Skip to main content

Privacy, Ads & Cookies We respect your privacy. We use cookies. We only show local Dordogne ads sourced by us; and one ad by Google

Covid-19 in Dordogne

Discover the latest Dordogne Covid-19 Coronavirus updates

Ana Hernández, Dordogne Editor | Published

As more and more airlines announce their intention to resume international flights this summer, we ponder if and when you should consider coming to Dordogne and whether France is safe to visit this summer. Spoiler alert – on balance, our answer is yes; local businesses and authorities are working hard to turn Dordogne into a safe haven for visitors and are preparing to safely welcome travellers as soon as they possibly can.

The world has been turned upside down in the last few weeks and our new normal is full of uncommon words like lockdown and social distancing, while face masks and hand sanitiser are now part of our daily routine. However, things are rapidly changing and, as Europe takes the first steps to open its borders, we take a look at the situation in Dordogne.

Is Dordogne on lockdown?

No, Dordogne is no longer on lockdown! Dordogne entered lockdown on March 17th 2020 together with the rest of France. As coronavirus cases dwindled, the French government started to take the first steps on what they call 'déconfinement' or their plan to ease lockdown, which began on May 11th. They created a map that divides the country into red and green departments based on the level of circulation of the virus, pressure on hospitals and intensive care units, and the ability to test for Covid-19. Dordogne is situated in a green region, meaning that the virus is less active here.

Dordogne has completed the 'déconfinement'. This means that most borders are open and transport is operating normally (although masks must be worn on public transports). Face masks are obligatory in all enclosed spaces, including bars and restaurants (although it can be removed while drinking and eating), shops, hotels, sports centres (it can be removed while practising sports), mountain refuges, cinemas, libraries, etc.

Gatherings of up to 10 people are also possible, as are outdoor sports. Plenty of public spaces are now open, including beaches, lakes, sports centres, swimming pools, forests, gardens, parks, open-air markets, schools, theatres and museums. Social distancing, safety and hygiene measures must remain firmly in place.

Cafes, bars, restaurants, beach clubs and campsites have also been able to reopen on June 2nd albeit with restrictions: there can't be more than 10 people per table, which must be separated by a distance of at least 1m between, while both staff and customers have to wear masks, although it can be removed while eating and/or drinking. Gatherings of more than 5,000 people won't be authorised before September 2020.

When will you be able to travel to Dordogne?

French borders opened to EU citizens on June 15th, so you can visit Dordogne if you're from a European country. International visitors had to wait just a bit longer, until July 1st. Quarantines won't be imposed on those visiting France and Monaco. However, people returning to the UK will have to self-quarantine for two weeks.

On June 14th, France's Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron, confirmed that the country could start safely welcoming European tourists on June 15th. This was in response to the European Commission's call on member states to gradually reopen internal borders to kickstart the summer season. External EU borders will reopen on July 1st and only visitors from 15 countries will be able to enter Europe during the first phase. The list, disclosed by Brussels on June 29th, includes the following states: Argelia, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Georgia, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, China and Uruguay.

Strict safety measures such as temperature checks, disinfection of aircrafts, compulsory use of masks, online check-ins and reduction in the number of bags to be taken onboard will ensure that everyone is safe when coming to Dordogne.

When will hotels & restaurants open in Dordogne?

Hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes and beach clubs are already open! Accommodation providers have not been forced to close during the lockdown in France.

Bars, restaurants and beach clubs, on the other hand, had to close during lockdown but were able to reopen on June 2nd, as did other tourist establishments like campsites. They all need to comply with strict safety and hygiene measures and reduce their capacity. A distance of at least 1m must be kept between tables, while only groups of up to 10 people will be allowed to sit down together. There will be no standing service at the bars and staff must wear masks, as must customers although it can be removed while eating and/or drinking.

What are businesses in Dordogne doing to keep customers safe?

We keep talking about safety and hygiene measures but, what are they exactly? Businesses in Dordogne have taken steps to ensure that they provide a safe environment for both their customers and their workers, such as:

  • Social distancing: In general, experts recommend keeping a distance of 1m to 2m between people. There are different ways to ensure this, from reducing capacity to increasing the space between people on lifts or between tables at bars and restaurants, and even installing screens to separate customers – many hospitality businesses are using them.
  • Disinfection: Lifts, shops, bars, restaurants, rental properties, hotels... they'll all be fully disinfected periodically, as well as after each customer when workers will also clean their hands thoroughly. Hand sanitiser is already available everywhere to customers at the entrances of lifts, supermarkets small shops and cafes.
  • Protection: Wearing face masks is mandatory in indoor public spaces. This includes public transport (including planes), shops and shopping centres, bars, restaurants and cafes (you can remove it while eating and/or drinking), hotels, beach clubs, museums, libraries, etc. Face masks are also mandatory outdoors in the town centres of Nice, Monaco, Avignon, Biot, Orange, Nîmes, Aix en Provence, Arles, La Gaude, Mougins, Cavalaire, Carpentras, Saint Cezaine Sur Siagne, Saint Laurent du Var, Cavaillon, Lourmarin and Vence in the Cote d'Azur and Provence, as well as in Bordeaux and Brantôme (Dordogne). Temperature checks are commonplace and they're already being carried out in airports.
  • Information: Businesses in Dordogne are designing specific Covid-19 protocols and they'll inform the public of the steps and instructions to follow before and during their visit.

