France Update

Greetings from Port Chalmers.

 
The port is still working, but otherwise our little village is like a ghost town.   Before today’s wet weather that was a bonus for the cyclists as with lack of traffic there were more bikes on the state highway than cars …..
 
We are receiving regular updates from our operators in France and last week the French government issued an ordinance, stating that in the case of cancellation due to Covid-19, a credit for any money paid has to be issued.    The validity of the credit varies between companies, but they are mostly for 12-18 months.   No obligation to refund money!
 
The rental boat and hotel barge operators are hoping the canals will re-open in May and are optimistically inviting new bookings with the condition that they can be changed/postponed without any penalty.   That is what most companies have already been doing and all our bookings for May and June have been postponed until 2021.   Clients who are travelling later are in a wait and see situation; like us.
 
For our September tour, we have travel insurance with Allianz Partners and like most insurers their Product Disclosure Statement has General Exclusion section, which “excludes claims arising from, related to or associated with an actual or likely epidemic or pandemic or the threat of an epidemic or pandemic”. 
 
Consequently, if you want to cancel your trip because of COVID-19, then the General Exclusion for an epidemic/pandemic will apply and cover is excluded.  If you want to re-arrange your flights/travel plans due to COVID-19, any General Exclusion for epidemic/pandemic will apply.   However, there are always exceptions, so check the details in your own policy and with the people who issued it, and you can always submit a claim to test the ‘fine print’.
 
This is very frustrating and disappointing, as we know how much time, energy and emotion goes into planning a trip to Europe.   Sadly all we can do is wait, isolate, keep washing the hands and hope for the best.   Despite the many unknowns and the anxiety over what might happen, for most of us it will turn out OK and maybe even produce a more caring and flexible society.
 
Best wishes to you all,
Robert & Barbara

 

BESPOKE FRANCE
Robert Buchanan & Barbara Keen 
52 George St, PORT CHALMERS 9023, New Zealand
ph 643 472 7856, freephone (NZ) 0800 147 856

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Covid19 – pushing the pause button on travel

A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to update our website, but the global pandemic has made that rather pointless for now.  The EU countries have closed their borders to non-EU citizens, and the French government is telling its people to stay home.  The Louvre is closed, as are many other museums, and restaurants, theatres, etc.  Most canals are closed across the country now though rental boat companies are hoping that they will be open again in June.  So are we, but nobody knows at the moment – and nobody knows when they’ll know!  

As soon as we have positive information from the providers we work with in France, we’ll put it up on the website.  

In the meantime, take care and stay well –

Barbara & Robert  

and some information about cycling, from Robert  – from March 19 –

An update as I am sure you are concerned about the situation in Europe and around the world.  The virus is even in Dunedin and last night the restaurant we visited was virtually empty!   The situation is certainly getting worse, but if Europe follows the pattern in China, then travel should be possible by August ……
Catherine of Active Tours, and everyone in Burgundy, is currently at home in self-isolation for two weeks and she is inundated with cancellations and postponements.    The cancellation conditions as shown on the booking form still stand – NZ$150 booking fee for cancellation more than 70 days in advance – but she is happy to carry over the deposits to bookings later this year or next without the amendment fee.
My advice is to wait and see how things develop.   By May everything should be clearer and a decision should be easier.
Best wishes and keep washing the hands.
Robert

BESPOKE FRANCE
Robert Buchanan & Barbara Keen 
52 George St, PORT CHALMERS 9023, New Zealand
ph 643 472 7856, freephone (NZ) 0800 147 856

 

 

 

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