For members


Reader question: How do I prove I have recovered from Covid in France?

As France eases out of lockdown, and cross-border travel resumes with certain health requirements, how do those who have recovered from Covid-19 prove it to be able to travel?

Reader question: How do I prove I have recovered from Covid in France?
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Reader question: I have had and recovered from Covid-19. I understand that being recovered from Covid is accepted as proof on the health passport – but how do I prove that?

With Europe opening up to travellers, a ‘health passport’ will be the summer’s must-have travel accessory.

You can read full details of how France’s health passport will work HERE but there are three types of proof that people will be able to supply before travel; a vaccination certificate, a negative Covid test taken within the previous 48 hours or proof of recovery from Covid. 

READ ALSO Can I access France’s health passport with a foreign vaccination certificate?

It is important to note that, for those who have recovered from Covid, the period in which they can use this for their health passport is limited.

According to France’s public service website, acceptable proof of Covid recovery is the following:

A positive PCR or antigen test more than 15 days and less than 6 months old, and a follow-up negative test.

People who had Covid more than six months ago, or who never got a test while they were ill, cannot use the recovery option and will instead need to present either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative Covid test.

France’s policy on vaccination for people who have had Covid is that you cannot be vaccinated until three months after you have recovered, but then most people will only need a single vaccine dose.

If you have previously recovered from Covid, make sure you flag this up when you get your vaccine and the person administering the vaccine can decide whether you need a second dose or not. If you only need one dose, you will get a ‘second dose’ certificate, confirming that you are fully vaccinated.

READ ALSO What to expect at your vaccine appointment (and what to do if you don’t have a carte vitale)

Similar to vaccination certificates, results sheets for professionally administered PCR and antigen tests are officially certified. Results from home-test kits cannot be used for this purpose.

You upload the certificates via the Covid tracking app TousAntiCovid.

Head to the ‘carnet’ or ‘my wallet’ section of the app and tap the ‘scan QR code’ option. Then use your smartphone camera to scan the square code present on your certificate.

The app then converts this into a code that can be scanned at the borders. Codes from the French app will, from mid June, be accepted for travel anywhere within the EU. Negotiations between the EU and non-EU countries over the mutual recognition of codes are still ongoing.

The app allows multiple documents to be stored, so families are covered on one phone.

A free telephone helpline – 0 800 08 71 48 – is available seven days a week, from 9am to 8pm. 

For people who do not have a smartphone, there will be the option to present paper certificates at the border but you will need the same certificates – a positive PCR or antigen test more than 15 days and less than 6 months old, and a follow-up negative test.


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For members


Will France have Christmas light displays this year?

The message in France this winter is all about turning out the lights, as the country aims to cut its energy use by 10 percent to get through the winter without Russian gas - so what does this mean for traditional Christmas lights displays and light festivals?

Will France have Christmas light displays this year?

The French government’s sobriété enérgetique (energy-saving) plan for winter has plenty to say about lights – people are advised to turn off the light in any room they’re not using, while local authorities will be switching off early the lighting on monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and even street lights in some areas.

Even the famously opulent palace of Versailles – which gives rise to the phrase C’est pas Versailles ici (meaning, turn the lights off, we’re not millionaires) – will turn down its lighting this winter.

READ ALSO All the ways that France’s ‘energy saving’ plan could impact your life

So what does this mean for the popular Christmas light displays that most French towns put on in late November and December? Or Lyon’s famous Festival of Lights? 


Perhaps the best-known Christmas lights display is on the Champs-Elysée – 4km of lights with 20,000 bulbs.

This week, organisers confirmed that the traditional display will go ahead, but with two important modifications; the lights will be switched off at 11.45pm each night – two hours and 15 minutes earlier than previous years – and the display will be up for six weeks instead of the usual seven.

The head of Blachère Illuminations, which creates the Champs-Elysée display – says that thanks to LED lightbulbs, the display actually uses surprisingly little electricity, costing €50-€60 a day in power bills. 

The display will be switched on on Sunday, November 20th by actor Tahar Rahim.

Reduced displays

In most big cities, local authorities have adopted similar plans- festive lights displays will happen, but in a pared-down form.

For a large city, Christmas lights represent only around 0.2 percent of their annual electricity usage – but while savings may be minimal, many mayors have spoken of wanting to set an example through small gestures.

Strasbourg – the town that bills itself ‘France’s capital of Christmas’ is going ahead with its display, but with 10-20 percent fewer bulbs than usual. The display will also end on January 8th – one week earlier than normal – and lights will be turned off at 11pm instead of midnight.

Bordeaux – the deputy mayor of Bordeaux said: “We plan to keep the same illuminations as last year but reduce the lighting time.” In practice this means beginning on December 9th, two weeks later than usual, and turning the lights off between 1am and 7am.

Toulouse – the light display will be two weeks shorter than usual – turning on one week later in December and off one week earlier in January.

Caen – the Normandy town will also be turning off lights early, at 11pm instead of midnight.


But some towns have announced that they will cancel the displays altogether. Municipalities that have announced a total cancellation include Morbihan and Quimper in Brittany, Béthune in Pas-de-Calais and Boussy-Saint-Antoine in Essonne. 

One of the displays at the 2018 festival of light in Lyon. Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP

Lyon festival

But undoubtedly the most beautiful light display in France is in Lyon, when the whole town is given over the the Fête des Lumières (festival of lights) in early December.

This year’s festival – running from Thursday, December 8th to Sunday, December 11th, will go ahead, local authorities have confirmed, with around 30 sites illuminated in astonishing displays of light and colour, often accompanied by music.

City authorities, confirming that the festival will go ahead, said that the 30 displays over five nights represent “a drop in the ocean” of the town’s annual energy use, while the festival brings in thousands of visitors.

Deputy mayor Sylvain Godinot, said: “The impact of the Festival of Lights on the city of Lyon’s energy consumption is absolutely marginal, which is what allows us to maintain it.

“These are installations that have evolved a lot technologically with lighting designed with a lot of LEDs that ultimately consume very little energy.”

The city’s usual Christmas lights will also go ahead, but will be switched on one week later and switched off one week earlier.