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Last update: 13 June 2020
Lockdown * is a new term to me. Honestly, I never thought something like this would happen anywhere in the world in times of peace. Yet here we are, currently in a lockdown easing phase in Paris, France
Many of us had to cancel vacation plans because of the Coronavirus and travel ban **. Canceled trips suck at the best of times but staying safe and healthy is the most important right now.
But this is the best thing for the world right now. And so we wait. Though that doesn’t mean you cannot dream or start planning your future trip to Paris! When all this is said and done, you will want to travel again. Whenever that may be.
When will the Lockdown End in Paris and France?
End of Lockdown in France Updates
28 APRIL 2020: M. Edouard Philippe, the Prime Minister, presents at the National Assembly the main guidelines to ease lockdown in France:
The plan will be rolled out in 3-week phases, being the first phase from 11 May to 2 June 2020. After this date, the results will be evaluated by the State, and decisions will be taken depending on the situation.
7 MAY 2020: M. Edouard Philippe, the Prime Minister, presents a two-color (red and green) map of France. This map is based on 3 criteria (virus circulation, hospital saturation, and testing capacity in the department) and should make it possible to adapt the lockdown release to “local realities” from May 11. The two-color map will be updated based on the evolution of epidemic monitoring data, not on a daily frequency.
Four regions, Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Grand Est and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, as well as the department of Mayotte, have been classified in red on the lockdown release map
The lockdown in France ends on 11 May 2020 in all the French departments except in Mayotte where the number of new cases is increasing.
28 MAY 2020: M. Edouard Philippe, the Prime Minister, unveils the details for Phase 2 of the lockdown easing in France. Phase 2 starts on 2 June 2020 and it will last 3 weeks. For this phase, “freedom will finally become the rule again and prohibition will be the exception”. The tagline is to #remaincareful.
No RED areas anymore! All the French departments are classed GREEN except three departments, which are classed ORANGE: Ile-de-France, Guyane, and Mayotte. These departments classed “orange” will have temporary restrictions until 22 June 2020.
When Can I Visit Paris and France Again?
PHASE 1: 11 May to 1 June 2020
Ca y est! Lockdown in France is over. From 11 May 2020, people don’t need a certificate to leave the house and can move freely up to 100 km from home. But what about travel in France?
Domestic Travel. From 11 May 2020, people will be able to travel beyond 100 km but only for imperative reasons, family, or business. “This is not the time to leave your department to go on weekend”, the Prime Minister said.
Bookings for TGV and Intercity trains will be compulsory with terms and conditions adapted to the type of train and their occupancy will be capped at 50% of total seats.
International Travel. Borders European countries will remain closed until 15 June 2020 at least.
An easing will come in due course when sanitary conditions allow and it will be decided with all the states concerned. Borders remain closed until further notice.
In regards to the borders shared with its European neighbors, France has decided to keep them closed until 15 June at least. The free movement of cross-border workers remains preserved.
There will be NO quarantine for people coming from the UE countries, Schengen countries, and the UK when they can travel.
UPDATE 13 May 20: The European Commission calls for a tourist boost, for a gradual return to tourist activity in the countries of the Union, after the restrictive measures put in place to deal with the coronavirus.
Germany, as well as its French, Austrian, and Swiss neighbors, have “the clear objective of a return to free movement in Europe from mid-June”, declared the German Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer, at a press conference. He also announced a relaxation of the controls in force from May 16.
PHASE 2: 2 to 21 June 2020
Domestic Travel. From 2 June 2020, there is no restriction for traveling within France, and people can travel beyond 100 km without any certificate.
Trips to France Overseas will remain for imperative reasons, family, or business with a new form of fortnight on arrival. There will be specific measures adapted to Mayotte and Guyane, classed “orange”.
International Travel EUROPE. Borders will remain closed until 15 June 2020. There will be a European coordination to re-open borders after 15 June.
