France is expecting a lot of visitors this summer but with the tail end of Covid-19 and the inflationary crisis stemming from the Ukraine war, it also has the potential to be a bumpy one for any tourists who aren’t prepared.
For instance, there is a lack of hire cars. Demand is high from both domestic and international travelers after two years of not traveling. On the Basque coast in Biarritz, for instance, weekly car rental is now about €505 per week on average—car rental comparison website Carigami has seen average rates increase by 96%, as reported by The Local.
Carigami has compared the prices of hire cars in different areas of the country, noting that car hire is currently cheaper over summer 2022 in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, for instance, than in Nice along the road. Wherever tourists decide, the best bet is to book sooner rather than later.
There is a huge lack of staff in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. As reported by The Local, 237,000 employees were lost in these industries between February 2020 and February 2021, after many people were put on furlough and then found jobs elsewhere. With long hours and notoriously bad pay, it has been difficult to encourage people to come back—at the moment, there are over 200,000 vacancies in the restaurant industry in France. Additionally, unemployment has been falling in France so there is more choice for workers.
This lack of staff means it will be more complicated than usual to find something open, with enough tables, to get served, and with as much choice as before.
The key is to plan well, make reservations, and remember that—particularly in rural France—lunch is usually only served from 12 until 2pm.
And with food prices at an all-time high it’s worth hunting down bargains in the daily and weekly markets. Stick to seasonal produce, obviously, but also buy later in the day just before closing when they are more likely to sell off their wares.
France still has some travel restrictions in place, unlike other countries across the region, so make sure you also have the right paperwork for a seamless journey.