Rail travel has shrunk French people’s mental map of their country



That’s the way the Monet goes

A TEENAGER, headphones pinned to his ears, heaves a stuffed backpack across the station hall. A team of adult supervisors, eyes darting back and forth, guides boisterous children in fluorescent yellow jackets through the ticket barrier, on their way to a colonie de vacances, French subsidised summer camp. A tall, lean father in well-pressed shorts marches three small matching boys towards the platform. Fit-looking grandparents climb into a train carriage, shepherding grandchildren to their seats.

August in France, when Paris empties out, brings an annual ritual to the country’s mainline railway stations. Out go the besuited early-morning travellers, settling into high-speed TGV trains for business meetings in Bordeaux or Lyon. In come extended families, fishing rods, skateboards, tennis racquets, pushchairs and cats in carry-on baskets. Each year, thanks to a network of fast links that can connect Paris to…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/europe/21747692-each-year-whopping-110m-passengers-take-high-speed-trains-within-france-rail-travel-has-shrunk?fsrc=rss%7Ceur

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