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Toussaint holiday starts in calm

Despite fears of disruption, Air France strike has little effect and roads, too, are flowing freely

25 October 2012

PARENTS will have their children home for two whole weeks from tomorrow as the Toussaint holiday is extended under the new school timetable.

Roads organisation Bison Futé foresees few problems for drivers with only the Ile-de-France and Centre getting an orange alert on Saturday for heavy traffic.

For air passengers, where Air France workers have called a one-day strike today, there have been very few delays and - in the middle of the morning - so far no cancellations. However the situation may change during the day.

France's main airports at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Nice had no problems and Air France management said that the impact of the strike would be limited as few people were involved, just 1% of staff.

Traffic on the railways was also getting back to normal after a strike from Wednesday until 8.00 this morning.

Holiday dates are the same across the whole of France and pupils return to school on Monday, November 12. A poll by Ifop-Mondial Assistance showed the 65% of people backed the new calendar, rising to 69% for parents.

It has also been welcomed by health groups, with the Académie de Médecine saying that the "hardest period for children was autumn - the period of Toussaint". The longer break will allow children to rest even despite the shorter days and the poorer weather.

Holiday company Voyages Fram said the extension was good for them with new offers, especially in the second week, and marketing director Serge Laurens told TF1 news: "The extension of the holiday allows us to sell two whole weeks of departures, whereas before that was not possible as most of the offers available are for whole weeks."

However, the extension has seen some extra costs for towns - they had not included an extra two days in their budgets for running special leisure centres. This means an extra €20,000 for a town like Tours (Indre-et-Loire) which will see 5,000 children come through its doors.
Picture: © ChristArt - Fotolia.com

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