There will be NO quarantine for people coming from the UE countries, Schengen countries, and the UK when they can travel. However, restrictions to certain European countries can be applied as a matter of “reciprocity”.
International Travel OUTSIDE EUROPE. Borders are currently closed. There will be an European coordination after 15 June to adopt a common position.
UPDATE 12 JUNE 2020: Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced on Friday, June 12 in a joint press release the lift of all traffic restrictions at its internal European borders as of June 15, 2020, in accordance with the recommendations made by the European Commission.
The Ministers also announced the gradual opening of its Schengen external borders as of July 1, 2020
The two ministers indicated, however, that restrictions will continue to apply, on a reciprocal basis, at the borders with Spain and with the United Kingdom. “Spain has chosen to maintain until June 21 its traffic restrictions linked to the Covid-19 as well as the requirement of a fortnight for air passengers from European countries,” said Christophe Castaner and Jean-Yves Le Drian. While “as of June 15, travelers from the United Kingdom will no longer be subject to entry restrictions linked to the fight against Covid-19 but will remain, until further notice, invited to observe fortnight on their arrival “.
How to Visit Paris after lockdown  Do’s and Don’ts
Paris is always a good idea? We imagine that crowded cities like Paris suddenly become less appealing in favor of quiet getaways closer to home, in the mountains or the countryside.
However, people who decide to travel to Paris will be able to experience the City of Lights almost entirely to themselves. This happened to me during the last days before the lockdown in Paris when I was wandering around Palais Royal to see the magnolia trees. The Gardens were quiet but not deserted. It was just wonderful.
(!!) This will likely last a couple of months at best, providing an opportunistic window to travel without the usual crowds you would expect in a bucket list destination like Paris.
PHASE 1: 11 May to 1 June 2020
—- This phase ended on 1 June 2020 —-
PHASE 2: 2 June to 21 June 2020
Transportation Phase 2
Getting around Paris and Ile-de-France: Access to public transport in Ile-de-France will be reserved during peak hours for people with a certificate from their employer or with a compelling reason. Peak hours= from 8.30 am to 9.30 am and from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
Wearing a mask on public transportation will be compulsory. Failure to wear a mask in public transport may be subject to a fine of 135 euros.
Additional measures are being implemented in the metro. On the picture below you can see stickers blocking some seats to keep the distance between passengers.
The City is encouraging the use of bicycles in Paris. Since 11 May, rue de Rivoli is reserved for pedestrians and bicycles. Also, 50 km of additional lanes usually reserved for cars will be devoted to cycling throughout the capital.
Life in Paris Phase 2
In general, these are the main guidelines for all the territories:
- Companies are called upon to maintain telework for the next three weeks and to set up staggered schedules.
- The beaches and lakes are open.
- Parks and gardens are open in all the territories. Wearing masks in these public spaces can be imposed by certain cities or departments.
- Still prohibited until 21 June 2020: gatherings of more than 10 people, contact group sports, discos, stadiums, racetracks, and games rooms.
- Cinemas will open on 22 June in all France (a global opening in all the territory was requested by the cinemas).
- Major events, concerts, big gatherings, etc, won’t be allowed until September.
Then, for the departments classed orange, the lockdown easing will be more careful.
- Hotels are open since 2 June 2020 in green departments whilst hotels in orange departments will open on 22 June 2020.
- Museums, monuments, and theaters are open since 2 June 2020 in green departments whilst museums, monuments, and theaters in orange departments will open during the following weeks.
- Leisure parks are open since 2 June 2020 in green departments whilst hotels in orange departments will open on 22 June 2020.
- Swimming pools and gyms are open since 2 June 2020 in green departments whilst hotels in orange departments will open on 22 June 2020.
During this PHASE 2, Paris the region of Ile-de-France are: ORANGE
Paris Travel Planning
HEALTH & HYGIENE: Most of all, we expect to see a change in is the levels of hygiene and self-awareness from travelers. Probably wearing masks in public transportation or crowded places will be a new normal just like in Asia that when you’re sick and if you must go out you wear a mask to not spread germs.
