France reopened to international tourists, including vaccinated Americans, on Jun. 9, 2021. I covered the entry process last week and have been in France ever since, staying mostly in Paris.
I’ve gotten countless emails since publishing the entry article, most with one common theme: Is it worth visiting Paris right now? And the question makes sense since France has many coronavirus restrictions in place through the end of the month.
While I wish I could say that your Paris trip will look the same as in years past, that simply isn’t the case. In fact, Paris isn’t as open as many American cities like New York or Chicago. But, plenty of the city’s charm is still there, and many of its strict lockdown measures have been eased.
Here, I’ll discuss what you can do in Paris during the current phase of coronavirus restrictions.
Let’s take a look!
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Current COVID-19 restrictions in Paris
Let’s start with the bad news: There are still some strict COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Paris (and France as a whole). Here's a closer look at what these restrictions are and how they can affect your Paris vacation.
There’s an 11 p.m. curfew throughout France
One of the biggest drawbacks to visiting Paris (or France) right now is the 11 p.m. curfew. Everyone — including tourists — are required to be in their home or hotel room between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day. There is a 135 euro fine for evading this curfew that's strictly enforced throughout Paris.
That said, don’t fret if you have an early flight or train to catch. There are plenty of exceptions to the curfew and you can get an electronic exemption slip online.
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Many restaurants in Paris are operating past 11 p.m. but without seating. You can order delivery from popular apps like Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Likewise, many hotels continue room service past the curfew, so you won’t go hungry if you need dinner or want a midnight snack.
This curfew is expected to be lifted on June 20 if case counts continue to trend downward. So with that in mind, you might want to postpone your trip until next month if you’re a night-owl.
Related: The 11 hotel breakfasts we’d order for every meal if we could
Most things operate at a reduced capacity
Now for the good news: Pretty much everything is open in Paris. That said, everything is open at a limited capacity, so you’ll want to make reservations for restaurants and museums. Most museums have online reservations while restaurants usually require you to call in for a reservation, but I've had no issue walking into most cafes and bistros.
Related: 15 things to see and do on your first trip to Paris
You’ll need a health pass for large events
The French government notes that a digital Health Pass is required for all large events in France. Generally, this is for events with more than 1,000 people. This includes open-air venues, theaters and stadiums, so you'll likely need this for concerts and sporting events when they restart.
You can download the TousAntiCOVID app from the App Store or Google Play to set up your pass. This pass shows vaccination status or a recent negative COVID test, but I haven't had any luck adding my CDC-issued vaccine card to the app yet. Thankfully I haven't needed a Health Pass thus far on the trip. If you need it for an event, you may need to get a negative COVID-19 test in France.
Related: Your guide to vaccine passports
Yes, masks are still required
Masks are still required in France. You must wear a mask at all indoor venues, including shops, cafes and restaurants. That said, you can take your mask off when eating or drinking. In practice, most locals aren't wearing masks once seated at any type of dining establishment.
Related: Masks still required during air travel as CDC loosens indoor mask guidelines for fully vaccinated people
Getting around Paris (and France)
Transportation in and around Paris (and France as a whole) is largely operating as normal. Here's my experience getting around the city.
The Paris Metro is running as normal
I've used the Paris Metro for the majority of my trips around town. It's operating as normal and on time. You'll find that many Metro cars are packed during peak times, so avoid rush hour if you're not into crowds. You can still purchase Metro tickets at all stations and take the RER train from Paris (CDG) to the city center.
Related: 10 things no one tells you about… Paris
National trains are still available
Headed to Nice, Bordeaux or another part of France after Paris? Don't fret — the SNCF is running trains all over the country. I took the train from Paris to Nice earlier this week and it was on time with zero issues. Just note that there are no blocked middle seats or other precautions taken, so you may want to rent a car or purchase a first-class ticket to avoid crowds.
