Traveling in France in post-quarantine times

Traveling in France in post-quarantine times

Centre ville de Mirepoix, Midi-Pyreenes, France

Traveling to France after the biggest human outbreak, was key to start understanding how the new world looks like!

Many people, specially travel addicts, may have been questioning how the post-pandemic travels would be after the pandemic outbreak (the biggest outbreak in history) was over. I include myself into that group of travel addicts, whom being in the same place for so long has been one of the challenging things to achieve. 

After I went in an Erasmus Exchange program back in 2015, I couldn’t stop traveling and I was always taking flights or moving to other countries every 2 months as the longest period. But the Corona broke all those life schemes. Not forever, and gladly, though.

As europeans are already allowed to travel to all the EU countries freely, as they used to before the outbreak, since 15 June 2020. The aim is not only to help the European travel industry but also to promote further international trips starting in July. 

As I couldn’t wait for a day more to move myself to another country, I’ve chosen the 15th June to start  crossing the first EU border in the post-pandemic times, and decided that I wanted to share the experience on my travel blog. Now that the countries worldwide are all speaking about re-opening in a near future, I also invite you to check all my travel destinations listed on my blog during pre-pandemic times. 

Typical houses of the town of Mirepoix
Me in a beautiful street in Foix

Post-quarantine borders controls

After the pandemic hit all the regions of the world, many countries decided to shut their borders in order to solve the problem in a national scale, that had without any sort of doubt direct repercussions into the travel industry and into people’s rights to travel the world and freely move from different countries as it used to happen before the pandemic.

This worldwide reaction from States of shutting their borders, was a very shocking practice that took everyone by surprise. The traveler community and the travel industry being the sides most affected by these practices, that suddenly lead to wonder about dates of re-opening, and if whether traveling again as we used to, would be ever possible.

The EU

The EU as I said before, decided to re-open all internal borders by the date of 15 June, with the Spanish exception re-opening the 21st. My experience crossing the French border from Andorra: there was absolutely 0 controls when doing so. No temperature checks, no questions of your purposes by crossing the border..nothing. It shocked me as during the outbreak it seemed that countries will control everyone much more, even their health status, but crossing the border after all it feel the same as it used to be before the Coronavirus. 

So, traveling to France after the biggest human outbreak was pretty similar of what it used to be before.

Covid rules for tourist and in France

If you have spent time during your lockdown reading the news and their multiple speculations of how the world will look like after this big pandemic outbreak, then you for sure thought any freedom won’t be available to enjoy anymore.

Well, at least that’s what I thought. I thought I won’t be traveling anywhere until, at least, the 2021. I thought every right and freedom will suddenly depend on your health status. That the International community will impose Health passports, people will have to carry Covid-free results in order to cross borders or even entering shops and restaurants. There will be full social distancing, everyone will always wear mask.

Well, hopefully all those media speculations were a short nightmare that it felt it lasted years, and all those draconian policies failed in the practical real world.

Traveling to France after the biggest human outbreak, I could notice none forces you to wear the mask. And none wears it either. Only 10% of the population wears one. Waiters don’t wear it, neither owners of the shops. So, the only difference you notice by traveling there is that there’s less tourism. But everyone approaches you to talk, without masks and 100% normal.

So, NO COVID RULES ARE APPLYING IN FRANCE FOR TOURISM. France happen to be one of the most hit countries… imagine if you travel one of the least hit countries. 😃

Having a nice walk around the beautiful town of Mirepoix, France

Foix & Mirepoix

How to arrive to the "Midi-Pyréenes" in France and what to visit?

Houses of Mirepoix
Houses of Mirepoix

By car

From Andorra, the towns of Foix it is 98km far away, and the town of Mirepoix is 65 km.

From the region of Girona, Spain it is 290km to Foix and to Mirepoix 140km.

By plane

You can reach both towns placed in the region of the “Midi-Pyrénées” by the “Carcassone Airport” that is only 20 km to those towns. You can land to this airport from destinations such UK, Belgium. 

If you plan to visit the region from Spain, then the best option would be to flight to “Toulouse airport”, though this airport is a bit more far, like 96km to both destinations. 


What to do on Foix?

  1. Visit the castle or as it is called in french, the “chateaux”. Keep in mind, that until the end of June it is only open to visitors during the weekends, due to the Covid circumstance. I also believe such cozy but small destination is not in the list of many travelers, so open it up during the week won’t be such a good business.
  2. Visit the museum in front of the castle, also opening only during the weekend.
  3. Have a chill walk around the cozy town.
  4. Enjoy a typical French meal in the restaurant “Café du commerce”, where they serve really typical french salads, good meat with mashpotatoes and delicious “crème brôulé“.

What to do in Mirepoix?

The main attractions the cozy town of Mirepoix has is their colorful and cozy buildings, its main square, artisans, calm atmosphere. It also holds a beautiful cathedral next to the main square. 

What to eat in France?

Créme Brûlée
Pork with mushpotatoes
Typical french salad with "Orangina" soda

Restaurants & bars

We had lunch in Foix in “Café du commerce”, placed in the center of Foix. They offer menus for around 15€ two dishes, one main course and one main dish, drinks and dessert apart. It is not super cheap, but it has a nice terrace and friendly atmosphere. Also the food is good quality.

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Having a beer at "Le Casti" bar in Mirepoix

 

We also had drinks in the bar “Le Casti” placed in the main square of the beautiful and cozy town of Mirepoix. The place wasn’t cheap either as it costed 3€ a 25cl beer, but.. the view to the beautiful town was worth the price. So is still recommendable.

To end with..

I could prove by myself, traveling to France after the biggest human outbreak has barely any differences compared to what travel used to be before all this mess took place. There was no border controls, no health checks, no compulsory mask use, neither specific covid rules for tourists to follow. However, I could meet nice human beings, learn new facts of the French culture, enjoy the burning sun and the non-crowded restos and bars. So calm vibe and less people. I will recommend anyone doubting about traveling this summer, to JUST DO IT. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and that your mind will be grateful to be able to rest a bit and change context .

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