Goood morning! Happy Tuesday!
Today I am answering all of your biggest questions about traveling to France! I have received so many questions from those of you planning a trip as well (hooray! I’m so excited for you) and many are wanting to know about my experience about traveling to Europe for the first time since COVID. I decided the easiest place for compile all your questions would be in a blog post! Thus, here we are. Let’s jump in!
What You Need to Know About Traveling to France Right Now
How should I keep up to date with the latest travel rules and restrictions?
First, know that rules and requirements are subject to change at all times. Always check and double check. Your airline should keep you up to date with any new requirements or restrictions. I flew United and always try to fly United whenever possible as they rarely let me down–I think they did a great job of making sure I was fully prepared and that I checked all the required boxes prior to flying.
Who is allowed to enter France?
Vaccinated American travelers are allowed, unvaccinated travelers are not allowed for non-essential travel.
What do I need to do to show proof of vaccination?
You will need to bring your vaccination card
You absolutely must have your vaccine card (the card you were issued to show proof that you received both shots) to show proof of vaccination. It’s just as important as your passport and you must present it to get into the country. As a precaution, just as you would your passport, ensure you have a photo saved in your phone as a backup.
How do I get a French Health Pass? What happens if I’m not approved in time?
In order to enter any establishment in France, they will ask to scan your health pass, which is a government issued QR code to show proof of vaccination. (Well, not every restaurant enforces it, but usually! And they are checked rigorously at museums!) You will need to apply for a health pass here. There is a highly likelihood you may not get approved before your trip. Don’t panic! We were all really worried about it and some people got it when they arrived and some didn’t.
Mine didn’t go through until about halfway through the trip. But your CDC vaccine card will completely suffice to get you in anywhere in France! It’s an either/or. We never had any issues. In my opinion, it’s still worth applying for the health pass, because then you won’t have to carry your physical CDC card on you at all times once you get it! (They will let you know and email you your QR code “pass” via email once you’ve been approved!)
Make sure to print and sign the sworn statement form:
There is a government form that France is requiring travelers to sign that is essentially a statement swearing you are not experiencing symptoms. Your airline should notify you of this and provide you with the direct link to sign whatever form is necessary. I was provided with the link to print the form via my United app, but this site should have the most up to date information. We all printed the form and brought our own, but United was great and had blank copies available for those who did not come prepared!
Do you need a COVID test to get into France?
You do not need a COVID test to get into France as a vaccinated traveler. However, most of us took one anyway just as a courtesy to other travelers and ensure we were safe to travel and not putting others at risk. Unvaccinated children under 12 do require a COVID test. (But also, with the vaccine approval for ages 5+ that might be changing soon!)
Do you need a COVID test to re-enter the US? Where do I get one in France?
Yes you do! What’s great is that there are testing tents outside pharmacies every few blocks in Paris. It’s SO EASY. You just have to walk in and ask for a test. They will swab you and you’ll come back 30 minutes later for your results and they will give you a printed form that verifies your negative result. No need to make an appointment–just walk in. It only costs 25 Euro! We did this the morning of our last day and it was easy peasy.
Your airline may also have an option to order self-tests as well. As some of the girls on the trip who flew United went this route! You’ll have to log into a dashboard while someone watches you take the test. And then they will pop back on to view/verify the results and give you an official “pass” form, but I believe that’s more expensive. (Not to mention, one more thing to pack in your suitcase.)
As a precaution, take a photo of your test results as a backup in case you lose your results print out!
How COVID safe did Paris feel?
I felt 1000x more safe in Paris than I do at home in the US due to their enforcement of the health pass and the fact that they don’t allow unvaccinated travelers to enter from amber list countries (the US is an amber list country as of now). Therefore, I felt very safe on the plane and anytime we were indoors during the trip.
I will say, Versailles was CROWDED like it always has been, so I flew through all the rooms to get out. But I’ve always hated crowds even before COVID. But, just a word of caution, if you’re weird about crowds, stay out of the palace and spend more time on the grounds and in the gardens.
I did not go to any of the Paris museums this trip so I can’t comment on how crowded those were, but because they require vaccination to enter, it felt like things were functioning at full capacity and there wasn’t much social distancing.
Would you recommend traveling to France right now after your experience?
I was nervous because I was so out of practice with travel and I was worried something weird would happen with COVID restrictions–that I would forget to fill out some kind of document, that the rules would change when I was in the air…you know how your mind can go wild. But I encountered zero issues the whole time. Overall, I was impressed with how the city handled everything and had a really good experience. Like I said above, I felt safer in Paris than I do now in Chicago. I say if you’re vaccinated, low-risk and comfortable–go for it! (Note I cannot comment on elsewhere in France as I solely was in Paris.)
Any tips for planning a trip soon?
Yes! First, allow ample time for everything. Get to the airport extra extra early! There are more checkpoints and documents to check, so plan accordingly. Again, I flew United for both flights, and had a seamless experience. I also have Global Entry so getting though security in Chicago and coming back through customs was a breeze. But my friend who was on my flight did not have Global Entry and she also had a very quick line coming back into Chicago. We also flew through security at CDG leaving Paris, but our friends who flew Delta at the same time as our flight had CRAZY delays in their terminal at CDG and almost missed their flights due to the lines at various checkpoints–so leave more time than you think you need! (And maybe consider flying United?)
Also, for planning, I highly recommend working with Whitney to help you plan out your trip. Having a travel agent is also a great way to ensure you’re always up to date on the latest requirements for travel. Plus, she can score you great discounts, perks, and more–and help you find the most amazing restaurants, things to do, and help plan an amazing non-touristy trip!
Also, for more Paris reccos, definitely visit Rebecca’s blog Everyday Parisian! She has TONS of great Paris recommendations!
FULL Atlas Adventures Paris recap and guide is coming soon! Travel recaps always take a lot of time, so thanks so much for your patience and I hope this post was helpful if you’re planning a trip to France soon!