Tourist Update: June 15, 2020
And we’re back with more tourist news!
I had not anticipated needing to do another update so quickly, but President Macron had other ideas!
Yesterday, June 14th, Macron announced that the country would be moving partially to Phase 3 of the déconfinement. Additionally, the Orange Zones in mainland France will now move to green.
This means as of today, June 15th, the restaurants of Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region will be fully open. They will still need to comply with distancing rules, leaving a 1-meter space between tables. France24 reports that restaurateurs are thrilled to be given the green light. But the suddenness of the announcement and the distancing restrictions still pose logistic and financial challenges.
EU Borders Begin Re-Opening
In bigger news, the EU began the slow re-opening of the continent today. France did open some of its borders to her neighbors. The European Commission also released a statement that it is working toward re-opening the EU to foreign travelers as early as July 1st! The caveat: Americans will not be among the first to be welcomed back unless a pandemic miracle happens. The wording from the announcement:
“The decision to lift restrictions for a specific country should be based on the epidemiological situation and coronavirus response in that country, the ability to apply containment measures during travel, and whether or not that country has lifted travel restrictions towards the EU. Restrictions should be lifted first with countries whose epidemiological situation is similar to the EU average and where sufficient capabilities to deal with the virus are in place. Restrictions should remain in place for countries whose situation is worse than in the EU.”European Commission, Press Release 11 June 2020
In sum: as suspected, because we do not have our coronavirus act together, we will remain persona non grata in the EU for the foreseeable future. I’m going to hop on my soapbox for a moment. I beg readers who feel that the virus and the economy are binary forces–that we must choose one or the other–to please let go of such a black and white view. We need to think holistically about how to meet all the competing needs. And we need to work together–not in isolation from other states and communities. If we can pull together, we can succeed!
While I’m not sure if the EU or France’s processes will be a success, at least there is some coordination and consideration behind them. Our economy cannot truly recover if we can’t contribute to the global economy through commerce and tourism. The only way to get a seat back at the table is to actually deal with the virus.
I recognize that I’m probably preaching to the choir. You are here for information on travelling to France and her history and thus see the world beyond our shores. Thank you for patiently letting me rant at the disappointing U.S. response to the pandemic!
As I step off my soapbox (whew!), let’s see what the border openings looked like:
Lastly, the EU has created a website to track the status of each country. For non-EU citizens, you can click on Travel (car icon) and then “Third Country Travelers” (globe icon) for our status.
Alas, we cannot yet begin to schedule our return to the land of cheese, wine, and pain au chocolate. But, we can continue to plan and dream for that beautiful moment! Part of the process is keeping up-to-date on what’s happening in Paris. The changes didn’t stop at reopening borders and restaurants!
The Eiffel Tower has announced it will re-open on June 25. Tickets are coming soon.
The Fête de la Musique, the annual nation-wide music festival, will occur this Sunday, June 21st. This site is keeping a running tally of what to expect.
Tomorrow the Métro will be ending the form requirement to ride during rush hour.
The Center des monuments nationaux has started announcing more openings. Tickets/reservations are required for entry:
Sainte Chappelle on June 23rd, tickets available June 16
The interior of the Arc de Triomphe is now open! There are lots of restrictions and tickets must be bought in advance.
The Conciergerie opened today, reservations highly recommended but not currently required.
The Opera Garnier will open for tours on June 22nd, with a reservation.
The street closures are planned to continue. Currently the Rue de Rivoli and other streets are entirely closed to street traffic. This allows more room for café terrace seating and bike/foot traffic. I’ve seen photos/video of Rivoli closed but it still blows my mind!
Cinemas are scheduled to re-open on June 22nd.
As of right now, the previously reported museum and monument re-openings are staying on schedule and not opening earlier. The Paris Museum Pass site currently has warnings about reservations made in conjunction with the pass. You generally need to have the pass in hand to make online reservations (the serial number is requested at booking). So you can’t book until you have the pass. With capacity restrictions, this could make getting a last minute reservation difficult right now. Stay tuned for changes and updates!
The Métro is slowly re-opening the stations. As of today, there are only 24 stations closed. Still, bon chance to anyone on Line 8 or who needs République station!
I apologize for failing to previously update on the airport situation in Paris. Orly has been closed, with everything re-routed to a much diminished CDG. It is planning to re-open on June 26th. The OrlyVal train and Le Bus Direct are suspended until further notice. Please see the resources page for other options.
At least the RER is functional, and the folks who runs the Line C Twitter account like to keep it cute!
IN THE MEANTIME
The internet helps keep us going while we wait for further developments in global travel. Or keeps us distracted from work. Ok, both. 😀
Oliver Gee, the man behind The Earful Tower empire, brings us frequent walks around Paris via the magic of YouTube. Recently, he did a live walk on Rue de Varenne (the street that the Musée Rodin is on), with a focus on the beautiful doors of Paris. Sit back and take a leisurely stroll as the sun sets in Paris. Baguette and cheese optional!
Eiffel Tower: Author, Michelle Keel, October 2018.
Re-Open Website Capture: From the EU’s Re-Open site, taken June 15, 2020. Map credits: Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries.
Metro Closures: From the RATP site, June 15, 2020.