The Eiffel Tower has reopened after a nearly nine-month closure. Visitors are welcome when they can show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. The number of visitors to the city’s beloved tourist attraction will be limited to 13,000 a day instead of 25,000. As reported by Al Jazeera, this was “the landmark’s longest closure since World War II.” A full half of visitors are expected to be French, with none from Britain, very few from Asia, and 15 percent Americans. To quote: “Early reservations for tickets during the French summer holiday period underline how the tourism industry in Paris has changed due to travel restrictions.”
The Tour de France concluded in France on Sunday, with Slovenian Tadej Pogačar claiming victory for the second year in a row. Last year he was the youngest winner in 116 years. As reported by NPR, “Pogačar, 22, pulled ahead in the general classification standings on a rainy stage eight and never gave up the leading rider’s yellow jersey, winning three of the race’s 21 stages.” British cyclist Mark Cavendish notably won four stages of the Tour, while Sepp Kuss of Durango, Colorado, was the first American to win a stage of the Tour since 2011.
Travelers and the tourism industry are baffled by the British government’s reversal of a plan to ease travel restrictions to France, claiming concerns over the Beta variant from South Africa. As reported by the Guardian, “the government was embroiled in a rancorous diplomatic standoff with France on Saturday night after its surprise decision to continue imposing a 10-day quarantine on fully vaccinated people returning from the country. French officials seemed baffled by the move, suspecting UK ministers may have based it on rising cases on the French island of Reunion – nearly 6,000 miles from Paris.”
In other pandemic news, there have been some protests about President Macron’s move to pressure people to get the vaccine (though a large majority support the measure, particularly with the rapid rise of cases of the Delta variant. There are now 10,000 new coronavirus cases again). An interesting Washington Post article, “How vaccine-skeptic France and Germany came to support near-mandates,” addresses how “the two nations are going further than most other Western countries in granting privileges to people who have been vaccinated and making daily life difficult for those who aren’t.” The European Union’s digital COVID certificates, with scannable QR codes showing whether someone has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from illness, will now be used in France starting next month before entering trains, restaurants, cinemas, and other venues.
Meanwhile the Financial Times reports that “reluctant homebuyers make Paris a not so moveable feast.” Sellers are having difficulty unloading the properties that used to sell almost immediately. To quote the newspaper: “The market has slowed in the face of uncertainty about a coronavirus ‘fourth wave’, while international buyers are still hampered by travel restrictions” Could this be a great time to buy that Paris apartment you’ve always dreamed about? Check out our property listings here.
Lead photo credit : Eiffel Tower (C) Fabien Maurin, Unsplash