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Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

With tourism opening up and travel rules relaxed more and more people are visiting France - but what if you test positive for Covid while you are here?

Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France
Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP

Although France has relaxed many of its Covid-related rules, self-isolation remains compulsory for people who have tested positive for the virus.

Testing

If you develop Covid symptoms, or you have been in close contact with someone who has Covid, you should take a test.

As soon as symptoms appear (fever or feeling of fever, cough, headache, sore throat, aches and pains, unusual fatigue, diarrhea…), you must:

  • perform an antigen test immediately (if positive, perform a confirmatory PCR test) or PCR test, regardless of your vaccination status, history of infection, or risk contact status;
  • Isolate yourself and reduce your contacts;
  • Prepare a list of people you have been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms;

Home-tests can be bought from pharmacies for a maximum price of €6 (most are cheaper than that) or you can go to most pharmacies on a walk-in basis and ask for an antigen test (test antigenique).

If you have symptoms you should take an antigen or PCR test, not a home test.

If you’re not a resident in France you will have to pay for the test, with prices capped at €22 for an antigen test or €54 for a PCR test.

For full details on testing types and how to book, click HERE.

READ ALSO The French vocab you need to get a Covid test

Waiting

While you are waiting for a test appointment, or waiting for the results of a test, you should self-isolate.

Positive

If your test is positive, you must self-isolate, although the length of your isolation depends on whether you are vaccinated or not.

Those who are considered fully vaccinated (a vaccination with a booster or a primary vaccination completed less than 4 months ago), and children under 12 who test positive should:

  • self-isolate for 7 days after the date of onset of symptoms or the date of collection of the positive test;
  • perform an antigen test or PCR test on day five:
  • if the day five test is negative and there have been no symptoms for 48 hours, isolation can be terminated;
  • if that test is positive or if no day five test is performed, isolation must be continued until day seven. After day 7 you can leave self-isolation with no further test required 

Anyone who is not vaccinated or who has an incomplete vaccination schedule (no booster) should:

  • isolate for to 10 days after the date of onset of symptoms or the date of the positive test;
  • perform an antigen or PCR test on day seven after the date of onset of symptoms or the date of collection of the positive test:
  • if the day seven test is negative and there have been no symptoms for 48 hours, isolation can be terminated;
  • if it is positive or if no test is performed, the isolation must be continued until day 10 without any new test.

Note: It is recommended to respect the barrier measures (wearing a mask and hygiene measures) for the seven days after isolation ends following a confirmed positive test. 

Self-isolation

While self-isolating you should stay at home. If you have a garden you can go outside, but you should not leave your property and should avoid contact with people outside your household.

If you are staying in a hotel you should stay in your room, avoid communal areas and tell staff that you have tested positive so they can avoid close contact with you.

Contacts

If you have the French TousAntiCovid app, you can upload your positive certificate and you will be sent a link where you can fill in the details of anyone you have been in contact with before testing positive.

If you don’t have the app, Assurance Maladie now offers an online tool: Lister mes cas contacts that does the same thing.

Medical help

If at any point while you are positive you have difficulty breathing, you should call an ambulance on 15 (114 for people who are deaf or hard of hearing) or the European emergency number on 112. 

Member comments

  1. Covid? I feel I just had it but no money to test, so I just carried on as I would have pre covid. No I do not wear a mask, but I am vaccinated times three. Maybe it was not covid, although all cold symptomes were there, we will never know.

  2. Could anyone advise please: What is the availability of Covid anti-viral treatments like Paxlovid in France and Spain?

    Paxlovid must be taken within a few days of developing symptoms, so it is important to know where and how to get it if needed.

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For members

SECOND HOMES

New French property tax declaration – your questions answered

This year the French tax office has announced that property-owners have to complete an extra tax declaration - from the rules for non-residents to second-home owners, we answer your questions on this.

New French property tax declaration - your questions answered

In 2023 there is an additional requirement for anyone who owns property in France – they must fill in a one-off Déclaration d’occupation, stating whether their property is their main residence or a second home.

The reason for this is changes to the tax system that are gradually phasing out taxe d’habitation for all but the highest earners – with the exception of second homes.

You can find a full explanation of how to file the declaration HERE.

Many of our readers have contacted us with questions about this new requirement, so we’ve answered some of the most frequently-asked here;

Do I still have to do this even though I don’t live in France?

A fairly sizeable number of people own property in France (usually holiday homes) but live elsewhere, such as the UK or the US. If you don’t live in France or have income in France you probably won’t have to do the annual income tax declaration, but the Déclaration d’occupation is different.

It concerns anyone who owns property in France, including second-home owners who live in another country.

Do I have to do this even though I pay all my taxes in another country?

If you own property in France you probably do, in fact, pay tax here – property taxes. Bills go out every autumn for the taxe foncière (the property owners’ tax) and taxe d’habitation (the householders tax) – and second-home owners would usually pay both. You may also receive a bill from your commune for waste-collection services, although the annual TV licence bill (which used to be sent out at the same time as the property tax bill) has been scrapped this year.

If you own property in France and have never paid property taxes, it might be worth a trip to the local tax office to check that you are registered correctly, as almost all property owners are liable for property taxes.

Do I have to do this every year now?

No, this is a one off. You complete the declaration this year (before June 30th) and then you don’t have to do it again until your situation changes – eg a second home becomes your main residence.

Why do we have to do this?

It’s because of changes to the tax rules. Taxe d’habitation – the occupier’s tax – used to be paid by virtually everyone, but is now gradually being phased out for all but high earners. The exception to this is second homes, so the tax office needs to know whether your property is used as your main residence or a second home so that they know whether to send you a bill in autumn.

Does this mean more taxes?

No, the declaration is purely for information – if your property is a second home you will continue to get your annual taxe d’habitation bill as normal, if it is a main residence you may receive no bill or a reduced bill, depending on your income.

Can I just ignore it, or tell them my second home is a main residence?

Ignoring or lying to the tax office is generally quite a bad idea whatever country you’re in – they can get quite cross.

This sounds like a massive pain

Welcome to France – home of bureaucracy! Paperwork is a fact of life in France and that’s probably unlikely to change soon. If you’re already registered in the impots.gouv site then this is one of the more painless admin tasks – a couple of clicks, fill out the form and file it online and you’re done.  

If you have questions on the property tax declaration, you can email us on [email protected] and we will do our best to answer them

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