Tourist News: June 1, 2020
June 2nd marks the beginning of the next phase of déconfinement in France. They are not messing around!
France has made a lot of progress with their COVID-19 response and staged re-opening of the country since we last checked in! This week marks the next stage in their plan, with lots of openings (and lots of caveats!) to excite the Francophile traveler.
Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region were the hardest hit by coronvirus and are still an “orange” zone. This means the area will have tighter opening restrictions than the rest of Metropolitan France, which is currently “green” (vert). See the current map here.
Déconfinement Now and Coming Soon
Here is what to expect this week or already opened last week:
Food first: Restaurants and bars with terraces can open the terrace portion of their service starting June 2nd, with additional spacing of course! Areas outside the Île-de-France are permitted to fully open their restaurants following new guidelines.
On Saturday, May 30th, the parks managed by the City of Paris opened back up. There are restrictions: no groups larger than 10 people, picnics are allowed where marked (not all parks allow people on the grass–look for signs!) but not to exceed the 10 person limit and distancing must be maintained. Masks are recommended. Note that not all parks are run by the city.
The Tuileries garden re-opened on May 31st.
The Palais Royal re-opened May 30th.
Le Musée Jacquemart-André is now open, with a required timed ticket.
A lot of the churches started reopening last week, with mask and distancing requirements, and limited hours. Check the websites of your favorite churches for details.
Unrelated to coronavirus but still awesome news: The parvis in front of Notre Dame opened on Sunday! We can now get close to her portals again:
Still no word on the re-opening of the La Crypte archéologique de l’île de la Cité under the parvis. It was stated that it would not re-open until the parvis was open (the entrance is on the parvis). There are plans for it already. An exhibit on the history of Notre Dame “from Victor Hugo to Viollet le Duc” will open when the museum does.
Here’s a quick look at Parisians enjoying their parks:
We’re getting there! On May 29th, the Ministère de la Culture provided a schedule for re-opening major monuments and museums. We should expect restricted entry requirements, including ticketed reservations, required masks, and other site-specific restrictions when we visit. Some special exhibits that were on before the quarantine have been extended as well. Some of the highlights:
June 6: Versailles. Ticketing info not yet available as of this writing, but we assume soon!
Week of June 6: An unspecified 48 monuments managed by the Center des monuments nationaux, with another 13 the following week. The website is a little vague currently, but updates should occur this week. Their sites include Sainte Chapelle, the Conciergerie, and the interior of the Arc de Triomphe. The Palais Royal already re-opened.
June 16: A number of the musées de la Ville de Paris (city-run museums) will be re-opening. This includes the Catacombs, musée de Libération de Paris, and la maison de Balzac. The museums closed for renovations before the crisis will remain closed until work is complete. The continued closures include the seemingly forever closed Carnavalet and the Victor Hugo museum. Others are opening in July (see below).
June 22: Musée de l’Orangerie. Tickets available on June 8. So far only the Water Lilies rooms will be available.
June 23: The Orsay. We can say hi! to the polar bear again! Ticket sales start on June 8.
Third Week of June: Musée de Cluny-musée national du Moyen-Age. Unicorns! 😄 A specific date is not yet set but a note on the website says it will be announced this week. Changes also need to be clarified to the original plan for the museum to close from June 29, 2020 to May 2021 to finalize the years-long renovations.
Understandably, the further out we go, the less information we have. But for July right now, we have:
July: Le musée Cognacq-Jay and Le Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (the other musées de la Ville de Paris) are anticipated to open.
July 1: Centre Pompidou. The website does not yet have any updated information on ticket availability.
July 6: Mona’s back! The Louvre will re-open with the continued requirement for a ticket or reserved time for pass holders. Tickets will be available June 15.
July 7: Musée Rodin. Also still no ticketing information yet for this gem of a museum.
Some things either have no announced info or are waiting for the third phase, anticipated for June 22nd.
The Eiffel Tower has not yet set a re-opening date, as of this writing. The Champs de Mars is open, as is the place du Trocadéro, so at least you can get your views!
Phase 3: Orange Zone tourist accommodations re-open.
Phase 3: Orange zone theaters, cinemas, and museums left out of earlier openings.
Phase 3: Orange zone sports and fitness locations, such as gyms and swimming pools.
Phase 3: Possible end to restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people.
Beyond Phase 3, the current State of Emergency ends on July 24th but may be extended by Parliament if needed. This will not end all restrictions, however. September may also see a resumption of sports in France. Stay tuned for more info!
The Métro system is operational but there are a number of stations still closed, including République(!):
There are also still restrictions for travel during rush hour and riders are required to have a form confirming their reason for travel at that time.
RATP seems to have done a good job at marking appropriate social distancing for passengers, even at the ticket machines:
ACTUALLY GETTING THERE
Now that I’ve whet your appetite, how do we actually get there? This remains the unknown piece of the puzzle. The EU travel restrictions for foreign travelers are currently still in place until June 15. France has instituted a two-week quarantine “invitation” (i.e. requirement) upon arrival for foreign nationals. They are also still limiting non-essential travel.
The quarantine guidelines are in part a tit-for-tat with other EU countries based on their restrictions for French nationals. This may also inform their restrictions for travelers in the future, including the U.S. European travel ban.
Also required is the completion of several documents (opens doc), including an attestation of why you are traveling and a form indicating that you are not currently infected with or exhibiting signs of illness. See all the current details here (in French).
The exception? If you are an EU citizen/visa holder (lucky you!), restrictions are starting to ease. France has not yet opened borders to EU tourists, but June 15th seems likely. The exception to the exception? Currently folks from the UK and Spain are still required to quarantine (see the tit-for-tat policies above).
In sum, foreign nationals are not welcome back to La France at this time. And there are rumors we will not be allowed in until late summer/early fall. To say nothing of our own willingness to cram into a steel tube for 6-10 hours during a pandemic!
Check back here for regular travel news updates and see the Practical Paris resource page for trusted information sources.
IN THE MEANTIME
If you would like to see more of déconfinement Paris, check out this video from Paris-based vlogger and author Jay Swanson exploring the Jardin du Luxembourg:
He also captured the current Métro experience in this video. Quite different from normal!
Travel Guru Rick Steves is giving us a daily dose of Europe in his blog, including this weekend’s taste of Louis XIV:
Thank you for joining me in this look at Paris as she opens back up! We may still be some months away from logistically being able to return to Paris and perhaps even further from being comfortable traveling there. But we can still dream about the City of Light and keep updated on all the changes. If nothing else, it provides a break from the real world challenges we are all facing right now.
Please stay safe out there and please remember that we are all in this together. We always have been and always will be. Now let’s treat each other that way. ❤
Charlemagne Statue, Ours Blanc, and excerpt from “Le Toucher” tapestry from La Dame à la licorne series: by author, Michelle Keel. October 2018.
Orange/Vert Map: Composition of maps from Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé. Accessed May 31, 2020
Closed Metro Stations: From RATP Tweet on May 8, 2020.
Louis XIV: Louis XIV of France by Hyacinthe Rigaud. From Wikimedia Commons, posted by Harpsichord246/restored by Abdicata. Public Domain. Housed at the Louvre.