Culture

The Latest Covid Updates for France: Testing, Vaccines, and Traveler Requirements

Almost all Covid restrictions for mainland France have been lifted, such as restaurant and shop closures, curfew, and travel limits. However, the Pass Sanitaire is now required to enter most public places and masks are still required indoors as well as some spaces outdoors. Here are the latest updates on the ongoing and upcoming restrictions, how to get tested or vaccinated in Paris, and requirements for travelers to enter France.

Table of contents

Current Restrictions

  • The Pass Sanitaire is required to enter enter bars, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, trade shows, long-distance and TGV trains, airplanes, and tour busses, as well as all cultural and leisure venues and events with 50+ people, including cinemas, circuses, zoos, gyms, theatres, hotels, cruises, campsites, libraries, dance clubs, casinos, sporting matches, museums and monuments such as the Eiffel Tower.
  • The Pass Sanitaire is also required to enter following shopping centers in Paris: Italie 2 (13th), Centre Beaugrenelle (15th), BHV Marais, Galeries Lafayette (9th), Printemps Haussmann (9th), Le Bon Marché (7th), La Samaritaine (1st).
  • Masks must still be worn indoors in all public places, even for those who are vaccinated, as well as outdoor spaces where people are close together (concerts, markets, etc) and in cities and départements where Covid cases are rising again (mostly in coastal towns). In general, keep a mask handy at all times.
  • Alcohol consumption in public in Paris is still banned in certain areas after 4pm (this has been the case since 2019; see the full list here)

Upcoming Restrictions

  • All healthcare workers must be vaccinated by September 15th.
  • The Pass Sanitaire will be required for children 12-17 starting September 30.
  • PCR tests will no longer be free starting mid-October (except by doctor’s prescription), to dissuade people from simply getting repeated tests instead of getting vaccinated.

Travel to France

All fully vaccinated travelers can enter France without restrictions, no matter which country they are traveling from. Only Pfizer (Comirnaty), Moderna, AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), or AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccines are accepted.

For those who are not vaccinated, the French government has specific rules, dividing travelers into three groups based on where you’re traveling from (or have been living in the past several months), regardless of nationality unless you’re French:

  • If you’re traveling from a “green” country — including any EU country (European Union plus Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland), Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia, Brunei, Canada, Comoros Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Vanuatu — each traveler over age 12 needs a negative PCR or antigenic test taken less than 72 hours before the flight. If you are travelling from Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands or Portugal, your test must be taken less than 24 hours before the flight.
  • If you’re traveling from a “red” country — currently Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Maldives, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tunisia — you can only travel to France if you have a reason (ie work, family emergency, etc) from the official list here. Everyone over age 12 needs a negative PCR or antigenic test taken less than 48 hours before the flight, take another test upon arrival in France, plus supervised quarantine for 10 days.
  • The rest of the countries are “orange”, including the US (as of September 12th) and UK. Travelers from these countries who are not vaccinated can only travel to France if you have a reason (ie work, family emergency, etc) from the official list here. Anyone over age 12 must have a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before departure or a negative antigenic test taken less than 48 hours before departure. Then you have to self-isolate for 7 days and take another PCR test at the end of that time.

Health Pass (or “Pass Sanitaire”)

In France, the Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire) is required to access places where there are typically large crowds, such as stadiums, festivals, fairs, exhibitions, and airports for anyone 11 years old and up. It is required at all cultural centers and events with more than 50 people, as well as bars, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, trains, planes and tour buses (long distances).

Several European Union countries have started using an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), previously called the Digital Green Certificate. This is now required in all 27 member states (it will be available for specific non-EU countries, too, although no word on where the US stands on this). It will consist of information about an individual’s vaccination, test and/or recovery status in regards to COVID-19. Formulated as a QR code, the person traveling can choose to carry either a digital or paper-based certificate.