Related: Tips for train travel and transportation in France
There’s an Uber shortage, so download Bolt too
Like in many U.S. cities, there's an Uber shortage in Paris. Prices are high and it often takes 10+ minutes to find a ride if you're in the city center. I highly recommend downloading a European rideshare app like FreeNow or Bolt to use if you can't find an Uber. I've had good luck with Bolt and used it a couple of times during my trip.
Related: An Uber driver talks how to get the VIP treatment and be a better traveler in 2021
What you can do in Paris right now
Despite the restrictions, there is plenty to do in Paris. Here's a look at what you can do, see and eat in the French capital.
Restaurants, cafes, bars and bistros are open
Pretty much all dining establishments are open across Paris. They're allowed to be open at full capacity outdoors and half capacity indoors. Currently, bar seating is prohibited and there is a maximum of six guests per table.
I've noticed that all of these rules are under very limited enforcement, so your experience may vary depending on where you eat and drink. You'll find particularly large crowds at outdoor cafes on Friday nights after work. Midday crowds are about what they were pre-pandemic on cafe patios.
Related: 11 of the most Instagrammable cafés in Paris
Most museums are open, but you’ll need a reservation
Museums are open, but with a capacity limit of one visitor per 4 square meters. You need to make a reservation for most museums on their website. I had no issue getting a ticket to the Louvre the weekend before my trip. That said, the Louvre had large crowds around premier exhibits like the Mona Lisa, but mask compliance was strictly enforced.
Unfortunately, some famous landmarks like Eiffel Tower remain closed until next month. You can still see them from the outside, but interior tours are still suspended. I'm hopeful that these will reopen on schedule so long as COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward in France.
Related: How to avoid soul-crushing crowds at the Louvre
Shops are operating as normal
Shops are operating as normal until the 11 p.m. curfew. This includes everything from designer clothes stores to the neighborhood grocery store. You'll have no problem getting your shopping fix in Paris.
Related: 8 hot shopping destinations in the world’s most fashionable cities
The hotel experience is largely unchanged
One thing that hasn’t changed is the hotel experience in Paris. I stayed at three different hotels during my time in the city and each had open dining facilities, housekeeping and everything you’d expect from a pre-pandemic hotel experience. Just make sure to wear a mask in common areas.
Unlike Iceland, French hotels aren’t requiring proof of vaccination at check-in. All you need to do is show your passport and credit card, as usual. This means check-in is quick and easy and you don't have to rustle through your bag to find other paperwork.
Don’t worry — you’ll hear more about my Paris hotel experiences in two upcoming reviews.
Related: 10 of the best points hotels in France
COVID-19 testing in Paris
Another thing readers have asked me is where they can get a COVID-19 test in Paris in order to return to the U.S. Truthfully, I’m writing this while still in France, so I haven’t been tested for my return yet. But I’ve done a bit of research and have a good understanding of how to get a test in Paris.
Either a PCR or rapid antigen test are acceptable types of tests for return to the U.S. In my experience, these tests are checked at flight check-in and not at the U.S. border. Your test must be less than 72 hours old to be considered valid.
Antigen tests are relatively easy to come by in Paris. I saw a testing booth set up outside of the Operá Metro stop last week, so you may want to check if you’re staying at a nearby hotel (like the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme).
You can also find antigen testing at most pharmacies around Paris and other French cities. Pricing varies, but shouldn’t be more than roughly 30 euros for foreigners not covered by French health insurance.
Further, there are testing centers at both Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Paris-Orly (ORY) airports. These offer both PCR and antigen tests, with one- to two-hour turnarounds for antigen tests. You may consider getting to the airport early and getting a test before your flight if you can’t find a test in town. Check the Paris airport website for more info. An antigen test at the airport costs 20 euros.
Related: Traveling soon? Here’s where you can quickly get a COVID-19 PCR test for travel
Traveling to Paris right now gives you a unique opportunity to see the French capital with few tourists. At the same time, the curfew makes it limiting for night-owls. Personally, I’d wait a week and go once some of the remaining restrictions have been lifted.
