New low-cost TGV routes, Irish flights: Eight France travel updates


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

New low-price Ouigo train destinations added to network

New destinations will be added to France’s low-price Ouigo rail network from December onwards.

Tickets for the new routes will be available to buy from October 5 with prices ranging between €16 and €19.

The new destinations are:

  • Paris – Brest: trains will stop at Saint-Brieuc, Guingamp and Morlaix. This route will be a new branch of the existing Paris-Quimper line, which stops at Rennes, Vannes and Lorient.
  • Paris – La Rochelle: this route will only be available on weekends. It will be a new branch on the Paris – Bordeaux route, stopping at St-Pierre-des-Corps, Poitiers, Niort and Surgères.
  • Paris – Perpignan: this will be an extension of the Paris-Montpellier route including stops at Sète, Agde, Béziers and Narbonne. It will be available from March 2023.

New Shannon – Paris-Orly air route launched

A new route between the Irish town of Shannon and Paris-Orly has been launched by Spanish low-cost airline Vueling.

Flights will run twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.

The first flight took off on September 12, and passengers were offered freshly made crêpes and a Paris-themed cake at the gate.

At the launch, Irish Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton said: “The new Paris-Orly connection not only provides significant opportunities for the people within the region, but also for inbound traffic from Paris, further boosting tourism connections between the Mid West of Ireland and Paris”.

Air traffic control strike: 1,000 flights cancelled

More than 1,000 flights have been cancelled in France today (September 16) as the result of an air traffic controllers’ strike which will last until 06:00 tomorrow.

Aviation authority the Direction générale de l’aviation civile (DGAC) asked airlines to cut their schedules in half to help manage the effects of the strike, but still warned of “severe” disruption and encouraged passengers to postpone their trips if possible.

Read more: Strike action to ground one in every two flights in France on Friday

The Syndicat national des contrôleurs du trafic aérien (SNCTA) air traffic control union has also called three additional strike days on Wednesday, September 28, Thursday, September 29 and Friday, September 30.

Read more: French air traffic controllers announce three more strike days

However, these may be called off if an agreement is reached.

You can read more about the unfolding situation in our article here:

Read more: French air traffic control strike: 1000 flights, all airports affected

€1 for regional train tickets in Occitanie

People in Occitanie can travel around the region at €1 per TER train ticket on weekends in the month of September, thanks to a partnership between the local council and SNCF.

Tickets can be bought at this price for any destination within the region, as long as they are for a TER and the journey is on September 17, 18, 24 or 25.

Tickets can be bought online, at ticket machines or through the Trainline app.

There are also five TER lines in Occitanie on which tickets are €1 throughout the year. These are:

  • Nimes – Le Grau du Roi
  • Carcassonne – Quillan
  • Perpignan – Villefranche-Vernet-les-Bains
  • Marvejols – La-Bastide-St-Laurent-les-Bains
  • Béziers – Bédarieux – St-Chely-d’Apcher

This weekend, people in Occitanie might use the €1 offer to make the most of the Journées du Patrimoine cultural events, which will last until Sunday (September 18).

Read more: Heritage days: How to find out what is on in your area of France

Paris metro Line 4 goes automatic

Some trains on the Ligne 4 of the Paris métro network are now running without a driver as a result of modernisation works which began in 2016.

The line, which runs down the middle of the city, joins the Lignes 1 and 14, which are already operated automatically.

RATP chief executive Catherine Guillouard has said that the automation of the Ligne 4, which is the second busiest on the network, will increase its capacity by 20% by enabling trains to stop at stations every 85 seconds.

“We have [this week] debuted the launch of four autonomous trains, before climbing progressively to the automation of all 52 trains by the end of 2023,” she said.

The automation process is costing €640million, and €240million is being spent on the trains themselves.

Forget company cars: SNCF considers ‘company train’ scheme

French train operator SNCF may soon begin to offer a ‘company train’ service as an alternative to a company car, the director of TGV-Intercités has said.

Alain Krakovitch has said that this scheme, which would be available from 2024, would “respond to the need for sustainable development, while offering advantages comparable to that of a company car.”

It would probably involve a ‘transport credit’ scheme enabling employees to take trains and hire cars to get them from door to door.

“There are a huge number of individual company cars in France today: 2.8 million,” Mr Krakovitch said. “I find it interesting to think about an alternative that we can propose to companies wishing to be able to offer other solutions which align more closely with growing aspirations for a more eco-friendly type of travel.

“I think young employees will be receptive [to the idea],” he added.

Volotea pilot in Brest-Landivisiau airport mix-up

The pilot of a Volotea flight from Ajaccio to Brest nearly landed at the Landivisiau naval air station instead last weekend when he confused the two airports.

The plane began to descend into Landivisiau, which is 25km away from Brest, but the pilot realised his mistake at the last minute and began ascending once again from 1,300 feet to avoid what would have been a dangerous landing.

The error was probably caused by the fact that the airport and the air station have “the same alignment”, although maps do warn of the risk of confusion.

In all, the mistake caused an 18-minute delay to passengers.

Read also: France’s ‘most British airport’ to be renamed after Queen Elizabeth II

Climate activists stage dawn protest outside Bordeaux cruise ship

People sleeping on board a cruise ship docked in Bordeaux were woken by a group of Extinction Rebellion activists protesting against the pollution caused by this type of tourism.

The protesters were drumming and fanfaring outside the Seven Sea Voyager ship for 45 minutes, shouting “Wake up! The climate is changing” and “Stop sinking the climate” and holding up banners.

“The average tourist ship emits as many fine particulates as one million cars each day, and the impact of this pollution can spread over hundreds of kilometres,” Extinction Rebellion claimed.

The protesters said that some passersby joined them, with one saying: “This is a disgrace! We have all observed the ecological emergency in Bordeaux and we find ourselves in front of giant ships; it’s senseless!”

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