Proof of health status (vaccination or negative Covid test) is already required to return to France from abroad, to travel between metropolitan France and the overseas departments and territories, or to travel to Corsica. The scannable QR code is meant to simplify and speed up border crossings where authorities have been up until now bogged down in paperwork inspections for each traveler.  

For Non-EU Travelers from US, Canada, Australia, etc

As of August 9th, the French government has established a system for issuing a COVID vaccine certificate of equivalence valid in all EU countries (with the QR code to upload on the TousAntiCovid app). The system is open to non-EU tourists who are already in France or who will arrive in the coming few days (so you’ll get it right before you arrive, not sooner):

CLICK HERE: https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etrangers?locale=en

While some people have been able to have their information entered into the French system by a French doctor or pharmacist, others have been told this is not possible (for example I’ve heard the vaccination center on the Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville will do it, but when my friend tried it she was turned away).

While waiting to get your equivalency certificate, the US Embassy recommends getting a PCR test in France (valid 72 hours) and upload that certificate’s QR code to the TousAntiCovid app. Annoying, yes. But so is missing a flight or being turned away from an event because they couldn’t confirm your paperwork. We’ve already heard from several US travelers in France who never got their certificates in time, but were able to continue using their CDC vaccination cards to get into museums and restaurants without a problem.

UPDATE September 9th: We received this tip from a Secrets of Paris Community member, “I found this pharmacy source for Pass Sanitaire QR for myself (it took me exactly 6 minutes, needing to show them only my CDC card plus passport and giving them my USA phone number and local Paris address plus 20 Euros) and I have sent three USA friends there and each had the same quick results, all of whom came away stunned at how quick and simple it was: Pharmacie Les Filles du Calvaire located at 2 Bd des Filles du Calvaire, 75011.” We’ve successfully sent a dozen people there so far to convert their CDC cards into a Pass Sanitaire.

Health Pass for Locals

The Pass Sanitaire is digitally available through the TousAntiCovid app with a scannable QR code that serves as proof that you have been either: vaccinated against Covid-19, have a negative PCR or antigenic test less than 48 hours old, or that you’re immune after being infected within the past six months (so a vaccine is not the only option). The certified results of PCR or antigen tests, as well as vaccination certificates, can already be securely downloaded from the sidep.gouv.fr platform or imported into the. If you get your vaccine or test in France, it automatically uploads to the app when you scan the QR code, so no need to do anything but present it when asked. You can also use a printout with QR code if you don’t have a smartphone.

The Pass Sanitaire on the TousAntiCovid serves as the EU Digital COVID Certificate for French residents, so there is nothing additional you will need to travel throughout the countries that accept it.

Covid Testing Tent at a Pharmacy
Covid Testing Tent at a Pharmacy

Where to Get Tested or Vaccinated

As of May 31st, all adults residing in France can be vaccinated and tested free of charge. You can get vaccinated by your generalist, at the temporary vaccination centers (in certain stadiums, town halls, and even Disneyland!), and at pharmacies. Make an appointment at the Covid Vaccination Center closest to you on the same platforms: www.sante.fr or Doctolib, or on the Vite Ma Dose! app. Vaccinations are free for anyone in the French healthcare system.

You can get both PCR and antigenic Covid tests without a prescription at pharmacies or Covid test centers all over Paris (many, like pictured above, don’t even require an appointment). The interactive map of some of these centers is on the TousAntiCovid appYou can also find them listed at Sante.fr (dépistage) or by simply using the Doctolib website to find and book online (type “covid” into the search bar). Or just walk into the nearest pharmacy (look for the neon green cross) and you’ll usually see a sign for “Test Covid”.

NOTE: Starting in October, the PCR test will no longer be free unless you have a doctor’s prescription.

Covid Tests for Tourists

As of July 7th the tests for non-French residents/citizens are €25 for the rapid-result antigen test and €49 for the PCR test. Although not as nice as “free”, it’s still a lot less expensive than the hefty price (up to €300) being charged in many other EU countries.

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