The latest FCO travel guidance on flights, holidays and quarantine rules to France

The travel advice for France has recently changed

People enjoy the sun on a beach during a heatwave in Palavas-les-Flots, southern France, on June 23 as the country eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic (Photo: PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images)

In mid-June, the whole of mainland France was declared a “green zone” – an area where the virus is under control and restrictions can ease faster.

However, with coronavirus cases rising in the country, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has changed its travel advice for France and those returning to the UK will also have to quarantine.

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What are the lockdown restrictions in France?

In mid-June, the whole mainland was declared a “green zone” – an area where the virus is under control and restrictions can ease faster.

Despite this, France has been recording some of its highest number of daily coronavirus infections in more than two months in recent days, and a number of new measures have come in to combat a dreaded ‘second wave’.

They include the compulsory wearing of masks (masks were already required in enclosed public spaces) in certain busy outdoor public spaces in places like Paris from 10 August.

Wearing masks on public transport and in taxis and private hire vehicles without a plexiglass screen also remains compulsory for those aged 11 and over, with fines for those who are not compliant.

What’s the FCO travel advice for France?

The travel advice for those heading to France has now changed, with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advising against ‘all but essential travel’ to the country (including Corsica).

This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks, following a rise in cases in the country in recent days.

With up to half a million UK tourists currently thought to be in France, the change in quarantine rules is expected to cause a rush of people to ports and airports, with some tourists wanting to avoid quarantine.

The FCO is not advising those already travelling in France to leave at this time, but you should “follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect yourself and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.”

Contact your travel operator if you have any questions about your return journey.

Do I have to self-isolate when I get to France?

Travellers arriving in France from the UK are no longer required to demonstrate to French authorities that their travel is essential or hold an international travel certificate, and do not have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in mainland France.

For more information on travelling to France, head to the FCO’s website

Do I have to self-isolate when I return to the UK?

France was originally included in the government’s travel corridor list, which meant that travellers returning to the UK from France did not have to quarantine.

However, it was announced on 13 August that from Saturday 15 August, this would no longer be the case, with travellers returning from France having to self-isolate for 14 days.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak previously weighed in, warning holidaymakers that “there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans” during a pandemic, when he was asked whether France may be the next on the quarantine list.

“It’s a tricky situation,” he told Sky News. “What I can say to people is we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and that means there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans and people need to bear that in mind.”