For members


Will travel to and from France be open this Christmas?

Many people are now making Christmas plans - but will rapidly rising Covid cases in Europe lead to more travel restrictions over the festive season?

French border at Gare du Nord
Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

Covid cases are surging in many countries across Europe, leading to the introduction of new restrictions in many places.

France is, for the moment, seeing a smaller resurgence than many of its neighbours, and government spokesman Gabriel Attal has said that the new wave “can be managed without extra restrictions”.

But even if France manages to contain cases through its high vaccination rate and use of the health pass, what is the likelihood of extra travel restrictions over Christmas?


Within the EU/Schengen zone

Current rule – travel within the EU and Schengen zone is at present largely unrestricted for fully vaccinated travellers, with most countries requiring only proof of vaccination to enter. The EU digital travel pass means that vaccination QR codes are accepted throughout the EU so travellers from France can use the TousAntiCovid app at the border and don’t require any extra paperwork.

Unvaccinated travellers need to show a negative Covid test to enter most EU countries, but there are no further restrictions such as quarantine or proof of essential travel.

New restrictions? – Since the introduction in July of the EU digital vaccine pass, travel has been pretty seamless within the Bloc and there seems little appetite for reintroducing travel rules.

Even Germany, which is bringing in new domestic restrictions as it struggles under huge case numbers, has not proposed any restriction on travel from within the EU. 

The UK

Current rule – The UK is on France’s orange list so while fully vaccinated people can enter France showing only proof of vaccination, unvaccinated people can only travel if they meet the criteria for essential travel.

Going the other way, vaccinated people can enter the UK from France for any reason, but must still pay for a Covid test to be taken two days after arrival. Unvaccinated people can enter, but must quarantine and pay for two Covid tests. Find a full breakdown of the rules HERE.

New restrictions? – In contrast to much of Europe, the UK has shown a decline in cases in recent weeks, but that’s a decline from sky-high levels of cases over the late summer and autumn.

British PM Boris Johnson made an announcement last week saying: “I’m seeing the storm clouds gathering over parts of the European continent. And I’ve got to be absolutely frank with people: we’ve been here before. We remember what happens when the wave starts rolling in.”

This doesn’t really tally with the facts, but the political rhetoric could be paving the way for new travel restrictions on arrivals from the EU. 

Covid cases remain more than twice as high in the UK as in France, but the UK’s travel rules don’t always appear to be driven by logic – it has previously imposed travel restrictions such as quarantine on countries with significantly lower Covid rates.

On the French side several politicians have mentioned the worryingly high rates of Covid in the UK, including the tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, but if rates in the UK continue to plateau or fall then extra restrictions seem unlikely.

Outside the EU 

Current rules – France operates a traffic light travel system and while the whole of the EU and Schengen zone are green, other countries are graded according to the latest Covid situation. Find the latest on the traffic light system HERE.

New restrictions? – Most recent travel restrictions have tended to focus on non-EU countries and France’s red and orange lists for travel have been updated multiple times over the summer and autumn.

Travel from both red and orange list countries is largely banned for unvaccinated people, apart from certain types of essential travel. The USA was moved from the green to the orange list in early autumn.

The traffic light travel list appears to be here to stay and offers France the flexibility to react the Covid outbreaks in individual countries. It therefore seems unlikely that we will see blanket travel bans reintroduced.

If you’re fully vaccinated you can travel even from red list countries without having to quarantine.

Whether other non-EU countries impose extra restrictions on France remains to be seen but France is, for the moment, enjoying a better situation than neighbours like Germany or Belgium, so would probably not be the first country to have extra restrictions imposed. 

Member comments

  1. Responsibilites has its rewards, I love to travel so I got vaccinated, those who wish not to, thats up to them, I cast no ill will towards them, and take my own safety in my own hands, masks do not bother me during visits to stores and such, after these last two years I am ready to explore my world again. Just hoping the world does not shut down again. covid sucks.

  2. The French health pass is going to require over 65s to have a booster six months after the second dose. Does this affect travel to France and when? How can anyone who has a booster in the UK evidence it as it does not yet appear on the NHS vacinnation certificate for travel.

  3. What happens when U.K. visitors over 65 are unable to get proof of their boosters? Especially as to visit a cafe or restaurant in France after the 15th December it will be necessary to have proof of the 3rd vaccination?

  4. Had my booster jab back in UK this weekend but was told there are no plans to link it to the NHS app. So it won’t be possible to link to the French App. Really you can’t make it up…

    1. I’ve seen a Sky News title today that the booster is now on the NHS app, but tried to see it an the app was crashed…so maybe wait a bit to see if it appears there. Also, you have it in Medicines tab of the app (but w/o a QR code)

        1. Just checked again and the Booster is there with a QR code!!! And I got my booster this past Wednesday, so that is brilliant!

