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LATEST: France to impose strict quarantine requirements on arrivals from another seven countries

The French government on Friday announced the extension of its 'red list' of countries from which all arrivals are subject to a compulsory, police-enforced quarantine.

LATEST: France to impose strict quarantine requirements on arrivals from another seven countries
Photo: Ian Langsdon/AFP

The strict quarantine requirement was introduced in mid April, initially for Brazil, South Africa, Chile and Argentina, before India was added to the list a couple of days later.

The requirements are also in place for anyone arriving from the French overseas département of French Guiana, which borders Brazil, the official announcement in the Journal Officiel clarified.

Now the government has added another seven countries to the list – Turkey, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, a government source told AFP.

The measure will come into force at midnight on Saturday.

Travel from these countries is allowed for essential reasons only and all arrivals must follow a strict pre-travel testing regime, followed by a compulsory 10-day quarantine in France.

EXPLAINED These are France’s rules on quarantine

The rules apply to all travellers aged 11 and over.

  • Anyone travelling from these places must get either a PCR test 36 hours before travel OR a PCR test 72 hours before travel followed by a rapid-result antigen test 24 hours before travel
  • 10-day quarantine can be done at an address of the traveller’s choice, either at a home or a hotel (at their own cost)
  • Travellers must provide proof of their quarantine address when boarding (either proof of their home address or a hotel reservation) and airlines will be allowed to refuse boarding to people who do not have the correct proof
  • Travellers must then take another antigen test on arrival in France, and confirm to border guards that they will observe the 10-day quarantine. Quarantine address proofs will also be checked again at the border
  • Police will then check the address provided during the 10 days to ensure the quarantine is being enforced
  • Travellers will also be contacted by health authorities to remind them of the rules and offer advice. Support will be available if needed for essential errands 
  • Essential errands may be done only between 10am and 12 noon, anyone not at the address provided outside those hours will be deemed in breach of quarantine and fined
  • Fines range from €1,000 to €1,500

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said: “For the most part, only French and European nationals with their main residence in France will be able to enter the country.”

These requirements, put in place due to fears about new variants, are coupled with a ban on all flights between France and Brazil.

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Driving in France: What is télépéage and how does it work?

Ever seen those drivers who avoid the queues at toll booths and driving straight through? Here's how they do it.

Driving in France: What is télépéage and how does it work?

If you’re driving on French autoroutes one of the things you need to know is that they are not free – you will have to pay regular tolls, payable at toll booths known as péage.

Usually, drivers pick up a ticket from a booth at the start of their journey, then pay the required amount at a booth at the end of it – or when they move onto a different section of autoroute – based on the distance they have travelled.

But the toll booths themselves can be busy, especially during the summer, and long queues sometimes build up.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

This is where automated pay systems – known as télépéage – come in, especially for those who use the motorway network regularly.

As well as allowing you to pass straight through péages without stopping for payment, it’s also very useful for owners of right-hand drive vehicles, who may otherwise find that they’re sitting on the wrong side for easy and speedy payment.

Here’s how it works

Order your télépéage badge online

Click on the Bip&Go website here and follow the instructions to order a scannable personalised device (up to a maximum of two per account for private users). You will need to set up an account to arrange electronic payment of charges.

The website is available in English, French, German or Dutch.

You will need to supply bank details (IBAN number), address (for delivery), mobile phone number (to activate your account) and the vehicle’s registration details.

Your badge will be dispatched to your address within 48 hours from the opening of your online account. You can have the device sent to addresses outside France, but allow longer for it to arrive. 

If you’re in France, you can also pick up the device at one of Bip&Go’s stores, if you prefer – you will need need your bank details, proof of identity and a mobile phone.

Attach your badge 

Place your device on on the windscreen to the right of the rearview mirror. It is activated and ready to go. Then, simply, drive.

At the péage

All toll booths are equipped with the sensors that recognise that the vehicle is carrying the necessary device. At most, you will have to stop briefly for the device to be recognised and the barrier to lift.

You will also be able to drive through certain booth areas without stopping. These are indicated by an orange t symbol on the overhead signs. The maximum speed you can pass through these booths is 30kph.

Payments

Payments are processed automatically. You can monitor the amounts you have to pay on an app.

Do I need separate badges for motorway networks run by different companies?

No. The badge allows holders to travel on the entire French motorway network, no matter which company manages the motorway, and you can also use it to cross a number of toll structures in France such as the Millau Viaduct, the Tancarville Bridge or the Normandie Bridge, and pay to park in more than 450 car parks. 

Is it only valid in France?

No, with certain packages, you can also as easily travel on motorways in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and use a number of compatible car parks. You can even use them on Italian ferries.

Okay, but how much does it cost?

Subscriptions to the Bip&Go service depend on what type of service you want. A fixed price rolling subscription is €16 a year – plus toll charges – but assumes you’re a regular user of French motorways. 

A pay-as-you-go subscription is €1.70 for every month the badge is in use – plus toll charges – and carries a €10 additional fee if the badge is not used in a 12-month period.

How much are the toll charges?

They depend on the road you’re on, how far you travel along it, and the vehicle you’re driving.

Heading from Toulouse to Biarritz along the A64 will cost a total €23 in fees for a private car and if you’re driving all the way from Calais down to the Mediterranean coast expect to pay around €70 once you add up the various tolls along the way.

You can find out tariffs for autoroutes on the website of France’s official autoroute body AFSA – where you can also calculate the cost of your journey – including fuel.

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