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Is France imposing a 14-day quarantine on UK travellers?

Following a summit of EU leaders, British media reported that France is imposing a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from the UK, even fully vaccinated ones - so what's really happening?

Is France imposing a 14-day quarantine on UK travellers?
Photo: Ian Langsdon/AFP

Do arrivals in France from the UK have to quarantine for 14 days?

At present, no. The UK is on France’s orange list for travel under the traffic light system that has been in place since June 9th.

This means that fully vaccinated travellers can come to France for any reason and don’t need to quarantine, but do need a negative Covid test.

For those not fully vaccinated things are stricter – they can only travel for essential reasons and have to quarantine for seven days on arrival, and have a negative Covid test.

You can find a full explanation of the rules HERE.

Is this about to change?

Maybe. There concerns in France and other EU countries about the spread of the Delta variant of Covid.

This accounts for 90 percent of cases in the UK, where case numbers are again rising. In France, and most of the rest of the EU, case numbers are falling and the Delta variant represents only a small percentage of cases, but leaders are very aware that this could change rapidly.

What’s the change?

Some countries have already brought in extra measures for UK travellers, with Belgium bringing in a travel ban and Germany quarantining all UK arrivals, even fully vaccinated ones, for 14 days.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see.”

Does France agree?

Speaking at a meeting of EU leaders on June 24th, French president Emmanuel Macron seemed to back Merkel’s view, saying: “For me, one of the issues of discussion is to be really taking coordinated decisions in terms of opening of borders to third countries and on recognising vaccines, because at this stage we have to limit this to the vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency.”

So a 14-day quarantine?

You will notice that what Macron actually said is considerably more vague that announcing a 14-day quarantine.

Under France’s current rules no arrivals have to quarantine for 14 days, not even those from red list countries such as India. The maximum quarantine time is 10 days and this can be done at home – although this is enforced with visits from the police.

Throughout the pandemic, France has consistently pushed for a coordinated EU approach to border restrictions, so what Macron said only chimes with the current position.

However, border decisions are taken on a national level for all EU countries and in the past 18 months there has never been total consensus on health rules, with all countries imposing different rules at different times on arrivals from various countries.

Other EU countries at the summit were not in favour of such strict measures and so far no consensus has been reached.

We will update our Travelling to France section HERE as soon as there is an announcement from the French government on any changes to the travel rules.

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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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