Heritage days, illustration -

Bufkens Cedric / SIPA

  • This weekend is Heritage Days and

    20 Minutes

    wondered whether after a summer spent mainly in France, the French had fallen in love with their country again.

  • Response with Jean Viard, doctor in sociology of holidays, for whom the health crisis and the confinement made the French even more aware of the wealth of their country.

  • Local approach, search for the spirit of places ... France of the authentic has been acclaimed since the health and economic crisis linked to the epidemic of the new coronavirus. 

Coronavirus obliges, the French for the most part spent their summer vacation 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 went 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 ”.

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 summer holidays?

The French have always traveled a lot in France.

There has always been this carnal connection to the country and the epidemic linked to the new coronavirus has made it even stronger.

This is characteristic of crises, it creates new trends but it also causes a clear strengthening of already strong trends.

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 inevitably have the sea three to four hours away.

However, distance is the main criterion for choosing a destination, the closer it is, the more you are encouraged to go there.

We are not going to travel 1,000 kilometers to see a magnificent place if there is an equally magnificent place 300 kilometers away.

Moreover, apart from Parisians, who travel everywhere in 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 look at vacations and our relationship to French heritage?

With confinement, what was seen as 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.

Moreover, a significant portion of tourism revenue this summer is derived 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 .

We talk a lot about nature and the beach, 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, for the spirit of the place.

After the war, there was the cult of concrete and modernity.

Having concrete, roundabouts, hypermodern centers was considered a major tourist asset.

In recent years, 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, confinement, 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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