the tool would be costly and lengthy.

It would involve replacing at least 65 million cards across France and repurposing them with biometric chips, in addition to taking fingerprints for all people concerned.

Additionally, all healthcare professionals would have to join the new system and be equipped with devices capable of reading fingerprints. 

Left-leaning representatives have also voiced concerns regarding the protection of personal data and whether plans would comply with European regulations for protecting personal data, as the creation of ‘biometric’ carte vitales would inevitably lead to the creation of a centralised biometric database. Additionally, there are concerns regarding whether this sensitive personal information could be exposed to cybercrime, as the health insurance system in France has been targeted by hackers in the past.

Finally, there is concern that the amount of financial loss represented by carte vitale fraud has been overestimated. The true figures are difficult to establish, but fraud related to carte vitale use is only a small part of general welfare fraud, which also covers unemployment benefits and other government subsidy schemes.

The scheme is set to begin in the autumn, but there us no information on how this will be done, and whether the biometric chip will just be added to new cards, or whether existing cards will be replaced with new ones.