When laying out the four-step plan for the reopening of France from lockdown, president Emmanuel Macron included one date of particular significance to Americans – from June 9th, travel can again restart from all non EU countries.
However there were several caveats to this announcement
- Later stages of the reopening could be postponed if the health situation deteriorates
- France is currently on the US State Department’s ‘Level 4’ list of countries travel is advised against due to the health situation
- Travel will only be possible with a health passport, showing that the traveller is either fully vaccinated or has had a recent negative Covid test
So have these conditions put off American travellers?
Well certainly not the readers of The Local who answered our survey, whose answers to the question ‘will you travel to France once it is possible?’ mostly ranged from ‘yes’ to ‘hell, yes!’.
Of the people who answered our questionnaire, 86 percent said they intend to travel to France again as soon as possible.
California resident Jordan said: “I booked my flight as soon as I saw the news. I might kiss the ground when I get to return in June! It’s been way too long.”
Elaine and Bill Parker, of Colorado, said: “Yes!!! We already have an apartment booked for June in Paris, rescheduled from last September when we had to cancel.
“We have both shots, will be happy to get tested as well as get health passes.”
Gail, of Austin, Texas said: “We are vaccinated and are more than happy to obtain the health pass. We have already purchased our tickets for the summer to avoid rising prices and will be on a plane as soon as they open the borders!”
Bill Hebert, of Dallas, Texas, said: “We’ll be happy to be back, because we haven’t been able to visit Paris for about 18 months now. We miss France and we miss spending time in our apartment in the Marais.
“We would also like to spend a vacation in France hiking in the French Alps, but our trips have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID. Once France is re-opened, we’d like to reschedule those trips.”
The Herberts were among many people who were rescheduling trips that had to be cancelled over the past year.
Connie, of Clinton, Maryland, said: “I had to cancel three trips I had booked before March of 2020, and I can’t wait to return! I’m booked for September.”
Dr Meg Allyn Krilov, of New York, added: “We had originally rented an apartment in Paris for May and June 2020 as I had studied in Lille and Paris is one of my favourite places. The pandemic upended those plans.
“Now that we can travel again, we can’t wait to go back and enjoy the most wonderful city in the world!”
Of the people who do not plan to travel straight away, the most common reason given was concern about the health situation in France, which is emerging from its third wave but still has a high rate of cases with severe pressure on hospitals in some areas.
The Paris area, always popular with tourists, currently has the highest infection rates in France.
Christina Zorbas, of New York, said: “Paris is my favourite place in the world, and after numerous long stays in the city, I’d also like to enjoy the beaches in the south during the summer.
“I do have concerns, however. The Île-de-France region still has high rates of infection. Also, as someone who has been fully vaccinated (Pfizer), a large percentage of the French population won’t be vaccinated when I arrive. In addition, allowing those who are unvaccinated to enter the country puts not only myself at risk, but also the French, worsening the country’s COVID rates.”
The health passport itself was also cited as a reason for not visiting – with 13 percent saying they did not want to get vaccinated and another 13 percent saying they believed the concept of vaccine passports are unfair.
Full details of exactly how the health pass will work have not yet been revealed, but the pass will have options to upload either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative Covid test.
Doug Tennant, of Florida, said: “I am fully vaccinated and anxious to get back to France. I am grateful for the Covid passport. My concern as an American is how will my CDC vaccination card be loaded unto the pass or will I be able to use my actual CDC vaccination card?”
Other reasons given were practical – people who need visas for their visit were unsure when processing would start again while some people who had cancelled several trips already over the past year decided to wait until things were more certain before booking again.
Others wanted to wait until things like cafés and museums have fully reopened while a small number were put off by French health rules including mask-wearing.
Kate Gooderham, Florida: “We plan to travel in September. We will want to be sure places are open so we can freely travel and won’t be locked down!”
Reasons for visiting
While the majority of people who answered were travelling for holidays, there was also a significant number of second-home owners and people who had family members in France who they have not been able to see in more than a year, since travel from outside the EU Bloc was suspended in March 2020.
Maine resident Janet Caner said: “My son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter live in France. I have not been able to visit them since October. I will be on a plane the minute the borders open.”
Denise McCauley of Ann Arbor, Michigan, also plans to travel as soon as possible, saying: “I can’t wait to see my grandson in Vincennes!”
Lynn Crosby, who usually splits her time between Los Angeles and Paris, simply added: “I haven’t seen my husband in over a year!”
Fiona Engebretson, of Washington, is particularly determined to get here, saying: “We bought a house near Eymet in January of 2020 and planned to move permanently to France this summer for retirement.
“We’ve had a two-year plan to make it happen and we’re going to do it no matter what.”
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to answer our questionnaire, it was lovely to hear from so many people keen to return to France. You can find the latest on the travel situation in our Travelling to France section.