France to hold ‘experimental’ concerts in the spring

France is to 'experiment' with several concerts in the spring, in a bid to reopen the cultural sector, long closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

France to hold 'experimental' concerts in the spring
French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot. Photo: AFP
The French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot on Monday evening announced plans of holding test-concerts in March and April in Paris and Marseille.
“As long as we are not in a catastrophic health situation,” she told LCI, two concerts will take place “in the second half of March” in Marseille, while the concert in Paris is set to take place in April.

France’s culture sector has suffered big economic losses due to the Covid health crisis, with concert halls, theatres, cinemas and museums closed for months as part of the government’s strategy to curb the spread of the virus.

The government has taken criticism for leaving the sector behind, with critics arguing that culture is essential too, equal to fromageries and wine-cellars, which were allowed to stay open during the lockdowns in spring and autumn of 2020.

While book shops quickly reopened as the government eased restrictions to boost sales before Christmas, concert halls and other venues gathering big crowds are extra tricky because of their high risk-factor.

But the culture minister said she was optimistic about finding a solution to let seated concerts go ahead under safe circumstances, and that she hoped to reproduce the model for festivals this summer.

“I am very optimistic for seated festivals,” she said. “For standing shows, it’s more complicated, that’s why I’m experimenting, and these experiments are meant to really test what’s going on.”

The two concerts in Marseille will be held in the concert hall Dôme with a 1,000 sitting spectators, who will have “the possibility to stand up”, Bachelot said.

Everyone will be tested before the concert, the minister said, and organisers will distribute face masks and hand sanitising gel.

In Paris, between 3,000 and 5,000 people will be allowed into Accor Arena for a “standing concert” held in partnership with the Paris public hospital group AP-HP and the national research institute Inserm, which will be testing and tracing the event.

Everyone will have to wear a protective face mask throughout the concerts. According to organisers in Paris the tracing app TousAntiCovid will function as a health pass, with proof of a PCR test result from less than 72 hours prior to the event – similar to the method used for international travel.

No exact date has yet been set for either of the concerts as it will depend on how the health situation develops until then.

Member comments

  1. They are testing a new approach – with maximum testing and proper distancing. What’s so hard to understand?

  2. Futurix why do people like you always think that someone that doesn’t agree with what you do have difficulty in understanding? Just keep the concert halls closed until this virus is really sorted out. People can survive without attending a concert.

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French doctors advise ‘be more Spanish’ as heatwaves continue

With a fourth summer heatwave on the horizon for France, French doctors are advising their compatriots to copy Spanish habits to deal with the high temperatures.

French doctors advise 'be more Spanish' as heatwaves continue

France has had a dangerously hot summer – one that emergency doctor, Patrick Pelloux, estimates will lead to “5,000 to 10,000 excess deaths” by the end of the season.

French weather forecaster Météo France has repeatedly sounded the alert for dangerously high temperatures via its heat alert system – as of Wednesday, 18 départements are on ‘orange’ alert for high temperatures.

As a result, several emergency medicine doctors have announced new recommendations to help the French adapt and stay safe in the warmer temperatures.

Interestingly enough, it might involve mimicking the behaviours of France’s neighbours to the south – known for their heat adapted lifestyles (e.g. the afternoon siesta).

French daily Le Parisien, has even published a map comparing temperatures in French cities to those in Spain:

Here’s how these doctors recommend the French become more Spanish:

Alter the daily routine – Spain is famous for its afternoon siestas and late evening meals. In France the classic apéro or ‘happy hour’ usually begins at about 5 or 6pm with dinner at 7pm or 8pm, but during the heatwave many bar owners are reporting that terraces are empty at 5pm, and only fill up from 9pm when the temperatures start to fall.

Pelloux recommended to Le Parisien that the French may need to begin adjusting their working hours to avoid the hottest part of the day, but continue until later in the evening.

Another emergency medicine doctor, Agnès Ricard-Hibon, who works as head of the Samu du Val-d’Oise emergency unit, told the newspaper: “It is logical that we imitate the Spanish rhythm.

“When it’s very hot, you have to get up earlier and take a break in the afternoon, especially if you’re a vulnerable person with a risk of complications due to dehydration.”

It might also be recommended to extend the classic 12-2pm shop and office closure and keep shops closed during the high heat of the early afternoon, and instead take evening strolls at 8pm, rather than earlier.

Pelloux said that as France transitions “from a temperate to a tropical climate, we will have to stop working between noon and 5 pm.” 

No more tanning and goodbye suits – With skin cancer on the rise in France, experts worry about the popularity of the tanning trend, particularly during the hottest parts of the day.

Emergency physician Christophe Prudhomme told Le Parisien that it might be necessary to “close beaches at the hottest times” in order to keep people safe from the heat.

He also said we might have to change our fashion habits – dark coloured clothing, such as suits, hold in heat on hot days. Prudhomme recommends embracing fashion trends with more breathable fabric, such as cotton or linen.

In Spain, prime minister Pedro Sanchez is leading the way by announcing that he will no longer wear a tie when the weather is hot.

Lighter lunches – Ricard-Hibo told Le Parisien that as the days go by, we must learn to accept the heat and lighten our lunches.

Other experts recommend eating lots of hydrating foods during heatwaves, so maybe this is your opportunity to test out a particularly tasty gazpacho for your midday meal. The Local Spain has some other delicious recommendations to test out during the hot weather. 

READ MORE: The best Spanish food and drink to keep you cool during the summer heat

What about the official governmental advice? 

Meanwhile, the French government’s official advice is of course to drink plenty of water, but it is also a bit contradictory to the gazpacho suggestion – in the graphic below, you can see the French government recommending regular meals to keep from feeling faint in the high temperatures.

The government also recommends keeping the shutters closed, avoiding alcohol (maybe go light on the sangria), and staying cool by ‘getting your body wet’ whether that be by jumping in a fountain or standing in a brumisateurs (the machine that pumps out water vapour).

Eat sufficient meals and shut the shutters – French government advice for staying cool in a heatwave