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France

Corona measures in France – France reacts to the 2nd Wave of Covid-19

Nowhere in Europe are the number of new infections within 24 hours as high as in France. The authorities recently reported almost 19,000 cases and due ti the worrying situation, the French government has now declared “maximum alert” for other cities.

Health Minister Olivier Véran announced that this will apply from Saturday in Lille, Grenoble, Lyon and Saint-Etienne.

The highest corona warning level has been in effect in Paris, Marseille and the overseas region of Guadeloupe since Tuesday – it is the last level before the health emergency. Among other things, all bars and cafes had to close, and there are other restrictions in gyms and for swimming pools. In addition, there are stricter hygiene measures in restaurants.

Anyone who wants to receive friends or family has to keep their distance and wear a mask.

Véran also stressed that there was also good news: the situation in Nice had improved significantly. A positive development can also be observed in Bordeaux, Rennes and Marseille. France had declared one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe from mid-March to around mid-May.

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Coronavirus

Fashion Designer Kenzo Takada has died after Corona Infection

Kenzo Fashion show in Paris

He made a career only with his first name: Kenzo. He founded his world-famous fashion and cosmetics company in Paris in 1970 but sadly today Kenzo died at the age of 81 as a result of a Covid-19 infection.

Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada died at the age of 81 after being infected with the coronavirus. According to his spokesman, the designer died in a hospital in Paris. With the label Kenzo, which he founded in the French capital in 1970, he became famous worldwide.

“What a designer,” wrote Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Twitter. Kenzo gave a place to color and light in fashion and Paris mourned one of his sons.

Kenzo was the first Japanese fashion designer to settle in Paris and gain a foothold there. He was born in 1939 in a village near Himeji. His career in the fashion industry began as a stylist in a Tokyo department store chain. He came to France in 1965 and only a few years later he had his first major success with his “Jungle Jap” collection.

Colorful and unusual

Fashion shows followed in all major metropolises – one of them took place in 1977 in the legendary New York nightclub Studio 54. Kenzo was best known for its colorful collections and unusual patterns. As early as 1993 he sold his brand to the French luxury group LVMH of the billionaire Bernard Arnault and in 1999 he announced his withdrawal from the company in order to devote himself more to his family.

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France

Bordeaux Coronavirus Covid-19 alert

Located in south-western France, Bordeaux is famous for its namesake wine. Half the city has been declared a World Heritage Site, while most visitors also see it as a gateway to the surrounding wineries and chateaus. Bordeaux welcomed the new millennium with major face-lift, which included pedestrianizing several central streets and extensive renovation of its lovely neo-classical buildings. A college city, it features a vast variety of lively cafes, restaurants and bars.

Getting around

Bordeaux features an efficient public transport network, which consists of three tram lines and several bus routes. Single tickets are valid for only one journey with no transferring lines. The tram operates from 5am to 1am. Night buses, which serve the popular entertainment districts, are available during the weekends. Taxis are relatively easy to find on the street.

Bordeaux’s Museums and Galleries

Although a medium-sized city, Bordeaux has its fair share in interesting museums and galleries. Centrally located, Musée d’Aquitaine houses an outstanding collection of artefacts and relics from the area’s ancient history, as well as a few art crafts from former French colonies in Africa and Oceania.

Occupying two lovely 18th-century buildings in Mairie Gardens, one by each side of Bordeaux’s Town Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts houses artworks from the 16th to the 20th centuries. From Delacroix to Picasso, a fascinating painting collection is complemented by beautiful sculpture and drawing displays. Guided tours of the museum are organised on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

For modern and contemporary art, head to CAPC (museum of contemporary art). Housed in a former 18th-century warehouse, CAPC features a permanent collection of more than 1,000 art pieces, many of which have been obtained by temporary exhibitions the museum hosted the previous years.

The city’s small, but historic, Museum of Natural History is closed for restoration and will open its gates again in 2015.

Other attractions in Bordeaux

Rooting back to 6th century, Basilica Saint-Seurin is an imposing landmark of the city. Built in a fusion of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, it features an adjoined 15th-century chapel and an ancient crypt. The crypt houses some fascinating sarcophagi from twelve centuries ago, decorated in superb Merovingian design.

Visitors flock St Andre Cathedral, not so much for the medieval church itself, but to take a look at its attached steeple. To avoid any negative effects from the vibrations of the jingling bell, a separate Gothic tower (Tour Pay-Berland) was built to house it. Today tourists climb up Tour Pay-Berland to enjoy some panoramic views of the area.

Initially established and developed by the Celtics, the city of Bordeaux really thrived during Roman Era. Unfortunately not much is left from its glorious ancient past, except from some fascinating findings exhibited in Musée d’Aquitaine. However, the remains of a Roman amphitheatre still stand near the Public Garden. Known as Palais Gallien, the site houses some of the 3rd-century amphitheatre’s sidewalls. Visitors are welcome to walk around the ruins.

Around Bordeaux

It would be a real shame to visit Bordeaux and not take a day tour to the nearby chateaus for some delicious wine-tasting. Located in Martillac, Chateau Smith Haut Laffite is one of the grandest and most historic chateaus in the area. Standing in a huge vineyard, it occupies a 16th-century building and features a 1,000-barrel cellar. The chateau organises guided tours of its facilities, which include wine-tasting.

