Fundamentally, said Candice Criscione, who shares tips for planning family vacations in Italy on her blog the Tuscan Mom, “this is Italy’s message to Americans and other tourists: Get vaccinated before coming to visit. It’s too complicated and expensive to have to get an official Covid test every time you want to enter a museum or eat at a restaurant, and your vacation options will be extremely limited.”
Things have been a bit more complicated for tourists in France, which since July 21 has required a health pass to access public venues, including museums, with more than 50 people. In late July, one Times reader reported that he was turned away from a museum: “They will not accept my paper record,” he wrote.
Others have had no issues entering museums with C.D.C. cards. In an email, a spokeswoman for the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie, two major museums in Paris, said American vaccination cards would be accepted at both institutions.
“I get that it’s confusing,” said Meg Zimbeck, the founder of Paris by Mouth, which ran 1,000 food tours a year before the pandemic, and who has been monitoring the issue closely. “But what I’m emphasizing to everyone is that your C.D.C. card is probably fine. I’ve heard about one person in a hundred being turned away. And that’s because of an individual employee as gatekeeper.”
There have also been diverse anecdotes about French pharmacies’ ability to convert C.D.C. cards into scannable French QR codes. That process took Mallory Shaw, a luxury travel adviser and the owner of the Virtuoso-affiliated Trouvaille Yacht & Travel, around 10 minutes when she popped into a pharmacy between the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.
Jodi Kennedy Gaffey, whose company the Epicurean Concierge organizes bespoke tours and experiences throughout France, had no issues using her C.D.C. card to gain entry into museums in Paris But she had zero luck when she tried to convert it into a French health pass at two different pharmacies in Provence in early August.
Unlike in the United States, there are no chain pharmacies in France. All are independently owned, and they have not been uniformly converting C.D.C. cards into French health passes. This has left tourists in trial-and-error mode — to varying success, as revealed by the firsthand anecdotes that Ms. Zimbeck has been collecting and publishing on the Paris By Mouth website.