What is it like to travel Paris after the coronavirus pandemic? It is the first summer living with the pandemic and a tenuous easing of travel restrictions has begun, especially in Europe. In June, the European Union reopened travel within the EU. In July, the countries of the European Union reopened their international boarders. And now that the boarders are open: What is it like to travel to Paris?
Traveling after the coronavirus pandemic
We all know that the travel and gastronomy industries are particularly affected by the pandemic. After hotels, restaurants and cafés were closed for several weeks – and even months – or were only allowed to sell take-away, some didn’t know how to survive this time.
With uncertainty and fear hanging over traveling, no one knows how quickly tourism and business travel will recover. Will we still fly as much as before the pandemic? And what do travel experiences will look like once new health security measures are in place?
Travel could become unaffordable for many
Overnight, much of the world went from constant over-tourism to empty streets without a single tourist in sight. Since then, locals have seen how their lives changed to the better: clear skies, a return to wildlife, reduction of litter and waste, and clean canals.
On the other side, the economic situation changed to the worse, revealing how much the global economy really depends on non-stop travel. Business after business went bankrupt without the tourists, begging for them to come back.
Now, since the boarders are open, some countries try to entice tourists with special offers like covering a part of the travel expenses or using deep discounts to revive over-tourism.
Other countries will re-design their tourism strategies to keep down crowds. For example, Braies in Italy decided to regulate travel to the famous Lago di Braies and only allow 5,000 people at the lake per day. Once the 5,000 people are reached, the street will be closed.
Smart travelers will take fewer trips and stay longer. They will keep an eye open on established health systems and avoid businesses that ignore the rules designed to stop the coronavirus.
Travel Paris after the coronavirus pandemic
So, what is it like to travel Paris after the coronavirus pandemic? What do the health regulations look like? Are shops, restaurants, cafés and hotels open at all? These and some other questions are answered within this post.
Does Paris look like it did before the pandemic?
Short answer: No. We spent a week in Paris and arrived on a Monday. When we first went to the Eiffel Tower, we were surprised how empty the Champ de Mars, a public greenspace in Paris near the Eiffel Tower, is. Normally, it is a very crowded place with tons of tourists taking pictures from the Eiffel Tower.
However, we thought it might be so empty because it was Monday. Within the next days in Paris, we recognized that it was not depending on the day of the week. Paris as if swept empty.
There is no one who wants to go on the Eiffel Tower, no one who wants to enjoy the view from Tour Montparnasse or no one who stands in line for hours to see the Mona Lisa. Even though museums and tourist attractions are open, there is nobody who wants to use them.
If you have ever been to Paris, you know how crowded the Eiffel Tower is and that you have to wait several hours before you can take the elevator up. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, there were two people going up. Two people, and that’s all.
Are restaurants, cafés, shops open? How safe are they?
Mostly yes. Some shops remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but these are just a few. If you walk the Champs-Élysées, you won’t notice that two or three shops are closed.
Just like always, you can grab a coffee in the morning, drink wine for dinner with friends in the evening, or go shopping during the day. Most stores offer disinfectants right at the entrance. You should definitely use this. On the Champs-Élysées, the security guard will spray disinfect into your hand. That’s more secure than touching a product touched by many others before.
Some cafés keep a safe distance by filling the tables between people with teddy bears. Unfortunately, this is relatively rare, so I have seen many cafes and restaurants where the safety distance was not kept. If you know Paris, you know that the tables are often very close together. To be honest, I would avoid these restaurants or come at unpopular times. However, you must know that the restaurants will be full from 6 pm until it closes.
Another option would be to order food as take-away. Most restaurants still offer this and it is definitely a safe option to collect your food or get it delivered and enjoy it somewhere else.
Are hotels open or do I need to book other accommodation?
Hotels are open, but these are only a few. As you might know, Paris relies on tourism from all over the world and not just Europe. Most hotels get booked by Chinese or Japanese people. However, it is precisely these people who cannot travel to Paris which is why some hotels remain closed.
For our trip to Paris, we stayed at Hotel Le A which is open for business travel and tourists alike. It is a beautiful boutique hotel in Paris which has a very central location.
How do hotels protect guests and employees?
At Hotel Le A, they put in place appropriate hygiene measures to welcome guests in the best conditions. For example, wearing a mask is mandatory in all public places of the hotel. Moreover, they make sure to respect social distancing and implemented rules to ensure that everyone keeps the 1 – 1,50m distance. Moreover, there is hydroalcoholic gel available in the lobby and check-in as well as room service is contactless.
Do I need to wear a mask in public?
At the moment (July 25th) a mask is not mandatory when you go outside, unless you use public transportation or go to a supermarket respectively to a closed public space (like restaurants, supermarkets, cafés, museums etc.).
Please note, however, that this can change at any time and that you may also have to wear a mask on open streets. You should inform yourself on reputable sites before your trip.
Will I be able to enjoy a trip to Paris?
Absolutely! We have been to Paris five times already, and we always enjoyed it but exploring Paris without the crowds was incredible. I’d say Paris is even more enjoyable right now since you do not have to fight for a picture of the Eiffel Tower and you can stroll through the streets of Paris without having to push yourself through a crowd.
I hope you liked this post about traveling Paris after the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some more posts you might enjoy:
- 9 secret Eiffel Tower photo spots
- Paris in 24 hours: Layover edition
- A weekend guide to Paris
- Things you have to do when in Paris
- 20 Paris travel tips you need to know
- Paris photo spots you don’t want to miss