Former US president Barack Obama and his family are spending a week's holiday close to the former papal city of Avignon in south-east France.
Passengers on the service from St Pancras International will be able to reach the French Mediterranean port city in just over six hours.
Despite broad consensus among economists that France's economy is starting to pick up, many small companies have yet to feel the benefits.
Union says 71 percent of employees, from actors to stage hands, voted for opening night stoppage in ongoing row over unemployment benefits.
The Front National party has an outside chance of gaining control of the city hall in this weekend's final round of municpal elections.
The woman sent her son, born on September 11 and who is called Jihad, to nursery school in a T-shirt bearing the words 'I am a bomb'.