To Travel or Not

We live near Oswestry, Shropshire. We have a house in Barneville/ Carteret, Normandy, that we have been unable to visit since October 2019.
I’m getting twitchy about it being empty for so long, and am going cold turkey for anything French.
Is this a good idea in the present climate?



If it were me after a year I would have probably visited - but also being sensible during the journey and during the stay.

Don’t expect to have your normal visit to France though - currently it is not as sociable as normal.

Although France currently has a higher infection rate than the UK, it seems to remain very low in rural areas. My opinion is that if one lives in the countryside, avoids cities and careless cosmopomitans or international travellers, being in France is a fairly safe bet, certainly compared to the UK, where far more people seem to be ignoring basic precautions.

We live in a small village in the Aveyron, but have quite a wide circle of international friends within an hour’s drive and although the pandemic has been very active in France since March it is onlly last week that we learned of somebody we know being infected. Ironically, they live in the Cantal, which is still a low infection zone, but had just returned from visiting family in the UK.

Needless to say upon testing positive, they sent out a general warning to their entire circle, including us who they’ve not seen since Feb, Jan? Dec?..

In other words, I think it’s not a bad idea, unless you wish to visit a city and its restos, bars etc.

1 Like

We are currently on holiday in France, so have moved from one side of the country to another which is pretty much the same. Life does go on, and I don’t feel that much more at risk here than I did at our local supermarket. (I hope I don’t have to eat those words tho’.)

Are you over 80, obese, and with coronary or lung diseases? If so, stay at home. If not, then careful travel is quite possible. Quite a lot is closed, or has gone bust, so a different atmosphere. And the art of queuing has come to France…

Thanks Mat and Mark.
The house is a couple of hundred yards from the beach, in a predominately “French” holiday home area, so its mostly deserted later in the year. Also, we have work to do on the house (converting the loft) and would probably only go food shopping locally. My other half is worried about going on the ferry, close proximity an all that, the tunnel is an option, but its a bit of a drive for her with arthritic joints. Brittany Ferries have been very helpful though with explaining their loading procedures etc.
Its a coin toss at the moment

Jane, define obese :innocent:

Is your house in France well-stocked with supplies… cosy and comfortable ???

If the answer is no… then I would stay where you are… :upside_down_face:

Not really - but you knew that.

I feel your pain, at least I have visited once since Feb so we’re not yet looking at a year but as things stand we don’t know when it will be possible to return (I can’t drive for more than about 10 minutes at present which is another consideration).

The decision is not whether it is a good idea but whether you are going to do it anyway - clearly you need to be able to quarantine for 14 days when you get back, and do not forget that the requirements are quite draconian; it is quite literally house arrest.

I don’t think that there is a quarantine requirement in France but you’d be advised to limit excursions and ideally take food with you.

You will also need to be comfortable with travelling without insurance - as France is on the government “essential travel” list you’ll find most policies void.

That said the actual risk from Covid is probably not much more than the UK at present, assuming you cross to Caen or Cherbourg the drive down to Portsmouth needn’t even take you through a high risk area in the UK and you’ll be in the car anyway.

Personally if I could afford the quarantine I’d do it - my wife and I have both got tacit agreement from our respective employers that they can cope with us working at home for a fortnight although I can’t go until my neck has settled or been sorted (not necessarily trivial) and we’re hoping that one of us can visit before Christmas and one early in the new year.


Pretty much as I saw it, thanks for your detailed reply Paul and good luck with the disc thing, I know that’s a twat :+1:

1 Like

Stella, Hi, It’ll be stocked, if I bring stuff with me, I’m just not sure on Supermarket protocol and availability

I was talking “tongue in cheek”…

as I didn’t want to tell you that I really thought you should stay in UK… :wink:

Restrictions are being enforced across France … with local variations… and more will be coming on-line during the next few weeks if things do not improve…

it’s your decision… but, certainly don’t come without Medical Insurance, please… the EHIC is NOT enough…

Our local shops have certainly not got the range of supplies they once had. Not as much choice, but you can still get things if not the ones you might prefer.

This refers to all shops… not just food supplies… in my area… but others might fare better.

Incidentally, advice to us from our Doc on keeping safe during covid…
“do not put yourself in any position where you cannot simply walk away…”

We use that advice as our measuring stick, if we go out.

1 Like

Our shops are completely normal? Might change of course in next few weeks but right now I don’t see any difference at all.


The official position is that Brits should only visit France for essential travel, which means (as I understand it) insurers will view that as “on your own risk” - but worth talking to some & seeing if cover can be arranged.

Unhelpfully the government leaves it to the traveller to define “essential”.

I think difficulty with using EHICs was mentioned previously on SF - and, of course, they will be the square root of sod all use next year.

And if you do leave it to next year don’t forget your international driving permit.

1 Like

If John is happy to quarantine upon his return to the UK and can get the recommended insurance I don’t see there’s a problem provided he arrives before the end of the year.

1 Like

I have visied my home in 07 several times. It is the journey that I feel most uneasy about, using public facilities on comfort breaks and so on. To solve this I take the motorhome which makes the péages and Eurotunnel prices expensive but I feel it is worth it. However my last trip was against home office sdvice and I felt uneasy at having no insurance so only stayed a week and the travel costs for such a short trip seemed unjustifiable. Since then a journalist friend whose work takes him to dodgy parts of the world has suggested where to look for insurance. I wish I had known sooner. In case anyone else has not found insurance there is a company called high risk voyager that appears to include covid in its cover when travelling against ho advice and the cost seems reasonable. No doubt there are others too but that is the one I have bookmarked to try first.


I think unless you are planning to travel to a very high risk area (!) you should be fine. Supermarkets are fine - just wear a mask and be prepared to wear one pretty much anywhere inside and in most larger town centres.

What’s the EHIC position ? I can’t see that legally they are suddenly invalid due to Covid?

I think unless you are planning to travel to a very high risk area (!) you should be fine. Supermarkets are fine - just wear a mask and be prepared to wear one pretty much anywhere inside and in most larger town centres.

What’s the EHIC position ? I can’t see that legally they are suddenly invalid due to Covid?

That’s odd Stella - no change at all here, and I was in Bordeaux on Friday and all was as usual where I went (Eurasie, IKEA, Auchan) there too.

Living in the countryside… I’m talking about local shops in the local small towns… not Bordeaux or the other big cities/towns. :slightly_smiling_face: :slightly_smiling_face:


As we all know… EHIC only covers a certain amount… it is not really intended to replace Travel Insurance… as the UK govt points out… :upside_down_face:

Sadly, I do know of one person this year who faces huge bills for various aspects of care , after a horrible incident here at the beginning of the year…

Thus I feel bound to mention Travel Insurance… no-one expects incidents/accidents to happen… but they do…

1 Like