Charente Maritime
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Covid 19

(Updated 28 May 2020)

We hope the following information will be of use for guests who have already booked to stay in 2020 – and those who may be thinking of booking.

Confinement/Lockdown in France

This has been/will be in a number of phases :

17 March 2020

Confinement implemented including :

Whilst (as in the UK and other countries) many people have been terribly affected by these measures, we have been very privileged in our area of rural France – with no problems nipping out for a weekly shop – in supermarkets that have been very quiet, with people calmly observing the social distancing and no shortages of anything.

The effects of the confinement have been reported as reducing cross infection across France by 80% (with a R(einfection) rate falling from over 3 to 0.5) and with all key indicators levelling out and starting to reduce. The worst affected areas have been around Paris and in the North East. Our region (Nouvelle Aquitaine) has been recorded as having the lowest infection rate of any region.

28 April 2020

The French government announced plans for gradual deconfinement over time.

All plans depend upon continued improvement in key indicators in the period leading up to each stage of deconfinement.

A key tool being used is a daily update of a map of France with each department graded red/orange/green depending upon a combined assessment of : numbers of hospital emergency department visits by people with suspected Covid 19; proportion of intensive care beds occupied by people with Covid 19; and a future 3rd indicator of whether robust testing regimes are in place.

The state of play as at May 7 was to be used to finalise the 1st phase of deconfinement. The map on 7 May was : (we are in department 17 – Charente Maritime)

May 2 2020

French government published detailed tables of what is planned with effect from May 11, depending on whether department has faible (low levels - green above) of risk or elevee (high levels - red above).

The tables can be seen via this link (in French, use zoom to read).

May 7 2020

Arrangements confirmed for 1st phase of deconfinement with effect from May 11 2020. All as has been anticipated - apart from slight further relaxation in travel within one’s own department and power of departmental prefectures (in green areas) to relax restrictions on beaches, large commercial centres etc - see below.

May 11 2020

1st phase of deconfinement starts to include :

The Prefecture in each Department will (in green departments) be able to decide upon the extent to which local facilities such as parks, gardens (update May 7 : and beaches), larger venues etc can start to open and under what conditions

Update May 7 : also confirmed that borders with other countries will remain closed after May 11, subject to review at end May. The border restrictions with other European countries will be maintained until at least June 15  - unless there are imperative reasons to travel.

President Macron appeared to indicate in a speech that holiday travel outside Europe (“major international ravel”) would still be severely restricted after June, but that there may be potential for holiday travel within Europe (including UK) - although restrictions may still be needed even for that: “We will limit major international travel, even during the summer holidays. We will stay among Europeans, and we may need to reduce it even more.”

May 28 2020 (update)

The 2nd phase of deconfinement has been announced :

In summary :

The good news is that the current 100km limit, for travel within France if leaving one's own department, will cease from next Tuesday (2 June) and people will be able to travel where they wish within France. Therefore guests who live in France will be able to come on holiday !

Restrictions on crossing borders into France continue for the moment - but the French government hopes to see a Europe wide agreement to relax borders for June 15. No fortnight quarantine would be required - unless other countries impose it - in which case France would have a "reciprocal" arrangement. Until June 15 the current border restrictions will continue to apply (essential travel only)

Restaurants, cafes and bars can also re-open from Tuesday (inside and outside - apart from around Paris where it can only be outside). Tables will be spaced at 1 metre apart and diners will be required to wear masks (as will staff) when moving around the restaurant - but can remove them when at their table (which will help people eat !).

Parks and gardens can re-open this weekend and beaches and lakes can also open from next Tuesday - although local authorities can impose restrictions such as  wearing of masks. Museums can also re-open - but wearing of masks will be required

And there is a bonus for holidays in the Charente Maritime :

The areas's tourist authorities have announced a special scheme to encourage people to come here on holiday : vouchers for 100 euros reimbursement ! All one will need to do is register on the website, stay for at least 2 nights, have a meal (for 2) in a "traditional" restaurant (not MacDonalds !) and visit a tourist site. You can then claim your 100 euros voucher via the tourism website (from mid June).

Follow this link :

Our promise to all guests :

We will be following all local and national hygiene regulations for cleaning the gite between guests. We will email all guests with further information before your arrival - so when you arrive here you can forget Covid 19 and enjoy your holiday - in the knowledge your gite is full prepared in accordance with health and safety advice. Having worked for many years in health and social services we know the important of infection control - and the importance of having a carefree holiday !

August/September 2020

Large festivals/concerts or sporting tournaments etc (of more than 5000 people) won’t be allowed at least until September. Smaller events may be allowed from August. The Tour de France has already been delayed until a start date of August 29 (In Nice) and may be able to take place then.

Our booking & cancellation arrangements

In the spirit of “we are all in this together” we have obviously relaxed our usual booking and cancellation arrangements :

For people who booked before March 2020 : we are not asking for final payment until 2 weeks prior to the start of the holiday (rather than the usual 8 weeks). If people need to cancel we will offer a choice of : a credit to “carry forward” their 25% booking deposit to another date of their choosing (whether in 2020 or 2021 – subject to availability); or a full refund (normally the booking deposit is not refundable)

For people who book after March 2020 : we are asking for the usual 25% booking deposit on booking – but with the final payment not being due until 4 weeks before the start of the holiday (rather than the usual 8 weeks). If people need to cancel, provided it is at least 4 weeks in advance we will offer a credit to “carry forward” their 25% booking deposit to another date of their choosing (whether in 2020 or 2021 – subject to availability) – rather than losing the booking deposit as would normally be the case.

(Any returning guests, who have stayed with us before, would be treated as if they had booked before March 2020, as above – as we’d feel confident you would only cancel if you absolutely had to !)

Further information

Please let us know if we can help with any queries – either about the confinement or our booking arrangements/availability. Whilst we will always do our best to give accurate information, the authoritative sources of further information are :

British Embassy in Paris (excellent updates in English of use to everyone regardless of nationality)

But their website can be a bit out of date, so better still subscribe to their Facebook updates for the most up to date information - they are excellent, authoritative and detailed : @ukinfrance

In particular this is excellent article on the current position (updated).

French government website (but very technical …)

UK government travel advice

French Liberation newspaper website

Or try the English language newspaper Connexion France – although some full articles require a subscription (and as with any media it shouldn’t be taken as always accurate in every detail – although it is usually very reliable)

Finally, during these times when many people in many countries are experiencing extreme deprivation, please do take a moment to visit our sponsored charity page

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay happy !

Chris, Martin and Ziggy xxx