At the same time, those who decide to make the trip now will have no shortage of things to do and see both in Paris and outside of the city. The Louvre and other famous museums are open and Paris’ famous cafes and bistros are waiting to serve you an espresso (or a glass of wine).
Regardless of current restrictions, it’s great to see life in the streets of Paris after months of lockdown. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the city and am excited to return later this year as a part of a larger European itinerary.
Feature photo by Andrew Kunesh / The Points Guy
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Can US citizens enter France now? ›
Travellers no longer need to present a sworn declaration that they are not infected with COVID-19 and pledge to take an antigen test or biological exam upon arrival in France.How do the French feel about American tourists? ›
Any traveler visiting a foreign country is bound to do a few things that bother the locals. However, there's no tension quite like that between American tourists and the French, especially in Paris. Many French people see Americans as rude, loud, and disrespectful...Do I need a Covid test to enter the US from France 2022? ›
Predeparture tests are no longer required. The order requiring that non-U.S. citizen, non-U.S. immigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) travelers must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination remains in effect.Does France require Covid test upon entry? ›
Travellers are no longer required to present a sworn statement of non-contamination and an undertaking to undergo an antigen test or screening upon arrival in the country.Do US citizens need a visa for France in 2022? ›
Do US citizens need a visa for France? US citizens do not need a visa to travel to France for up to 90 days. American passport holders can go to France for tourism, business, or transit visa-free. From November 2023, US citizens will need to register with ETIAS to travel to France.What does a US citizen need to enter France? ›
Documents required for Americans
To travel to France U.S. citizens are required to hold: A valid passport valid for their whole stay. A valid ETIAS visa waiver for France—ETIAS is a travel permit or visa waiver that will be mandatory in 2023.
- Never Underestimate How Far a Few French Words Can Go. ...
- Never Wave Wildly at a Waiter to Get Their Attention. ...
- Try Not to Speak Louder Than Everyone Else, Particularly at Night. ...
- Never Leave Your Cell Phone Out When Having a Coffee/Meal With Friends.
Un "Ricain" (informal, neutral) or un "Amerloque" (very informal, pejorative).Is France safer than the US? ›
The same trend can be seen if you look at deaths per vehicle miles traveled. In 1990, the average French person was twice as likely to die as an American for every mile traveled, but today the average French person is 40% safer than the average American.Can I enter France with a rapid antigen test? ›
> Travellers no longer need to present a sworn declaration that they are not infected with COVID-19 and pledge to take an antigen test or biological exam upon arrival into France. >
Do you have to wear masks in France? ›
Public spaces and services
From 1 August 2022, face masks are no longer mandatory in health establishments, but remain strongly recommended. Some local health authorities may still require masks, for example, Paris Hospitals (AP-HP), where masks remain mandatory for those aged 6 and above.
Vaccination, on condition that people have completed a full course of vaccination and left the necessary period of time after the final injection, i.e.: 28 days after the injection for single-dose vaccines (Johnson & Johnson); 7 days after the second injection for double-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca);How do I get a tourist health pass in France? ›
How to obtain a health pass in case of a vaccination abroad ? Non-European Union nationals visiting France can obtain a health pass in France in pharmacies offering the certificate conversion service. Students enrolled in a French higher learning institution can apply for their pass here.What food can I take to France? ›
If you travel to the EU from a non-EU country, you are not allowed to bring any meat or dairy products with you. You can however bring a limited quantity of fruit and vegetables as well as eggs, egg products and honey. Restricted quantities of fish or fish products are also allowed.Do I need a Covid test to return to the US from Europe? ›
This means that starting at 12:01AM ET on June 12, 2022, air passengers will not need to get tested and show a negative COVID-19 test result or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight to the United States regardless of vaccination status or citizenship.How long an American citizen can stay in France? ›
U.S. citizens planning to enter and visit France as tourists do not require a visa. Citizens are permitted to remain in the country a maximum of 90 days. CAVEAT: There is no provision in our own law for intercession by foreign embassies on behalf of their citizens who wish to circumvent our established procedures.How long can you stay in France if you own property? ›
Specific case of owners of second homes in France :
If you spend more than 6 months a year in France, you are then considered as a French resident and must apply for a Long Stay visitor visa (visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour VLS-TS « visiteur »).
