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Revealed: This is France’s favourite village in 2020

The votes have been counted. Here is the winner of the title 'France's favourite village' for 2020 and once again it goes to a place in the east of the country.

Revealed: This is France's favourite village in 2020
Photo: mksfca/Flickr

After months of intense competition, the Alsatian town of Hunspach has claimed the title 'France's favourite village'.

The picturesque little town in the Bas-Rhin département, northeast France, became the third Alsatian village to claim the title of the annual contest.

The participants get rare nationwide exposure through the popular TV show Le Village Préféré des Français (France’s favourite village), aired on France 3.

For viewers, the show is a way to discover some of France's hidden treasures.

For the villages and small towns competing, it's a way to show France what they have to offer.

All the finalists, 14 in total this year, get a visit from France 3 to show off particular cultural traditions, culinary specialties and architecture.

 
 

The list of contenders is carefully selected and must prove that they have rich cultural traditions that make them worthy to take part in the program.

 

Hunspach stands out from the other contenders with its traditional architecture, typical of the Alsace region. Its milky white houses are decorated with black stripes and gardens filled with with pots of geraniums.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alsatians hailed the victory as a reminder of the French people's attachment to the region.
 
 

Those rooting for Hunspach were thrilled by the news. Winning the title is not just an honourable achievement, it is also a way for the local population to boost their tourism industry and local economy. Every year about 2.5 million French watch the show.

 

 

Hunspach was actually elected the winner in March, but the official announcement was made this week. This had nothing to do with the coronavirus health crisis, it was just the set schedule.

Hunspach is apparently a lovely place to be a tourist, with visitors of the praising the inhabitants' friendliness and the Alsatian spirit.

Second place was awarded to Les Anses-d'Arlet in the French overseas territory of Martinique and the third place went to Ménerbes in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur southern region.
 
You can check out all the contenders and what they have to offer here
 
 
 

 

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TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

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