We receieved an email this morning from our friend Ted Wake, the Managing Director at Kirker Holidays. It details the journey of one of their Cultural Tour lecturers who has just travelled back from Paris and the arrangements made on travelling home (along with what is reopening).
I wanted to pass on some first-hand feedback from a friend and Kirker Cultural Tour lecturer who has just travelled back to Paris where he lives for part of the year. Having set off from London a little anxious about the journey, he was delighted by how friendly and upbeat the Eurostar and Customs staff were in London, on the train, and on arrival in Paris. Everyone he encountered en route was ‘more charming and helpful than ever before…’ – passengers on the train were suitably spaced apart, and the whole process of getting from A to B in the ‘brave new world’ turned out to be very much more straight-forward and reassuring than anticipated.
Although it isn’t yet possible to travel to Paris for a short break holiday, it is clear that the French authorities and especially the Parisians are well-organised and very serious about preparations for the return of tourism as soon as the time is right. Many restaurants are currently offering a sublime selection of take-away food, but there are also plans to allow al fresco dining on site soon – for Eurostar journeys it is likely that the advice will be to travel with your own picnic until the on-board café and bar service is back up-and-running.
Residents and service providers are well-organised with masks being worn when in shops or areas where you meet fellow pioneers at the Gare du Nord, as well as in restaurants and cafés. There seem to be two key dates for the next stages of transition to a more normal pattern – firstly, 3rd June in France (and in many other European countries), when the expectation is that museums, restaurants and hotels will be permitted to re-open if they follow social-distancing etiquette.
Then 26th June, when cabaret venues such as the Moulin Rouge and Lido expect to reopen. Kirker’s local agent in Paris, Monsieur Alain, is certainly well-prepared and his expert drivers have been trained to follow what will become the standard protocols for their day-to-day life with gloves, face mask, the ubiquitous hand-sanitizer, and a simple but effective alcohol spray for the vehicle as everyone ensures that risks of transmitting the virus are minimised.