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Recent Paris Trip Report

Recently went to Paris for 8 days and here is what we experienced. I hope that it is helpful.

  • We took an antigen test in advance of the trip for free at CVS. This was NOT required as we are fully vaccinated, but I didn’t want the restrictions to change last minute and then have a test be required causing a last minute scramble, or it change to a PCR requirement and have to worry about timing of results. There were rumors of restrictions changing the day before my departure.
  • We connected through IAD and this is where they checked our CDC card. Gate agent looked at it and stamped our boarding pass. That was it.
  • Arrival at CDG was a breeze and they looked at nothing, barely our passports. My wife and I joked at how simple it was.
  • We took the train from CDG to the city and it was not crowded and easy.
  • We stayed near Norte Dame and no issues with our apartment rental. No one asked for any documentation.
  • As I have mentioned in another post, we were successful in getting our CDC card converted to the French Health Pass.
  • Before July 21, we obviously had zero issues or questions. After the 21st, we were asked for the pass at all museums and were even asked for it on an SNCF day trip to Chartres, even though others have reiterated (and they are correct) that train travel was not subject to a health pass. Not sure why we were asked on just one leg.
    • We took 3 day trips; Champagne region, Chartres and Rouen and there were not any issues on those days either. The vineyards did ask for a health pass or CDC card.
  • Uber was challenging to get on this trip, whereas I have had great success on prior trips.
  • The metros were packed at rush hour, and light otherwise.
    • The French people were very gracious and seemed to truly appreciate us being there.
  • We used Rick’s 2020 France book and between Paris, Rouen and Charteres we only came across 1 restaurant and 1 shop that had closed.
  • We brought self tests with us for our return, we took the antigen tests at our apartment 2 days prior to our return flight. I bought these through emed and the process could not have been simpler.
  • The train back to CDG for our return was out of service for a couple days, so we arranged a transfer.
  • The CDG airport was NUTS this morning and I was glad to be able to use the N1 line (expedited security) as the normal security line looked to be a 2 HR line to me,
  • They checked our negative test at the check in counter at CDG and never looked at it again, whether at France border control, boarding in Paris or when we arrived back in the states. Just the one time when we checked in for our flight.

That is basically it and I have zero regrets taking the trip. It got warm wearing the mask, particularly on the metro, but other than that it was like any other trip but with a fraction of the crowds. I cannot recall one group or tour leader with a flag or umbrella. We were one of 25 in front of the Mona Lisa. Cafes were not crowded and we got several dinner reservations the day of.

Hope this helps someone.

Posted by
1935 posts

Thank you for taking the time to post this! Much appreciated.

Posted by
400 posts

I'm curious - as you were able to get the passport, did you witness anyone without a passport and only a CDC card being denied access/passage? Also, am I understanding correctly that you brought tests from the states? I was considering that for our journey as I would rather be prepared. Thanks.

Posted by
28 posts

I did not witness anyone denied access with just a CDC card at any place we went. This included the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Carnavalet, Orangerie or the wineries.

That is correct, I bought kits online, they were fedex’d to my home and I packed them in my checked luggage. Just ensure that you order the correct self tests as not all are accepted the US gov’t. I ordered mine through emed via a link on United Airlines’ website. The whole test process took 20 minutes and I had my negative bar code to return.

Posted by
1295 posts

Paul, is there any reason the self-test kits could not travel in carry-on luggage?
Thx for a very helpful report. We're not going to France, but all on-the-ground info is interesting.

Posted by
28 posts

Pat, no reason why I checked the self tests other than I didn’t need them until the end of the trip.

Posted by
373 posts

The CDG airport was NUTS this morning and I was glad to be able to use the N1 line (expedited security) as the normal security line looked to be a 2 HR line to me,

What is the N1 line?

Posted by
28 posts

The N1 is kind of like their version of precheck, but I think it’s more for frequent fliers and first class passengers. Not sure how you get it otherwise. This morning the N1 line was 1/15th of the normal line.

Posted by
3870 posts

Thanks for posting Paul. Could you clarify a couple things? First, How did you get a free test at CVS? In theory, all tests are supposed to be free in the U.S., but I have found that if the intention is travel, there’s a charge, at least in my state. Second, I’m still not clear on the N1 line and who gets to use it, or were you flying first class?

Posted by
28 posts

Antigen tests are free at CVS for travel in my state. I registered online and included my insurance info.

I was not in first but do fly a lot and have status on United, so was able to get in the priority security line.

Posted by
1610 posts

Hi Paul, thank you for the comprehensive report. Glad you had a good trip!

Posted by
19 posts

As far as problems with using UBER, I saw a recent article that said their drivers were in short supply in France. Many drivers are now working for BOLT, and users are having better luck getting rides. I loaded the BOLT app on my phone -- but I won't be able to use until I go to France early Sept, so I can't comment on usage...yet.

