France deconfinement: Can we have a family meal or party?

A four-date process to ease Covid-related restrictions in France began on May 3, with the goal of dropping most measures, including those for socialising, by the end of June.

7 May 2021

The government recommends only meeting up in groups of six at private homes, but it is not legally enforced Pic: fauxels / Pexels

Reader question: What are the rules now on meeting up with friends and family in France? For example, can I organise a small family meal at my house?

Short answer: Yes, but you still need to respect the curfew and other rules

France is set to slowly drop certain Covid-related restrictions over the next two months, which will make social events more possible.

Small social meet-ups in public are already possible and since May 3, travel within France without restriction is allowed during the day, meaning you can go to meet with friends and family members in other departments or regions.

Meeting up outside

You can meet up in groups of up to six people in public spaces – maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask. 

In some places, such as in Toulouse, certain public spaces are closed to the public. You should check with your local mairie to see if there are any restrictions in your commune. 

Drinking alcohol in public is also still prohibited in certain cities across France too.

A curfew is in place between 19:00 and 06:00, meaning if you are meeting up outside you have to do so outside these hours.

On May 19, groups of up to 10 people will be allowed to meet. The curfew will be pushed back to 21:00. From June 9, large gatherings of up to 1,000 people will be allowed and on June 30 the limits will be relaxed. 

Meeting up in private

Meeting up in a private homes is allowed. 

The government advises groups of no more than six people meet up in private homes, but this is a recommendation and not a law. 

You will still have to respect the curfew, but there is nothing to prevent you from staying over at a friend or family member’s home, to avoid breaking the curfew. 

The police are forbidden to enter your home unless they have a specific reason and the appropriate documentation, or in the case of a complaint of tapage nocturne, a night-time disturbance – this is usually a noise complaint from a neighbour. 

If one of your neighbours does complain about noise, then the police can fine the homeowner for tapage nocturne and can fine any guests there for being away from home during a curfew without a good reason. The fine is €135 for breaking the curfew. 

Meeting up in a venue

It is still forbidden to rent a hall or a function room for parties. This will change on May 19, but then venues will predominantly be used for weddings.

From that date, the venues will be limited to 35% of normal capacity, inside and outside. On June 9 this will rise to 50% inside and 65% outside. The limits will be removed on June 30. 

Read more:

Restaurant bookings in France soar ahead of May 19 reopening

Number of recorded Covid-19 cases drops across France

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