Coronavirus and cycling in France

Published by Lyn on 25 November 2020

The coronavirus pandemic and cycling in France - the latest guidance and local advice.

Coronavirus and cycling in France

France's COVID track and trace app can be downloaded here

LAST UPDATED NOVEMBER 25:

Here is my understanding of current coronavirus restrictions. 

Can I cycle in France? What's open?

The French border remains open to other European Union countries, but you need to have travel documentation supporting your need to travel. Check guidance from your individual country/embassy from both within the EU and farther afield.

From November 28 (subject to change depending on infection rates),
* Shops and other services will open, but bars and restaurants will remain close. It may be possible to order pickup/takeaway, depending on the venue.
* Hotels, B&Bs and out-of-season campsites will be remain open but with restrictions – generally just for people who use them as permanent accommodation (or for professional travel purposes), but check in advance with individual establishments
* Cycling in permitted witin a 20km radius of your residence. You are allowed to leave home for up to 3 hours per day. An attestation is still required to justify every trip (via here).
* The 20km/3 hour limit will be lifted on December 15, meaning unrestricted travel. It will be replaced with a nationwide curfew between 9pm-7am (relaxed only December 24-31).
* Bike shops are considered an essential service and have been able to open throughout all lockdowns. 
* Most cycling holiday businesses have now closed for the winter.
* All work to be done from home wherever possible.  
Public transport is running but services may be on limited timetables. Face masks are required on all public transport.

From January 20 (subject to change depending on infection rates), 
Complete end of confinement/lockdown, but the entire system will be reviewed every 15 days and subject to change.

An attestation (a legal, signed document) is required every time you leave home, explaining the reason for the trip. Available to download via this website.

Where can I ride my bike in France?

Cycling in permitted witin a 20km radius of your residence from November 28. You are allowed to leave home for up to 3 hours per day. An attestation is still required to justify every trip (via here). 

The 20km/3 hour limit will be lifted on December 15, meaning unrestricted travel. It will be replaced with a nationwide curfew between 9pm-7am (relaxed only December 24-31).

Cycling is permitted for commuting to essential work, cycling to the shops/pharmacy or other essential services. School commutes by bike are permitted.

Note that masks are now compulsory in all indoor public spaces, so keep one in your pocket if going to the shops. And take hand sanitiser.

The French government is in fact encouraging cycling as an alternative to public transport througout the pandemic to help minimise infection risk. You can read more information here.

Travelling to France from abroad

The French border remains open to other European Union countries, but you need to have travel documentation supporting your need to travel. Check guidance from your individual country/embassy from both within the EU and farther afield.

Travel to and from the US at the moment is very difficult if you are not resident in France or qualify for an exemption.
Travel from Australia and New Zealand is all but impossible due to border closures and quarantines in those countries.

There are certain self-quarantine recommendations in place depending on your country of residence. The UK, Norway and other countries have 14-day self-quarantines in place for people arriving from France. You should check consular advice in your country before travelling.

Consular travel advice

See here for the updated UK quarantine travel advice for France.
Watch here
 for the official French government guidance for travel from the UK (had not been updated as of August 13 for the new UK quarantine).
See here for France-Ireland travel advice.
See here for France-US.
See here for France-Canada.

(Similar information is available for travellers from elsewhere via your local French embassy website).

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.

Note that masks are compulsory in all indoor public spaces (see below for graphic with more information) such as shops, banks, post offices, undercover markets, etc.
Masks are also compulsory on all forms of public transport, including on Eurostar and on ferries in French waters.  

Note some regions and cities have additional requirements for masks to be worn in all outdoor public spaces - watch for local signage or check ahead with the tourism office if visiting.

Social distancing and hand washing guidance also remains in place.

Hand sanitiser gels and masks are widely available 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).

Note there may be quarantine requirements depending on your country of residence. You should check guidelines with your embassy (see weblinks above). There may be additional paperwork to complete at ports and airports based on these requirements.

Ferries

Brittany Ferries have resumed ferry services, however schedules have been drastically cut. You should check ahead for the latest route advice. Face masks are needed on board to comply with French public transport guidance.

DFDS are taking cyclists as foot passengers on all services, including Newhaven-Dieppe, Dover-Calais and Dover-Dunkirk. You can book via their website. Again, schedules are subject to change. Face masks are needed on board to comply with French public transport guidance.

P&O Ferries are accepting cyclists and that tickets can be booked online for their Dover-Calais service. Customer services assures me that cyclists are accepted as foot passengers. Again, schedules are subject to change. Face masks are needed on board to comply with French public transport guidance.

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. Face masks are recommended on board to comply with French public transport guidance.

Irish Ferries have recommenced services, including Dublin to Cherbourg. Cyclist and foot passenger tickets are available online. Face masks are recommended on board to comply with French public transport guidance. Schedules are subject to change.

Trains

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. However cuctomer services told me that their cycling service is currently suspended until further notice. Details are usually here. I was told the website would be updated soon. You can still take bikes on the backs of cars/vans.

Planes

Airlines, including easyJet, Ryanair, British Airways and Air France are selling tickets but services are subject to regular cancellations. You should check individual booking and cancellation guidance.

Passengers on flights from France must wear single-use surgical-type mask upon boarding. 

There are now compulsory COVID tests for arrivals from certain destinations at French airports. You should ask your embassy or airline about requirements. 

Hiring a bike or shipping your bike

Hiring a bike or shipping your bike ahead may be options for you to faciliate easier travel to/from France once the current lockdown is lifted. You can email me at lyn@freewheelingfrance.com if you need help with these.

Where do I need to wear a face mask?

It is now obligatory to wear a face mask in indoors public spaces in France. There is a €135 fine for failing to comply.

Face masks are required in shops, banks, post offices, undercover markets, museums, etc. Masks are also compulsory on all forms of public transport, including on Eurostar and on ferries in French waters.   

This graphic shows where masks are required across the entire country. Some cities and towns also require them in all outdoors public spaces. Watch for local signage or ask a local. 

 Face masks in France are compulsory to stop the spread of coronavirus


Will the 2021 Tour de France be on? Can I watch it in person?

The 2021 Tour de France is planned to go ahead. See here for the route. See here for accommodation.

Official Tour de France tour operators are already offering packages to watch the 2021 event, and are offering 100% cancellation guarantees just in case. If you need bike hire or an accommodation/transport package for the TDF, I can point you to reputable local companies via my bespoke service.

I will post amended information above as it comes to hand.

You can also join my Facebook group to discuss issues relating to COVID-19 with other cyclists, including many riders based in France.

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