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HEALTH

MAPS: Which beaches are open to the public in France?

Many of France’s 2,600-plus beaches reopened to the public on May 16th as part of the country’s plan to loosen lockdown. These maps will help you find out if you’re free to go for a walk or a swim at your closest beach.

Beaches all across France have been reopened to the public as part the French government’s de-escalation plans, a measure which will bring a new lease of life to millions of people in France living close to the coast. 

(scroll down for region-by-region maps)

From Brittany all the way down to Alpes Maritimes, beachgoers can now enjoy a day of sea and sand – as long as it's within 100km of their home – but they have to do it in what’s being dubbed “dynamic mode” in the French press.

READ ALSO How does France's 100km rule work?

That means that swimming, surfing, walking, jogging and sailing are allowed but sitting down to read a book, having a picnic or sunbathing – referred to as “static mode” – is off the cards.

Group sports and gatherings are not allowed.

Beaches will not be accessible at night and opening hours will vary depending on the department and municipality.

Local authorities have to first apply for their beaches to reopen and based on their situation vis-à-vis Covid-19 infection rates, they will be allowed to reopen or remain closed.

In Corsica and Bouches-du-Rhône department, including Marseille, beaches will remain closed during the month of May.

This doesn’t mean either that every single beach in départments that have been given the go-ahead will be opened.

For example, Deauville mayor Philippe Augier has decided not to reopen beaches to prevent a flood of tourists from Paris flocking to the northern seaside resort.

“If we say our beaches are open, everyone will come and it will be a terrible mix,” he told France 3 Normandie.

“We must have the courage to say: the time has not come yet. Let's do it gradually.”

The following maps published in the French press show most of France’s 5,800km coastline, with each map focusing on a department, area or region where certain beaches are open.

The only map that isn’t available so far is for the south-eastern Alpes-Maritimes department where Nice and Cannes are (the far right side of the French Riviera), perhaps because all the beaches in all its communes are open to the public. 

Beaches open in north east France (Hauts-de-France region)

 

Beaches open in Normandy's Calvados department

 

Beaches open in Normandy's Manche department

 

Beaches opened to the public in Brittany

 

Beaches open in Loire-Atlantique and Vendée in the north west

 

Beaches opened to the public in Charente Maritime in the west

(Map also includes bodies of water such as lakes and museums)

 

Beaches opened to the public in the south east (Aquitaine region ) and south west coast in Occitanie

 
 
Beaches open to the public in Provence
(Map also includes parks and other cultural activities, open beaches are yellow icons)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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POLITICS

‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief. 

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