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News Heritage Days: "Staying in France this summer has reinforced the attachment of the French to their heritage"

23:15  19 september  2020
23:15  19 september  2020 Source:   20minutes.fr

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Jean Viard, doctor in sociology of holidays, returns for "20 Minutes" on the attachment to the French to their heritage, reinforced by a summer spent mainly in the country

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Coronavirus obliges, the French have for the most part spent their summer holidays in France. Proof of this is the report presented this Wednesday by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State in charge of tourism: of the French who left on vacation in July and August, the overwhelming majority - 94% - chose to (re ) discover France. And whether you have admired Cassis, whether you have faded the GR20, whether you have strolled on the Côte d'Azur or admired the charms of Brittany, you have inevitably heard one of these expressions: "All the same, France , what a beautiful country ”or“ we are still well off in France ”.

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So, did the French (re) fall in love with their beautiful country this summer? Answer with Jean Viard, doctor in sociology of the holidays, who evokes “love of the inheritance” (it falls well these are the Days of the inheritance and “Patriotic summer”.

Did the French rediscover their country during these holidays of 'summer?

The French have always traveled a lot in France. There has always been this carnal relationship in the country and the epidemic linked to the new coronavirus has further reinforced it. It is characteristic of crises, it creates new trends but this also causes a clear reinforcement of an already strong trend. The fact remains that the French did not really stay in France out of patriotism, but more out of geographical opportunity. In France, wherever you are, you are bound to have three seas. four hours of road . However, distance is the main criterion for choosing a destination, the closer it is, the more you are encouraged to go there.

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You are not going to travel 1,000 kilometers to see a magnificent place if it there is an equally beautiful place at 30 0 kilometers. Moreover, apart from Parisians, who travel all over France often thanks to their high level of income, most French people generally spend "regional holidays". A Breton will rarely go to Marseille, for example, he will tend to favor his region.

Has the health crisis changed the way we think about vacations and our relationship to French heritage?

With confinement, what was seen as something natural - the proximity to beautiful places and the sea - has become a real asset. Being able to move not far from home has become a real need and the French have realized that France offers plenty of possibilities. What little - or none - the Germans, the Dutch or the British have. They have to travel many more kilometers to have access to a pleasant beach.

With the fear of spreading the virus and the fear of falling ill far from home, the French have strengthened their local roots and have chosen to explore their regions. In fact, a significant portion of this summer's tourism revenue comes from local tourists. The French people with their budget cut by the economic crisis and short-time working have also relied on day trips [a long hike, a museum, a beach two hours away, etc.], without an overnight stay other than at home .

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There is a lot of talk about nature and beaches, about natural heritage, but has the architectural heritage benefited from a "Covid-19 effect"?

The crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic has reinforced an already clear trend: the search for French heritage , the spirit of the place. In the postwar period, there was the cult of concrete and modernity. Having concrete, roundabouts, hypermodern centers was considered a major tourist asset. For several years now, we have been looking for the pretty village without a roundabout. What was once a flaw has become a tourist asset. With the coronavirus and, above all, the containment, this search for the "authentic" has developed even more. So, yes, we can therefore say that staying in France this summer has reinforced our attachment to French heritage.

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