French hotels to get Chinese twist

A chain of French hotels is going all out to welcome Chinese visitors by adapting its menus and TV channels and giving its employees the necessary language skills.

From January 1st, 15 hotels in the Campanile chain will offer ravioli, soup and rice for breakfast, as well as the traditional croissant and butter for those willing to sample the local cuisine, reported daily newspaper Le Parisien.

In the rooms, green tea will be available as well as Chinese TV stations. Information will be directly translated into mandarin and telephone assistance will also be available in the guests’ own language.

The 15 hotels chosen will be in the cities most visited by Chinese tourists. There will be eight in Paris, three in Lyon and one each in Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux and Aix-en-Provence. The Campanile group has a total of 320 hotels across France.

The initiative is the result of a deal between the owner of Campanile, the Louvre Hotels Group, and Jin Jiang, a tourism company in China.

According to the hotel chain, they are keen to corner the market in a new type of Chinese traveller.

“We want to attract the new Chinese clients who are increasingly travelling alone rather than as part of a group, as before,” said Camille Sassi, communications director for the Louvre Hotels Group.

The agreement will also see a number of hotels taking on a French flavour in Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing, to make French guests feel welcome.

Staff from each country will travel to the other to learn more about the local culture and customs of each.

The two groups hope that the experiment will eventually increase to up to 75 hotels adopting the new approach.

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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro