Do I have to sign a statutory declaration to enter France?

I am traveling to France and upon reading the entry rules, I will also be required to complete a statutory declaration regarding my COVID status. Can you clarify? P. Ross, West Ryde NSW

Australia has been designated an “orange” country by France, that is to say with an active circulation of the coronavirus. Anyone vaccinated in Australia must present proof of their vaccination status, with the most recent dose given within nine months of their visit. They must also submit a sworn statement confirming the absence of symptoms of COVID-19. The declaration on honor can be consulted on the website of the Ministry of the Interior (interieur.gouv.fr). In addition, according to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomatie.gouv.fr), “you may be asked to complete two forms before embarking for France”. One is the EU-PLF form, the other is the Eos electronic form. Links to both of these forms are available on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. None of these documents are difficult to complete. Entry rules may change at short notice, so stay up to date by checking the websites of both departments.

My flight to London arrives at Heathrow at 6.55am, but I cannot check into my accommodation until 3pm. Hotel suggestions available by the hour? L. Anderson, Prahran Vic

I wish such a service existed! Particularly in European cities, where flights from Australia often arrive at dawn. However, hotels charge by the day, full rate, and to get a room before check-in time, you must book the night before. The ideal solution for you is the Aerotel located in Terminal 3 at Heathrow (myaerotel.com), which you can also access from the international arrivals halls of Terminals 2 and 5. Instead of a daily rate, you pay depending on the number of hours spent, which is perfect for your needs. The rooms are sober and simple, but calm and comfortable, it’s all you need for a few hours of rest and refreshment. Some airlines offer their own arrival lounges where travelers can freshen up with a shower, have a meal and even take a nap in some cases. For example, the British Airways arrivals lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5 in London, but access is only available to those traveling Business Class or First Class with BA.

Following a business trip to London, I would like to visit my son in Luxembourg. At the moment Australians cannot travel to Luxembourg, but I thought it might be possible from another European country. I’m also an avid walker and was thinking of the Black Forest in Germany. P. Meyer, Narrabeen NSW

The Australian vaccination certificate is not recognized by the Luxembourg government, and therefore most Australians are not allowed to enter, even from another European country. This could change at the time of your visit, keep checking the official website (covid19.public.lu/en.html). In the Black Forest, the town of Sasbachwalden would be a good choice for a base. Located just south of Baden-Baden, Sasbachwalden is popular with hikers and has several hotels, restaurants and cafes. Some walks are documented on the Komoot website (komoot.com). The specialized British publisher Cicerone (cicerone.co.uk) offers a guide to the region, Hiking and cycling in the Black Forest. One of the most beautiful walks is the Schnapsbrunnenweg, an 11 kilometer loop trail that connects 10 schnapps fountains where hikers can refresh themselves with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, cooled with spring water. Another possibility is the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park, just across the Rhine in France, also popular with hikers. The AllTrails website (alltrails.com) has more information.

Our European cruise ends in Marseille at the end of September and we plan to spend another month in less touristy areas, about a week each. B. Holmes, Carlton Vic

You’ve passed the high tourist season and it’s the perfect time to visit Europe. In France, a personal favorite is the central region of Auvergne which includes the country’s two largest national parks, lakes, gorges and mountain peaks where chamois and wild sheep graze on the slopes and where some of the most famous rivers of France of which the Loire, the Lot, the Tarn and the Dordogne were born. Auvergne sits atop the largest volcanic system in all of Europe and the region’s superheated natural spring water gives rise to a thriving spa industry in Belle Epoque towns such as Vichy and Royat-Chamalières. If you want something warmer, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands could keep you busy for two weeks. For areas truly off the beaten track, a trip through Montenegro, Albania and Greece would offer plenty of adventure, with the tantalizing possibility of spending time in Corfu at the end of the trip.

A travel question? Include your name and suburb or town and send to Michael Gebicki – tripologist@traveller.com.au

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