Coronavirus: what are the rules of a lockdown in France?

Published by Rizhlaine F., Laurent P., Cécile D. · Photos by Laurent P. · Published on 1 March 2021 at 11h41
As some French are back into lockdown to try and stop the third wave and the spread of Covid variants, we are wondering what is allowed or not during this restrictive period. So, what can you do and cannot during lockdown in France?

As France is expecting more local lockdowns to try and curb the new wave of cases and the variant threat, some French people are already wondering what this new lockdown will look like. To help you out, here are the rules of the last lockdown, while waiting to find out more on the likely return of this restriction:


  • Taking your children to school

Unlike the first lockdown during which most pupils – including all age range – were to stay home (excluding caregivers’ or people’s children whose work was necessary to the Nation), schools remain open for this new lockdown and pupils must go to school as per usual. Therefore, it makes sense that parents have to take their children to school. “Our children cannot be without instruction, education, contact with school on a long-term basis” Emmanuel Macron explained. Yet, parents taking their children to school will have to fill in a certificate that will have to be “stamped by schools” as reminded by BFMTV.

  • Going to a medical appointment or helping relatives

During his address, Emmanuel Macron said it was possible to go to a medical appointment scheduled or not. Tele-consultations should be first considered. And like during the first lockdown, people are allowed to go and help their relatives.

  • Going to work (and working from home)

Unlike the first lockdown, some sectors can pursue work, like construction, as well as all those for which working from home is not possible, and always in compliance with the health guidelines implemented. “Factories, farms, constructions will keep on working” the French President said. Note that roaming associations or home-food-banks are also allowed to keep working.

  • Going to a public service, an exam or honoring an administrative or court summon

Yesterday, Emmanuel Macron reminded that “public service desks will remain open”. Treasury Department, French Postal Service, social security desks, telecoms, job centers, welfare offices, city halls, administrative offices… You can go to or ask for a service during this new lockdown. And it also applies to the situation you are summoned by administration or court.

As for exams (driver’s license exam…) and trainings are kept on site, excluding if they can be completed from home.

  • Going to nursing homes to visit relatives

  • Going to the cemetery

During this All Saints’ Period when one pays tribute to the deceased, cemeteries “will remain open and I want us to be able to keep on burying our relatives in a dignified way” the French President said. As for organizing burials, 20 people can only be present.

  • Attending a wedding

  • Moving house

The Prime Minister announced that moving house was allowed, moving companies shall provide a certificate allowing moving.

  • Going out

During this new lockdown, you can go out and “take a breath of fresh air by your home” but under some conditions. Since November 28, 2020, the 1km/1h rule is called out but there is another one: 20km for 3 hours including walking your dogs or private workout.

  • Going grocery shopping


  • Private and public gatherings

Private gatherings outside strict family environment are then excluded, public gatherings are banned” Emmanuel Macron stated during his address. It is then banned to have people over or go to friends’ or family’s, excluding when you have to help relatives. Only exemptions: demonstrations declared to the prefecture.

Family gatherings, such as baptism, Communions, and other birthday parties are banned. Only exemption: funerals limited to 20 people, weddings, limited to 6 people. And what about the Holidays? “I hope we would celebrate this oh-so precious moment that Christmas and the Holidays are with family” the President said.

  • Travelling in France

It was also banned to travel abroad, from one region to another to change place of lockdown, excluding for pressing and proven professional grounds.

  • Going to college

  • Going to a restaurant, a bar, or a public building

  • Working out with a group of people or within a sports arena

Prime Minister Jean Castex reminded that collective sport – indoors or outdoors – was banned. Yet, you can go for a run outside, on your own, and given you comply with the rules.

  • Suspending your car insurance


  • Traveling abroad

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As a new lockdown grows likely and as the winter break is just around the corner, people are wondering if one can travel abroad amid lockdown. [Read more]

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