Hoping to travel to France’s sprawling vineyards, sparkling cities, and cobblestoned towns after a year without European vacations? Rejoice if you’re fully vaccinated: French President Emmanuel Macron told local media outlets this week that international tourists, including inoculated Americans, can visit beginning June 9 as part of a broader tourism reopening.
The June travel restart plan comes two weeks after Macron told CBS on ‘Face the Nation’ he had briefed President Biden’s administration on a tourism reopening plan. France is currently undergoing a third national lockdown that has set a 7 p.m. curfew, but on Monday Macron reopened schools and announced plans to allow non-essential business to reopen on May 19, with a 9 p.m. curfew in place until early June, when the curfew is set to be pushed back to 11 p.m. Macron expects curfews will be totally lifted on June 30, as long as public health data continues to improve.
“From May 19, we must rediscover our French art of living, while remaining careful and responsible: our conviviality, our culture, sport,” Macron told Le Parisien. “June 9, curfew at 11 p.m. and opening of cafes, restaurants, and sport. Finally on June 30, end of the curfew. “
Macron also announced that international tourists will be required to acquire a Pass Sanitaire, or “health pass,” for entry from June 9, according to Reuters. The system, which will be both digital and on-paper to start, according to Macron, is being billed as Europe’s first vaccine certificate. Macron noted that the program, which has not yet been deployed, is unlikely to be required by small venues such as restaurants and other businesses, but could be helpful for large events like festivals or at sports stadiums.
“A health pass will never be a right of access that differentiates the French,” the president said. “As it pertains to public liberties, parliament will debate the matter.”
Americans have been banned from entering the European Union for nonessential reasons since March 2020 due to the United States’ high level of coronavirus cases. France has tallied more confirmed coronavirus infections than any other E.U. nation, at 5.5 million cases and 103,000 deaths. The country has so far administered initial doses of coronavirus vaccine shots to 22 percent of its population, with 15 percent of France fully vaccinated as of April 30, according to Reuters. Those who are two weeks out from their final coronavirus shot are considered fully vaccinated.
But how fast should vaccinated francophiles be searching for that flight? Travelers hoping to travel to France this summer should temper expectations and consider what they want out of their trip, travel specialists say, which will determine if and when you should book. Here’s what experienced travel planners want you to know about going, and what Europe’s road to allowing vaccine passports for entry looks like.
How to decide if you should you book a trip, and when
Ready to hop a plane to Paris as soon as restrictions lift for vaccinated Americans? Travel specialists call the announcement by Macron great news—with a few big caveats.
“The first reaction is ‘yay, it’s great if somebody is opening up,’” says Adamarie King, a travel advisor for travel-xperts.com who has already started receiving requests for France bookings in the 24 hours since Macron’s interview aired. “But then immediately of course we start thinking about the logistics and making sure we have accurate information for our clients and don’t get them in pickle.”
Even if restrictions lift as planned, slow vaccination rates in Europe could mean further case waves and rolling restrictions throughout the summer, and the region is unlikely to get back to business as usual right away. King says travelers who are intent on getting to France can find flight and hotel availability for summer if they act fast, before pent-up demand starts selling out flights, but that those early visitors should take the May opening “with a grain of salt.” The solution: only book flexible flights and lodging in case the trip needs to be pushed back.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/france-plans-to-reopen-to-vaccinated-americans-this-summer