Travel in and out of France in the summer of covid-19

29 April 2020

Travel will remain complicated this spring and summer, despite the easing of confinement rules.

Restrictions are likely to remain within France and, for travel abroad, other countries’ rules must be considered, as well as transport availability.

Flight, train, ferry options 

Air France hopes to be running 30% of flights by July. In April, it was running at 5% capacity.

Jet2 hopes to restart its flight schedules around mid-June, ahead of the peak July/August season.

Ryanair hopes to restart by mid-June but is in a dispute over a requirement to keep middle seats empty. Easyjet says flights will not restart before June at the earliest. BA says it only has limited services for essential workers but the situation is evolving rapidly.

The SNCF reports that half of TGVs will be running by May 11, with the aim of all by July. For the time being all train trips must be reserved.

Brittany Ferries has no crossings but hopes to restart by mid-May if the political and health situation allows. DFDS is running crossings on a slightly reduced frequency, for those with ‘essential’ travel reasons. P&O is also running a reduced schedule. It suspended its foot passenger service temporarily from April 7 to 30.

Eurostar has a reduced timetable but those making essential journeys can travel. It has not specified when it expects to return to normal.
Consumer body UFC-Que Choisir threatened 57 airlines with legal action over failure to refund passengers who had flights cancelled due to Covid-19, giving 14 days to comply. Passengers were offered credit vouchers, contrary to EU law.

Travel within France

From the expected start of deconfinement on May 11 Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said travel between regions or departments would be discouraged and travel for more than 100km only allowed for work or urgent family reasons.

This is likely to be reassessed at the end of May. Ecology Minister Elisabeth Borne implied in April travel around France will be possible this summer. “We recommend people make the most of their beautiful country for their next holidays which will help the tourism sector as well,” she said.

Travel within the EU and to the UK

Travel to EU countries and the UK has been possible throughout the lockdown in France but discouraged except for essential family reasons, such as to visit a sick relative or for second home-owners travelling home.

People should carry an attestation within France – though this should not be necessary after May 11 – and tick motif familial impérieux and, if necessary, explain more fully if stopped and asked.

Anyone returning to France currently needs a French international travel form, ticked with one of a very limited number of possible reasons, such as being a French resident (click here for the forms in French and English).

It would also help to have a carte de séjour, bank statement or household bill with you and to bring a normal French attestation in case you are subject to a check while travelling home in France.

There is an added complication with regard to the UK, as it is reportedly considering requiring all people arriving in the country, including UK residents, to promise to self-isolate for two weeks.

Travel outside the EU

President Macron has said that the EU’s external borders will remain closed for the foreseeable future – there has been speculation they could open in September, but no official confirmation – so it is very unlikely that people will be able to leave for distant foreign holidays.

The UK is considered to be in the EU for this, due to the Brexit transition period which ends on December 31.

The prime minister said it is “not sure that air travel can pick up in good conditions quickly”.

Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now