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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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.