Here’s how to travel to France right now and what it’s like once you arrive
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
To the regulars who read this column weekly, first of all, thank you, and second, please excuse my absence for the past two weeks, which resulted from my traveling to and from France.
After a brief departure from writing about France in my most recent column, we will pick up where we left off, with what I hope will be all the information you need to know for any upcoming trips to Paris or beyond.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
What are the current entry requirements for Americans?
Proof of vaccination and two predeparture documents
To enter France, Americans are told they will need to be prepared to show three pieces of information to check in at the airport and board their flight to France. However, the only documentation I was asked to show was proof of full vaccination, which is verified by your Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-issued card.
French officials consider travelers fully vaccinated if at least one month or four weeks has elapsed since the final dose of the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccine.
Even if you check in online ahead of your flight and receive a mobile boarding pass, expect to be asked to show your vaccination proof in person to airline staff before you board, even if you don’t check in at the gate before going through security.
In addition to providing vaccination proof to your airline, incoming travelers are asked to sign a document attesting they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms nor have they knowingly been in contact with someone who tested positive recently. I carried a printed copy of this form.
Lastly, I was told to complete an online form called the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form. This form is reportedly used by health officials in France, Slovenia and Malta to facilitate contact tracing should a traveler be exposed during travel. Travelers to these countries are advised to complete this form digitally and carry around the corresponding QR code you will receive upon completion.
Although I was not asked to show either document at any point throughout my journey from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Paris-Orly Airport (ORY), I recommend filling out the forms as directed.
Do you need to have a booster to be considered fully vaccinated?
Technically yes, if it’s been nine or more months since your final dose
Since February, the French government has required all travelers age 18 and older to get a booster within the nine-month period following one’s final vaccine dose in order to maintain their status as fully vaccinated individuals.
This language was not meant to prohibit tourists who are vaccinated but not (yet) boosted from visiting France, as people are eligible to enter within one week of their booster shot, regardless of the timing.
For example, I received my second vaccine dose in April and booster shot in November, well within the nine-month window. However, a traveler vaccinated this month could continue to travel to France without proof of a booster until February 2023, at which point a booster would be required. You could even wait until March or April (or any subsequent month) to get boosted though. This is because although a booster becomes required at the nine-month mark, it doesn’t have to be administered at month nine, just by or after month nine.
Having said that, it was not ever conveyed to me during the check-in process that any distinction was noted between the timing of my two-dose vaccine and booster shot.
Do they check your vaccination status at any other point?
Vaccination status is not verified after you leave the US
Once I showed my CDC card to the gate agent handling check-in for my outgoing flight to France, I put my vaccination card away and did not retrieve it again for the rest of the trip. You should not feel the need to carry your card with you while in France.
Are you able to travel to Paris without proof of a negative COVID-19 test?
Unvaccinated travelers must take a test to visit
The only travelers who need to worry about taking a test before leaving for France are those who are unvaccinated. If you do not meet the aforementioned qualifications to be considered fully vaccinated, you must provide negative results of either a PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure or an antigen test taken within 48 hours.
There’s just one exception. France does not appear to be wavering on this existing predeparture requirement, though travelers who have recovered from COVID-19 within the preceding 11 days up to six months prior to departure may be able to enter without a test by showing the original positive test result, according to the U.S. Embassy in France.
Are people wearing masks?
Overall, I saw very few people wearing masks in Paris
Public transportation, including the Metro and buses, is the only place where face coverings remain compulsory for those age 6 and older. There are signs throughout the Metro stations reminding you of such.
Even so, I took both the Metro and bus a number of times during my trip and observed many fellow passengers not wearing masks and they were not asked to do so.
Although this is mandated by French law and noncompliance can result in a fine of up to $160, I did not observe any enforcement.
Outside of the Metro, I was surprised to see the lack of mask-wearing in indoor crowded spaces I visited, including at a huge department store called Galeries Lafayette and at the Palace of Versailles.
Besides some people wearing masks on the Metro, at the airport and in random places, things in France appeared to be about as normal as they were pre-pandemic. In typical French fashion, restaurants don’t open until 7 p.m., and we had trouble getting into restaurants without a reservation once it hit 9 p.m. After dinner each night, the streets were filled with locals drinking and hanging out at the brasseries until the early hours of the morning.
Featured photo by Caroline Tanner/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees