Paris is the third most congested city in Europe behind only London in second and Moscow, a runaway leader, new data shows.
Motorists in the French capital spend on average 65 hours a year in traffic, according to statistics from Inrix global traffic scorecard and the Department for Transport analyzed by GoCompare. Londoners spend 73 hours a year in jams while for Muscovites the figure is 91 hours, nearly four days.
Two UK cities made the top 25, with Manchester in 18th place (39 hours), while four Russian cities were in the top 10. Russia had five in the top 25, while Germany had seven, with Munich worst in ninth place (49 hours).
Of the 25 cities suffering from congestion, 10 are capitals. One of the reasons Moscow’s congestion is said to be bad is because of the privileges afforded to motorcades of the rich and famous in the city, which can grind other traffic to a halt.
Traffic in Paris is currently at the centre of a debate over the future of the Right Bank, pedestrianised in 2016 to provide “ space to breath and walk. In February a court ruling raised the prospect of the 43,000 cars a day diverted by its closure returning to the Georges-Pompidou Expressway on the northern side of the Seine.
Parisian authorities have vowed to fight to retain the Right Bank for strolling residents and visitors.
The French capital is not the only city with pedestrianisation on its agenda.
In London, the second most congested city in Europe, according to the study, removing traffic from Oxford Street. Transport for London is examining the results of a consultation on a scheme that would see the city’s busiest shopping thoroughfare free of cars, and traffic directed elsewhere.
Edinburgh is also preparing to ban cars from parts of the city centre to make it more people-friendly.
Council leader Adam McVey said the city was looking at having “less private cars and better public transport.”
It’s a good week for anyone with an interest in hurtling themselves down a wire at 125mph.
Zip World in North Wales has just unveiled its new zipline Velocity 2. The wire allows riders to glide 25mph faster than on the original Velocity, unveiled as the world’s fastest in 2013..
With a steeper decline (now 20 degrees), Velocity 2 lets visitors travel from 0 to 60mph in under 10 seconds before reaching the top speed of 125mph – equal to the legal limit for standard trains in the UK, and 5mph faster than the speed at which you fall when skydiving.
Zip World has also doubled the capacity of the zipline, meaning that four people can enjoy a “flight” at the same time.
Sean Taylor, the co-founder of Zip World, said: “Velocity 2 is the fastest zipline in the world and it’s right here in North Wales, the adventure capital of Europe
“The brand new experience features custom made technology developed by our world class team, to increase speed, accessibility and comfort for our riders and spectators alike.”
Zip World is located in the Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales, seven miles south of Bangor. Riders fly over 500 feet above the water, and will experience views to Snowdonia, Anglesey and the Isle of Man on clear days.
Seven people threw up on a Delta flight from Minneapolis to San Jose last week due to severe turbulence. Last month, “pretty much everyone on the plane,” threw up during a particularly. Even the pilot’s reported being on the verge of vomit.
Unusual weather patterns and strong winds have generated multiple reports of nauseous passengers over the past few weeks. And it could be getting worse.
A study from the University of Reading last year predicted that climate change could lead to a 149-percent increase in severe turbulence. And another study published in Geophysical Research Letters predicted that clear air turbulence (impossible to see and difficult to predict with radar) could increase threefold in 30 years, due to climate change.
Significant, sudden changes in global temperature could lead to rougher and more frequent air pockets above the world’s jet stream winds, creating worse and more frequent turbulence.
Like a boat through choppy waters, airplanes experience turbulence in rough winds. These rough winds can be caused when a mountain or large man-made structure pushes air up from below, when a pilot moves from one course of airflow to another (like crossing into a jet stream to take advantage of fast winds), or when warm air rises through cooler air Turbulence can also be affected by seasonal weather patterns.
Different aircraft react to turbulence in different ways: “You feel the turbulence on an aircraft depending on two factors: one is the type of aircraft — the turbulence is not felt the same in different types of aircraft,” Gilberto López Meyer, senior vice president of safety and flight operations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said at conference in December. When passing through the same patch of air, travelers on a large commercial aircraft would feel less turbulence than those on a small private jet. Airspeed can also affect how turbulence affects the plane.
While frequent fliers may notice their routes getting bumpier, aircraft manufacturers are working on technology that could mitigate the effects of turbulence for those in the cabin. Boeing is developing a laser that, when attached to the nose of an aircraft, could help pilots avoid clear air turbulence. This technology would give pilots a chance to dodge the path of rough air or allow flight attendants enough time to secure the cabin.
In the meantime, travelers who remember to keep their seatbelt fastened throughout flights likely don’t need to worry about safety during turbulence. In 2016, only 44 people were injured by turbulence — the majority of which were flight crew or passengers who were not wearing their seatbelts. And it’s highly unlikely that the structure of the plane will be compromised by turbulence. Federal Aviation Administration regulations require that aircraft be engineered to withstand much, much more turbulence than most will ever encounter.
If Cinderella blue, Snow White red, and Belle yellow are the only colors you think of when you dream of Disney, that’s all about to change.
Come April, Disney parks on both coasts will start selling sparkly Minnie ears and spirit jerseys, embossed, long-sleeved, athletic-style shirts — in a faded “millennial pink” hue.
If this news is giving you déja vu, that’s because this baby pink craze comes hot on the heels of rose gold’s takeover at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort. Ever since Minnie ears in the wildly trendy hue became a best-selling souvenir last summer, Disney has come out with rose gold margaritas, rose gold cupcakes, rose gold churros, and rose gold shirts to please fans of the sparkly stuff.
Still, millennial pink is different. Unlike rose gold’s darker pink hue with a metallic sheen, millennial pink is a classic bubblegum shade, a cherry blossom pastel with saturation dialed all the way up.
From your souvenirs to your mid-day snack, both tints will be inescapable during your future Disney-going experience. Pastel pink MagicBands are for sale at Walt Disney World (while darker pink ones come complimentary with resort hotel stays), and on Monday, Disneyland Resort added rose gold macarons to its menu.
Available at Clarabelle’s Hand Scooped Ice Cream and Jolly Holiday Bakery, the cookie sandwich comes filled with strawberry compote and lemon buttercream — and just like the ultra-trendy ears arriving in April, it’s topped with its very own baby pink Minnie bow. Even if pink is not your preferred color, it’s impossible not to admit that a perfectly pink dessert wearing its own tiny pink souvenir is enticingly cute.
And these delightfully pink-hued treats and eats are likely here to stay. Whether you’re onboard with the millennial pink and rose gold trends or you don’t get what the fuss is about, food, beverages, clothing, souvenirs, and merchandise in trendy and Instagrammable colors seem to be just what Disney-loving fans and park-goers are looking for.
PARIS (AFP): French rail workers will stage rolling strikes from April to June which threaten to cause travel misery for passengers across the country. Meanwhile Air France staff will also walk out on certain days in April. Here’s a look at the dates you might want to avoid travelling.
Rail unions have described the move to hold a series of two-day rolling strikes throughout the spring as “innovative”.
The rolling strikes will be carried out on two days out of every five until June 28 unless the government drops its plan, which includes stripping new recruits of jobs-for-life and other benefits, the CGT said on Thursday after a meeting of rail operator SNCF’s four main unions.
With the government planning to push through the reforms using parliamentary decrees rather than putting them to a vote by MPs it appears both sides are entrenched in their positions, which means bad news for passengers.
Although the strikes may yet be called off if negotiations succeed it appears unlikely given the anger among unions for whom scrapping the special employment status of rail workers, who often have to work weekends, nights and holidays is a red line.
The unions took the step of announcing the dates on which they plan to strike, which will total 36 days.The industrial action led to 60 percent of TGV trains being cancelled as well as half of normal train services. RER commuter services in Paris were also hit by cancellations and delays.
The impact on rail services including TGVs, TER and Intercité trains won’t be known until a day or two before the strikes when SNCF will know how many workers have answered the unions call to walk out.
SNCF has announced that they will not be selling train tickets for those days in April when rail workers are due to strike.
The calendar below highlights in blue the days when rail workers will be on strike. The days with a red circle underneath are for when Air France staffs are also due to walk-out which will cause headaches for plan passengers April 3rd is definitely a day not to travel then.
Guillaume Pepy, head of SNCF said the announcement by unions was “bad news for the 4.5 million French people who take the train everyday”.
Laurent Brun, head of the CGT Cheminots rail union, put the blame on the government.
“The unions see no will to negotiate on the part of the government… and take responsibility for an intense and long-lasting conflict,” he said.
But transport minister Elisabeth Borne said they must move quickly to get the SNCF back on sound financial footing before passenger rail traffic across Europe is opened to competition next year.
The private jet charter sector is undergoing a revolution of sorts. A new business model and the integration of new technology means that chartering a private jet is easier and costs less than ever before. So, here we explore if flying via private jet really an accessible option for businesses.
“The Uber of the Skies”
The Uber of the skies is an expression that is frequently being used to describe the business model that companies such as Vistajet have adopted. The model means that passengers can now share a private jet, much like Uber passengers share a cab and this significantly lowers the cost. In addition, charter companies now offer deals such as seats on empty leg flights where normally the aircraft would return back to base without any passengers aboard. This is good business for the charter companies and passengers get a great price.
Those with the inclination and the resources can, of course, still revert to the old school tradition of chartering the entire aircraft and so what is new is that there are simply more options.
How to Charter a Private Jet
The introduction of mobile phone apps that allow the user to book seats on a private jet charter has put an end to problems regarding accessibility. It is now really simple to do so, all that is required is to download the app, sign up to the service and then enter some personal details.
The process can be completed in around 10 minutes, after which users can browse through flights using the search tools and book with just a few taps of their smartphone screen. Once a booking is made the passenger will receive an email with details and instructions, as they would when booking a flight with a commercial airline.
Advantages of Flying Via a Private Jet
There are several advantages to flying via a private jet, for example, it is quicker to navigate the airport as passengers won’t have to stand in queues waiting to check in and only need to be at the airport around 20 minutes before the jet is scheduled to leave.
For businesses, in particular, there is also the bonus of kudos to be won by travelling on a private jet, as success breeds success. Then there is the luxury and freedom that comes with private jet travel and this makes relaxing, working or even entreating clients or partners, whilst flying, much easier.
The best family days out in the UK for spring 2018
Looking for inspiration for Easter – and beyond? Here’s our pick of 25 places to visit, from new attractions to
Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland
It may date back to around AD122 but that doesn’t mean this landmark is immune from a makeover. The biggest news for this year is the £1.3m restoration and reopening of Birdoswald, the military fort near Housesteads. It now has lots of hands-on exhibits for kids, including an interactive Roman quest and a signalling game, which are reached through a gatehouse. The new museum at Corbridge Roman Town opens at the end of April. •Adult £6.60, child (5-15) £3.90, family £16.90, english-heritage.org.uk
The Bear Trail, Devon
At this assault course near Exeter muddiness is encouraged – and mum and dad can join in, too. New for this year is the Leap of Faith, which involves climbing onto a five-metre-high platform, jumping to catch an airbag and swinging all the way down. The trail also includes zip wires and tunnels and is open throughout the school holidays and on weekends in term time. •Online prices based on height, £6.75 for 1 metre and above; £4.05 under 1 metre. Family ticket £24.30, thebeartrail.co.uk
The Man Engine Resurrection Tour, nationwide
This year sees the return of the award-winning Man Engine, a huge mechanical puppet first constructed in 2016 to celebrate the Cornish mining world heritage site’s 10th anniversary. Making its first appearance on 31 March at Geevor Tin Mine in west Cornwall, the 11-metre-high Man Engine will then tour other locations in the south-west, before heading to Ironbridge and South Yorkshire. Each venue will host a family-friendly afternoon event and an edgier pyrotechnic show at night. •Advance daytime tickets, adult £10, child £6, themanengine.co.uk
Sometimes, despite the best efforts of parents to extol the virtues of fresh air, all kids really want to do is throw themselves around a padded room for a couple of hours. For days like these there is InflataSpace, which opened this month. It has all manner of bouncy playthings, from toddler-friendly bouncy castles right up to gladiator-style podiums for the big kids (even adults). A good option for a rainy day. •£12 (4+), £5 for toddlers, inflataspace.co.uk
The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Somerset
For the first time in the palace’s history kids can do their best king-of-the-castle impressions atop one of the turrets of this building that has been home to the bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years. The new Prison Bastion Viewing Platform, opening on Good Friday, gives views of Wells Cathedral next door and allows access to some of the narrow walkways around the ramparts. The Dragon’s Lair (activity centre) wears kids out but the most memorable part of a visit is witnessing the resident swans ring a bell in the moat when they want feeding – a practice passed down through generations. • Adult £8.05, child (5-18) £3.55, family tickets from £14.40, bishopspalace.org.uk
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
This medieval castle, largely remodelled during the Victorian era, is a great place to fuel imaginations. It makes good use of its fantasy setting with the fiery Dragon Quest attraction, and Harry Potter fans flock to the Outer Bailey to partake in one of the Broomstick training sessions. Held throughout the day in the very place where Harry can be seen having a flying lesson in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, sessions are free but must be booked on arrival. •Open seven days a week from 29 March-28 October,online prices, adult £14.40, child (5-16) £7.65, alnwickcastle.com
