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Covid-19: Everything you need to know about travel between France and the USA

The majority of Covid-related restrictions between France and the USA have now been lifted, so if you have a trip planned, here's what you need to know.

Covid-19: Everything you need to know about travel between France and the USA
The US has reopened its borders to vaccinated travellers. Photo: Kenzo Tribaullard/AFP

America has reopened travel from Europe for all purposes, including tourism, and the USA is on France’s ‘green list’ for travel – meaning that tourism between the two countries is now once again a viable option.

From France to the US

Non-US citizens are able to travel from France for any reason – including holidays –  but only if they are fully vaccinated.

However a negative test is required on arrival for all travellers, vaccinated or not.

The US counts as vaccinated those who are:

  • Vaccinated with a WHO approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca)
  • 14 days after the final dose
  • The US does not give mixed dose vaccines (eg one AstraZeneca and one Pfizer) but it will accept this combination as fully vaccinated.
  • However it will not accept a single vaccine dose after catching Covid

US citizens, permanent residents and those travelling to the US on an immigrant visa are not required to show proof of vaccination.

Find the full details here.

Testing – All travellers over the age of two – US citizens included – must show a negative Covid test before boarding, taken no more than 1 day before your day of travel. The French pharmacy-administered antigen tests are accepted for travel, as well as PCR tests.  

From the US to France

The US is now on France’s ‘green list’ for travel, which has the lightest level of restrictions.

If you are fully vaccinated – you need only to provide proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test is not needed. The health declaration is also no longer needed. CDC vaccine certificates are accepted at the border as proof of vaccination.

France counts as fully vaccinated those who:

  • Are vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson)
  • Are 7 days after their final dose, or 28 days in the case of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines
  • OR Have had a single vaccine dose after previously recovering from Covid. Travellers must be 7 days after their dose
  • Have had a booster shot if more than 9 months has passed since the final dose of your vaccine. If you have had a booster shot there is no need for a second one, even if more than 9 months has passed since your booster
  • Mixed dose vaccines are accepted 

If you are not vaccinated – you need to show a negative Covid test on boarding, taken within 72 hours if a PCR test or 48 hours if an antigen test. Travellers must also fill in a declaration stating that they do not have Covid symptoms and have not been in contact with Covid patients – find the form here.

Once in France there is no need to quarantine. 

In France

France has lifted many of its health rules, but masks are still required on all public transport (including taxis and VTC) and in transport hubs such as train stations and airports. Masks are also required when entering any healthcare facility.

Masks are no longer required in shops or bars, although private businesses have the right to require customers to wear one as a condition of entry.

There are no exemptions to the mask rule and failure to comply can lead to a €135 fine.

The vaccine pass is no longer required, unless you are visiting an establishment with high-risk residents such as a nursing home.

Member comments

  1. going to USA via UK. Leave France on Monday by car and fly from Heathrow Wednesday. Looks like i need a day 2 test and an antigen test at least 3 days before flight. Can i get antigen test in France on monday or do i need to pay for one in uk. Don’t understand why can’t just book 1 test for arrival and departure

  2. “If you are fully vaccinated the test must be taken within 72 hours of travel, non-vaccinated people must have a test taken within 24 hours of travel.”

    This is incorrect – every traveler to the US 2+ years of age needs a negative test taken one day prior to boarding, regardless of vaccination status.

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What to know when visiting France’s lavender fields this summer

Known affectionately as 'blue gold,' France’s lavender fields are a popular tourist attraction every year. Here is what you need to know about visiting them:

What to know when visiting France's lavender fields this summer

Lavender is the “soul of Provence,” the French region where the fields can be found. Like wine, lavender was brought to France around 2,000 years ago by the Romans. The flower is the emblem of ‘Haute Provence’ regional identity, though the fields stretch from just outside of Nice almost all the way up to Valence, and they are not fully exclusive to France.

Even the washerwomen, those whose job it was to clean clothes and linen, were referred to as les lavandières in France. 

The flowers, which can be found mainly in two species in Provence, have several uses – as oils for cooking and bathing, as a perfume for soaps, and even as an antiseptic for healing wounds and scars.

The lavender essential oil that comes from Provence is even an AOP (L’Appellation d’origine protégée) in France. 

When is the best time to see the fields?

Typically, the lavender flowers from around mid-June to early-to-mid August. However, depending on the weather, especially if there is a drought or hotter temperatures, the lavender might flower sooner than normal, which is likely the case for this year.

This is unfortunately also a side effect of climate change, which might be pushing up the lavender flowering season.

Where should I go?

The Valensole plateau is perhaps the most famous place to go for lavender fields. Speckled with several small Provencal towns, the area is beautiful, with a mountainous backdrop in the distance. If you go here, you might also be able to see the sunflower fields too.

Sault is perhaps a bit less known, partially because due to its altitude, the lavender typically flowers a bit later.

It is still a great place to go see the fields, and every year the town hosts a Lavender Festival in August. Walking (or cycling) between the villages (Aurel, Saint-Trinit and Saint-Christol) is very manageable.

This is not too far from the Sénanque Abbey, a medieval 12th century abbey which is surrounded by lavender fields. You might notice some small stone houses called bories in the fields, which were historically used for field workers.

Luberon Valley is another location that comes highly recommended. In the area, there is a regional national park, home to rosé wines, castles (chateaux) and charming villages, like Gordes, a stunning hilltop village.

Here you can also find the Musée de la Lavande, if you are looking to learn more about harvesting, producing and distilling lavender, its industry, and some interesting regional history.

How to get there?

You can take a TGV train to Aix-en-Provence or Avignon, or rent a car. With a car, you can also enjoy the several scenic routes that allow you to see the fields from the roads.

What else is there to do while in the region?

The area is also known for its rosé wine, so you could take the opportunity to go visit some vineyards or spend some time wine-tasting. 

In the summer months, the south of France can get quite warm. If you are looking to go swimming or enjoy the water, the Gorges du Verdon are not too far away. Though a bit of a tourist hotspot, the canyon is a beautiful and a wonderful place for paddling along in a canoe.

If you’re a fan of hiking, you can always go for a (light) hike along the Ochre Trail near Roussillon. Here, there are two marked paths that will take you through sunset-colored red and yellow cliffs in an old quarry.

Words of Wisdom

Unless you have been given express permission, do not pick the lavender, as this is the farmer’s livelihood. You can always buy a bouquet from nearby souvenir shops for your photo shoots! 

Also, stick to the paths that exist to avoid trampling any crops, and of course do not litter in the fields.