Flash Floods in Southern France

June 16, 2010 on 9:21 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel restrictions, travel weather warning | Comments Off

CNN International is running a detailed article on flooding that has taken place in the France region of Var, which includes the Cote d’Azur. At least 15 were killed and 12 remain missing after a series of flash floods struck the area yesterday. The town of Draguignan was hard hit as the flooding swept cars down the city’s streets.

Train service from Toulon to Saint-Raphael has been halted until Thursday (and perhaps longer) as sections of track remain underwater. In addition, numerous roads are closed due to debris and electric service remains unavailable in some sections of the region. According the AP more rain is forecast for the Var region overnight.

If you have travel plans for this area of France, we recommend that you delay them until next week, or longer.

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Europe Held Hostage by a…Volcano!

April 15, 2010 on 8:33 am | In Copenhagen travel, Denmark travel, Europe travel, France Travel, Germany travel, Ireland travel, London travel, Netherlands travel, Paris Travel, Scotland travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, air travel, england travel, international travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings, travel weather warning | 1 Comment

The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano (located near the island’s south coast, approximately 149 kilometers (92 miles) southeast of Reykjavik) has the potential to cause much damage to the country and the world’s climate. Today, however, the volcano’s cloud of steam and smoke, spread across Western Europe and the UK by prevailing winds, has become a major hazard to air travel.

Many of the airports in Europe, particularly those along the western coast zone of Europe, have closed in response to the threat that the volcanic cloud poses. Concentrations of volcanic ash and dust can decrease visibility during flights at higher altitudes and damage or cause engine shutdowns in jet-powered aircraft at any altitude.

For detailed information on the event and the response, see this article in the Wall Street Journal.

For some great photos of the volcano and detailed information on the eruption,see this excellent presentation from the Detroit Free Press.

The volcanic eruption in Iceland has created a major problem for all air travelers in Europe, as well as those planning on flying to Europe. The length of the eruption and the wind patterns can vary and there is no easy way to tell when air traffic will resume normal patterns. If you are planning on traveling to or in Europe in the next week, be sure to contact your airline, well in advance, to see what information they can offer. If you are in Europe and trying to return home, this will be a frustrating week, as volcanic eruptions are one of those situations beyond the control of the airlines or anyone else.

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More Air Strikes in Europe

March 18, 2010 on 1:53 pm | In France Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, air travel, portugal travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

There are so many airline strikes popping up that you need to scorecard to keep track of the action. Both British Airways and Air France are to be struck by trade unions starting March 28 and lasting through the 31st. Portuguese pilots are scheduled to be on strike from March 26 to March 31, making quite a run-up to the Easter weekend. For more information than you will likely want to know about these strikes and their potential, see this detailed article from the Telegraph.

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Its Snowing…On The Mediterranean Coast of Spain and France

March 9, 2010 on 11:58 am | In Europe travel, France, France Travel, Spain Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel weather warning | Comments Off

It continues to be a rough winter in Europe and it appears that “Old Man Winter” wants to extend his reach. Today, there was snow in Barcelona. In addition, there was snow in southern France , including Nimes (the link is to a video on the BBC that shows snow and palm trees, something you do not see every day).

Well, spring is on its way and it will be another glorious summer along the Mediterranean Coast of Europe. In fact, with all of the precipitation, it should be a colorful spring as well.

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New Paris Guide

February 28, 2010 on 9:20 pm | In France, France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel | Comments Off

We have been busy at work updating and expending our Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Paris. You can find the New ThereArePlaces Guide here.

Paris is lovely at any time of the year, but the best seasons are rapidly approaching and if you have not yet been to Paris, make this year the one. Our new Paris guide has updated information for all attractions, an expanded list of best places to visit, more photographs and additional “color” commentary on neighborhoods. If you have never been to Paris, see our Paris Travel Tips section for hints of how to make Paris your pearl.

