VIDEO: What lockdown is like in a French chateau

Not everyone in France is confined to their homes and barred from meeting others during the country's ongoing lockdown. One group of young people are enjoying life together in a 16th-century chateau in Normandy. Video by Alex Dunham and AFP.

VIDEO: What lockdown is like in a French chateau

“The first lockdown was difficult because of the lack of social contact and the lack of activity… that's why I motivated myself to come here,” said Maxime a web developer.

He's one of the 30 or so young French artists who have taken up residence in Chateau Perché in rural Normandy during France's second strict lockdown, which was imposed at the end of October.

While most in France are confined to their homes, barred from socialising and only out for essential reasons, the 30-strong group of young folks are sharing the 16th-century chateau and its grounds to work, let their hair down and even find love.

“We are basking in bliss,” said one young man from a steaming hot tub. “There are such good vibes you don't know what to do with them.”

See for yourself in Alex Dunham's latest video for The Local with AFP.








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Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

As France launches its autumn vaccine campaign, almost half of those eligible for the second booster jab in France have already received it. This has left some wondering whether they could qualify for a third booster, using the new dual-strain vaccines.

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

Question: I’m in my 70s and I had my second booster back in the summer but now I see that the new dual-strain vaccines are available – should I be getting an extra booster with the new type of vaccine?

French health authorities launched the autumn booster campaign on October 3rd includes newly authorised dual-strain vaccines – such as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.1, the Moderna vaccine adapted to BA.1, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.4/5 – which are designed to combat the Omicron variant.

It will be followed by the seasonal flu vaccination campaign in mid October.

READ MORE: When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters this autumn in France

In France, about 6.3 million people have received a second booster dose, “or 41 percent of the eligible population,” said the Directorate General of Health (DGS) to Ouest France.

Currently only those in high risk groups are eligible for a second booster shot, including pregnant women, the elderly those with medical conditions or carers – find the full list here.

As almost half of the eligible population have already received a fourth vaccine, many are wondering whether they will be eligible for a fifth (or third booster) in order to access the new dual-strain vaccine.  

According to Virginie, a representative from HAS – France’s health authority – the organisation “no longer thinks in terms of doses for high-risk people and immunocompromised patients.”

Specifically, the HAS recommends that a new injection be given – and if possible one of the dual-strain vaccines – “regardless of the number of injections received up to now”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster in France?

However, French health authorities specified that the additional booster should “respect the minimum recommended time between two doses.”

“This depends based on your profile – for people aged 80 and over, residents of nursing homes or long-term care units (USLD) and those who are immunocompromised, the wait-time is three months between jabs. For the others, the delay is set at six months.”

For those who have already been infected by Covid-19, the HAS recommends that if you are eligible for a second (or third booster) that the additional dose “is still recommended, with a minimum delay of three months after infection.”