How much bank balance should you have for applying to the US tourist visa? The amount of bank balance you should have for applying to the US tourist visa depends on the duration. If it is a 15-day trip, you must have $ 5,000-10,000 in your bank.How much is the visa fee to France? ›
|Visa type||Fees in Euro||Fees in Dollars|
|Short stay visa for French Overseas Department or Region||80||88.43|
|Short stay visa for French Overseas Territories||15||16.70|
Will U.S. citizens need a visa for Europe? American citizens are currently granted entry into Europe without a visa. For this reason, they do not need to check visa requirements. This only applies to short-term trips, so if US nationals decide to move to Europe permanently, they need to obtain the relevant visa first.
Do U.S. citizens need a vaccine to enter France? ›
Travelers no longer require proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter France.What are 2 things that you shouldn't do when you're eating in France? ›
- Don't ask for more food.
- Don't get your steak well done.
- Don't put your bread on the plate.
- Don't put butter on the bread.
- Don't drink anything but wine or water with dinner.
- Cut into cheese correctly (or let someone else do it)
- Don't cut up the lettuce.
Petty crime is particularly common on the streets of larger cities such as Paris, Marseilles and Nice. Take care to protect your personal belongings. Be particularly careful in crowded tourist areas and at landmarks. Thieves often work in groups to distract and rob victims.Where do most French Americans live? ›
Predominantly in New England and Louisiana with smaller communities elsewhere; largest numbers in California. Significant communities also exist in New York, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as throughout the Mid-Atlantic.What are African Americans called in France? ›
French Black people or Black people in France (French: Noirs de France) or Afro-French (Afro-Français) are French citizens or residents who are of Sub-Saharan African (including Malagasy people) or Melanesian ancestry. It also includes people of mixed African/Melanesian and French ancestry.What is the most French city in the US? ›
New Orleans, Louisiana
Settled by the French, turned over to the Spaniards, then passing back through French hands before landing in America's lap, New Orleans might be the most outwardly European city in the nation.
Pickpockets are by far the most significant problem. In addition to purses and wallets, smart phones and small electronic devices are particular targets. In Paris, pickpockets are commonly children under the age of 16 because they are difficult to prosecute.Is it cheaper to live in France or us? ›
The average cost of living in France ($1363) is 35% less expensive than in the United States ($2112). France ranked 29th vs 6th for the United States in the list of the most expensive countries in the world.Which country has the best security in the world? ›
According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland is the safest country in the world for the 14th year in a row. Iceland is a Nordic nation with a relatively small population of 340,000.Do I need a PCR or antigen test to go to France? ›
you no longer have to provide a sworn statement that you are not infected and that you pledge to undertake an antigen test or biological examination when you arrive on French soil.
Do I need a Covid test to return to us from France? ›
Effective January 26, the United States will require all travelers to the United States – including all U.S. citizens and including transit passenger — ages 2 and older to present a negative COVID-19 viral or antigen test result or evidence of having contracted and recovered from COVID-19 prior to boarding the plane.Where can I get a PCR test in France? ›
Where to be tested? In a chemist, by a health professional, or with a non-statutory organization. or ask a health professional, a social worker, at the town-hall or pharmacy.What happens if you test positive for Covid in France? ›
French authorities require people who test positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate for 7 days (if fully vaccinated) or 10 days (if partially vaccinated or unvaccinated), and alert those with whom you have been in contact.Do you have to have a booster to be considered fully vaccinated in France? ›
Regardless of whether you received a single- or double-dose vaccine, if nine months or more have elapsed since your final dose, you must also show proof of a booster in order to maintain a full vaccination status.Are vaccines free in France? ›
In France, vaccination is free. You can make an appointment on the "Doctolib" website to book your vaccination slots in any vaccination center.Do I need visa for France? ›
Visas. You can travel to countries in the Schengen area, which France is part of, for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.› Travel News › France ›
France ends major COVID rules: what changes for travelers
Travel Vaccines and Advice for France
Traveling to France during Covid-19: What you need to know before ...