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Paris and The Parisians

February 6, 2010 on 11:46 am | In France, France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, personal travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

Paris is many things to many people. Tourists consider it one of the most popular cities on earth. Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, the Louvre, the Latin Quarter and other sights make visiting Paris a chance to see some the best attractions the world has to offer. However, many travelers (and, indeed, the French outside of Paris) consider the Parisians to be haughty, impolite and cold.

We have found difficult people around the world and do not think that there are more of them in Paris than elsewhere. However, Parisians are matter of fact, reserved and choose not to participate in small talk. In addition, when they think you have made a bad decision, they are likely to tell you. However, they do not discriminate against travelers; they will tell anyone when they have made a bad decision.

Once, when coming from Orly Airport to the city, we took the Airport Transport Bus to its station in Paris and planned to take a cab to our hotel from that location. When the cab driver eyed our bags, he raised his voice and seemed to be berating me. It took me a second to translate and realize that he was telling me that I had wasted my money on the bus, since I had to buy two tickets and now a cab fare and that I could have traveled from Orly to the hotel by cab for less. He was right and I was not offended at his response, since I had learned something.

Some travelers feel differently about the Parisians and there is an excellent article on the topic of “service” in Paris published by the BBC.

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Europe – Not This Week

December 19, 2009 on 9:39 pm | In France Travel, Spain Travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings, travel weather warning | Comments Off

Weather in Europe caused difficulties for travelers last week and the next week does not seem more promising. Due to extremely cold and wet weather in France, the Eurostar has been shut down and remain closed for another day or two. It appears that trains entering the Chunnel from France have had their wheels mysteriously lose traction shortly after entering the Chunnel. The “Official” explanation is that this was the result of the cold weather on the outside and the warm temperatures on the inside of the Chunnel. Not sure we understand the physics of the explanation, but several trains were stuck and in one case the passengers were delayed in arriving in London for over 14 hours. See this article from the BBCfor more details.

Europe is being hit by cold weather and impressive amounts of snow. Air France cancelled flight into Paris and the French authorities shut several of the ports serving the English Channel, claiming that the roads from the ports were too treacherous to drive. For more information on the weather in Europe see this report. As we write this note, it is -10C in Vienna (feels like -20C with the windchill) and snowing). London is -2C and Paris is 0C – seems to be warming up.

By the way, in case you missed it, the planned BAA Cabin Crew strike at Christmas has been cancelled by the courts who ruled it illegal. We are sure that the cabin crews for BAA flying during this period will be in good holiday cheer.

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Strikes In France And Germany

October 21, 2009 on 6:35 am | In France, France Travel, Germany, Germany travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

France was hit by a 24-hour rail strike that has influenced system wide capacity, although the strike has not affected international traffic. See this source for more information if you will be travelling by train in France today.

On another front, unionized janitors in Germany have gone on strike for higher wages and airports are one of the targets. See this report for more details.

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Toxic Seaweed in Brittany, France

August 11, 2009 on 8:14 am | In France, France Travel, Health and travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

Brittany, France is suffering from an incursion of toxic seaweed that is capable of causing breathing problems and death in humans and animals. See this article from the BBC for more information. Apparently, the toxic seaweed is related to nitrogen levels and farming in this famous agricultural area.

Although Brittany is a delightful area to tour and one that is popular for its beaches, we recommend that you avoid the shore in this area. Inquire with the local authorities about the extent of the toxic seaweed problem if you are planning a vacation in Brittany.

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Wildfires In Italy, Greece, Spain and France

July 24, 2009 on 11:39 am | In France Travel, Germany travel, Italy travel, Spain Travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 2 Comments

If you are planning to travel in eastern Spain, Corisca, Sardina, Sicily or near Marseilles or Athens over the next few days, you might want to read this article and browse the BBC’s map of the alarming spread of wildfires in southern Europe. Wildfires are common in southern Europe at this time of year, but the season appears off to an extremely widespread start.

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