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For members


Protests, flight cancellations and fuel: What to expect this weekend in France

As citizens across France express their anger over pension reform, the country has grappled with more protests and rolling strikes, impacting key sectors like waste collection and fuel. Here's what to expect over the next week.

Protests, flight cancellations and fuel: What to expect this weekend in France

Protests have erupted across France in recent days, after French president Emmanuel Macron’s government pushed pension reform through parliament, using the controversial Article 49.3 tool to bypass a vote in the Assemblée Nationale.

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested, as some protests have turned violent and there have also been allegations of police violence.

Unions and opposition leaders have promised more action in the coming days, with hopes of pushing the government to withdraw the unpopular reform.

Here is what you can expect for the days ahead in France:


There are no mass demos planned on Saturday but smaller, sporadic demos are likely across France.

Trains – In terms of transport, France’s national rail service, SNCF, has announced that rail travel will continue to be disrupted throughout the country due to strike action. On Friday, three out of four high-speed TGV trains ran according to normal schedules.

READ MORE: Calendar: The latest French pension strike dates to remember

Those who plan to travel by rail on Saturday should received a text message or email from SNCF by Friday evening if their train is affected by delays or cancellations.

Paris public transport has been largely running as normal outside the planned strike days, but police do sometimes close stations for security reasons if there are protests ongoing. To keep up to date, you can download apps such as Bonjour RATP or Citymapper.

International lines, such as Eurostar, have not yet announced any cancellations for the weekend. Only one train was cancelled on Friday. Eurostar has said they will update this page if any new cancellations are to be announced.

Flights – France’s civil aviation authority (DGAC) has asked airlines to pre-emptively cancel 15 percent flights arriving and departing from the Paris-Orly airport, and 20 percent from the Marseille-Provence, Bordeaux, and Lyon airports in the face of possible weekend strike action. Typically, flights cancelled are primarily domestic, rather than long-haul. 

Fuel and driving – oil refinery workers are continuing their strikes and blockades and about 15 percent of French fuel stations were short at least one type of fuel on Friday morning. However, the situation varies geographically – France’s south, southeast and west have been the most impacted so far, while the south-west and north-eastern parts of the country have been less affected.

READ MORE: MAP: Where in France are blockades causing fuel shortages?

Union representatives have said they hope to “hold out until the reform is withdrawn”, meaning action is likely to continue through the weekend.

To keep track of traffic forecasts in France, you can use the country’s traffic watchdog, Bison Futé. On Friday, forecasts for the weekend were ‘green’ (for normal).

If you are driving in the Paris area, the government site Sytadin also updates with real-time estimations.

Waste collection – Members of the union representing public garbage collectors for the city of Paris voted to renew their rolling strike until at least Monday, March 27th.

As of Friday, there were still around 9,000 tonnes of refuse on the cities’ streets, which represents a slight decrease from the previous figure of 10,000 tonnes. Local authorities have begun requisitioning workers, but progress has been slow and Paris officials estimate that it may take up to two weeks to clear the garbage off the streets.


On Sunday, similar disruptions can be expected on French national rail services. If your train is cancelled or delayed, you should receive information from SNCF at least 24 hours in advance. 

As for flights, the DGAC has asked airlines to cancel 33 percent of flights at the Paris-Orly airport, and 20 percent at the Lyon-Saint-Exupéry and Marseille-Provence airports.

READ MORE: Should you cancel a trip to France because of strikes and demos?


France’s Civil Aviation authority (DGAC) asked airlines to cancel 20 percent of flights at the Paris-Orly airport and the Marseille-Provence airport on Monday. Trains may also see some disruption but other services such as city public transport are likely to run as normal.

There are no large demos or marches scheduled for Monday.


The eight main union federations announced a new day of mobilisation on Tuesday, March 28th. As such, you can expect demos across French cities, and that national rail services and city public transport will be disrupted. During the last day of action, on March 23rd, at least one million people across France took to the streets, according to estimations by the French government.

Precise details of disruptions will be released on Monday – check HERE for the latest information.

READ MORE: Reader Question: Can I take a taxi during a French strike?

Wednesday – Friday

Depending on the outcome of strike action on Tuesday, there may be continued spontaneous protests across the country later in the week. 

As several unions have announced that they will continue action until the reform is withdrawn, rolling strikes in oil refineries, waste collection, and transport could continue, should striking workers vote to do so.

Keep an eye on our strike section for all the latest developments.