The road south from Châlons-en-Champagne is one of those French provincial routes that are a joy to drive. The road climbs up gently from the Marne valley at Châlons and then heads almost due south. Not twenty minutes out of Châlons is the small village of Vatry, a cluster of some three dozen houses around a rather appealing church – built of stone with an unusual little wooden tower. Four kilometres south of Vatry is the airstrip that takes its name from the village.
Curiously, Ryanair announced last month that they propose to inaugurate flights in June direct to Vatry from both Oslo and Stockholm – or, to be more correct, from airports that are ludicrously remote from Oslo and Stockholm. Oslo flights will depart from Moss airport at Rygge, 60 km from Oslo, and the Stockholm flights will take off from Skavsta, which is 100 km from Stockholm.
Now Vatry is a nice enough spot, but its airport is oddly placed in the middle of nowhere. But Ryanair hints that Vatry might be just the place where Paris-bound Scandinavians might like to land. The fact that the airport is some 160 kilometres away from Paris counts for little in Ryanair’s make-believe cartography. But Ryanair do suggest that the airport is more convenient for EuroDisney, which is just a two hour drive away. Good for those who do not mind a long drive to Disney’s magic kingdom. And in the Disneyesque world of Ryanair, Vatry is of course very convenient for Paris. About three hours by public transport, we would say, using the occasional local bus that runs past the airport to go to Châlons, from where it is a couple of hours by train to Paris.
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
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