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Travel to France - News Roundup

Friday 15 May 2009

With the busy summer travel period just around the corner many ferry firms have been announcing the start of new routes to France.

The main news is the launch of a high speed route between Dover and Boulogne operated by LD Lines, which will start at the end of May and offer a crossing time of one hour.

The ferry firm's new ship, named the Norman Arrow, will be the largest ever fast ferry to operate on the cross channel routes between England and France operating at speeds of 40 knots. It has a capacity for 1,200 passengers, 417 cars, or a combination of 195 cars and up to 30 freight vehicles.

LD Lines intends to operate four return sailings a day heading out of Dover at 4.15am, 7.45am, 12.30pm and 7pm and from Boulogne at 7am, 10.45am, 5pm and 10.30pm.

Irish Ferries will soon start its three-day mini-cruise service from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff, which will offer passengers the chance to go shopping and spend up to six hours ashore in France.

Norfolkline hope to appeal to lovers of France who live in Scotland, and dread the drive south to Dover, with the launch of a Rosyth to Zeebrugge service. It will operate three times a week and offers a sailing time of 20 hours.

But it has not all been plain sailing for ferry companies in the past few weeks as French fishermen blocked the ports of Calais, Dunkerque and Boulogne in arguments over EU fishing quotas.

This angered P&O Ferries so much that they have sought assurances from the French Prime Minister Fran├žois Fillon that more will be done to ensure the flow of sea traffic will continue should further protests take place.

Looking to the skies, and EasyJet announced the start of a new route between Luton Airport and Montpellier, starting on July 7, 2009, and operating on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with one way tickets starting at £26.99.

At the same time, EasyJet is to increase the frequency of flights on its routes to France from Gatwick Aiport; an additional flight to Montpellier and five new flights a week to Toulouse will begin from July 17.

In other flight news, both Jet2.com and Flybe announced the very early launch of part of their winter 2009/10 timetable as they look to appeal to fans of the snow, with both airlines offering a number of connections to Chambery from airports around the UK.

Finally, Ryanair has warned that it will be diverting its flights from Pau to the airport at Lourdes between July 27 and August 9 as runway work takes place, with a free coach transfer operating between the two airports.

By Craig McGinty of This French Life, offering news, advice and information for people wanting to live life the French way.

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