Gavin Mortimer

A word of warning for Brits flocking to France

A word of warning for Brits flocking to France
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So as of Sunday Britons will flock to France in their 'tens of thousands'. That is what is being reported this morning after the government's announcement that double-jabbed tourists returning from France will no longer have to quarantine.

The Daily Mail, playing the party pooper, tempered the good news with a warning that Brits may have trouble finding accommodation with 'a particular shortage of gîtes and hotel rooms in the south of the country'.

Having visited the Pyrenees and Lake Annecy in recent weeks I can confirm that the popular destinations are chock-a-block with French, Germans, Dutch, Scandinavians and Belgians. Imagine how I felt, watching the final of the European Championships, in the bar of a French campsite. As the solitary Englishman, I received neither support nor sympathy.

But here's a warning of my own for all Brits thinking of heading across the Channel for some cheese, wine and joie de vivre. In fact, here are two warnings: the first: bring an umbrella and your thermals as France is experiencing its wettest and coldest summer this century.

The second is that you will find that the French are seriously angry. From firefighters to medical professionals to restaurant owners to cinema managers to theme park staff, all of them are up in arms about the introduction of Emmanuel Macron's Covid passport.

Firefighters, nurses and railway staff are threatening to go on strike, and a growing number of restaurants are vowing to ignore the rules on the Covid passport that come into force on Monday.

That's because they fear customers will stay away, as they have in some of those restaurants that decided to implement the Covid passport last month. It's a similar story in theme parks and cinemas and most other attractions, where visitor numbers have plummeted since punters were obliged to declare their vaccine status from 21 July.

It was not a surprise that minutes after the British government announced the loosening of travel restrictions between Britain and France, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French secretary of state for tourism, tweeted a message to vaccinated French nationals in England and Wales, informing them that 'your NHS QR code is now compatible with TousAntiCovid Verif! You therefore have the #PassSanitaire (health pass)'.

Britons will also be able to access museums, theme parks, restaurants and bars by uploading their NHS certificate to the French TousAntiCovid app.

It's worth considering, since most of these places have lost forty to seventy per cent of their custom in the last fortnight. You won't need to queue for a ride, or the Mona Lisa, or reserve a table days in advance. You may find some places picketed by angry Frenchmen and women, chanting 'liberty' and 'resistance', and a few hotheads may accuse you of being a 'traitor' and a 'collabo' but if you wave your blue British passport you should be OK.

It will also help ease your way through the picket lines if you sing along to the protestors' favourite ditty: Macron démission (Macron, resign). You'll get a slap on the back for that, as opposed to a slap in the face, which is what a number of chemists have been receiving from the radical fringe of the anti-passport protest movement.

Oh, and did I mention masks? You have to wear them outside in most coastal resorts, whether it's Corsica, the Cote d'Azur or the Atlantic coast. I don't know why, but French préfets are a law unto themselves.

I hope this hasn't put you off visiting France this month. Come on over. The country is as beautiful as ever and its people as reassuringly volatile as you remember. After all, France wouldn't be France without strikes, protests and police baton charges