PCR Tests - Availabilty

Morning everyone. We have finally booked our crossing via Eurotunnel to visit our holiday home n France after a sad 12 months away. We believe a rapid antigen test will be accepted at the tunnel to enter but believe that we need a PCR test 2 days before our return. Does anyone know if these are widely available in France? Do local pharmacies perform these for private payment as we fully appreciate we have to pay? We are quite nervous about all the conflicting information even on official government sites. We are so excited to be coming “home” at last.

Hi Denise
I think you may find quite a bit of useful information in this thread started by @anon88169868 who is in a similar position to you and this one specifically about tests.

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I’m just waiting for Macron’s address tonight then I’m going to see if I can find some pharmacies close to use (or phone, but I try to avoid that as my phone French isn’t all that good - i.e it’s terrible - and opportunities to make international calls during the day are strictly limited).

Once I have figured it out for myself I’ll update the thread.


Thanks for this Graham, very helpful :pray:

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Thanks Paul - I’m the same and as it is so complicated it is quite crucial to get it all absolutely correct. the frustration is the conflicting advice on several forums as well as Gov websites. I look forward to seeing what you come up with and I will do same if I find anything out. At the moment I’m on a quest to find a beekeeper to rehouse “my bees” :flushed:

There are plenty of pharmacies offering antigen tests (acceptable for entry into UK) and they are now payable to foreign non-residents (€29 or €39 I think). They should be able to print out the results within 30 mins of taking the test.

Use Doctolib to find a pharmacy near you to book one. Not all pharmacies are on Doctolib so if you don’t find one ask around local pharmacies and if they don’t offer tests they will probably be able to point you in the right direction.

When you arrive at the pharmacy explain you don’t have a carte vitale so will need to pay. So long as they get the money from somewhere - be it you or reimbursed by the state - I can’t imagine they’ll be too fussy.

One more unrelated thing, don’t overpay for your tests on return to UK, I found this comparison site to be quite useful: https://www.covid19-testing.org/

Wow Tom, thanks for all this advice which is just what I need. I am hoping that it will all go easily and that I can enter and depart without too much effort as I have been very stressed about the whole situation getting closer to our return to France. I absolutely love our”second home” and do want to enjoy our time there rather than dreading the a distraction for fear of getting it wrong. I have no problem in it being time consuming, am just keen to get it absolutely right!! Wish me luck and thanks again for all of this info. :sunglasses::pray:. Take care and stay safe

It’s clear that some pharmacies offer a walk-in service but not all do, so check whether you need a rendez-vous before tuning up.

Not sure I’ve quite figured it out but I went to the sante.fr website, followed the “dépistage Covid-19” link, selected my département and both PCR and antigen tests and chose two local pharmacies and a testing centre for which I could get email addresses. One has got back to me so far (actually pretty quickly, took them less than 30 minutes) - 19€ for an antigen test and they have slots which work for our return journey. They didn’t quite answer all of my questions about suitability (to be fair they probably don’t know the sensitivity and specificity but assured me they were “dans les normes” and which lab they got them from).

I’ll probably wait until early tomorrow to see if I get any more responses and then book with them as long as I haven’t lost the slots.

In terms of accuracy a PCR test would be better, of course, but according to the UK government web site an antigen test is acceptable and I’m just looking for something which will get us home.


in the meantime, console yourself with Les Mis…

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Hi Paul. I went on that site too but found it quite difficult to navigate as my French is not that good (I am trying honestly :wink:). After looking at about 122 websites I think I have a clear ( :crossed_fingers: ) understanding on what we need. As I see it from UK (which might help you too but the other way round) you need:

1 x 48 hour antigen test to enter France if you are fully jabbed

Same for return to UK

Then on day 2 in UK you have to have a PCR test which you must have booked before leaving France.

How easy this will be for us as we don’t know when we have to return as we have an urgent matter to attend to in the UK, date will be unknown for a couple of weeks :flushed:

19 euros for Antigen test sounds very good to me as the one that I am buying (including one that I can take with me to France) is £29. How they accept these results is beyond me as I could stick the testing stick up the dogs nose. Luckily, I am honest, double jabbed and fastidious with Covid Hygiene. Bonne chance Paul, enjoy your time in the UK

haha… I think Paul is looking forward to his time in France rather than the UK :wink:

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You do need a bit, though using a browser with built in translation might make it easier if you find the French site a bit difficult.

The main problem that I had was tracking down email addresses - the French and French businesses seem to not have embraced them quite as much as I’d like :slight_smile:

Yes I’m heading from the UK to France and then back. Though the temptation to stay is great Brexit has put the brakes on that for now.


If you try that you won’t be coming to France as I suspect you’ll spend the next few weeks in intensive care!

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Thanks Paul, thats brilliant! 7 nurses near us, no pharmacies at the moment and no centres but at least its a positive.

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Remember to select the antigen tests - the default is just PCR.

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Ah yes, that opens up the list considerably :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Thank you.

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@anon65742194 oh gawd. I’m even confused who’s going where, who’s got what and did you say your name was Doris ? All this in out, up down, shake it all about has me well and truly discombobulated. Hope none of you live near Sancerre when I’m trying to remember which way round the roundabout I’m going :crazy_face::crazy_face: I think it’s a case of serious crosseyedicus in my case. I’ll be alright don’t worry everyone :wink::wink: