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HOLIDAY

Why six out of 10 French people can’t afford to go on holiday this summer

Six out of 10 French people have said they have had to forgo having a holiday, according to a new survey.

Why six out of 10 French people can't afford to go on holiday this summer
Even staycations are now out of many French people's price range. Photo: AFP

The staycation has always been a popular option for French people, with many shunning foreign holidays in favour of a trip to coast or the rural regions of France. And as the world's most visited country, France certainly has plenty to offer, from stunning beaches and scenery to beautiful cities and adventure holidays in the countryside.

But new research conducted by respected pollsters Ifop reveals that for the majority of the French even that is now frequently out of their price range.

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The giant saltworks in Salines-les-Bains is one of France's little known treasures. Photo: AFP

The survey of 1,003 people conducted for social justice organisation the Jean-Jaurès Foundation revealed that 39 percent of people said they had frequently had to cancel holiday plans over the past five years because of a lack of money and 26 percent said they sometimes had to.

“A real sociological fault line appears in the level of access to holidays,” says Jérémie Peltier, Director of Studies at the Jean-Jaurès Foundation.

“The lower middle class joins the most disadvantaged classes in their inability to reach the level that consumer society sells us, in everyday life as well as in holidays.”

One reason offered was the sharp increase in the price of a camping holiday – traditionally a cheaper option for families on a budget.

READ ALSO Ten stunning places to go camping in France

France has 893,305 campsites, but while in 2001 nearly two thirds of them were in the cheaper one or two star bracket, now only one third are.

There has also been an increase in the building of cabins or bungalows on sites – a more expensive option than taking your own tent along.

Figures in French newspaper Le Parisien show that a 25 m² bungalow costs a minimum of €854 per week in a 4-star campsite in the Siblu chain of campsites. For a more spacious two-bedroom apartment, its around €1,400.

 

Member comments

  1. It’s what happens when you remove all chances of a future by embracing the socialist way of life….

    France has killed most of its small businesses and thus has no real means of moving forwards – The State and Big business are not enough for a country to survive…

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/cartesfrance.fr
But while the map – created by cartesfrance.fr – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.
 

 
 
 
Here are some of the key points.
 
1. Everyone hates Parisians
 
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
 
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
 
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
 
 
2. Staycations rule
 
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
 
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
 
 
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
 
3. Northerners like a drink
 
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
 
 
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
 
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
 
 
4. Poverty
 
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
 
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
 
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
 
5. Southern prejudice
 
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
 
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
 
 
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
 
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
 
For more maps that reflect France, head to cartesfrance.fr
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