Coronavirus Lockdown: Latest Travel Warnings for France

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel: The situation around the world is changing dramatically. Various governments have changed their travel warnings to restrict travel during this time. To understand how this may impact cover under your policy, please go to our FAQs and select your country of residence.

For the latest travel warnings and alerts around the world, read about lockdowns and border restrictions.

What's happening in France? Read about the latest COVID-19 restrictions, and how they might affect your travel plans.

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Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – 27 March, 2020

France has closed its borders to all but French citizens will be allowed to return home. President Emmanuel Macron has imposed a near-total lockdown, ordering people in the country to stay at home for up to 15 days – they can their homes only for essential duties. Filling out a permission slip is now required.

Flights between France and its overseas territories have stopped until 15 April.

Wondering how your travel insurance might be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? Find answers to some of our common questions about COVID-19.

Ongoing strikes in France – February 2020

Strikes are continuing across France. Since mid-January, transport services have been running as normal and unions have been concentrating on smaller protests.

Stay up to date with local news and contact your travel provider to find out if this affects your itinerary.

Protests in France – December 2019

Hundreds of flights have been canceled and other transport will be disrupted in France during a three-day strike, which started on 5 December, 2019.

The strikes will affect air travel, trains, the Paris Metro and ferry services. Staff have walked out in protest at the Eiffel Tower, which has also been closed.

If you are traveling around France during this time, stay away from political protests or demonstrations, avoid large crowds that may turn violent unexpectedly, and be prepared for disruptions to your schedule. Contact your travel provider to find out how this may affect you.

Notre Dame Cathedral fire – April 2019

A fire broke out in Paris' famous Notre Dame Cathedral in the early evening on Monday 15 April, destroying the spire, the roof and a significant portion of the cathedral. Authorities have placed an exclusion zone around the cathedral for safety reasons. 400 firefighters attended the scene and many have continued to stay on site to extinguish the fire in hope of saving the remaining structure and art pieces. The cause of the fire is unknown. No fatalities have been reported and only one injury has been reported.

The UNESCO World Heritage 12th century cathedral is one of Paris' most famous attractions, with more than 13 million people visiting each year.

Smoke and flames rise from Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019 in Paris, France. Photo credit: GettyImages-Veronique de Viguerie / Stringer

Strasbourg shooting - December 2018

UPDATE: The terror suspect was killed on Thursday night (13 Dec) by local authorities during a major security operation.

At least three people have been killed and 11 injured when a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon at a night Christmas market in Strasbourg in northeastern France on Tuesday 11 December.

Police and other local authorities have locked down the incident area and surrounds. The French Government has raised its security alert to the highest level and further strengthened its borders. As a result, there may be delays for travelers so please take this into account and leave enough time to get to where you are heading.

What to do during a terror incident

World Nomads is urging travelers to retain perspective on terror events, and understand that the chance of being a victim still extremely small. In fact, you are statistically four times more likely to be hit by lightning.

Don't confuse the possibility of a terror attack with the probability of being involved in one.

Remember there are psychological reasons why you may feel uncertain about travel; we're more afraid of events that are gruesome, unpredictable and unfamiliar. We feel less fear about everyday dangers such as heart attack, auto accidents or skin cancer - all of which are much more likely to kill you.

However, there are actions you can take to further lessen the likelihood you will become a victim. These include carefully considering the security around large-scale, easily accessible, public events. If at all possible get yourself inside a secure area at any event. This may mean a ticketed event, or a secure area set up by organizers. Inside such an area, like being behind the security checkpoint at an airport, is the safest option.

Alternatively, if you stay in a publicly accessible area, stay away from the heaviest concentration of crowds, keep to the fringes where the sheer number of people presents less of a target and there is the option of making a quick escape if trouble should occur.

For more information on what you should do should you find yourself caught up in a terror-related incident:

How to survive a terror-related incident - tips for the traveler

Paris protests - December 2018

Another weekend of protests has been announced for 8 December, 2018 despite the French President Emmanuel Macron announcing the cancellation of the fuel tax hike, with authorities reporting that main tourist attractions will be closed over the weekend. First division football games and two music festivals have been canceled in Paris. The Arc de Triomphe remains closed after being damaged in last weekend's protests. ~89,000 police will be deployed across the country. The following Paris venues will be closed:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Louvre museum
  • Orsay museums
  • Grand Palais complex
  • Garnier Opera House
  • Bastille Opera House
  • Restaurants, cafes and shops on the Champs Elysees have also been encouraged to close.

Protests – 1 December 2018

Protests have turned violent in Paris since demonstrations started across France two weeks ago in response to the French Government increasing a tax on fuel prices. On December 1, thousands rioted in Paris streets and in tourist areas including the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Rue Royale; damaging the Arc itself and other infrastructure, setting vehicles alight and vandalizing buildings. Protests were also held in other locations around France including Marseilles, Arles, Narbonne, Bordeaux and Toulouse. Future protests could occur.

It's reported to be the worst civil unrest in a decade with more than 400 people arrested and more than 130 people injured during the violent clashes. Authorities used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protestors. There is still a heavy police and riot squad presence in Paris after the weekend's events.

Riot police hold their line during protests in Paris on December 1st. Photo credit: GettyImages-contributor

What to do during a protest

Being caught up in a protest can be a frightening experience for any traveler. But there are things you can do to stay safe. Check out our article on civil unrest which has advice on what to do pre-trip, during travel and post civil unrest.

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