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QUARANTINE

‘Essential’ travel forms and quarantine portal: France updates travel info for UK

France has published permission forms all travellers need to fill in if they are travelling to and from the UK from Saturday onwards. It has also placed online a portal for those who will need to quarantine on return.

France has imposed strict new border controls for people travelling from the UK.
France has imposed strict new border controls for people travelling from the UK. The online portal that passengers must register on is now active. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP)

The French government has announced tighter rules on travel to and from the UK that will come into force at midnight Friday /Saturday due to the explosion of Covid infections caused by the Omicron variant.

These rules, which include tighter rules and pre-departure tests and obligatory quarantine (full details here), apply to all travellers whether fully vaccinated or not.

All non-essential travel to and from the UK has been barred – including for “tourism and professional reasons”.

The French interior minister has published an attestation for leaving French territory for the the UK. All travellers, both vaccinated and non-vaccinated will need to fill it in if they travel after midnight on Friday/Saturday. The form is available here.

Travellers are warned if they don’t have an essential reason or the evidence needed to prove it then they may be barred from travel.

A separate attestation for those travelling to France under the new rules has also been published. It is available here.

It also includes the list of essential reasons for travel, one of which must be ticked. The form will need to be presented to travel companies, like Eurotunnel, where it can be uploaded or to border control.

Quarantine portal

If you meet the essential travel requirements, you will have to submit some personal details via an online platform, which has now been activated, before your return or departure to France. 

You can access the platform HERE

The site can be accessed in multiple languages. You will need to fill all the standard biographical details and declare whether you are a health worker or not. You will also be asked for a French social security number (although you can just write “0” if you don’t have one), vaccination status and the address where you will be quarantining upon arrival in France. 

After filling out the form, you will be able to download an identification file. We recommend that you either save this file on your phone or print it. You are not allowed to travel without completing the form. It may be useful to carry it on you as you cross the border. 

The purpose of this form is to alert French law enforcement authorities of where you will be self-isolating in France upon your arrival. The police could check that you are respecting the quarantine measures once you get here – if you are found to be violating them, you could face a hefty fine. 

Remember that you must quarantine for at least 48 hours after arriving in France. If after 48 hours, you present a negative Covid test, you can leave self-isolation. If you do not take a test, you must remain isolated for 10 days according to the ministry if interior rather than the 7 days initially announced by the government spokesperson.

 

Member comments

      1. Strange that people find that release of a few rules & a 2 page form must have been ‘planning for weeks’ as if that is a conspiracy.

        1. The rules/form are essentially those that have been applied to many countries for ages – so you literally could easily draw this up overnight.
        2. Since the Omicron variant news came out of SA (weeks ago), I would think it reasonable & competent to draw up contingency plans for slowing its growth in France – including measures for any country where it became widespread.

  1. Yet another confusing bit of information. According to messages I am receiving from Ryanair I should have booked a Day 8 PCR test too. I thought it was an Antigen/PCR test before departure and a PCR test on or before day 2. Have I got it wrong?

  2. At least the French don’t have to debate for hours in Parliament like a bunch of kids bickering before implementing precautions!

  3. I downloaded that document to fill out. Its in French, but the copy-and–paste is disabled, so I have to re-type the entire document in French to get a translation.

  4. Its pretty insensitive to announce a new policy Thursday, that you have 24 hours to get out of the country, at a time when all the Eurostars are full. If they were considering this, they could have announced the possibility so that cautious people would have a few days to get out. We were in a small town on the German border Thursday night at 9 pm when I saw something about this on Facebook. With various trains being full or cancelled, I could not get to Paris until Friday 4:30 pm. Now I might be stuck I a country, with my 90 day visa about to run out.

    Its kind of clear this is related to the British not giving fishing licenses and Macron getting angry at Boris for releasing some confidential letter.

  5. My son has travelled to his fiances home in Greman for Christmas with her and her family. He plans to leave there after a week andthen drive from Gremany to France to stay with us for a few days. As he has now been in Europe for over 7 days and is travelling by car accross the border to reach us will he need any documents with him? He is double vacinated and will have had a test before he came to Germany, should he get a covid test before he leaves Germany just to be safe? I really do not know what the EU travel rules are and as there are no borders check points anyway who is going to be checking his paperwork? thanksin anticipation for you your constructive comments

  6. All very interesting details thank you. I rely on this for up to date information and am grateful for these latest regulation details. The article seems to jump around between U.K. to France, then suddenly France to U.K. and perhaps I’ m tired but I had to keep checking if the particular paragraph referred to U.K. to France or vice versa. Rules are different of course depending on direction of travel and there seemed insufficient clarity on this.

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FRANCE EXPLAINED

Bears, lemons and pig-squealing: 9 of France’s strangest festivals

From pig-squealing competitions to men in bear suits, these are some of France's most bizarre traditional festivals.

Bears, lemons and pig-squealing: 9 of France's strangest festivals

France is home to hundreds of festivals every year, from small local celebrations to internationally renowned events such as the Strasbourg Christmas market, Nice Carnival and the Lyon Fête des lumières. But there are other festivals that are, frankly, a bit strange.

Here are France’s 9 strangest festivals;

Fête du Citron

When life gives you lemons…create a festival involving over 140 tonnes of citrus fruit and invite about 230,000 visitors annually? That is pretty much what Menton, a town on the French Riviera did in 1928 when a hotelier in the region wished to increase tourism. Known for its delicious lemons, Menton has grown the fruit since the 1500s and shipped them all over the world.

