What changes in France on Wednesday as phase 2 of reopening begins?

Wednesday marks the second stage in France's phased reopening process, with big changes including the return of café terraces and a relaxation of the curfew.

What changes in France on Wednesday as phase 2 of reopening begins?
Cafés are preparing to reopen. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP

After the end of domestic travel restrictions and the scrapping of the attestation for daytime trips on May 3rd, Wednesday, May 19th marks the second phase of France’s déconfinement (reopening). Here’s what changes

Bars, cafés and restaurants are allowed to reopen their outdoor areas only. This is probably the most exciting change for many people following the complete closure of all eating and drinking establishments (apart from takeout) since October. There will still be rules in place, however, including a maximum of six people per table. Also, unfortunately the weather forecast is pretty bad.

Curfew moves back two hours to 9pm. Anyone out between 9pm and 6am will still need both an essential reason and an attestation.

READ ALSO How France’s curfew will work this summer

All shops can reopen. Shops classed as non-essential have been closed across the country since April 3rd but these can now all reopen, albeit with strict limits on the number of customers allowed per square metre, so expect queues outside popular small stores.

Museums, cinemas, theatres and other cultural spaces are also allowed to reopen, again with strict limits on the number of people allowed per square metre. Most museums and tourist sites are operating on a pre-booked ticket only basis, so check what the rule is before you visit.

Outdoor sporting activities will again be allowed (also on the condition that they respect specific health rules). Sports stadiums can reopen with a limit of 800 spectators in indoor spaces and 1,000 in outdoor venues.

Gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed in public spaces (up from six currently). There is no actual rule on gatherings in indoor private spaces such as homes, but the guidance is to keep groups limited to six adults.

Spas can also reopen for cures thermales – spa treatments prescribed by a doctor (yes, that is a thing in France and sometimes the State will even pay for it) but not for the general public.

IN DETAIL France’s calendar for reopening after lockdown

And what stays the same:

Indoor gyms remain closed unless you have been prescribed exercise by a doctor.

Working from home continues to be the rule.

Tourists from most non-EU countries (with the exception of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Japan and Singapore) remain barred.

Mask rules remain in place, making masks compulsory for all indoor public spaces and in the streets in many of France’s larger towns and cities. Failure to wear a mask – covering your nose and mouth – in a designated space can net you a €135 fine.

The ‘health passport‘ allowing vaccinated people to prove their status for travel is not expected to be in use until June, so for the moment even fully-vaccinated travellers have to follow the rules on testing and quarantine.

Member comments

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


French schools, renting property and vocabulary: 6 essential articles for life in France

From how to quit your job in France to choosing the best French school for your kids and learning all the vocabulary of France's cost of living crisis - here are six essential articles for life in France.

French schools, renting property and vocabulary: 6 essential articles for life in France

In the last two years, many people across the world have either considered leaving or have left their jobs amid the “Great Resignation” (or La Grande démission, en Français). 

If you have thought about quitting your French job, or perhaps you simply want to understand the procedure for resigning in France, we’ve put together a guide that should answer all of your questions. 

EXPLAINED: What you should know if you want to quit your job in France

Next, the French government is recommending that everyone become familiar with this website, and you’ll really to know how to use it if you will be living in France during the winter of 2022-2023. 

Ecowatt is the government’s ‘energy forecasting’ website. It will provide you with daily updates and give you an idea as to whether the electrical grid is under stress due to energy shortages. The Local put together an article on how to sign up for alerts, which will help you keep track of whether your area is at risk for short, localised power cuts this winter.

‘Ecowatt’: How you should use France’s new energy forecasting website?

Amid potential energy shortages this winter and the cost of living crisis, foreigners living with France have been faced with learning a whole new set of French vocabulary words.

It can be difficult to keep up to date with the French news – even for native-French speakers. To help you follow along and stay informed, The Local has compiled a list of French terms you are likely to hear when the government or media discusses inflation, along with their English translations.

The French words you need to understand France’s cost of living crisis

Parenting in a country you did grow up in comes with unique challenges and joys. One thing anglophone parents tend to wonder about is whether or not they should send their children to international schools (where English might be more widely spoken) or opt for local French schools.

The Local spoke with some anglophone parents, and compared the advantages and disadvantages of the various options in order to help you make the best decision for your family. 

What kind of school in France is best for my kids?

Many foreigners living in France prefer renting to buying. When looking for that perfect home or apartment, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost – renting in France depends largely on where you live. Renting in a rural or suburban environment will differ greatly from renting in a big city. Nevertheless – renters across France are faced with the same question: furnished or unfurnished? 

The two options differ in terms of price, convenience, and sometimes availability. You can read The Local’s guide to renting property in France.

Renting property in France: Should I go for furnished or unfurnished?

The 2024 Olympic Games are already on the horizon, even though they might seem far away. The city of Paris and its surrounding suburbs have already begun extensive preparations to host athletes, their families, and the thousands of fans who will come to enjoy the Games.

If you live in France and you are considering attending the games, The Local has put together what you need to know in order to secure your tickets.

How to get tickets for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics