France reopens to tourists on June 9 — here’s what you need to know

May 18, 2021

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The Louvre and Versailles are about to throw open their doors once again. Shops are ramping up their inventory and restaurants and cafes are updating their menus. That’s because Wednesday marks the second stage of France’s reopening from its third lockdown.

This phase is just for locals, but it’s a prelude to additional changes that go into effect on June 9, when the country will once again welcome tourists.

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According to French Prime Minister Jean Castex, this week will see outdoor restaurants and cafe terraces reopen, as well as cultural institutions and nonessential shops — with some restrictions. (The first step of loosening restrictions happened on May 3, when France lifted constraints on how far people could travel from their homes — previously restricted to 10km.)

The following changes go into effect for locals on Wednesday:

  • The country’s nightly curfew pushes back from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (it lifts at 6 a.m. daily);
  • Outdoor restaurant capacity is reduced to 50%. Patrons must be seated and no more than six people per table;
  • At sports stadiums, cultural venues, theaters and movie theaters, every third seat may be occupied and each person must have 8 square meters of personal space. Indoor events shall accommodate no more than 800 people, while outdoor events can welcome 1,000 people; and
  • Shops and markets (covered and outdoors) may resume operation. Indoor stores and covered markets must offer 8 square meters of space per visitor, while outdoor markets can reduce that restriction to 4 square meters.

Tourists: Mark June 9 in your calendar

According to the U.S. Department of State, “The president of France has laid out a reopening plan that would allow ‘foreign tourists’ with a health pass (tied to being fully vaccinated or having a negative COVID-19 PCR test) to enter France beginning June 9, 2021, if COVID-19 levels remain under control.”  The U.S. Embassy doesn’t have more information about what the “health pass” will be or how to get it. Bookmark the website for the French Embassy in the United States to check for additional intel.

What restrictions will be eased on June 9?

  • U.S. visitors may visit France for vacation purposes;
  • The curfew will roll back from 9 to 11 p.m. and will be done away with completely on June 30;
  • Indoor dining at restaurants will commence at 50% capacity; and
  • Shopkeepers are looking toward June 30 as the date when limits on the number of customers inside their venues drop completely.

Here’s more information about France’s reopening.

COVID-19 testing for re-entry to the US

On June 9, tourists can return to La République. One of the most reassuring things about the reopening is the fact that European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune, on May 16, said France would offer free PCR tests to tourists.

This is especially good news since anyone returning to the United States must be in possession of a negative COVID-19 test. And, your pocketbook will smile as well since a PCR test in European countries can cost upward of 100 euros.

Details about the program have not yet been released, but TPG will report on the particulars as soon as they become available.

If you’re headed to France this summer, expect rules to be fluid, with the government making adjustments as needed. Be as flexible as possible with your travel plans and expect the unexpected.

Featured image of the Paris skyline at sunset by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

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