Will you be able to go to the beach in Dordogne this summer?

Beaches in Dordogne are already open to the public. Being able to maintain social distancing on beaches is something that both authorities and local businesses have been contemplating for weeks and measures to ensure they are not overcrowded have been put in place. Worry not, however, the sun will keep shining bright, the sea waters will probably be cleaner than ever and we expect a drop in the number of beachgoers so the beaches will probably be quieter... a silver lining if ever there was one!

8 tips to stay safe in Dordogne this summer

1. Follow safety and hygiene guidelines
We keep repeating it but following safety and hygiene rules is the best way to stay safe on your holidays in Dordogne: keep a distance of 2 metres, wash your hands and wear a mask (or cover your nose and mouth). Try not to touch your face as well... we know, easier said than done!

2. Trust local businesses
Not only are businesses in Dordogne putting strict safety and hygiene measures in place but they've also made cancellations much more flexible. This means that, if for any reason you're forced to cancel your holiday, you'll probably be given a full refund. Look out for our Covid-Proof Booking symbol when booking your accommodation and your activities on our site.

3. Avoid the crowds
The easiest way to comply with social distancing is to avoid crowds altogether. We've got a few strategies to help you with that like, for example, booking a whole villa or an entire apartment instead of a hotel room, that way you can prevent bumping into other guests during your stay. Or perhaps chartering a private yacht would be more up your alley? Sailing the seas seems like a pretty good way of social distancing.

After weeks of confinement, being outdoors, breathing fresh air and feeling the sun's warmth on our skin is just what we need. In, you can also opt for private activities and tours instead of group ones, such as embarking on a private boat trip or hiring a boat and booking individual scooter or jeep tours instead of coach tours. You can even explore Dordogne on a bike or on horsebackbook a private guide for your hiking or sightseeing trip and visit the local vineyards to taste their wine. Scientists are actually testing whether heat and UV radiation in sunlight might affect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, two things which are plentiful in Dordogne in the summer – just remember to lather up with sunscreen!

4. Book early
Limitations regarding the amount of people that businesses can welcome or the crowds that events can gather are being enforced. That's why, now more than ever, we recommend you book early. This will ensure you get the best table on the trendiest restaurant's outside terrace in Dordogne!

5. Get off the beaten path
Another great strategy to avoid the crowds and to discover the hidden gems in Dordogne along the way is to visit its lesser-known places. Dordogne is full of charming towns and villages nestled deep in its rugged coastline and the surrounding hills. Many of these small villages are still no more than 15 minutes away from the nearest beach or lake but they have very few inhabitants and even fewer visitors. This is where the real Dordogne resides, you'll get to mingle with the locals at the weekly markets and enjoy the local wine at the town square cafes. These small towns are also a great base to go hiking, cycling or mountain biking.

Dordogne even has a few charming secluded coves, far from the hustle and bustle of the most popular beach resorts where you can relax and go snorkelling in the most amazing turquoise waters. Culture vultures will appreciate the dozens of Roman ruins, medieval churches, country manors, small museums and art galleries scattered across the area.

6. Entertain at yours
Celebrations aren't off the table this summer in Dordogne. However, instead of booking a restaurant or a beach club, why not ask a catering company to bring the party to you? Private villas, apartments and boats make for great venues and Dordogne has an excellent selection of catering companies ranging from Michelin-starred private chefs to mobile food trucks providing the best street grub from your own private garden.

7. Drive to Dordogne
Maintaining social distancing on planes and trains can be quite tricky, so why not drive to Dordogne? We know that cars aren't great for the environment but their carbon footprint is much lower than that of planes with studies suggesting that flights emit around 133g of carbon dioxide per person while a diesel car carrying four passengers emits only 43gr per person.

8. Come during the off-season
This is our ultimate piece of advice: avoid the high season and move your holidays to the autumn. Autumn in Dordogne is actually an extension of summer thanks to the warm temperatures and wonderfully sunny days. With temperatures usually hovering around 20ºC, you can most definitely still enjoy the empty beaches in September and October in Dordogne while cheaper prices will just be the cherry on the cake.

Everyone's working hard to ensure that Dordogne has a safe summer and winter season. For up to date information on travelling during the Coronavirus crisis, please visit the Covid-19-dedicated WHO's website and the UK Foreign Office's France travel advice website or ask your local authorities.

You can also check real-time Covid-19 data in France below: 

Stay safe and remember that we're here to help you with your bookings and with any questions you may have about Dordogne.