Just FYI.

Posted by
187 posts

Paul, thanks for posting. It’s been very helpful. Things might change in the seven weeks between now and my trip but I still appreciate it.

Would TSA-pre-check work to use the N1 line?

Posted by
415 posts

Thanks very much, Paul. It was all very reassuring. Great idea to take home tests with you for return to the US. Also great if one could get a free antigen test at CVS. Don't know what will be happening by the time I travel next year but it's always better to be informed.

Posted by
12271 posts

Thanks for the detailed report. Good that it was basically pretty easy for you. This helps me plan my trip next summer back to Paris and France. Your trouble free, hassle free experience is encouraging.

Posted by
72 posts

A lot of Uber drivers gave up when all of the tourists and business travelers disappeared last year. They went to more stable jobs and it is far from certain that they will ever return. Taxis remain more reliable.

Posted by
29 posts

Paul, I am a bit confused as to how you were able to get the results of your Covid test for your return trip so that you could share with the airline.
Thanks so much for all of your information.

Posted by
28 posts

Barbara, I brought a self administered covid test with me from Texas to Paris. 2 days before leaving Paris I took the at home test and this had the results to show the airline to fly home.

Posted by
1295 posts

Paul, thx for the response regarding packing the self-tests. I had just been wondering if there were liquid quantities that went over the carry-on limit. Apparently not, so thanks again!

Posted by
28 posts

The liquid in the test is very small, smaller than an eye drop bottle.

Posted by
1767 posts

I looked at those emed kits and I don’t think the liquids will be a problem.

But if you really wanted to be more law abiding than I am you could always put the emed kit in a separate baggie because you can have a second baggie of liquids for medical purposes and I feel certain this test kit would count

Posted by
4 posts

Paul, how did you obtain a French Health Pass? Is this done online? Is it a physical card or something digital? I'm from Canada so not familiar with the CDC card you mention. Thank you!
Aria

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks, Paul. I did a little more research and realized that the results can be shared through bluetooth in order to verify the results.

Posted by
119 posts

strong textThe CDG airport was NUTS this morning and I was glad to be able to use the N1 line (expedited security) as the normal security line looked to be a 2 HR line to me,

Please explain the N1 (expedited security) line. Thank you.

Posted by
28 posts

I believe it is the priority lane given to frequent fliers. I think it is an Air France perk even though I was on United.

Posted by
7535 posts

Unlike Debbie, here is what someone else posted this morning on an ex-pat forum:

"This morning CDG to Chicago to SFO visa appt. United checked me in online after I uploaded my antigen negatif test. No checked bags. Just seven minutes to get through border/passport & security. My FitBit says 2031 steps from my airport Ibis bed to the gate. Now I have three hours at the gate before my 10:45 departure. 🤣"

Just goes to show that it all depends...

Posted by
113 posts

Animee- precheck does not work anywhere outside of the US. I remember trying to use it at CDG in 2019 to get in the expedited security line but it was a no go

Posted by
408 posts

Is the CVS Covid test free if you don't have insurance? Paul said he uploaded his insurance information, so I would assume CVS billed his insurance co.

Posted by
3870 posts

I have severe allergies so I have a chronic cough. So when I have gotten COVID tested a few times that may or may not have been related to travel, when I was asked for symptoms, I said, "cough". Test was free.

Also, I'm told that in some states, it does not matter and the tests are free.

Posted by
4 posts

Hi, this is really helpful.
I cannot find your post about getting the vaccination pass in France. Where is it?
Thank you

Posted by
697 posts

We were one of 25 in front of the Mona Lisa. Cafes were not crowded and we got several dinner reservations the day of.

I bet this was a sight to behold!

Posted by
6412 posts

Is the CVS Covid test free if you don't have insurance? Paul said he uploaded his insurance information, so I would assume CVS billed his insurance co.

I checked the box to pay myself since I don’t have U.S. insurance and don’t think of myself as indigent. It cost $139 in my state (Oklahoma).

Posted by
1 posts

Arrived in France Friday July 30th. Headed to Dordogne and Bordeaux. Then to Paris on Thursday August 5th. Back to USA on Sunday August 8th. We have had NO issues with our CDC cards. Easy access to museums and sites: Lascaux, Eiffel Tower, Louvre etc. All accepted our CDC cards. No issues with any restaurants. Only one asked to see our CDC cards.

Hopefully this won’t change but I will say 100% worthwhile to visit.

Biggest stress was getting our Covid test this morning for return flight to USA and avoiding a 10-14 extra stay here.

Posted by
1 posts

Does anyone know if we bring our own at-home covid tests from the states to Paris, can we use these to return (Paris-Chicago)?