The hotelier’s idea, which came into fruition in 1934 ended up becoming a world recognised three-week festival, where the city and its garden show off giant sculptures – some over 10 metres in height – made of lemons and oranges, amid parades, shows, concerts and art exhibits. 

Fête de l’Ours

Recently added to the UNESCO ‘intangible heritage’ list, the Bear Festival takes place in the Pyrenees, along the border with Spain. Stretching all the way back to the Middle Ages, the festival has some surprising components: it involves a man dressing up as a bear and chasing humans.

At the end of the festival, the humans catch the man in the bear costume, and ‘skin’ him (take off his bear costume) so he can become a person again.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the French bear festival recognised by Unesco

It is intended to be a celebration of the end of winter, and while it was practised in all villages in the region up to the 19th century, it still occurs in three villages in the Haut Vallespir, located in the Pyrenees-Orientales département.

La Pourcailhade (Festival of the Pig)

Every year the small village of Trie-sur-Baise in the Pyrenees hosts a unique festival dedicated to pigs. Throughout the celebration, you’ll see pigs in various forms – from piglets to pork and people in pig costumes. The Pourcailhade is known for one moment in particular: the pig squealing competition, where participants get on stage and attempt to give their best pig imitation. 

The festival first started in 1975, at the former home to Europe’s largest pig market, and it usually takes place in August, though the festival had a six-year pause and made its comeback in 2018.

There are also piglet races and competitions to see who has the best pig-costume, but the cri de cochon (pig squeal) contest is something to behold, as shown below.

The Underwear festival

Captain Underpants would fit right in to this village in the south of France, located the Lot département.

Started in 2016, this festival is meant to pay homage to a reporter who made the little town of Montcuq famous across France during a nationally televised segment in 1976. During the celebration, participants can compete with one another in games from sumo-wrestling to a race (in underwear).

The sausage and pickle festival

Andouillette might be one of the French foods that foreigners find least appealing, but its cousin, andouille, is perhaps a bit more appealing…though possibly not enough to join a contest for the fastest andouille and pickle eater.

READ MORE: Readers reveal: The worst food in France

Every August 15th, the village of Bèze, located in eastern France, hosts a festival celebrating the sausage. One key moment is the competition to see who can swallow one kilo and 200 grams of tripe as quickly as possible, all with their hands tied behind their backs. The festival also crowns a queen of andouille and a king of the pickles, and the proceeds go toward helping children with disabilities.

This is not the only andouille centred festival in France. Another one, the “Fête de l’Andouille” which takes place in northern France involves a very important step where the crowd tries to catch pieces of andouille thrown at them from a balcony.

Fêtes de Bayonne

Known as France’s wildest festival, the Fêtes de Bayonne are a five-day party celebrating Basque cultural identity, and they take place in Bayonne every summer. 

Starting in 1932, the Fêtes can be controversial because they have traditionally involved bull fighting, or corrida, which some French lawmakers have been working to outlaw.

READ MORE: Could bullfighting finally be banned in France?

Aside from the bulls, the festival consists of lots of singing, dancing, sports competitions, traditional dress, and crowd-surfing. 

Festival-goers wear red and white outfits to symbolise the northern Spanish province of Pamplona, though some purists wear the colours of Bayonne: white and blue.

One of the most notable parts of the festival is the paquito chocolatero – a type of crowd-surfing where a person is passed over a chain of people sitting on the ground. The Fêtes de Bayonne have beaten the world record for the longest chain of people several times, most recently in 2022, a chain of 8,000 people passed one person over the crowd.

The Historic Ladle Festival

In practice since 1884, the Fête Historique des Louches, this tradition takes place in northern France in Comines. The legend goes that the Lord of the town was imprisoned in a high tower, and to show his people where he was being held, he apparently threw a wooden spoon with his coat of arms from the tower.

The festival, which takes place each October, has plenty of other activities, including a pageant, but the most noteworthy part is the parade where wooden spoons are hurled at the crowd. The goal is to walk away with the most ladles, proving to everyone that you truly deserve to live in the town of Comines.

The Gayant Festival

Close to the border with Belgium, the city of Douai in France’s north engages in a festival to celebrate three large statues, representing a giant family. Called the “Gayants” – they symbolise the city and according to folklore, they helped the villagers survive battles, invasions and wars over the centuries. The procession involves a parade where the giant statues are taken around the city.

This is another French festival that was registered in the “intangible cultural heritage” list with UNESCO, specifically under the category of “Giants and processional dragons of Belgium and France.”

Festival of the Unusual Taking place in Finistère, on France’s western coast, this festival has been going on for almost three decades.

Every July 14th, villagers come to demonstrate one of their “unusual talents,” whether that be throwing an egg or demonstrating how long they can peel an apple. One highlight of the festival is the race – where contestants try to go faster than one another on bed frames with rollers. Some contestants use the festival as a way to show their prowess in the Guinness Book of World Records – one village member broke the record in bending beer caps at the festival.

While France’s many festivals might seem a bit odd to foreigners, they still pale in comparison to some festivals taking place in the anglophone world, such as the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling event in the UK, where participants race down a 180 metre hill to try to catch the Gloucester cheese rolling down it. 

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