We look at the stories affecting travel to, from and around France this week.
One key piece of news is that the EU has put back the start of its Etias travel authorisation system from May 2023 until November 2023.
You can read more about this in our article below:
On August 1, France’s Covid state of emergency also came to an end, meaning that people entering the country from abroad no longer have to comply with any formalities with regards to proving vaccination status, taking pre-departure tests or showing recovery certificates.
Drivers warned of heavy traffic once again this weekend
Traffic is again expected to be heavy in France this weekend as people set off for and return from summer holiday breaks.
Today (August 5), national traffic forecasting service Bison Futé states that conditions are “difficult” in terms of departures from big cities, although they are largely normal for return journeys with only in south-east France likely to encounter delays.
Saturday is expected to be the worst day of the weekend for traffic, being “very difficult” across the whole country for both departures and return journeys and “extremely difficult” in the south east.
Traffic conditions should be calm on Sunday, returning to normal across the whole country apart from the south east, where they will still be “difficult”.
You can find out more about traffic predictions on the Bison Futé website.
France one of worst countries in Europe for flight delays
France is one of the worst European countries for plane delays, a new study by air traffic safety agency Eurocontrol suggests.
The resurgence of air traffic following the end of Covid restrictions has predictably resulted in an increase in the number of delays, as runway congestion grows.
Augustin de Romanet, the CEO of the Aéroports de Paris group, has also told Radio Classique: “The European sky is clogged; the European sky is a victim of the war in Ukraine, which means that many flights must be diverted to avoid flying over Ukraine, and so there have never been so many delays in Europe.”
Eurocontrol’s ranking of countries by flight punctuality placed France nineteenth out of 25. Some 75.9% of French flights arrive on time, but it is delays at departure which pull the country’s rating downwards, with only two thirds (65.7%) leaving on time.
In terms of departures, France only performs better than Germany, where 65.6% of flights take off on time.
The best performing countries were Norway, with around 80% of departing and arriving flights being on time, Sweden, Estonia, Spain and Finland.
Eurocontrol based its results on the number of flights departing or arriving at least 15 minutes after the scheduled time.
Strike impacting train travel in southern France this weekend
TER Occitanie rail workers in southern France have begun strike action today (August 5), affecting routes including: Toulouse-Narbonne, Carcassonne-Limoux, Perpignan-Villefranche and Nîmes-Alès-Clermont.
The strike action will continue tomorrow (August 6). It was called by CGT Cheminots, in protest against staff shortages and an increasing precarity among existing staff.
If you are planning to travel on one of the above routes today or tomorrow, you can call 0800 31 31 31 for free to ask whether your train is running.
Air France to bring back Paris-Newark flights after 11 years
Air France has announced that its Charles de Gaulle-Newark (New Jersey) flights will be returning after they were suspended in March 2012.
The route was later taken up by Delta Air Lines in June 2013, running until October 2018.
The Air France flights will begin on December 12.
This means that between them Air France and Delta will have 10 daily flights between Paris and the greater New York area over the winter.
Delta has also resumed flights from Paris to Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina and Cincinnati in Ohio, after a Covid-related suspension lasting over two years.
The airline is offering four weekly flights to Raleigh-Durham and three weekly flights to Cincinnati.
P A R I S We're excited to welcome back @Delta's nonstop service between RDU and @ParisAeroport (CDG)! The flight operates four times per week on a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Check out the sights from our launch celebration Tickets are on sale now. pic.twitter.com/Ou6jbcRuXt— RDU Airport (@RDUAirport) August 3, 2022
DFDS Ferries to begin Rosslare-Dunkirk route
DFDS Ferries has announced a new passenger service from Rosslare in south-east Ireland to Dunkirk (Nord) which launches today (August 5).
The route is being introduced on a trial basis at first, with passenger traffic being added to the freight services already running between the two ports.
Chris Parker, route director at DFDS, said: “We launched a freight service between Rosslare and Dunkirk in January 2021, and it has proved extremely popular with customers looking to move goods between Ireland and continental Europe without the need to use the land-bridge via the UK.
“Adding passenger services to the route will further strengthen the service and we expect strong demand from holidaymakers in Ireland and in Northern Europe.
“Rosslare is at the heart of the ‘sunny southeast’ and a short drive from Dublin and Cork, making it a very popular destination. Irish customers will benefit from a direct link into the heart of Europe.”
Crossings take 23 hours and 45 minutes, with up to five sailings per week.
The French motorway with five speed cameras over nine kilometres
The A507 motorway, which crosses from the north to the south of Marseille to link up the A7 and the A50, has just been equipped with three new speed cameras, bringing the total number to five over a nine-kilometre stretch.
The first of the new cameras is situated at the end of the Merlan tunnel heading for the A7, the second is just before the Montolivert tunnel heading for the A50 and the third is between the La Fourragère and Saint-Barnabé tunnels.
This last camera has been placed in the central reservation, which enables it to catch speeding vehicles travelling in both directions.
Only one or two of the speed cameras are activated each day with the others simply there to deter drivers from speeding.
Uber launches new Eurostar ticket booking service
Eurostar passengers can now use the Uber app to book tickets between London and Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
This new service forms part of Uber’s plans to become a ‘super app’ enabling customers to view all of their travel plans in one place.
Uber’s regional general manager for the UK, Northern and Eastern Europe, James Heywood, said: “You have been able to book rides, bikes, boat services and scooters on the Uber app for a number of years, so adding trains and coaches is a natural progression.”
Eventually, hotel bookings could also become available on the app.
Passengers can once again buy single tickets on Ile-de-France buses
Ile-de-France’s transport operator RATP has resumed the sale of single tickets on board buses, which was suspended at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
This means that tourists and occasional travellers can once again pay for their journey without needing a travel pass.
RATP has said that the suspension of physical ticket sales resulted in a loss of €5million for Ile-de-France Mobilités.
Some drivers have criticised the move back to single tickets, stating that this takes up valuable time.
As well as physical tickets, passengers can also opt for digital tickets, which can be bought by sending a text message reading ‘Bus’ and the line number to 93100. You will then be sent a text which acts as your ticket, and a charge of €2 will be added to your phone contract.