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What It's Like to Travel to and Visit Paris Now

What It's Like to Travel to and Visit Paris Now

Here is a an account from our associate, Laura Keefe-Junod on her experience in traveling to and visiting Paris.  She departed the San Francisco area in early July, 2021.   

My flight was direct from San Francisco to CDG on Air France. When I got to the airport, at check-In, the airline agent asked me for my vaccination card or proof of negative test.  I gave her my white CDC card, she looked at it and gave it back to me.    She also asked if I had the blank form that is needed to fill out for the French government stating you don’t have Covid symptoms, etc.  I told her I had it.  She said I would need it at customs at CDG (the Paris arrival airport).

The flight was completely normal, except for having to wear a mask the entire flight (except when eating/drinking).  The flight wasn’t completely full, but almost full.    AirFrance requests everyone wear a médical-type mask on the plan, so most people were wearing the light blue ones.  I wore one of those N95 white masks. The flight attendants passed out blue masks for everyone after we took off.  

When we landed, the customs area was quieter and more empty than usual.  I went in the EU line because I have an Italian passport.  While passing through the passport scanning device at passport control, an official asked to see my passport and proof of vaccination.  No one ever asked to see the French government form swearing I don’t have COVID symptoms.

In Paris now, masks are required in indoor spaces, and on all public transportation, such as buses, metros, etc.  Masks are not required outdoors unless in congested areas.  People here are pretty much following this completely.  I find that many people wear a mask even when walking on street sidewalks.  I feel comfortable taking my mask off while I’m walking outside.  However, as I approach areas where there are more people, I tend to put it back on.

I’d say 95% of the people are wearing those blue medical masks. I’m wearing my own store-bought mask with a filter inside that I can adjust and fits me well.  

There are tents outside of many of the pharmacy locations where COVID rapid testing is performed. I’ve seen a lot of young people getting tested.  Basically, they go inside the pharmacy first, and then end-up going outside in the tent where the testing takes place.

On Monday evening, I watched President Macron’s address on TV to the nation.  Similar to Biden, he is desperately trying to have more people in the country get vaccinated.  Macron basically said by September 15, all health care workers, and people who work with the frail or elderly, will have to be vaccinated, or they will lose their jobs.
But the really interesting thing he said was that sometime in August, proof of vaccination will be required for anyone to enter restaurant and cafés or take a long distance train.  Bingo, that’s a big deal!  As you know, cafes and restaurants are an important part of everyday social activity here.  The really great part about this proclamation is that it’s working.  In just the few days since his speech, almost 3.2 million people have signed up to get their first dose.  I think he was really smart to do this…it will end up helping the COVID situation.

Everything seems open here.  The only exception is some smaller restaurants have not reopened…I had a favorite tiny restaurant in the 5th called Les Trublions, and it is closed, at least for now.

It seems normal here, except for people wearing masks and there are a lot fewer tourists here than normal.    As far as I can see, it’s actually a great time to be here.

Bottom line, with the current state of affairs, no traveler should come to France if they’re not vaccinated.  

Note:  It should be noted that not all Paris residents are accepting of the mandate to provide proof of vaccination.  There has been some push back against the "health pass".



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