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France travel: what will be possible this summer?

Travel within France is expected to restart this month as the country enters its second stage of deconfinement on June 2.

Cafes, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues such as theme parks in departments classed as having a low Covid-19 risk should then reopen, with sanitary measures in place. This should be all of France except Paris and the surrounding areas.

Holidays within France

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the final go-ahead would be given at the end of May when the virus’ evolution could be gauged. He said that, with possible localised restrictions, he expects residents to be able to holiday within France in July and August. He said bookings can be made as refunds will be given if cancellations do become necessary.

EasyJet has announced it is relaunching French domestic flights from Nice, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon and Lille from June 15. It also plans to restart its Nice-Gatwick route then, its only UK-France line to resume, and says it believes there will be demand, despite UK-France quarantine measures.

Travel abroad is not currently recommended but French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said June 15 is a decision date re the opening up of Europe’s internal borders. The need for an attestation with limited valid reasons to enter France should then stop. Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne answered a press conference question from Connexion and said: “June 15 is a pivotal date that will allow us to start to have more significant movement inside Europe.”

Read more: UK and France quarantine plans 'absurd' says senator

Which airlines are doing what?

The International Air Transport Association, a trade grouping of most of the world’s airlines, earlier told Connexion it expects intra-European flights to begin again from July and intercontinental flights from October. France currently limits entry mostly to residents and the French, though a list of permitted reasons for others to come has been extended. Visiting a second home – and general tourism – is not on the list.

British Airways hopes to be at 50% of schedule by July; Ryanair at 40% by July 1; Jet2 at full capacity by July 1; Air France aims to slowly increase services, mostly within France, to 15% by the end of June. The SNCF plans to have TGVs and regional trains back to a full service by July. Eurostar hopes to resume more trips as demand increases but this is unlikely while quarantine in the UK is required, it said. Masks are required on all trains. Brittany Ferries wants to restart but is waiting for authorisation from the countries it sails to. DFDS says it is running normal schedules for freight and for essential travel. P&O is running a reduced Dover to Calais service and has suspended foot passenger tickets.

Most are offering flexible booking, with the chance to change dates without a fee. Air passengers and crew must wear masks in the airport and on planes. There will be limitations on on-board services - and you may have to request to visit the toilet.

Travel in France has been restricted since May 11 to a limit of 100km if leaving your home department, apart from helping vulnerable relatives or children, for work, education, or a medical appointment. Longer trips require a form. This 100km limit is expected to be expanded in June. The Covid-19 situation is constantly evolving. Check back with Connexion for daily updates.

Read more: trained French dogs sniff out coronavirus

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