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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Do Brits have to quarantine on arrival in France?

As Covid restrictions ease across Europe Brits are returning to France to visit friends, families or second homes, or just enjoy a holiday, but one question that keeps being asked is whether travellers to France from the UK are required to quarantine on arrival.

Reader question: Do Brits have to quarantine on arrival in France?
Arrivals from the UK need to follow rules on testing and quarantine. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

NOTE – The situation on quarantine is changing – check out our live coverage here.

 

 

The answer, in a word, is yes. But – as always – it’s slightly more complicated than that.

Travel rules are based on where you are coming from, not what passport you hold, so the below applies to anyone arriving into France from the UK. 

For the moment, the rules are the same whether you are vaccinated or not.

The current situation

France has ended the rule that required anyone travelling between France and the UK to have a ‘compelling reason’ for their journey and since it also lifted it’s ‘partial lockdown’ on May 3rd there are now no restrictions on travel within France.

The Interior Ministry confirmed to The Local that: “In effect, following the modification of the decree on March 12th, it is no longer necessary to justify an essential reason to travel from the UK to France.”

The rules in France

As it stands, anyone entering France from the UK needs a negative Covid test taken within the previous 72 hours. 

This must be a PCR test and not the rapid-result antigen test or a self-administered home-test. 

Covid tests in the UK are only free to certain groups – health workers, people with symptoms, contact cases etc – so chances are you will need to pay to be tested in the UK, and it can be expensive.

You also need to fill in a declaration that you are free from Covid symptoms – find that HERE.

Once in France, most arrivals from outside the EU, which now includes the UK, are requested to self-isolate for seven days before taking a second Covid test.

The declaration which you fill in and sign also includes an undertaking that you will isolate for seven days ‘in a place designated by authorities’ – which in this case can include your own home, a second home, hotel or similar or the home of family or friends – and then take a second test.

Because the UK is not on France’s current mandatory quarantine list, there is no police enforcement of the self-isolation period as there is for arrivals from ‘red list’ countries.

There are also no checks or enforcement of the second test rule.

What the declaration says – and what it means

Basically, the form says that you declare ‘on your honour’ that you do not have any Covid-19 symptoms; that you have not knowingly been in contact with anyone who has Covid-19 in the past 48 hours; and that you pledge to isolate for seven days and then take a test at the end of the seven-day period.

While a déclaration sur l’honneur literally translates into English as a ‘declaration on one’s honour’, conjuring images of dawn duels involving men in curly wigs, it is perhaps better translated as a ‘sworn statement’. 

These have a legal standing in France, and anyone who knowingly makes a false declaration can face legal sanctions. The maximum penalty for using or drawing up a false declaration is one year in prison and a fine of €15,000. We explain more HERE

UK amber listed?

France is expected to adopt an EU-wide traffic light system for travellers from other countries when it is launched on June 9th. 

France is reported to be considering placing the UK on its amber list because of the spread of the Indian variant, which suggests the rules are unlikely to be eased any time soon – and may become more strict.

Heading back to the UK

Because of current Covid levels in France, it is rated on the UK’s traffic-light system as ‘amber’ – a situation that is unlikely to change quickly. 

That means non-essential travel from the UK to France is still not recommended – which may invalidate your travel insurance – and requires a 10-day quarantine and two further tests on your return to the UK, which cost on average an eye-watering £200.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about travel between France and the UK

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READER INSIGHTS

‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?

Signage 

One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”

Connections

One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”

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