- the connoisseur's guide to France
- Travel in France
- Where to go
What to see and do
You are here :
› Coronavirus 2020
Pharmacist serving customers outside, rather than inside, the shop
is under lockdown
UPDATE Monday 13th April
- Easter MondayLockdown prolonged until 12th May
Macron has announced that full lockdown conditions will remain in
place in France for the next four weeks. Restrictions will start to be
lifted as from Monday 11th May.
Any earlier relaxation of the strict social distancing and
self-isolation measures currently in place, Macron said, could
compromise the results already achieved, risking a renewed upsurge in
contamination and deaths.
Schools - but not universities - will
start to reopen if possible as from 11th May - but museums, galleries,
concerts, bars and restaurants are likely to remain closed until mid
As for how long it will be before life in France gets back to
normal, that will depend on the effectiveness of the lockdown measures,
and on the development of vaccines and other methods of protecting the
French borders remain closed for the time being to
people from outside Europe, and stringent travel restrictions are
limiting movement within France to essential journeys and the transport
of goods.UPDATE Saturday 11th April
UPDATE 2 for Tuesday 24th March
daily hospital death rates have started to fall, and are now well below
those being experienced in the UK or the USA. Though it is too soon to
cry victory, the fall seems to be clear evidence of the effectiveess of
the draconian self-isolating and social-distancing laws that have now
been in place for more than three weeks. Over half a million people
have received on-the-spot fines for not respecting the rules, with some
penalties in excess of 1000 €. Some more shops have been allowed
to open, including some garden centres and DIY outlets, but social
distancing is being enforced everywhere.
- President Macron will address the nation again next week, but an early ending to restrictions does not seem probable..
UPDATE for Tuesday 24th March
- Prolonged: Cartes de séjour / residence cards - Cards expiring between 16th March and 15th May are automatically extended for 90 days.
UPDATE Sunday 22 March
- Reduced: Going out for exercise - the distance is reduced to 1 km from home, and only once a day for an hour. Exercising outside must be done alone
- Also closed: Outdoor markets - are banned, except in villages or small towns where they provide the only weekly opportunity for buying fresh produce.
- Increased: Fines increased
for breaking confinement rules: the fine for breaking confinement rules
twice in two weeks is now 1500 €uros, with potential prison sentences
after fourth offence.
- Extended: Curfews:
Many local and regional authorities are tightening confinement rules,
with towns such as Montpellier and Perpignan imposing curfews from 8 pm
or 10 pm.
Weekend driving bans for trucks
on French roads are temporarily suspended to facilitate the movement of
general confinement regulations applicable throughout France. Stay at
home; no un-necessary journeys; do not leave home without an
do not congregate with other people, and do not venture more than 2 km
from your home except for essential shopping, medical reasons, or to go
to work. The fine for breaking the general rule is 138 €.
street in a French town
After a few early days when the French Government did not
fully assess the extent and the impact of the Covid-19 Coronavirus
pandemic, and while its scientific advisors did not assess the
situation as critical, France then went into lockdown. And the
conditions of the lockdown have become more stringent since.
before the lockdown, and while the
situation was not deemed critical, all Care-homes for the elderly were
instructed to close their doors to all visitors, and all events
bringing together over 1000 people in a confined space, including
sports fixtures, shows and concerts, were banned. Some municipalities
went further, banning smaller events too.
Yet with measures
in place for the protection of the elderly, and with the government
putting out strong messages about the need for "social distancing"
(keeping at least a metre away from anyone else) the first
round of Municipal Elections went ahead on 8th March - with polling
stations required to enforce strict hygiene rules and social
distancing. But it was clear by then that the spread of the coronavirus
was speeding up, and that stricter and coercitive measures
would be needed in order to contain it, and prevent the French health service
(which is among the best equipped in the world) from being
President Macron announced that all schools,
from kindergarten to university, would close as from Friday 13th March,
and that all employees who could do so should work from home. People
were told to stop making all but strictly necessary journeys outsiode
While supermarket shelves were emptied by panic-buying in
parts of France, notably in suburban areas, overall this has not been
the case, and shops have been resupplied regularly with most items.
France's outdoor fruit
and food markets
, with all schools closed except for the
children of health workers and parents in, other front-line services,
France went on to Level 3 of its alert, with the closure of all
restaurants, cafés, bars and non-essential shops.
Since then, the
whole population of France has
been confined to home.
Nobody can leave their
home for any
reason other than to go shopping for essential supplies, for medical
reasons, or simply to take exercise. As from 17th March,
venturing outside their home also has to carry a self-signed
attestation, using a form that can be downloaded and printed out from a
People out and about without their attestation are
liable to a fine of 135 €, and police have been cracking down hard. The
French Government's message is loud and clear, and designed to ensure
that nobody in France goes on imagining that the measures are optional
and can be ignored, as was the case in previous weeks.
the confinement measures were ratcheted up a
degree, with new limits on exercising: people are now forbidden to
venture more than 2 km from their home, must remain in their commune
(borough) and can only exercise on foot. Cycling is out. People are
only allowed to walk alone, or in family groups, and may not stop to
chat with friends. On no account must children be allowed to go and
play with their friends if for instance they happen to see them in the
but essential travel is forbidden,
and railways and
airlines are now running a reduced service.
While the large majority of people in France have
accepted, and indeed applauded, the Government's readiness to impose
strict and clear restrictions on people's daily life, there are still
some for whom the message has been slow to sink in. As a result, local
authorities are still imposing new restrictions, to stop people
congregating in popular spots.
Paris closed the walkways along the banks of
the Seine, and Nice
announced the closure of the
Promenade des Anglais, the city's famous beachside promenade. Several
other seaside resorts in the south of France have closed their beaches,
as the warm sunny weather had been bringing out the crowds.
The French military began setting up one of its field
hospitals to increase the capacity of the main hospital at
Mulhouse, eastern France, one of the worst affected areas in France.