Published by Lyn on 21 April 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic and cycling in France - the latest guidance and local advice.
France's COVID vaccination, track and trace app can be downloaded here.
LAST UPDATED April 23:
Can I cycle in France?
Yes, France has reopened to travellers, but there are still a few things you need to check before booking/arriving.
From February 13, 2022, France has dropped all pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated travellers from the EU and orange list non-EU countries (including UK, US, Australia, NZ, Canada, etc). You will need to show your vaccination certificate to your airline/train provider and/or at the border.
Red list countries (see official guidance link above) may still need tests and additional travel documentation, as well as self-quarantine, depending on where you are coming from.
All unvaccinated travellers still need PCR/antigen tests before arrival plus documentation justifying their visit.
Check guidance from your individual country/embassy from both within the EU and farther afield.
Vaccination rules and 'health pass' info
A 'health pass' ("pass sanitaire") has been introduced. It is available for phones and ipads through France's Tous Anti-Covid tracing app or you can request a paper version.
It testifies that you are 12 years or over and:
* have been fully vaccinated with a Europe-approved vaccine
* have COVID antibodies (i.e you have had COVID more than 11 days ago but no longer than 6 months ago and you have documentation to prove it)
To be "fully vaccinated" you must be boosted if you are 18 years or over. 12- to 17-year-olds need to be double-dosed (all approved WHO vaccines).
EU vaccination certificates comply with the French app/system. Vaccination certificates with QR codes in paper format from other countries are also accepted. See here if you are non-EU and want to make sure your vaccination documents comply with the French health pass.
IMPORTANT: the "pass sanitaire" is no longer needed for access to restaurants, cinemas, museums or other public amenities. However, you may be asked for it if you access a medical facility like a hospital. Full details here. Children aged 12-17 are also included.
Note COVID tests are free for vaccinated people registered in the public health system. For visitors and unvaccinated French residents, they cost €49 for PCR and €29 for antigen.
* All shops and services are now open again. Bike shops are an essential service and have been allowed to open the whole time.
* Bars and restaurants are now open for both inside and outside dining. Additional precautions may still be in place with social distancing and masks recommended (though they are no longer compulsory except in medical environments). Restaurant reservations highly recommended.
* Hotels, B&Bs and campsites are open but with additional hygiene rules.
* Museums, cinemas and other cultural sites, zoos, sporting venues, etc are open.
* Unlimited cycling is permitted.
* Most cycling holiday businesses are taking bookings for the 2022 season but with flexible booking policies where possible. Please book ahead for both 2022 and 2023 if possible as indications are that it will be busy with so many people having postponed trips over the previous few years.
* Face masks are required in medical environments (hospitals, etc) and recommended also on public transport and in pharmacies.
Where can I ride my bike in France?
Anywhere you like.
The French government is in fact encouraging cycling as an alternative to public transport throughout the pandemic to help minimise infection risk. You can read more information here.
Travelling to France from abroad
For vaccinated travellers
France is open to fully vaccinated travellers. There are no longer any tests required for people entering from 'green' EU countries or 'orange' list countries (including the UK, US, Australia, etc). Some high-risk 'red' countries still have restrictions (please check your country's status in advance).
A 'health pass' has been introduced. It is available for phones and ipads through France's Tous Anti-Covid tracing app or you can request a paper version. It testifies that you are 12 years or over and:
* have been fully vaccinated with a Europe-approved vaccine
* have COVID antibodies (i.e you had COCID more than 11 days ago but no longer than 6 months ago)
It covers international travel into France.
The French COVID app is aligned with the EU's app – if you are travelling to more than one EU country it may be best to just download the EU app here.
Vaccination certificates with QR codes in paper format from other countries are also accepted.
For unvaccinated travellers
Negative PCR/antigen tests are required for entry. You also need to justify your visit as "compelling"/necessary.
Self-quarantine remains in place for unvaccinated people travelling from some countries.
Please check guidance from your country's French embassy before travelling.
If you are visiting France from another country, please take all care to minimise any risk of bringing the infection with you or circulating it while here.
Masks and other rules
Note that masks are no longer compulsory in all indoor public spaces. Masks are still compulsory in medical settings and are recommended on public transport.
Social distancing and hand-washing are no longer compulsory but still recommended (many shops will still have sanitiser available etc). Hand sanitiser gels and masks are still widely available for sale at pharmacies and supermarkets.
How can I get to France with my bike?
For all travel I recommend documenting all correspondence and confirming phone calls in writing (email, social media messages, etc) and taking these messages with you when you travel in case you have problems at the port/station. This is because information is constantly changing and can be inconsistent via different customer service outlets (call centres and social media accounts, etc).
Brittany Ferries have resumed ferry services, however schedules have been drastically cut. You should check ahead for the latest route advice.
P&O Ferries are accepting cyclists and tickets can be booked online for their Dover-Calais service. Customer services assure me that cyclists are accepted as foot passengers. Again, schedules are subject to change. P&O is also undergoing an industrial/staffing upheaval. Check ahead and be wary of cancellations.
Condor Ferries are taking cyclists as foot passengers on their Channel Islands ferries (Poole/Portsmouth to St Malo via the islands). Numbers are limited so book ahead. Schedules are subject to change.
Irish Ferries have recommenced services, including Dublin to Cherbourg. Cyclist and foot passenger tickets are available online.
Eurostar are running trains but they have stopped their 'bike on board' tickets. Eurodispatch has also halted Eurostar baggage services for bikes. According to their coronavirus information page, only folding bikes and children's bikes no longer than 85cm in length and packed in a protective bag that covers the whole bike are allowed as regular hand luggage. See my page here if you need to ship your bike ahead. Or this page for bike hire help.
Eurotunnel usually accepts cyclists as foot passengers. Details are usually here. You can also take bikes on the backs of cars/vans.
Airlines, including easyJet, Ryanair, British Airways and Air France are back in operation. You should check individual booking and cancellation guidance.
Hiring a bike or shipping your bike
Where do I need to wear a face mask?
It is obligatory to wear a face mask in medical settings and also recommended on public transport.
Cycling in France – general info
Tour companies, bike hire and accommodation providers are taking bookings for 2022 and it should be a busy year. Most operators are still offering flexible booking conditions in case of COVID cancellation.
Many people have postponed 2020 trips until 2022, so many smaller operators may book up fast (or already be full with held-over bookings). Please book well ahead if you plan on coming in 2022. Likewise, if you are coming in 2023, book early as possible – again – it should be busy with travellers who deferred 2020 and 2021 trips.
See also our Where to Stay section above if you are planning a DIY adventure.
I will post amended information above as it comes to hand.