'It's liberating to be in a restaurant': French tourists escape to Madrid

French tourists enjoy a meal on a terrace in Madrid, Spain.
French tourists enjoy a meal on a terrace in Madrid, Spain. © FRANCE 24 screengrab.

As a possible third lockdown hovers in the air in France, several thousand French people have fled to Madrid to enjoy restaurants, museums, cinemas and theatres, finding refuge in one of the last European cities to be spared severe Covid-19 restrictions. FRANCE 24's Jean-Emile Jammine, Laura Cambaud, Maxime Rousseau and Kilian Le Bouquin report from the Spanish capital. 


"It's liberating to be in a restaurant, it's sincerely a pleasure to be on the terrace just to have a drink," says one French visitor sitting outside a Madrid bar. "It was one of the factors in choosing our destination, knowing that the restaurants are open."

Thousands of other French people have made the same choice. Museums, cinemas and theatres remain open in the Spanish capital and the curfew doesn't kick in til 10pm, compared to 6pm in France.

The French are now the first foreign tourists of the year to visit the city's Reina Sofia museum – restrictions bought about by the pandemic have upset the usual balance of nationalities travelling to Madrid. 

However, the health situation in Madrid continues to decline, with a coronavirus infection rate almost four times higher than in Paris.

To watch the report in full, click on the player above.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning