Paris’ Eiffel Tower will reopen to the public on 16 July 2021
To anyone dreaming of ambling through the cobbled streets of Montmartre, running the windswept steps of Mont Saint Michel or kayaking through France’s answer to the Grand Canyon, the Gorges de Daluis in the south of France, it might soon be a reality. Here’s a helpful guide on what’s open, what’s not and what you need to travel.
France currently has a relaxed border with seven countries around the world–Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore, which it brought into effect on 12 March. The country is widely believed to be opening on 9 June to international travelers for non-essential travel.
If the country opens on 9 June, it is not a given that it will be open to everyone.
At the moment there is an EU-wide safe list, where travelers are allowed to visit the EU, if their country has under 25 cases per 100,000 people.
The EU is expected to announce an enlargement of this list of countries soon, increasing the list to include countries where the case rate is under 75 cases per 100,000 people.
The EU has also asked its member countries to allow vaccinated travelers to visit but it is up to individual countries to decide if they will use additional travel restrictions. For instance, requiring additional Covid-19 testing or quarantine.
For the non-vaccinated, many countries have been deciding unilaterally when to open borders over the past few weeks, some doing so before EU-wide decisions have been made. For example, Greece has already opened to all travelers. Some decisions are confusing because they are not yet reciprocal–Spain opened to U.K. travelers on 24 May without quarantine, but Spain is not on the U.K.’s safe list, meaning that British people cannot travel to Spain without quarantining upon their return.
France will determine which countries can visit based on infection rates, vaccination rates and new variants. A cause for concern, for instance, is the so-called Indian Covid-19 variant which is rising in the U.K. and has reportedly delayed the wider EU decision on expanding the safe list of countries. As of 26 May, there is a plan to enforce quarantine measures for all U.K. arrivals into France, for instance, to protect against the spread of this Indian variant of Covid-19, the B.1.617.
There will be a traffic light system in place, most likely launched before 9 June. It will most likely be linked to data from the ECDC, which has been operating a traffic light system of infection rates since the start of the pandemic.
Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State at the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs told Europe 1, “regarding countries that are outside the European area we will work on lists and colours. There will be the green countries, orange countries and red countries.” When pressed, Lemoyne hinted in mid-May that there were only five or six countries on France’s green list at that time.
Travelers will prove they are in good health through an EU Digital Covid Certificate. This is effectively the name for each individual European country’s certification process to prove that someone has either had the virus itself and recovered, had the vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result.
The ‘certificate’ can be either on paper or via an EU country’s app (France’s application is called TousAntiCovid) and people pass through borders using the QR code–provided on the original piece of paper given to the person when they have their vaccine or tests in the EU.
In France, having the QR codes downloaded onto your phone means that you have a “Pass Sanitaire,’ which will allow you entry into public events throughout the summer where it is likely that more than 1,000 people will attend. As reported in Les Echos, from 9 June onwards it will be an essential part of life to those wishing to watch tennis tournaments at Roland Garros or attend music concerts or large theatres. It will also be required for cruises, festivals and in large casinos.
However, a Pass Sanitaire won’t be required in places where the public is constantly moving in the open air, such as at the Eiffel Tower. Nor will it be required in hotels or restaurants. However, the government plans to unveil an addition to the TousAntiCovid app by 9 June where arrivals to a gym or hotel can scan their QR code registering the date and time of arrival. People will then be alerted if anyone else has tested positive for Covid-19 and was in the same space at approximately the same time.
Paris’ Moulin Rouge will stay closed into early September 2021, the longest shut down since World … [+]
Museums and cinemas opened up (not at full capacity though) on 19 May which means the Louvre, the Musée D’Orsay and other spectacular monuments such as Mont Saint Michel in Normandy are now open. Restaurants, bars and cafes are allowed to serve at outside tables but a curfew is still in place until 9pm across the country.
From 9 June, the day when Paris begins allowing in outside visitors, eateries and bars can serve on tables inside establishments and the curfew will be pushed back to 11pm but with still no more than 6 people on any one table.
Other major sites, however, will take longer. Disneyland Paris, as reported by The Local, will open on 17 June but only with pre-booked tickets and everyone over the age of 6 in masks. The Eiffel Tower will open on 16 July and the Moulin Rouge on 10 September (both are the longest shut downs at either site since World War Two). For the Eiffel Tower, visitor numbers will be limited to 10,000 each day (half of pre-Covid levels) and elevators will operate at 50% capacity.
It is expected, if infection rates continue to drop and vaccination rates continue to rise (France is aiming for 30 million vaccinated by 15 June) that all restrictions will be stopped by 30 June and the curfew will be ended.
That said, visitors over the summer should still expect to wear masks in public indoor places (hotel lobbies, cinemas, museums, etc.) and in the bigger streets of major cities (fines can be given by police of up to €135, the equivalent of $165).
PCR tests for Covid-19 will be free to all tourists over the summer, as announced by Clément Beaune, France’s European affairs minister. As reported in The New York Times, it’s a wise play to beckon tourists who account for 8% of France’s GDP and help employ two million people. Beaune said, “we need, we want, in good health conditions, to remain the top tourist destination in Europe and the world. This is an economic issue for us.”