National Show Caves Dinosaur Park, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Purporting to be one of the biggest dinosaur parks in the world, with 220 life-size models, this fun attraction will appeal to any budding paleontologists. Kids can come face to tail with a brachiosaurus or cower in the shadow of a terrifying T rex. There are also three show caves, including Bone Cave where the remains of 42 skeletons dating back to the bronze age were found. Tickets also give access to an iron-age village, stone circle and play areas. •Open seven days a week from 26 March until 4 November; adult £15, child (3-16) £11.50, showcaves.co.uk
Groombridge Place, East Sussex
This forest adventure land on the East Sussex/Kent border has treetop walkways to brave, tepees to make believe in, and hidden treasure to hunt. It’s so magical that little eyes can’t help but search for fairies amid the ancient tree stumps on the woodland floor. In the expansive grounds of a 17th-century manor house, there are also English country house touches, such as a giant chessboard, a maze and wandering peacocks. •Alice’s Circus Adventures runs from 30 March- 15 April. Adult £12.95, child (3-12) £9.95, family £39.50, groombridgeplace.com
This stately home is showing off the results of its biggest restoration in 200 years. Inside, inquisitive minds can learn about the skill required to upkeep such a house and hear secret stories about past residents. Outside, fidgety feet can be set free to clamber through the giant rope park, whizz down huge slides and jump on trampolines. In the working farmyard there’s animal handling available with lambs and chicks. Easter activities include an Easter egg hunt, face-painting and crafts. •Open seven days a week from mid March to end of year; adult £23, child £14.50, family ticket £65, chatsworth.org
Barry’s Amusements, Portrush, Northern Ireland
While most people visiting this stretch of the Antrim coastline are headed to or from the Giant’s Causeway and nearby rope bridge of Carrick-a-Rede, for under 16s a stop-off at this seaside resort is great fun. Family rides include dodgems, a carousel and big dipper. It’s not the most cutting-edge theme park but for a slice of nostalgia and a car-full of happy kids, it’s a no-brainer. • Open weekends and during school holidays from mid-March to 2 September. Free entry, pay as you ride with tokens, barrysamusements.com
WHERE TO SEE SPRING FLOWERS
Since Cornwall is traditionally the first place in Britain to declare spring each year – 26 February in 2018 – it seems only fair it should be top of the list when it comes to spring flowers. As with the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trewidden, in Penzance, is one of the 12 designated Great Gardens of Cornwall and despite March snowfall many of its magnolias and camellias are coming into bloom. There’s also a dedicated children’s trail. •Adult £7, under 16s free, trewiddengarden.co.uk
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
While the Jacobean hall and its history are intriguing – Anne Boleyn is said to have been born here – Blickling’s springtime gardens are a seasonal must. In the Great Wood, which dates back to medieval times, you can see carpets of bluebells from late April to May. Special bluebell walks will set off from the main car park at 10am on 26-28 April. •Adult £14.35, child £7.20, family £35.95, nationaltrust.org.uk
Ullswater, Lake District
Few flowers symbolise spring quite as brilliantly as daffodils. It was by this lake on an April day in 1802 that William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy happened upon a long belt of the spring blooms, no doubt inspiring the poet’s most famous work: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. From now until the end of April the flowers will be out in full force and for an on-the-water view there are kayaks, dinghies and boats for hire at Glenridding Sailing centre. •Kayaks £10 an hour, dinghies £25, traditional boats £35, glenriddingsailingcentre.co.uk
Hever Castle, Kent
The annual Tulip Celebrations (18-27 April) in the grounds of this moated castle (the childhood home of Anne Boleyn) feature 20,000 of the colourful bulbs. Bright blooms sweep down from the Italian Garden all the way to the lake and loggia. Inside, the history of the tulip, introduced to England in the Elizabethan era, will be explored. Kids will love the adventure playground, the Tudor Garden – which features yew trees carved into giant chess pieces – and both the water and yew mazes. •Online prices, adult £16.25, child (5-15) £9.20, family £42.95, hevercastle.co.uk
Benington Lordship Gardens, Stevenage
This seven-acre garden set around a Georgian manor house feels very much like the Secret Garden. It’s only open on set days (Easter Sunday and Monday midday-4pm and 28-29 May midday-5pm) but that makes it feel even more special. There is a formal rose garden, long double herbaceous borders, while wild flowers, such as cowslips and primroses, vie for space with spring bulbs on the banks of the two ponds. A trail leads to the ruined Norman motte and bailey castle. •Adults £5, 12-16 £2, under 12s free, beningtonlordship.co.uk
Skokholm, Pembrokeshire, Wales
As with its slightly better known neighbour, Skomer, this tiny island is in the Irish Sea, just a couple of miles off the Welsh coast. It is a hub for migrating marine birds, including thousands of Manx shearwaters who return here each March from South America, and puffins. There aren’t many crowds on Skokholm though: access is by a twice-weekly boat and there is only accommodation for up to 20 guests. •Overnight stays from £140pp for 3 nights. Return boat fare £27.50, welshwildlife.org
