What we know as of 22/09/21
Our bookings for both summer 2022 and the winter 2021/22 season are open. We are fully ABTA bonded so you can book your holiday now with confidence knowing that any payments you make to use are protected.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice for France has now changed and it no longer advises against all but essential travel to France. This means that you can travel to France for holiday purposes (this has in fact legally been the case since 17th May 2021 but the FCDO advice now aligns with this).
The UK is currently rated Amber by the French government for the purposes of entering the country. Since 18th July 2021, this has meant that fully vaccinated travellers from the UK travelling to France for holiday purposes no longer need to present evidence of a negative test result before travel. Fully vaccinated travellers need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ (declaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying that they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This form can be found on the French government's website. They also need to have proof of their vaccination status.
Children aged 12 and over who are not fully vaccinated and travelling with their fully vaccinated parents will be required to present a negative test result (PCR or cheaper antigen). Children aged 11 and under do not need to present a negative test result to travel.
Read the requirements and latest information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france
Returning from France
From 4th October 2021 the UK government has announced that a clearer travel system will be in place. The traffic light system will no longer exist and will be replaced by a red list and the rest of the world. The new rules mean travel will be simpler and cheaper for fully UK vaccinated travellers coming from non-red list countries. From 4th October 2021, fully UK vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take pre-departure tests before returning to England. From the end of October, fully vaccinated travellers will be able to replace day 2 PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests. All passengers will still need to fill in a passenger locator form ahead of travel. Read full current guidance - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england
Brexit - travelling to France from 01/01/21
We've summarised key points below. In the main, this will have no impact on travelling to France for holidays aside from:
- No visas will be required for UK citizens. Passports will still be required as before but they will require 6-months validity and must not be over 10 years old (you can check your passport online). The UK has never been part of the Schengen passport-free European travel area, and therefore there have always been identity controls for UK travellers coming into the EU. This won't change and you won't see any difference in queues. You'll need to use separate lanes from those for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens.
- For those driving, an International Driving Permit will only be required if you only have a paper licence or if your driving licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. This can be easily obtained from UK Post Offices for an approximate cost of £5.50.
- For those driving with their own car, you do not need to carry a Green Card from your car insurance company when you drive in the EU and Switzerland. From 28th September 2021, you'll also need to display a UK sticker rather than a GB sticker.
- You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) before leaving the UK (if you have a current European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) this will be valid until its expiry date). These are valid for EU countries. Travel insurance (which we have always insisted our clients have in place, as this is good practice) should also be in place as the GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. You should be prepared to show proof of travel insurance for your trip on entry to France.
- Procedures for those wishing to travel with their pets will be more complicated and we would urge anyone wishing to do so to look into this well in advance of travel. Find out more about the new process - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-from-1-january-2021
French mountain resorts
Resorts were open this summer with hotels and apartment residences allowed to open as normal. Health and safety measures to prevent the risk of COVID-19 have already been extensively tested.
Chair lifts and gondolas usually open in the summer months for summer mountain activities were also open, for example the Aiguille du Midi cable car in Chamonix was open from 19th May 2021. Since 9th June 2021, indoor bars, cafes and restaurants have re-opened, as well as retail, cultural and sports venues.
As with all measures, the situation is under constant review by authorities in light of the situation with the pandemic. We will therefore continue to monitor the situation closely.
Any other questions?
Many questions our clients have been asking us over the few past weeks are covered on a dedicated ABTA page found here https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Peak Retreats is a member of ABTA and this helpful page provides the answers to some frequently asked questions relating to coronavirus and travel.
Our team is available to help clients on our usual office number during our office opening hours. For the time being however, we currently no longer accept holiday enquiries in person. Please call us for any enquiries relating to new bookings.