French tourism office Atout France expects the City of Light’s allure will be felt in Canadians’ upcoming travel plans.
Atout France Canadian director Melanie Melanie Paul-Hus says she expects there’s no shortage of people in this country who are either eager to return to France’s capital or visit it for the first time but haven’t been able to during the past 18 months because of the pandemic.
And she also predicts many will want to see other destinations where the Gallic influence is very visible.
“We think Canadians have missed Paris a lot and will want to return,” she says. “Plus, the city was the most hurt by the fall of tourism during the early days of the pandemic. However, we know there will be a lot of VFR trips, which will cause Canadians to go to different French regions where they have relatives or friends.
“If the health situation improves fast enough in overseas France, we expect Canadian visitors in the French West Indies, as well as in French Polynesia.”
Resurgent air service between this country and France is giving Atout France reason for optimism, with some carriers having restarted service linking different cities in this country and France, and others on the verge of doing so.
Carriers that have restarted service or plan to do so include Air Canada, Air Transat, WestJet and Sunwing. Meanwhile, Air France never stopped daily flights during the pandemic and significantly increased their numbers from YUL, YYZ and YVR.
Paul-Hus says France has been making progress in the fight against coronavirus, with 83 % of French citizens aged 12 and over having been fully vaccinated as of Sept. 23.
As of Oct. 3, the number of new daily cases has decreased overall in France, and a government spokesperson noted that the national incidence rate had fallen below the symbolic threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (48.1).
French restaurants and attractions are open but require clients to have a health pass that demonstrates proof of full vaccination or a negative antigen test result within the previous 72 hours.
Paul-Hus says coronavirus testing is widely available in France.
Canada is on France’s “Green” list, with Green countries referring to those with “no active circulation of the virus, (and) no variants of concern identified. Vaccinated travellers from these countries can enter the territory without performing a PCR test.
“Travellers (12 years and older) who have not been vaccinated must present a negative PCR or antigenic test that is less than 72 hours old. Children under 12 years of age are exempt from testing.
“The Covid certificate is mandatory to access all places intended for cultural, sports and leisure activities, as well as fairs and exhibitions, bars and restaurants, both indoors and outdoors, public transport (trains, buses, airplanes) for long-distance travel.”
Meanwhile, with winter looming, Paul-Hus reports that Canadians can hit the slopes in France this winter.
“Last year, ski lifts weren’t allowed to operate but it will not be the case in 2022,” she says. “We could imagine more Canadians heading to France to ski, especially since Air Canada’s Montréal–Lyon flight restarts on Dec 11.”