Close to Chateau Smith Haut Laffite, you will find the outstanding Spa de Vinothérapie Caudalie, which offers original treatments based on different types of wine. Relax with a red-wine bath, or pamper yourself with a wine-scrub, and leave totally relaxed and refreshed!

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Saint-Gervais-les-Bains Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats Haute-Savoie French Alps

Saint-Gervais-les-Bains is an Alpine resort in the Haute-Savoie department of south-eastern France. It first grew up as a spa town in the 19th C, before evolving into a ski resort. Set on the flanks of Mont Blanc, it has access to a huge area for skiing and snow-boarding, climbing and mountaineering.

The TIC is at  Office de Tourisme de Saint-Gervais-les-Bains43 Rue de Mont Blanc.  Daily 09:00-19:00..

Get in

By plane

The closest airport is in Geneva  about 45 minutes away by car and is serviced by most major European airlines. Only Borini Bus run a direct service from Geneva airport to Saint-Gervais priced at 42 euros. La Fayet, a few kilometers away is also served by coaches with a single journey costing around 30 euros, and then a 10 euro taxi. Unfortunately taking public transport from Geneva airport to Saint-Gervais involves a gauntlet of trains, trams and buses and at least 2 hours hence why the pricey coach services exist. Don’t be worried by website requests to book your coach ticket in advance, you can easily get bus tickets in the arrivals hall.

By train

From Paris Gare de Lyon take the train to Annecy then local train or bus to St Gervais, total journey 6 hours. Alternatively, from Paris Gare de Lyon travel to Geneva (3 hr 15 from Gare de Lyon) then to Martigny (90 min, frequent trains towards Brig) to join the mountain railway, see “Get Around” below.

By car

Coming from Geneva or anywhere in France, take A40 (“Autoroute Blanche”). From elsewhere in Switzerland, take A9 to Martigny then the mountain road over Col des Montets into France. From Italy, take A5 up Val d’Aosta into the Mont Blanc tunnel, emerging in France at Chamonix.

Get around

By train: a single track metre-gauge railway starts at St Gervais and runs east up the main valley through Les Houches, Les Bossons, Chamonix, Les Praz and Argentière to cross into Switzerland at Vallorcine and descend to Martigny. The trains, operated jointly by SNCF and SBB, run hourly year round.

Mont Blanc TramwayThis metre-gauge rack railway ascends from St Gervais, with the valley station “Le Fayet” next to the SNCF station. It ascends to Bellevue at 1794 m then Nid d’Aigle at 2380 m. There are trains roughly hourly and the journey takes 80 mins. Adult return €38, child & senior €32.

See

See Mont Blanc without toiling up it, by riding the Tramway, as above.

Do

  • Ski: the season runs from mid-Dec to mid-April, and is as snow-sure as you’ll find anywhere. The ski pass for the surrounding area plus Megeve is “Evasion Mont Blanc”, with a six day adult pass costing 240 euros. The Mont-Blanc Unlimited extends as far as Vallorcine, Martigny and Verbier in Switzerland, and Courmayeur in Italy, six day adult pass 315 euros.
  • Climb Mont Blanc: St Gervais is the base for the usual ascent, the Voie Royale. Other routes ascend from Chamonix and Courmayeur. Reckon three days and two nights on the mountain by any route.

Buy

  • Rey Leon Fromages de Savoie, 2524 Route du Fayet ( Monday – Saturday 08:00-12:30 & 14:30-19:00). Big selection of cheese, reasonably priced.

Eat

Most eating places are in the valley near the railway station:

  • L Anatolie, 193 Ave de Chamonix (Daily 11:00-14:00 & 18:00-22:00) Turkish.
  • Le Cairn, 14 rue de la Poste (Daily 07:30-20:00) Brasserie.

Up the hill are:

  • Khue Danh, 935 Ave de Miage (Daily 12:00-14:00 & 18:00-22:00) Vietnamese.
  • Le Galeta, 150 Impasse des Lupins (Daily 19:00-23:00) Savoyard specialties and grills.

Where to stay in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains

Most hotels are up the hill near the ski lifts.

  • La Feline Blanche  , 138 Rue du Mont Blanc, +33 4 50 96 58 70, small boutique hotel.
  • Hotel Le Regina  , 74 Ave de Miage, +33 4 50 91 79 53, small two star.
  • Hotel Liberty Mont Blanc  , 734 Ave du Mont d’Arbois, +33 4 50 93 45 21, 3-star chalet.
  • Residence Le Grand Panorama  , 950 Ave du Mont d’Arbois, +33 4 50 18 57 33. 3 star with heated pool. Wifi is patchy.

Stay safe in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains

Standard advice applies about safety on the mountain, whether skiing, hiking or whatever.

In 1892, 200 people were killed when a water pocket burst out of the Tête Rousse Glacier above town and surged down the valley. In 2010 they found a similar pocket: it’s deep-set and can’t altogether be drained, and perhaps there’s more. So if you hear the siren . .

Go next

Geneva is the nearest big city.

Had enough of cold mountains? Head down the hill to Lyon then follow the Rhone valley towards Avignon and the South of France.

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