About a month ago, there was a glimmer of hope that we could all put away our passports and enjoy frugal sounding 'staycations'; explore what's on our doorstep; delight in a Mr Whippy. Then it started to rain. Apparently, the second week of July (you know, the torrentially rainy one) saw a spike of 10,500 more passengers booking for foreign beach holidays compared to the week before*.
Guaranteed sun is what soggy Brits were looking for: Spain, Greece, Hawaii, Turkey... and France? It rains in France, doesn't it? It certainly has the last two times I set foot in the country. An unhappy coincidence perhaps, but I'd think twice before booking a trip to France for my sunny summer holiday - and it looks like I'm not alone.
Leading French holiday insurance company Aon France have tapped into a seemingly growing nervousness about the reliability of French weather and are offering a money-back guarantee if the sun doesn't have his hat on. The 'Guarantee Soleil' policy means holidaymakers will be paid back a 'significant refund' if it rains for four consecutive days (as determined by local weather data). Other companies have jumped on board with Pierre & Vacances and FranceLoc both offering policies insuring against miserable weather.
It's a reassuring idea in some ways, though I wouldn't like to be sat in rainy France, hoping the wet weather continued for another three days so I could get a little cash back. Maybe a rain coat and umbrella is the insurance you need?
* Reported by research company GFK Ascent-MImore blog posts