restaurant in madrid

Covid-19: French tourists head to Madrid to enjoy bars and restaurants

Photo by Kadir Celep on Unsplash

With a 10:00pm curfew and bars and restaurants open, the French have not hesitated to sightsee in Spain.

The situation in France because of Covid-19 has imposed the closure of bars and restaurants to the public. Tired of the situation in France, tourists have decided to choose Spain as a destination where it is possible to stay out until 10:00pm and enjoy a beer or tapas in bars and restaurants in Madrid.

Everything is open. Even with a curfew, you can do a lot of things, so we took advantage (…) I felt a relief when I sat on my first terrace.” Said Clara Soudet, a 22-year-old student.

Like Clara, many French people have remained disconnected from cultural life – with museums, theaters and concert halls closed – and from enjoying the famous terraces of bars and restaurants.

Of course, the use of face masks is mandatory and the capacity in public spaces has been halved. The regional government of Madrid has one of the most flexible curfews in Spain, something perceived as a challenge to national recommendations to close public places and non-essential stores.


“Without tourism we have no one.”

Adrien Durand, a student at the Sorbonne in Paris says, “Seeing restaurants open is like a shock, as in Paris all the shutters are closed.

Without tourism we have no one.” Said Lucio Burgos-Cespedes, manager of a restaurant in Madrid’s Plaza Santa Ana. An argument also supported by Edu Luna, a tapas bar in the same area. It is worth noting that the French take six tables out of ten.

One in four tourists are French, according to the Spanish National Institute of Statistics. Of some 650,000 tourists visiting Spain in December, more than 164,000 were French. Many young French people, especially students, are the main tourists.

However, this influx of young tourists has also posed a problem, as they are in search of fun. The police have broken up two parties organized by French people which brought together a dozen or so revelers, without masks, in rented apartments.

Investigations are continuing to find a link between tourism and these parties.


Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.


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