on living in paris with the passe sanitaire during covid-19
30 days have passed since I arrived in Paris, and I have lived with the French government’s Covid-19 regulations.
In order to eat in a restaurant or drink a cafe on a terrace or see an exhibit in a museum or take the train to Marseille, I must show my passe sanitaire or other proof of vaccinations or show that I had a negative test for Covid-19 during the previous three days.
During the first 15 days I used my American issued CDC card, and that worked fine. No rejections. At some restaurants I had the sense my CDC card was their first experience with it, but they did know where to look and noted the date of the second shot.
On September 15 I received finally my passe sanitaire, the official government document with a OR code, for proof of vaccinations. I can present it in several ways. I chose the government application called TousAntiCovid. It is set up to display the OR code for the passe sanitaire.
(The photographs in this post were chosen haphazardly.)
I converted my passe to a PDF file, and I can show that without the government application. Others have printed their passe and offered that. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
During the 30 days only two places have not checked it, a restaurant, Café de la Mairie, and a cafe on Butte aux Cailles called Le Diamant.
I have been to seven museums, and before making it through the door, I had to show the passe or the CDC card. After showing it, I could go to the ticket caisse and show my reserved ticket. (In Paris I reserve tickets for museums now. Always. I reserve a time as well, so I do not have to stand in line.) (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
Acquiring a passe sanitaire took some time. Soon after they became available to foreigners (Americans), I applied, but so did everyone else. In August, I waited three weeks, and then received an email from the government stating that they were overwhelmed by the number of requests and could not keep up. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
In the mean time they had set up another government site, where they sent me to apply once more. I reapplied September 1. I was told the wait for a passe sanitaire would typically be five days; that extended to seven days; that changed as well, and eventually I was told the wait would be 15 days after applying. That was true.
September 15 in the evening I received an email with the passe sanitaire with instructions on how to use it and when. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
I have learned and have been told that one must exactly follow directions and instructions when dealing with the French government and the bureaucracy. Applying for the passe sanitaire is a good example. One should not improvise, and one should not question, “What does it matter?” Be sure to read all the directions.
For example, the directions outlined what would appear on the “subject” line of the email application. Part of it had to be in capital letters, the information had to be in a certain order, and the date had to be written in a specified style.
Attached to the email application, one needed to include images of several documents. I used my smart phone, and sent the files as JPEGs. Those files could not be over one megabyte each in size. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
The required documents included images of your passport, your ticket to and from France, an application form, and proof of vaccination, a CDC card, for example.
As a side note, not all masks were acceptable on the airplane (Air France) or at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Anything other than the blue and white surgical masks and the KN95s were not acceptable. Any cloth designed masks were not allowed.