Moray Firth, Scotland
This inlet of the North Sea in north-east Scotland is renowned for its bottlenose dolphin population and it’s estimated around 130 dolphins swim in its waters. For budgets that don’t stretch to boat trips, it can be just as fruitful to find a patch of grass at Chanonry Point, Cromarty, lay out a picnic and wait. Patience is often rewarded with sightings as this is a popular feeding spot. Harbour seals can also be spotted on the mudbanks, while further out minke whales and the occasional killer whale are not unheard of. •moraydolphins.co.uk
Port Lympne, Kent
At this wildlife reserve near the south Kent coast, visitors can take a safari ride to see roaming giraffes, zebras and the largest herd of black rhino in the UK. For teenagers interested in conservation, there’s a chance to become a zoo keeper for the day, while younger kids can shadow staff on a behind-the-scenes tour. For short breaks, New Beach Holiday Park (from £129 for 3 nights) at nearby Dymchurch beach is an affordable choice, with an indoor pool, amusements and an adventure playground. • Online, adult £22.50, child £18.90, family £82, animal courses from £156, aspinallfoundation.org
River Cam, Cambridgeshire
From 11 May to 25 September, the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust will be hosting its annual bat safaris to hear these nocturnal mammals fully woken from their winter slumber. The Friday tours set off aboard traditional punts from Cambridge just before dusk and drift downriver to the strange sounds of the riverbank (all of which will be fully explained). There will also be safaris on Saturday evenings from late July to September. • Adult £20, child £15, wildlifebcn.org
Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm
A welcome departure from all the Shakespeare-themed tourist draws, this tropical butterfly house features 250 species of the insect. From 3-15 April handling sessions will give kids the chance to hold a variety of them, including African land snails, giant millipedes and Madagascan cockroaches. If the weather’s nice the shaded wild flower garden is a pretty place for a picnic. • Adult £7.25, child (3-16) £6.25, family £22.50, butterflyfarm.co.uk
Peter Rabbit, Kew Gardens, London and Wakehurst, West Sussex
This Easter, not only is Beatrix Potter’s most beloved character lighting up the big screen, but Peter Rabbit is also making an appearance at two of Britain’s most popular gardens: Kew and Wakehurst. From 30 March to 15 April, there will be storytelling, bunny ear decorating, a trail to follow and even the chance for kids to learn about growing their own vegetables (at both gardens; and included in entry price to the gardens). • Online, Kew: adult £16, child (4-16) £4; Wakehurst: adult £12.50, under 16s free, kew.org and kew.org/wakehurst
Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
This Easter holiday (until 8 April) at the real Winterfell (this was a Games of Thrones filming location) there will be the obligatory egg hunts plus the chance to honour one of the house’s most prolific former residents, scientist Mary Ward, on a bug-detecting mission. The Easter Fair on 16-18 April will include egg rolling on the lawn, while the Secret Shore Trail provides kids with plenty of fallen trees to scramble over, muddy puddles to jump in, and a fabulous viewpoint of the 18th-century stately home. • Adult £8.60, child £4.30, family £21.55, nationaltrust.org.uk
Loch Katrine Eco Camping, Scotland
The eight mini lodges at this campsite, which opened over winter, are cosy places to huddle up under a blanket for a spot of stargazing. From 31 March-1 April the Mad Hatter Easter Extravaganza will take place at the nearby Trossachs Pier and include an Easter egg hunt, plus a themed cruise aboard the century-old steamship Sir Walter Scott, which carried Victorian visitors encouraged by its namesake’s lyricism. • Loch-side lodges from £80 a night for two guests. Mad Hatter sails adult £16, child (5-16) £12.50, under 5s £5 lochkatrine.com
Morden Hall Park, London
While Wimbledon common just a couple of miles away may have found fame with the Wombles, this lesser-known green space is every bit as pretty, especially in the rose garden where theatre shows are performed in summer. Set along the river Wandle, there are 50 hectares to play in, with droopy willow trees to climb, streams to splash in and plenty of places to hide. From 30 March-2 April Easter egg hunts start outside the historic snuff mill. • £4 a child, nationaltrust.org.uk
Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley, Yorkshire
In the foothills of the Pennines, this award-winning farm attraction is open year-round but spring is when it’s at its peak. Until 8 April, the interactive Easter Adventure calls upon little helpers to fix the Easter Bunny’s magic egg-making machine (for a reward, naturally) before meeting the bunny in person. There will also be sheep and ferret racing, milking demos and tractor trail rides. • £9.95 in advance, tickets include entry to the farm, cannonhallfarm.co.uk
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