What you should know about travelling in France this Christmas

What you should know about travelling in France this Christmas
Traffic predictions for the Christmas holidays can help those planning a drive avoid the heaviest jams. Photo: AFP
As lockdown lifts people in France can travel over the holidays to see friends and family. So what do you need to know about travel under the new rules?

What are the rules for travelling?

When France eased its nationwide lockdown on December 15th, the country's inhabitants were once again allowed to freely travel around within the country, although while respecting the strict nighttime curfew.

Those travelling by train, plane or other long-distance services post-curfew hours will however get a curfew exemption, as long as they show their ticket and correctly filled out curfew form to police in the event of a check.

“By car, it's recommended to drive between 6am and 8pm,” French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told BFMTV.

The government has previously said police will be lenient during checks if those driving to their destination arrive after curfew hours, but only if they fill out the curfew attestation stating their reason for travelling and their destination.

READ ALSO: What are the rules under France's new nationwide curfew?


The same rules were put in place for international travel, although several other countries have their own in place for arrivals from France, including quarantine and compulsory testing – find out more here.

Face masks remain compulsory on flights and ferries as well as inside all airport, train stations and other public spaces in France, as well as on the street in most of the larger towns and cities.

What kind of services are running?

Inside France, French rail company SNCF has been running on a normal service as of December 15th and all train tickets remain fully reimbursable until January 4th.

For a look at what travel services run internationally, click HERE.

READ ALSO: Who will be able to travel to France this Christmas?


Are people actually planning to travel?

It seems like it. SNCF has sold 3 million tickets, the transport minister said on Wednesday, this is more than 1 million tickets above last year’s sales numbers – although transport strikes gripped the country last Christmas and only half the normal services were running.


Which days will be the busiest travel days?

School holidays begin this weekend, although the French government has said parents can keep children home from school on Thursday and Friday. This is to achieve the recommended eight days of self-isolation before travel to see relatives, especially those in high-risk groups such as the elderly.

However Bison Futé, the French government-run site that monitors traffic levels, has predicted traffic levels to remain pretty much at a normal level until December 23rd.
“The main traffic difficulties are expected on Friday around the large cities but moving around on the big roads should be possible without too many problems,” Bison Futé said.
The Paris region especially would see traffic intensify on Friday, the 18th, though only for those departing from the area.
Photo: Bison Futé
From Saturday until Tuesday 22nd included, Bison Futé predicted the traffic levels to remain as usual across France. On December 23rd the Paris region will become clogged in both directions, but most heavily in the direction of those leaving the capital.
December 24th will be slightly busier than usual in the Paris region (yellow level), while the 25th and 26th will be green across the country.
Then, on the 26th, things will ramp up slightly in the northwestern part of France.
Photo: Bison Futé
Photo: Bison Futé
After that Bison Futé has predicted green traffic levels all over France until the 31st, when the Paris region again will be heightened to yellow level, although only for those leaving the capital.
Finally, on January 2nd, the Saturday before schools reopen on the 4th, the whole country will see intensified traffic in the return direction, before returning to a normal levels on Sunday.
Photo: Bison Futé

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