Campsites in France and the Covid health pass: What are the rules?

Visitors need a health pass to enter campsites with pools or events halls, but will only have to present it once, upon entering. How does this work for foreign tourists?

21 July 2021
A camp site in France

It is now necessary to show proof of Covid status to enter campsites or holiday parks with pools or events halls capable of accommodating over 50 people Pic: Ripbinbow / Shutterstock

By Brian McCulloch

Campsites and holiday parks with swimming pools or events halls able to accommodate over 50 people will from today (July 21) only be accessible to people able to present proof of their Covid-19 status - using the health pass (pass sanitaire).

France has extended the use of the health pass, meaning that people must now be able to prove their Covid status to enter many public venues, including cinemas, theatres, places of worship, etc. that can hold over 50 people.

The new ruling includes campsites and holiday parks that have swimming pools or entertainment venues. Health passes will not be required to enter parks that do not have swimming pools or events halls. 

Holiday-goers visiting campsites and holiday parks will only have to present the health pass once, upon entering the area. 

This is something the trade body Fédération Nationale de l'Hôtellerie de Plein Air lobbied the government hard for, a spokesman for the body told The Connexion

“It would not have been any fun if people had to show their pass every time they moved around the campsite,” he said.

“Our members obviously want everyone to be happy and healthy and are prepared to control the health passes.  

“They will sometimes have to have extra staff to do so, and some have had to go out and buy new mobile phones to run the [TousAntiCovid] app, but everyone is willing to do so if it means they can stay open.”

The health pass refers to proof of a person’s Covid-19 status and can be any of the three following certificates:

  • A Covid-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a negative result and taken within the past 48 hours

  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate showing full vaccination

  • A Covid-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a positive Covid-19 result, taken between 11 days and six months prior

These documents can be shown in paper format, digitally, or through the phone application TousAntiCovid. 

How can foreign tourists prove their Covid status?

Tourists who were vaccinated or tested in any of the EU’s 27 member states and Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland will be able to use their Covid vaccination or test certificates, as long as they have been updated to be compatible with the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate scheme. 

This means that the certificates should have a QR code on them that is labelled Digital Covid Certificate.

The staff at campsites and holiday parks will use a tool called TousAntiCovid Verif to scan the QR codes, and it will show green if accepted or red if refused.

For tourists not from these countries, their only option currently is to get a Covid-19 test in France, newspaper Libération reported the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs as stating. 

This can be a rapid antigen or PCR test, showing a negative result and taken within the past 48 hours

For foreign tourists, a PCR test currently costs €43,89 and a rapid antigen test costs €25. 

France is accepting vaccination certificates and cards administered in other countries  - such as those stored on the UK’s NHS App -  to allow tourists to enter the country, but as the TousAntiCovid Verif tool is not yet compatible with them, they cannot yet be used as part of the health pass within France.

Read more: How will foreign visitors to France use health pass to go to a cafe?

How to get a Covid-19 test in France

Antigen tests are commonly available in pharmacies, the simplest option. You can walk in and request or book one. If a given pharmacy does not provide the service they may be able to tell which ones do in the area. Nurses can also administer them.

You can find a location for an antigen test at this link by searching with the test antigénique option.

If you want a PCR test these are commonly carried out at private blood testing labs, and locations can be found on the same link provided above but click to filter your research by test virologique (RT-PCR). You can also locate test labs by department at this link

In the information shown for the lab you should click modalités d’accueil and check if an appointment is needed or not.

Where an appointment is obligatory this is sometimes booked via a website, or in some cases it may be made by phone.

Many towns have also set up municipal testing facilities. Check locally with mairies or on their website.

The government is aiming to extend the use of the health pass from the beginning of August to more public places, including restaurants, cafes, bars and long-distance transport services. 

This will depend on approval by parliament and the courts. 

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