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Traffic, train discounts, airport noise: Eight France travel updates

SNCF offers cheaper tickets in one French region, an airport takes steps to cut energy consumption, a Lyon métro extension becomes a tram line project and more

We look at the stories affecting travel to, from and around France this week Pic: Dan Costa / pio3 / Leitenberger Photography / prochasson frederic / Shutterstock

We look at the stories affecting travel to, from and around France this week. 

Heavy traffic in north west France this weekend 

Traffic conditions may be difficult this weekend for people leaving city centres for Toussaint breaks in the north west of France, including Brittany, Normandy and Hauts-de-France. 

Today (October 28), state forecasting service Bison Futé was advising people to get out of Ile-de-France before 12:00, as conditions are “very difficult”. 

Tomorrow, drivers should try to get out of Ile-de-France before 08:00, and avoid the: 

  • A13 between Rouen and Caen from 11:00 until 16:00 
  • A11 between Paris and Nantes from 10:00 until 12:00 
  • A10 between Paris and Poitiers from 10:00 until 16:00 

This is all in terms of departures from urban centres; return journeys should not be affected. 

Traffic conditions are expected to be normal on Sunday and Monday (October 30-31).

You can find out more on the Bison Futé website. 

SNCF to launch digital train-plane tickets 

SNCF customers will soon be able to buy a combined TGV train and plane ticket for journeys going via Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Orly. 

This new functionality will launch on November 16 and will be available for journeys with 12 different airlines, including Air France, Air Austral, Etihad, French Bee, Qatar Airways and Corsair. 

 “We have many other companies which are interested,” an SNCF spokesperson told AFP. 

 ‘Train + Air’ tariffs have been around for the last 28 years, but until now, travellers had to collect their SNCF tickets in the station separately from their flight boarding pass. 

 From November 16, digital tickets will be downloadable from 72 hours before the train departs, and can still be printed in stations if necessary.

 The tickets will be available for journeys involving the following stations: Aix-en-Provence TGV, Angers Saint-Laud, Avignon TGV, Bordeaux St Jean, Champagne-Ardenne TGV, Le Mans, Lille-Europe, Lorraine TGV - Metz/Nancy, Lyon Part-Dieu, Marseille Saint-Charles, Montpellier Saint-Roch, Nantes, Nîmes, Poitiers, Rennes, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps - Tours, Strasbourg, Valence TGV, Orly/Massy-TGV and Brussels. 

Rail cooperative revives Bordeaux-Lyon TER

Private rail cooperative society Railcoop has announced that it is working to “revive” a TER line between Bordeaux and Lyon, travelling via the Massif Central, Limoge and Montluçon. 

Railcoop has said that this service will respond to “ecological imperatives” but also “economic motives”, helping to reconnect Creuse, Dordogne and Allier. 

This route will be the first “cooperative” line in France, and is expected to use eco-friendly materials including recycled train parts which still have up to 20 years of life in them. 

Lyon métro project replaced by tram plan 

A plan for the development of a métro line E in Lyon has been dropped, with an ‘express’ tram project taking its place. 

This tram will link the centre of Lyon with the west of the city region. 

This comes after years of research into the potential for a métro line E, costing €8million. 

However, research group EGIS Rail wrote in a 2017 report that: “The west of Lyon is an area where infrastructure and roads are congested at rush hour. 

“In addition, it suffers from an unattractive public transport offering which only consists of buses and is therefore limited by road traffic.”

Therefore, a ‘Tramway Express de l’Ouest Lyonnais’ will be developed over 6.5km, including 3-4km underground. The tram will be able to reach speeds of 70km/h, will cost €750million and will be able to transport 45,000-60,000 people each day.

The line E project would have cost €2billion, but was expected to accommodate 102,000 passengers each day. 

It is expected that there will be a consultation period on the new project between 2023 and 2024, followed by construction work beginning in 2026 and a service launch in 2031. 

Air fares increase by 20.4% in France in September 

The price of airline tickets was up 20.4% over a year in France in September, and is increasing at “a sustained pace” according to aviation authority the DGAC. 

Domestic flight prices increased by 14.7%, while international ticket costs were up by 18.9%. This rise was largely fueled by the price of medium-haul flights, which increased by 23.6%.

Long-haul flights did not see such a pronounced price rise, at 13%.

In comparison to September 2019, the price of flights taking off from France has risen by 21%.

Normandy train tickets discounted 

SNCF is selling tickets for the Nomad Train network in Normandy at reduced prices for the period running from November 16 until December 14. 

Passengers will there be able to travel between different towns in the region for €5-€9. 

This offer began yesterday (October 27) and will end on Monday (October 31), with 150,000 tickets made available. 

People planning a trip to Normandy, perhaps for a Toussaint break, can also buy a Pass Normandie Découverte, which starts at €20 and enables two adults or more to travel around for two consecutive days.

This pass also allows up to three children aged between four and 11 to travel for free, and up to three children aged 12 and over for €5 each.

Nice Airport commits to cutting electricity usage by 10% immediately

Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, which manages Nice Airport, has committed to reducing its electricity consumption by 10% from now on, meaning a reduction of 3.8GWh per year. 

Energy-saving measures will centre on lighting, heating, air conditioning and the small steps passengers can take on an individual level.

LED lighting will be rolled out wherever possible, including on the runway. Illuminated advertising boards will also be switched off at night, as well as the neon airport sign on the outside of the Terminal 2 building and other street lighting. 

Lighting inside the terminal building will also be reduced at night, and adapted in the day depending on the weather outside. 

In car parks, walkways and administrative buildings, lights will only come on when there is a person present. 

The heating will be kept to 19C in the winter, and air conditioning will be limited to 26C in the summer. 

“For staff and passengers, this represents an effort because the temperature could be colder in winter and higher than usual in summer when it is hot, but we trust in people’s sense of individual responsibility,” Franck Goldnadel of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur said. 

The company has already reduced its electricity consumption by 10% in recent years, “even though our needs have increased by 45%,” Mr Goldnadel added. 

Protest against airport noise in Rennes

Around 150 residents of Vern-sur-Seiche (Ille-et-Vilaine) took part in a demonstration last weekend in front of Rennes-Saint-Jacques Airport to protest against noise pollution caused by planes taking off and landing. 

The residents were responding to a call to protest issued by a group called the Collectif Vernois contre les nuisances sonores, and were joined by local officials, who also complained of several months of disturbances. 

Since March, a new route to Rennes Airport has been trialled in an attempt to reduce the noise over neighbouring commune Noyal-sur-Vilaine. 

This experiment was only supposed to affect around 1,000 in Vern-sur-Seiche, but the protesters claim that all 8,000 residents are suffering. 

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