- the connoisseur's guide to France
- Travel in France
- Where to go
What to see and do
Covid, Christmas and the New Year
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› Coronavirus 2020
In his message to the nation on 24th October, President Macron
announced a road-map for the easing of restrictions for the end of
2020, and an outline of prospects for 2021.
In short, the President announced a three-stage plan. Stage 1.
As from Saturday 28th November.
can reopen, subject to strict social distancing rules, and the current going out
restriction allowing people only to go 1 km from their home for one
hour per day (other than for vital shopping and other necessary tips)
will be eased. From 28th November, people will be able to go up to 20 km
from their home, and for three
hours. They will still need to fill in and carry an attestation.
Shops will be able to open on Sundays, but the 9 p.m. curfew
remains in place every day, for all. Bars and restaurants are not
allowed to reopen. Churches and other religious buildings can reopen,
subject to social distancing rules. Ski resorts
cannot yet open.Stage 2. 15th December
. The 20 km travel ban
will end, and people will be able to move outside their area. Family gatherings
will be allowed, with the onus on families to take all necessary precautions. Cinemas and theatres
can reopen, though the 9 p.m. curfew
will remain in place. However ski resorts
will remain closed over the Christmas / New Year period.Stage 3.
of the relaxation of lockdown rules will be assessed at the start of January. If infection rates have fallen to below 5000
new cases per day (they are currently around 20,000), then restaurants and bars
will be able to reopen, as will sports facilities
including ski resorts. It remains a big IF. Schools will be fully reopened.
emerges from lockdown
in style... and obligatory in some places and for some professions .....
France is emerging from lockdown, and most people are happy
France's chief scientific advisor stated on 5th June, that
virus was now under control, as the daily infection rate, which hit
nearly 9,000 new cases a day at its peak, has now fallen by
around 95% to less than 300 new cases a day He warned
nevertheless against complacency, exhorting people to fully respect
social distancing and face coverings rules, in order to ward off the
possibility of a resurgence, which he said was one of four possible
By way of comparison the UK's latest daily new
case tally, as of 5th June, is 2412 cases.
During the two months of lockdown, restrictions on movement were
severe, and strictly
For the first month, people were not
allowed to go more than 1.5 km (about a mile) from their homes, without
a proper reason for doing so, such as to do essential shopping or to go
to work, if they could not work from home.
For the second month, most of May, restrictions on movement
were eased, and in parts of France where the virus was not very active,
people were allowed to travel up to 100 km from their place
of lockdown... though had to carry proof of residence when doing so.
And during the whole of this period, cafés
restaurants non-essential shops and businesses where social distancing
was not possible, were obliged to remain closed. So too were museums,
cinemas, concert venues and beaches – as well as parks and
other places in urban areas where people tended to congregate.
The strictness of the lockdown, known in France as
confinement, bore fruit, with the infection rate dropping
sharply, and the numbers of deaths falling too. By the start of June,
the daily overall covid-related death tally was down to well below 100
a day, and continuing to fall.
With the overall situation having seriously improved from
the peak of the pandemic in early April, President Macron was able to
announce further lifting of lockdown measures as from 2nd June,
allowing many people's lives to return to a semblance of normal.
have opened with limited access.....
From now on, travel in France is unrestricted and
most shops have opened up again for business. Cafés and
restaurants have been able to resume service subject to social
distancing rules inside. Smaller museums have opened up
again, with strict limits on the numbers of people inside at any given
moment, and zoos and other outdoor attractions have opened up too.
Beaches are all open too though with social distancing rules
in place, and static sunbathing still forbidden on some particularly
popular beaches, to discourage risky
situations like the large gatherings as have been seen on some beaches
in the UK and the USA since the lifting of restrictions. In most rural
coastal areas, there particularly along the Atlantic coast,
long empty expanses of sand provide plenty of room for people to
socially distance themselves by a very wide margin
The trains are running again now, with a virtually
full service back in place . However the
wearing of face-masks is now obligatory in all forms of public transport
are starting to return ...
As from mid June, France's borders with other EU countries
reopened for tourist traffic, and most tourist infrastructures,
including hotels, will be open again for business before the end of the
month. The Château of Versailles and the medieval city of Carcassonne
are among the many sites that have now reopend, though less
visitors will be allowed in than before the pandemic.
Questions however remain. How fast will life
return to normal? How many people will not be taking a summer holiday
this year ? Will the predicted fall in foreign tourists in France be
made up for by an increase in domestic tourism, as the French too stay
home, or at least stay in their own country, more than usual? And even
if attractions like theme parks have already opened up, will tourists
be thronging to them in droves as they did in the past, or will many
remain determined to avoid crowds at any cost for as long as the
Covid-19 pandemic endures?
too have opened with limited access, but only to people
wearing a mask.....
In the first week after lockdown, shops have not
been doing a roaring trade. There does not seem to have been any rush
to make up for lost shopping days. While the French are now adjusting
to the end of the lockdown restrictions, most people remain wary of the
dreaded "second wave". Not all, of course. Life may be
returning to a semblance of normal in France, but the pandemic is in no
way over just yet, and the French government has warned that any
restrictions may be reintroduced, nationally or locally, if and when
things show signs of taking a turn for the worse.