COVID-19: France’s tourist hotspots miss British visitors as orange note prevents holidays from being on the menu

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COVID-19: France’s tourist hotspots miss British visitors as orange note prevents holidays from being on the menu


It was a windy and windy day in Brittany. There was a bracing wind and a few brave souls in the sea.

It all sounded very British.

But for Britons who desperately want to go abroad, a holiday in France is still prohibited.

Its orange rating means people shouldn’t travel there for pleasure. For those who leave, this will mean a test before leaving, two more on return and 10 days in quarantine.

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The beaches of Saint-Malo are much quieter than usual

Saint-Malo is a coastal town heavily dependent on tourism.

At the top of the old fortress wall is the city’s oldest creperie. In the 18th century, the building housed soldiers, the mission was then to keep the British at bay.

But now they are welcomed with open arms and with local specialties.

The owners say they really miss tourists from across the Channel.

“We are used to speaking English every day,” says restaurateur Magali Garncarzyk. “But for a year now, there have been hardly any British tourists. “

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Alain Cabot says losing UK visitors was a big blow

This had an impact, explains his boss, Alain Cabot: “In terms of visitors, the British were the first to come to Saint-Malo, mainly because of the ferry connections, which cuts off a fairly large number of tourists. “

France is the second most popular destination for British tourists after Spain. Before COVID, more than 10 million people traveled here each year.

This will not be the case this year and the impact is already being felt in many small businesses.

Mont-Saint-Michel, a tidal island topped by an 11th-century abbey, is one of France’s main tourist attractions and would normally welcome 2.5 million tourists a year to its cobbled streets and sandy bay. moving.

This is the first weekend that the French are allowed to travel more than 10 km from home.

It’s a little relief for tourism businesses, but rows and rows of parking spots were empty and just a handful of people rode around in shuttles that usually would have seen long queues.

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Julie Dion says cost of testing to see family back in Wales is too expensive

In town, cafes and shops are still closed, and when they reopen, they will need custom.

Julie Dion works at the tourist office and says that nearly 100% of requests for the moment come from French. But it may not be enough.

“It’s very worrying,” she said.

“We don’t know how many people will be arriving. It was a guaranteed place where we were very busy every day, so will there be enough tourists to keep businesses running as they were? “

It also has a personal impact on her.

She is from Wales, her entire extended family is still there and she has not returned for over two years.

Julie says the cost of multiple tests for herself, her husband and three children makes the trip prohibitive.

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French holidays are not on the table – yet

“It’s very sad, it’s really difficult. It will be a long and difficult time now away from the family, ”she said.

Like all countries, France’s rating will be reviewed every three weeks, but if cases are still high here and vaccinations low, the chances of a vacation in France remain remote.

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