FRANCE … TOP TOURIST DESTINATION YET AGAIN IN 2015 …

The saying goes that there is no place like home. But hey, when it comes to tourism, there is no place like France. Judging by airport and rail station arrivals and hotel occupancy for the first six months of this year France will yet again be the country which had received more tourists in 2015 […]

Montmartre Museum Garden. (Copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Montmartre Museum Garden. (Copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The saying goes that there is no place like home.

But hey, when it comes to tourism, there is no place like France.

Judging by airport and rail station arrivals and hotel occupancy for the first six months of this year France will yet again be the country which had received more tourists in 2015 than any other country.

Note that I do not say welcomed but I say received because this week tourists chosen at random around attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the chateau of Versailles and questioned about the French had described the people as unsmiling, unhelpful, even rude, and pointed out that the French still make no effort to speak a foreign language, not even English.

Voila!

Yet, where else is there an Eiffel Tower? A chateau of Versailles, not to mention all France’s other castles and palaces? Where is there a Saint Michael’s Mount (Mont St Michel) and a Riviera, etc etc.

Mont Saint Michel (St Michael's  Mount )Copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Mont Saint Michel (St Michael’s Mount )Copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

This is what the tourist numbers look like for the last five years:

2010 – 77.6 million

2011 – 81.4 million

2012 – 83 million

2013 – 83.7 million

2014 – 84.7 million

And 2015’s number of tourists will be … 85 million and more.

St Denis Basilica in Saint Denis just north of Paris (copyright Marilyn Z Tomlins)

St Denis Basilica in Saint Denis just north of Paris (copyright Marilyn Z Tomlins)

 

Maybe the French can’t do anything to remedy the complaints I mention above, but soon now (certainly for the 2015 Christmas season) some of our shops will be open 7 days a week and until midnight.

Such shops will be in areas which are to be classified as international tourist zones, or zones touristiques internationals  – ZTI.

Our ministry of economy is still to finalise its authorisation for 7/7 till midnight opening, but provisionally the ZTI zones will be:

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées and surrounding streets.

Boulevard Haussmann and surrounding streets. The big department stores like Galaries Lafayette and Printemps are in this boulevard.

Montmartre which includes the red-light district of Pigalle and Place du Tertre.

The area of Les Halles in central Paris (close to Chatelet) which will include the Les Halles Shopping Mall.

Le area of Le Marais which is Paris’s gay quarter.

The chic Saint-Germain-des-Pres area.

The chic Beaugrenelle shopping mall close to the Eiffel Tower.

The not-so-chic Italie Deux shopping mall in Paris’ 13th arrondissement (district).

Chinatown in the 13th arrondissement.

The chic Faubourg Saint-Honoré area so loved by Chinese and Russian tourists.

The chic Vendôme area home to the Ritz and boutiques like Cartier and De Beers.

The Rue de Rivoli.

The Louvre Museum and Museum Orsay area.

The Notre Dame and Boulevard Saint Michel area.

And also the following 6 rail stations: Montparnasse, Austerlitz, Gare de Lyon, Gare d l’Est, Gare du Nord from where the Thalys leaves for Belgium and Holland, and the Eurostar to London, and Gare St Lazare.

Apart from Paris there will also be such ZTI zones in the towns of Cannes, Nice and Deauville.

Our ministry of economy claims that such ZTI zones will result in the creation of 5000 jobs. Two million people already depend on tourism for their daily bread.

However, owners of small family-owned shops are not so pleased. Often just a husband and wife are present in the shop, and they say that they will not be able to remain open every day of the week and until midnight which means that they are going to loose custom to those shops who will be staying open.

They also say: “After 10 at night there simply aren’t shoppers about.”

No-one at the ministry of economy is however claiming that these extended opening hours are to make the life of the Parisians easer. Non! It’s sole reason is to get tourists to spend more and more more money.

Capitalism is the word.

Ah! French food! (Copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Ah! French food! (Copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Paris' Gare du Nord which will fall in a ZTI (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

Paris’ Gare du Nord which will fall in a ZTI (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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