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France moves 29 countries onto travel ‘green list’

France has updated its list of 'green' countries, from which travellers can enter France with no requirement for proof of a Covid vaccination.

France moves 29 countries onto travel 'green list'

France on Thursday updated its green list, adding 29 new countries including India, Canada and South Africa.

Countries including the UK, USA and Australia remain on the orange list.

Travellers can come to France for any reason from green list countries, and only those who are not vaccinated require a Covid test.

Map: French Interior Ministry

The 29 added countries are; South Africa, Angola, Argentina, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Botswana, Benin, Bolivia, Canada, Les Comores, Djibouti, Eswatini, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, St Kitts and Nevis, El Salvador, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

MAP: Which countries are on France’s green list?

All the countries within the EU and Schengen zone were already on the green list, together with others including New Zealand, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Remaining on the orange list are countries including the UK, USA, Australia and Russia.

There are currently no countries on the red list. Find the full list here.

Green list rules

Fully vaccinated – can travel for any reason and do not need to show a Covid test at the border.

Unvaccinated – can travel for any reason but need to show a Covid test at the border. This must be either a PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 48 hours. A certificate of recent recovery from Covid can also be used – full details here.

Orange list rules

Fully vaccinated – can travel for any reason and do not need to show a Covid test at the border

Unvaccinated – can only travel for essential reasons. This includes French nationals or residents returning home or essential work-related travel but does not cover holidays, family visits or visits from second-home owners. Find the full list here. Those who do qualify for travel must show a negative Covid test – either PCR or antigen – taken within 48 hours.

READ ALSO Can I use a Lateral Flow Test for travel to France?

Fully vaccinated

France counts as fully vaccinated people who are vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen or AstraZeneca (including Covidshield) and are seven days after their second dose, or 28 days after the single dose in the case of Janssen.

A booster shot is not required to enter the country, but it may be needed to secure the vaccine pass that is necessary to access a wide range of venues including bars, cafés, tourist sites and long-distance train travel – full details here.

If you were vaccinated outside the EU, Schengen zone or UK you can show your vaccination certificate at the border, but once in France you will need to visit a pharmacy to obtain the QR code necessary for the French vaccine pass. QR codes from vaccine certificates issued in the EU, Schengen zone or UK are compatible with the French vaccine pass.

READ ALSO How people vaccinated outside the EU can access the French vaccine pass

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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.