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TRAVEL NEWS

France says children must wear masks on transport from age six

Children on French public transport will soon have to wear a face mask from the age of six upwards, the government decreed Saturday, as part of its latest measures against coronavirus.

Passengers wait near a sign reading
Passengers wait near a sign reading "A ticket, a mask, a health pass" at the Gare de Lyon station in Paris. As of Monday, rail passengers will not be allowed to remove their masks to eat or drink. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Masks had previously been compulsory from the age of 11, but Paris is tightening regulations given the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Children aged six and older will have to don a mask on all means of public transport within national borders from Monday, while carriers will not serve any food or drink for three weeks from the same date.

Prime Minister Jean Castex had flagged up the drinks and food ban on transport last Monday.

A spokesperson for the SNCF national railway operator indicated the latest restrictions mean passengers will not be permitted to remove their face masks even to eat or drink, save for cross-border services including Thalys and Eurostar.

Restaurant services will be suspended on high-speed TGV and inter-city services as from Monday until January 23, SNCF said in response to the decree.

Daily Covid-19 cases in France have been hitting one record high after another in recent days, with the authorities announcing 232,200 new infections on Friday, the most since the start of the pandemic.

But the government has so far tried to avoid measures like closing down restaurants and bars, instead encouraging all to become fully vaccinated with booster shots.

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Member comments

  1. Fair enough, but if masks are required to be worn on public transport by children aged 6+, why are they not required to wear them in shops? We will not be then faced by the current situation of parents in shops, diligently wearing their masks, whilst their entourage of maskless children run about, coughing and spluttering around the shop, potentially spreading the virus. If the child is unable or unwilling to wear a mask in the shop, leave it at home.

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TRAVEL NEWS

‘Book now’ – rental cars set to be scare and expensive in France this summer

Thinking about a French road trip this summer? You'll want to plan in advance, as hire cars are getting harder and harder to find and prices are skyrocketing.

'Book now' - rental cars set to be scare and expensive in France this summer

With life returning to near-normal, pre-Covid conditions, tourism is booming. France is set to be a popular holiday destination this summer – but renting a vehicle could cost you a lot of money. 

Why the price hike?

The quick answer is that demand is high.

At the Bordeaux-Mérignac airport, Michel Reillat, the CEO of rental company Loca’Malin told FranceInfo that “In July and August, there is no possibility of renting cars, since they are all booked.”

He explained that “reservations began very early, from February, with 30 to 40 percent of the cars already rented for the summer.” Reillat said he ordered about fifty additional cars, but even if this will be insufficient to meet the high demand.

However, rising demand is not the only answer.

During the pandemic, several rental companies sold large portions of their stock (up to 40 percent in some cases) to compensate for the loss brought on by Covid-19. This means that many rental companies are currently operating with shortages.

Are prices high everywhere?

Prices have seen the highest increases in places like the Basque coast, the South-West, and Corsica. Biarritz, for instance, where a weekly car rental is now on average €505 per week, has seen its average rates increase by 96 percent, according to car rental comparison website Carigami. 

The website published a list ranking cities based on affordability for car rentals, and it also allows you to compare which parts of the country are the cheapest for renting cars.

Where can I get affordable prices?

Based on the Carigami list, heading North is your best bet to avoid breaking the bank. A week’s rental in Lille will cost you €292 on average, according to the site. Though this still represents an increase from last year, it’s only 12.7 percent (small in comparison to Biarritz).

Two other cities that might allow you to book a vehicle for less than €300 a week are Clermont-Ferrand and Mulhouse.

If you want to go further south, Valence is a good compromise, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille are better options than Nice (which is averaging at €496 per week). 

Finally, the other cities listed for having “reasonable” pricing are Rennes, Brest, Lyon and Nantes. Even so these cities, Brest in particular, have still seen significant increases from years past.

The other key thing is not to leave it to the last minute, as prices will only rise.

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