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Plan ahead for Covid tests in Brittany/Normandy

I saw this mentioned in a reply on another thread, but I wanted to emphasize that while walk-in Covid testing is widely available in Paris, this isn't necessarily the case elsewhere in France. You will likely need to make an appointment via the Doctolib website (which unfortunately seems to crash a lot on my computer).

In my experience in Brittany and Normandy, walk-in appointments are not readily available, and even same-day appointments seem to be very limited. Also note that many pharmacies offer little or no testing on weekends, so people flying to the US on Mondays have little flexibility on timing.

There is a Carrefour in Bayeux that offers both appointments and walk-in testing. This is where I ended up making my testing appointment. I will update this post if I run in to any issues there.

In hindsight, I would have purchased the BinaxNOW tests before my trip had I known about the testing situation outside of Paris. I was scared off by the lengthy wait times I read about, but those issues seem to have been resolved now.

Posted by
71 posts

Jason, Ellume is another option in addition to BinaxNOW. You preschedule your appointment before you leave the US and do it through a wifi connection on your phone. I used this in Portugal to avoid having to figure out the local testing. Something to explore for your next trip to Europe!

https://www.azova.com/testing/ellume/delta/

Posted by
186 posts

Thanks for the information.

I am faced with the situation you described. Before leaving for France, I contacted our final lodging in Normandy (Honfleur), and asked about the availability of testing and confirming the speed of their internet. I explained my reason for asking - we would need a negative test for our return to the US and that I was considering bringing a self-test that required a video link via the Internet. The proprietor replied that their Internet should work fine, but that testing was widely available and offered to make an appt for us at a nearby pharmacy. We accepted her offer and hopefully it will go well; I will be re-confirming before we reach Honfleur.

Our airline does provide a link to places in France we can contact for scheduling a COVID test, but the location they listed for Honfleur did not respond to my email query.

Posted by
105 posts

This is helpful. We will need a test in Bayeux before leaving on river cruise out of Paris first wk of Oct. Thankful for any info on your experiences in Normandy and any testing updates also!

Posted by
7725 posts

You can also do an antigen test at the airport before checking in. Make an appointment on Doctolib. Give yourself about 45minutes for paperwork, test, and results. It's a lot cheaper and you don't have to carry tests around. Check local airports, too. I know tests are available at Nice airport, too.

Posted by
105 posts

Any updates on anyone else testing in Bayeux. We need to before our Viking river cruise. Doing some independent travel first in Normandy. Booked at Hotel Reine Mathilde 4 nights. Arrive Oct 2. We plan to train there and waiting to reserve our tours. Thinking this year we have more flexibility with day trips and tours!? Applied yesterday for health pass. Crossing our fingers on that.

Posted by
6733 posts

I am sure the hosts at your hotel would be easily—-and happily—able to assist with this. I would ask them.

Posted by
19211 posts

I'd recommend contacting the tour company you intend to use now. Tour schedules are established based on expected demand. If demand is lower this year, the tours may not be running as often. You don't want to be shut out of a tour you want to take. You may need to make a difficult decision, given the possibility (one hopes slight) that you won't be able to make the trip after all. I sort of doubt that a tour company is going to refund a prepayment if you can't go.

Posted by
364 posts

Bets….do you know of an English version of Doctolib?

I d/l the app and the only choices are French, German and Italian.

Posted by
2437 posts

Doctolib has a website, so you could use Google translate on that. Drop-down lists and forms might not translate, but you might be able to figure it out more easily than on the app (no English indeed).

Posted by
22 posts

I'll give an update on my testing experience, since I started this topic. I did my test at Pharmacie du Bessin, which is in the Carrefour on the north side of Bayeux. Although I did make an appointment on Doctolib, it wasn't needed. The pharmacy had a single-page form each person had to fill out for the test (there was an English version). The cost for four tests was just over $100 total. The pharmacist was a little confused why my kids were getting tested, since they are under 12. (There are no testing requirements for kids in France, but we needed the tests to get back to the US.)

The employee doing the tests was a native English speaker, and the process was quick. We got all four test results via e-mail about 30 minutes after the tests. The pharmacy even called us once the results were available to make sure we received the e-mails!

The most surprising part of testing was at the airport. Our results were only viewed once, by a non-airline employee at the gate (who also collected the US attestation forms). I showed her the four PDFs I received with the negative results, but she barely looked at them, and I am pretty sure she didn't check the names and testing dates on the documents.

Posted by
13 posts

I just returned from 2 weeks in France. Finding a pharmacy in Normandy to do the US required Antigen test for re-entry was easy. In fact, we simply walked in (thinking we would make an appointment and return later in the day) and were seen to immediately. The cost was £25 and results (printed hard copy) took 10 minutes. Couldn’t have been easier.

Posted by
186 posts

We are in Honfleur, with return flight to US on Monday - so we had a COVID test done on a Saturday (18 Sept) in Honfleur.

Though it was a Saturday, it was very simple. Pharmacie de la Republique tested us immediately when we walked in at about 10am (with our passports, though they didn't examine them.) 10 minutes after filling out a simple form and undergoing the test, we had our (negative) results; they were also emailed to us. The whole process took only about 20 minutes. This pharmacy was an easy 12 min walk from our lodging in the old town. (or a 4 min drive). Address: 45 Cous Albert Manuel, 14600 Honfleur.