France is one of the oldest U.S. allies, dating to 1778 when the French monarchy recognized the independence of the United States. French military and economic assistance during the American War of Independence (1775-81) was crucial to the American victory.Does the US have a good relationship with France? ›
The United States and France are among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5). Relations between the United States and France are active and friendly.
The United States and France are Close Allies
The closeness of our military, economic, and political cooperation form the basis of our enduring partnership. The United States has counted on France as a close partner since the very foundation of our country.
Are French people friendly to foreigners? ›
In fact, French people are very nice. You'll get better customer service, and a chance to make friends in France if you're nice to people. French people appreciate you speaking French to them more than anything. They love their language, so hearing a foreigner speak it makes them much kinder.Who is France's biggest ally? ›
France is actively involved in very close defense relations with its principal European allies, the UK and Germany, as well as with the United States.Who is the best friend of USA? ›
Canada is the closest ally of the United States.Who would win in a war UK or France? ›
Without nuclear weapons, being honest, there is no winner. The firepower of France, although only superior to that of the United Kingdom by a narrow margin, would not serve much unless the French Armed Forces manage to deal with the Royal Air Force and then with the Royal Navy and its respectable submarines.What part of the US is most like France? ›
New Orleans, Louisiana
But beyond its buildings, New Orleans is steeped in French culture. From the French bread used in the city's iconic po'boy sandwiches, to street names, and holiday celebrations like Mardi Gras and Bastille Day, a visit to NOLA is about as close to France as the U.S. gets.
In 2020, of the $27.4 billion in U.S. exports to France, the top commodity sectors were Transportation Equipment (29.2%), Machinery and Mechanical Appliances (18.4%) and Chemicals, Plastics, Leather products (17.4%).How long is a flight from France to America? ›
The average speed of your plane being 805 km/hr, your Paris-New York flight time is estimated at 7 hours and 47 minutes.Who is USA oldest ally? ›
France was the first ally of the new United States in 1778. The 1778 Treaty of Alliance between the two countries and the subsequent aid provided from France proved decisive in the American victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War.Is France in NATO? ›
At NATO's Strasbourg/Kehl Summit in April 2009, France officially announced its decision to fully participate in NATO structures¹. Three years after the signing of the Washington Treaty, on 18 February 1952, Greece and Türkiye joined NATO. This enabled NATO to reinforce its "southern flank".Why did France leave NATO? ›
In 1966, due to souring relations between Washington and Paris because of the refusal to integrate France's nuclear deterrent with other North Atlantic powers, or to accept any collective form of control over its armed forces, French president Charles de Gaulle downgraded France's membership in NATO and withdrew France ...
What is considered rude in France? ›
French people tend not to visit unannounced or uninvited. To do so is considered rude. When invited to a dinner, it is common for guests to ask their hosts if they are required to bring something on the day. Guests may also bring a bottle of wine or dessert.Is living in France worth it? ›
Not only is France an excellent place to work and live, but it is also an excellent place to retire. It is one of the most beautiful and refined European countries, with a perfect climate, delectable cuisine, and a culture that pulls you all in.What race are most French people? ›
Historically, the heritage of the French people is mostly of Celtic or Gallic, Latin (Romans) origin, descending from the ancient and medieval populations of Gauls or Celts from the Atlantic to the Rhone Alps, Germanic tribes that settled France from east of the Rhine and Belgium after the fall of the Roman Empire such ...› u-s-relations-with-france ›