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TOURISM

Paris is one of the world’s most walkable cities, survey shows

A global poll has placed Paris as the third most walkable city in the world, with good access to car-free spaces and nearby health and education facilities.

Paris is one of the world's most walkable cities, survey shows
Pack comfy shoes if you are visiting Paris. Photo; AFP

The poll by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy ranked cities in three categories; the proportion of people living within 100m of car-free spaces such as parks or pedestrianised streets, the proportion of people living within 1km of both healthcare and education facilities and the average size of city blocks.

Paris scored top in the healthcare and education category, with 85 percent of people living within 1km of both, and came third in the ranking overall, behind Hong Kong and Moscow and ahead of Bogota and London.

The survey didn't score this, but Paris is also a very pretty place to walk in with all sorts of interesting historical details – here are the 10 Paris streets you just have to walk down

As capital cities go, Paris is very compact, just 10km across meaning you can walk all the way across the city in about two hours.

For tourists it's even more compact, since most of the most visited sites in the city, including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre-Dame cathedral, are clustered within about 4km of each other.

READ ALSO Six ways to get around Paris without public transport

The city's mayor Anne Hidalgo is working to cut the number of cars and make the city more pedestrian and cyclist friendly with plans to pedestrianise some famous areas including the Champs Elysées and the Champs de Mars.

She also has a long-term ambition to create a '15 minute city' in which everyone lives within 15 minutes of vital amenities such as shops and schools and possibly also workplaces.

And of course let's not forget that the French language has produced a verb – flanêr – specifically to describe aimless strolling while taking in lovely scenery, thinking philosophical thoughts or checking out the local talent.

READ ALSO Nine French words that English really should have too

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TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

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