It’s time for Paris: Say cheese and wine!
Chalkmarks: Paris, France

Good afternoon. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 24th February 2022. We are live from Paris mon amis….here is a pic (above)! More coming…

It’s baaack…!! By popular demand France is in the top five European countries where we intend to travel to in the next six months. To beat the crowds we’ve come early.
Here in Paris there are already queues outside the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées is busy and the two-star hotels cost as much as a five star ones.
But where else in the world can you be surrounded by boulangeries – on every corner. There’s an estimated 30,000, that’s a lot of croissants and baguettes!
We’re here, on a mission to find out how to see the City of Lights like a Parisien.
Watch this space…
If you still don’t want to miss a touristy thing: Book a hotel, ask to stay on the top floor, push open the window and there it’ll be…Paree. In Seine!
But what’s Britain got going on this week, we’ve been on top of the travel headlines. 

I need the whole crepe — Emily in Paris

Relief: Travel testing across the whole EU is set to be scrapped for fully vaccinated UK travellers before Easter – which is two months away. Some European countries such as France have already ended PCR and lateral flow testing while Italy and the Netherlands still require a pre-departure negative result to enter.

Levelling up: This week the EU Council recommended a bloc-wide approach to easing travel restrictions across the 27 nations starting from 1st March. It said this was a response “to the evolution of the pandemic, the increasing vaccination uptake and administration of booster doses, and the recognition of a growing number of certificates issued by third countries as equivalent to the EU digital Covid certificate”.

Reaction: The move was welcomed across the travel industry but there were calls from the European Travel Commission and the International Air Transport Association to do more to restore ease of travel.

More on that: Things are still not so simple. Being fully vaccinated means different things across Europe. In Spain it means two jabs, while in France it means three. Plus you need to download your NHS Covid travel pass to show as proof when you travel and that is a faff requiring you to record yourself to confirm your identity.

On the ground: Even once all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, you’re not necessarily free. In France, you are required to wear masks indoors, including inside shops and hotels, and you’ll need to show your vaccine passport when you go into restaurants – even for a takeaway.

Now end locator forms: The Daily Mail reported that Transport Grant Shapps was pushing to axe passenger locator forms by the end of April. This is the lengthy online form that all travellers need to complete before entering the UK. It helps authorities keep track of where you have travelled, where you sat on the plane (boat, train) and where you are going home to.

Mr Shapps told Twitter: “We’re now preparing to stand down our quarantine hotels, have simplified the passenger locator form & will go further, and have a toolkit of proportionate measures we can deploy to tackle new threats.”

Meanwhile: Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye described 2021 as “the worst year in Heathrow’s history”. He said the airport had seen the greatest reduction in passenger numbers in Europe due to tight travel restrictions, including the expensive quarantine hotels for those travelling from red list countries last summer, and testing requirements. All these put holidaymakers off travelling. Heathrow saw 19.4 million travellers last year, the lowest since 1972.

In other news: Cambridge University told us that 14-day quarantines on travellers coming into the UK in 2020 did help prevent the spread of Covid. It found that when the government introduced mandatory quarantine “the number of imported cases dropped”. Dr Dinesh Aggarwal, one of study’s authors, said: “Our study shows that while travel restrictions are effective in reducing the number of imported Covid-19 cases, they do not eliminate them entirely. It’s likely that one of the main reasons that quarantine measures helped is that they put people off travelling during this period.”

Now here’s a list: Walkers Doritos and easyJet have come together to find out what Britons get up to abroad. They asked 2,000 people what they uncharacteristically do once they’re on holiday. There were 30 answers, according to the Daily Mirror, including dining out every day, drinking alcohol before midday and making “holiday friends” with strangers. Here, we wrote how the “cheap and cheerful Brits aboard” image has evolved – with tourism bosses claiming UK travellers tend to be “high-spending, five-star staying, experiential visitors”.

Let’s talk France: Another must see is the bustling city of Nantes for its art, gardens and the famous Les Machines de l’île, which reopened this month. And for an adventure, head west into the Loire-Atlantique filled with port towns from Le Croisic in Brittany down to Saint Gilles in the Vendee. For food, there’s everything you’d expect from French cuisine – with cheese, plenty of good wine (top tip: don’t miss the Crémant!!)

Spread out the map: Just off the coast of Cannes in the warm seas of the Côte d’Azur is the Mediterranean’s first underwater museum. Just a short ferry ride, near the island of Sainte-Marguerite, best known for the prison which once held the Man in the Iron Mask, are six 10-tonne sculptures. If you can afford it, stay on the Boulevard de la Croisette where the champagne flows like water.

Elsewhere: Dubai opened its Museum of the Future on 22/02/2022. The city’s new landmark structure has been named one of the most world’s most beautiful museums and has already won awards for its innovative design. The exhibition space is 77m high (250ft) and has seven-floors supported by a steel structure, with no supporting pillars. The future looks good! Reuters showed us around.

UK’s favourite dino: After touring the UK for four years, Dippy the dinosaur is returning home to The Natural History Museum in London. The 26m or 85ft cast of the Diplodocus skeleton had previously stood in the museum hall for more than a century – since 1905. The real-life Dippy lived up to 156 million years ago in western USA. It takes weeks to dismantle and another 49 hours to rebuild it so don’t expect to see Dippy before May. The Evening Standard has the story.

Right on track: At home, the TransPennine Express scooped up three awards at at the Rail Business awards on Wednesday. It won Train Operator of the Year, Rail Business of the Year and Marketing and Communications Excellence. Matthew Golton, managing director thanked his staff “given the challenging backdrop of the pandemic over the past couple of years.”

Bit saucy: On Thursday Colman’s Mustard finally got the recognition it deserves. Famously made in Norwich, the Colman family conservatory in Carrow was given listed at Grade II*. Other historic sites connected to the mustard’s industrial heritage were also given special protection by the government. The Guardian gave us the full family history.

Keep calm: The price of fish and chips has become wrapped up in the cost of living crisis. As supermarket prices rise, the cost of the great British classic is set to soar to £10. The MailOnline brought us the news from The National Federation of Fish Friers that cod had doubled in price as had mushy peas. MailPlus showed us the numbers. Readers shared comments that prices were already above £10. Peas no! Here’s the French version.

Chalkmarks: Fish and chip baguette, Paris, France
Fish and chip baguette, Latin Quarter, Paris, France

Bon Appétit!

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