Health insurances like SafetyWing’s Remote Health Program will be very interesting to consider for future trips abroad.
FLIGHTS & TRAINS TO PARIS: Passengers should expect an increase in fares with airlines or trains having to operate with reduced capacity due to a lower request or to leave middle-row seats unoccupied to maintain a distance between passengers.
For some, however, it’s going to be a while before they want to get on a train for a long ride or on a plane for an overseas flight.
- If you want to buy flight tickets, Kayak.com is a metasearch engine that always finds the best deals.
- If you need to book trains in France, Trainline.com is a comprehensive, easy to use site. It is fully written in English which is KEY to understand all the policies and small letters.
ACCOMMODATION: All the hotels will open on 22 June 2020. The French Government has been working hard with the hotels to be sure they meet all the new health & hygiene requirements. If a hotel is open, this means it meets all these requirements and has the approval from the Government.
Is the accommodation proposed by private hands following the new standards? We don’t know.
During this period of lockdown easing, we recommend sticking to hotels or bed & breakfasts. You are sure you are staying in a place with the necessary health & hygiene requirements plus you are helping their team and staff behind instead of a private owner.
ARRIVING TO PARIS: The wearing of the mask will be compulsory in public transport and their capacity will be reduced to respect the safety distances.
We expect that private or shared transfers in mini-vans (up to 8 people) from the airport to the city will become even more popular after the travel ban. First, you may want to find your bearings in the city, understand how it works before venturing into the Parisian metro or other public transportation.
We recommend Welcome for a door to door private transfers. Welcome tries to remain the safest and most reliable transport option from the airport and all their drivers follow the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) plus they have added extra facilities in changes of cancellation.
PARIS’ TOP SIGHTS: most of the museums and monuments in Paris will re-open on 22 June 2020. Read about the new hygiene & safety regulations common for all the Paris attractions.
Château de Versailles opened its doors on 6 June 2020! Read about the specific hygiene and safety regulations for visiting Versailles.
Monet’s House and Gardens in Giverny opened its doors on 8 June 2020! Read about the specific hygiene and safety regulations for visiting Monet’s House and Gardens.
The Eiffel Tower is opening its doors on 25 June 2020! Read about the specific hygiene and safety regulations for visiting the Eiffel Tower.
The Louvre Museum is opening its doors on 6 July 2020! More information coming soon.
In addition to booking the tickets for your favorite attractions well in advance, you may want to know when is the best time for visiting the main tourist attractions to avoid crowds inside.
PARKS & GARDENS
All the parks and gardens in Paris are open since the last weekend of May 20. However, gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed.
Cafes and restaurants are open since 2 June 2020 for green departments and the orange departments will open on 22 June. Restaurants will accept groups of maximum 10 people. There will be a distance of security between tables and wearing a mask will be necessary for all the movements inside the restaurant (e.g. to go from the table to the restroom).
Orange departments can open their outside terraces since 2 June 2020 but thew will have to wait until 22 June to host people inside.
Finally, we are able to travel again, to book the flight /train tickets for that dream trip to Paris. But let’s just make sure we do so wisely, and safely.
And if due to the pandemic you had to postpone your trip to Paris, you can still have a glimpse of the City of Lights at home. Check out how to visit Paris without leaving home until you can do it for real.
Let’s finish this article with an extract from The Plague, the novel by Albert Camus published in 1947 about life under quarantine for the inhabitants of a small town in Algeria. Despite being fiction and a novel written more than 50 years ago, this classic of French literature seems more actual than ever.
“A pestilence does not have human dimensions, so people tell themselves that it is unreal, that it is a bad dream which will end. But it does not always end, and from one bad dream to the next, it is people who end,” (…) “There have been as many plagues in the world as there have been wars, yet plagues and wars always find people equally unprepared.”
Join France Bucket List – The France Travel Planning Facebook Group
You are also welcome to join France Bucket List our France Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Paris or France!