Nine updates on travel to France for November 26


We’re taking a look at travel news regarding travel to, from and around France this week.

1. Air France offers additional flights for the Christmas holidays

Air France offers a series of additional flights connecting different regions of France and Italy for people traveling during the Christmas period.

From Paris-Charles de Gaulle, there will be additional services to Ajaccio and Bastia in Corsica on December 18, 23 and 26 and January 2.

From Rennes, special flights will be available on the same days to Marseille and Nice.

Finally, from Lyon, there will be additional flights to Rome over these four days.

2. Brittany Ferries to bring the UK-France route back faster

Brittany Ferries has announced that it will resume its faster Channel crossings from summer 2022.

The two-and-a-half-hour service has been suspended in 2020 due to Covid, but will return from May 27 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The service – which connects Portsmouth and Poole to Cherbourg – will operate until September 4, with a break between June 5 and July 15.

It leaves Portsmouth at 07:00 am and arrives in Cherbourg at 11:00 am, returning to Poole at 11:45 am.

This faster service complements Brittany Ferries’ standard car ferry crossings between Poole and Cherbourg, which will resume on March 28 after a Covid-related disruption.

3. France suspends its flights from southern Africa

France has suspended all flights from southern Africa after the discovery of a worrying new variant of Covid.

This will affect flights from Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.

The B.1.1.529 variant was first detected in South Africa and is feared to be very highly transmissible.

The suspension took effect “immediately” today (November 26) and will last at least “at least 48 hours” according to the health ministry.

4. SNCF will not increase the prices of its long-distance lines in 2022

SNCF has announced that it will not increase the price of tickets on long-distance lines next year.

“In 2020 and 2021, we have not increased prices, I would even say that we have reduced them,” SNCF Voyageurs CEO Christophe Fanichet told Franceinfo.

TER ticket prices are determined by the regions they serve and may therefore increase next year.

Mr Fanichet added that he was happy that 2.3 million people in France had already booked train tickets for the Christmas holidays. “This is 15% more than in 2019,” he said.

He also spoke of “the enormous success” of the SNCF Advantage card, specifying that: “We sell 8,000 of them every day, that is to say twice as much as at the same time last year”.

At a cost of € 49, this card gives passengers access to discounted tickets, as long as there are still seats available on the train.

5. France is strengthening Covid border controls with certain countries

Unvaccinated adults – and unaccompanied children over 12 – traveling to France from Switzerland, Luxembourg or Poland must now show a negative PCR or antigen test result from the past 24 hours.

Previously, the test could be taken up to 72 hours before.

These countries remain on France’s green list for travel, but are now being watched more closely due to the increase in Covid cases they are experiencing.

The 24-hour deadline already applies to unvaccinated travelers from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

Vaccinated travelers can continue to present their vaccination certificates as before.

6. The snow train will transport passengers from Tende to Limone free of charge.

Passengers wishing to travel from Tende (Alpes-Maritimes) to the Italian ski resort Limone will be able to do so for free from 12 December.

This is due to a promise made by the president of the Italian region of Piedmont, Alberto Cirio, who said that the free Trenitalia trains would run until spring 2022.

There will be 12 trains with a capacity of 290 passengers each day, starting at 7:00 a.m., for a journey of half an hour.

The schedule will be as follows:

Limone 07:00 – Tende 07:30

Tende 08:00 – Limone 08:30

Limone 08:50 – Tende 09:20

Tende 09:40 – Limone 10:10

Limone 10:38 – Tende 11:08

Tende 11:20 am – Limone 11:50 am

Limone 2:20 p.m. – Tende 2:50 p.m.

Tende 15:10 – Limone 15:46

Limone 16:00 – Tende 16:30

Tende 16:50 – Limone 17:20

Limone 17:40 – Tende 18:10

Tende 6.30 p.m. – Limone 7.00 p.m.

In Limone, free shuttles will transport skiers to the slopes.

7. Andorra extends its Covid pass for visitors

Visitors to Andorra from France must now present their European health card in certain places.

This is accessible in the TousAntiCovid application but can also be presented in paper form.

Andorra has not been spared by the increase in cases observed across Europe in recent weeks, and the principality has therefore decided to extend its “Covid Passport” regime.

People over 16 from France can still enter the country without showing a Covid status document, but if they want to go to a bar or restaurant, they must have their health card in hand. In restaurants, a maximum of 10 people can sit on the same table.

From November 29, it will also be necessary to present your pass in Andorran hotels, lodges, hairdressing salons, thermal baths, cinemas, museums and gymnasiums.

Finally, you will need a health pass to attend outdoor events of more than 1,000 people or indoor events of more than 100 people.

The mask is also mandatory in all confined spaces for persons eight years of age and over, but not on the street.

The measures will be in place for at least two weeks. People who cross the border every day for work are not affected.

To return to France, travelers must either present:

  • Their health pass
  • A negative PCR or antigen test result within the last 24 hours
  • A certificate of recovery from the last six months.

Read more: UK-administered booster doses will be added to the NHS travel app

8. Morocco suspends flights to and from France

The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to suspend flights to and from France in reaction to “the worsening health situation in certain European countries”.

“This decision will take effect on November 26, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. and will continue until further notice,” the ministry said in a statement.

The decision comes “in order to preserve Morocco’s achievements in terms of managing the Covid pandemic”.

Morocco has already stepped up its border controls in response to increasing cases in Europe, installing electronic thermometers and performing antigen tests at airports.

From now on, any passenger – with the exception of permanent Moroccan residents – who test positive will be immediately returned to their country of origin.

The cancellation of French air links follows the suspension last month of flights to and from countries such as the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia.

Read more: Masks, tests, boosters: new Covid rules to fight against the fifth wave in France

9. The number of passengers in public transport remains below pre-pandemic levels

According to the Union of Public Transport and Railways (UTP), the number of people using public transport in France has still not returned to pre-Covid levels.

More and more people have used trains and buses since the start of the year, but the Ile-de-France transport company RATP reports that the figures are still down 23% from 2019 levels this quarter.

The number of passengers on Transilien trains has reached 71% of “normal” levels, while on TER services in the rest of France, they have fallen to 78-80%.

Thierry Mallet, vice-president of UTP, attributes the continued reduction in the number of passengers to a fear of catching the Covid, and to an increase in remote working practices.

A September study by the French Institute of Public Opinion (Ifop) for UTP found that 64% of French people believe that using public transport increases the risk of contracting Covid, while only 43 % say the same for bars and 38% for family meals.

The study covered 1,500 people living in cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

The UTP estimates that French public transport services have lost a total of 2.28 billion euros since the start of 2020.

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