Traffic, train discounts, airport noise: eight updates on travel in France

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

Intense traffic in the north-west of France this weekend

Traffic conditions are likely to be difficult this weekend for people leaving city centers for Toussaint breaks in northwestern France, including Brittany, Normandy and Hauts-de-France.

Today (October 28) the state forecasting service Bison Futé advised people to leave Ile-de-France before 12:00 p.m. because the conditions are “very difficult”.

Tomorrow, drivers must try to leave Ile-de-France before 08:00, and avoid:

  • A13 between Rouen and Caen from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • A11 between Paris and Nantes from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • A10 between Paris and Poitiers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

That’s 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 will launch dematerialized train-plane tickets

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

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

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

“Train + Air” fares have existed for 28 years, but until now travelers had to collect their SNCF tickets at the station separately from their boarding pass.

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

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.

The railway cooperative relaunches the TER Bordeaux-Lyon

The private railway cooperative company Railcoop has announced that it is working on the “relaunch” of a TER line between Bordeaux and Lyon, passing through the Massif Central, Limoge and Montluçon.

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

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

The Lyon metro project replaced by the tram plan

A project to develop an E metro line in Lyon has been abandoned, replaced by an “express” tram project.

This tramway will link the center of Lyon to the west of the conurbation.

It comes after years of research into the potential of an €8million E metro line.

However, the research group EGIS Rail wrote in a 2017 report that: “West of Lyon is an area where infrastructure and roads are congested at peak times.

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

Thus, a “Tramway Express de l’Ouest Lyonnais” will be built over 6.5 km, including 3 to 4 km underground. The tramway will be able to reach a speed of 70 km/h, will cost 750 million euros and will be able to transport 45,000 to 60,000 people every day.

The Line E project would have cost 2 billion euros, but was expected to accommodate 102,000 passengers every day.

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

Airfares increase by 20.4% in France in September

The price of plane tickets rose 20.4% year on year in France in September, and is increasing at “a steady pace” according to the DGAC.

Prices for domestic flights increased by 14.7%, while the cost of international tickets increased by 18.9%. This increase was largely fueled by the price of medium-haul flights, which increased by 23.6%.

Long-haul flights did not see such a steep price increase, at 13%.

Compared to September 2019, the price of flights departing from France has increased by 21%.

Reduced Normandy train tickets

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

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

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

People planning a trip to Normandy, perhaps for an All Saints getaway, can also purchase a Pass Normandie Découverte, which starts at €20 and allows two or more adults to travel for two consecutive days.

This pass also allows up to three children aged 4 to 11 to travel for free, and up to three children aged 12 and over for €5 each.

Nice Airport undertakes to reduce its electricity consumption by 10% immediately

Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, which manages Nice airport, has undertaken to reduce its electricity consumption by 10% from now on, i.e. a reduction of 3.8 GWh per year.

Energy-saving measures will focus on lighting, heating, air conditioning and small steps that passengers can take individually.

LED lighting will be deployed wherever possible, including on the track. Illuminated billboards will also be turned off at night, as well as the neon airport sign outside the Terminal 2 building and other street lights.

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

In car parks, footbridges and administrative buildings, the lights only come on when a person is present.

Heating will be maintained at 19C in winter and air conditioning will be limited to 26C in summer.

“For staff and passengers, this is a strain as the temperature may be colder in winter and higher than usual in summer when it is hot, but we trust 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%”, added Mr. Goldnadel.

Demonstration against airport noise in Rennes

About 150 inhabitants of Vern-sur-Seiche (Ille-et-Vilaine) took part last weekend in a demonstration in front of Rennes-Saint-Jacques airport to protest against the noise pollution caused by take-offs and landings of planes.

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

Since March, a new line to Rennes airport has been tested in an attempt to reduce noise pollution in the neighboring town of Noyal-sur-Vilaine.

This experiment was only meant to affect around 1,000 people in Vern-sur-Seiche, but protesters say all 8,000 residents are suffering.

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