Sunday, May 10, 2020

Lifting Restrictions In The French Riviera

As years go, this is certainly a different one. With the Coronavirus pandemic all over media coverage it can make for confusing times on what safe steps to proceed with in daily life.

And usually at this time of year in France, the French Riviera is buzzing with anticipation for what would be the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix this month that would bring together an international list of people from around the world.

Fortunately though as the weeks have gone by, people here in France for the most part seem to have been abiding by the restrictions (hefty fines help) meaning our Covid-19 numbers so far keep going down.

So much so that last month President Macron announced that as of May 11th our restrictions in the country will slowly be lifted as long as the virus numbers stay manageable and consistently decrease so that we do not have a second wave.
Since March 16th everyone has had to stay within the 1 km radius of their homes unless they are an essential worker or its an emergency type situation.

Starting Monday, May 11th we will now be able to travel up to 100 km radius of our home with the only option to move further if you have an emergency or special permission with your attestation forms.
The 100 km distance alone seems to have made people feel more relieved. And with the borders still being closed for some time yet it sounds like everyone here will just be making the most of it as things progress hopefully for the better.

In the meanwhile in the French Riviera, local mayors have been either adding to their local restrictions or lifting even more with permission from the Government of France.

At this moment when you go outside you can see small businesses preparing to open for tomorrow with city workers busy maintaining the parks and beaches for when the public are allowed to use them again in the following days.
This is great news as with the beautiful sunny weather here in the French Riviera, not having access to those public areas, especially the beaches seemed unfathomable.

Public transit will still not be available to the full extent it previously was but train and buses will be running but only allowing a certain amount of people at a time with social distancing at stations, on platforms and within transit itself. Plus you must always wear a mask when traveling or you can get a fine or not be allowed to travel.
For now bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs will still be closed until June 5th and that can change by week depending on the virus situation and even then the type of service might be different meaning a limited amount of people and more social distancing.
As it also will stand starting May 11th, the current number of social groups can only be up to 10 people with distancing in affect.

You can tell those of us in the LGBTQ community are very much looking forward to full on social events again like at the bars, private dinner parties and nightclubs.

Owners of local gay establishments have been watching the government news closely and keeping people up to date with information on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram with any fresh news they may get with many keeping a positive outlook to it all.

The feeling right now is as long as things keep safe and relatively normal, these establishments may open again by July. Fingers crossed.

 There has been a good patriotic spirit to this whole virus situation with many offering more support online and an overall optimistic viewpoint while restrictions gradually get lifted.

When the final news comes in that the border are open to visitors from around the world again, you can be certain everyone here will be letting the world know.

Stay strong, stay safe.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Life During The Coronavirus

Well, it's basically the middle of April, the restrictions in place because of the Coronavirus started to slowly take place on the early evening of March 14, 2020 here in the beautiful French Riviera and the rest of France. Which at the time meant all the bars, restaurants and nightclubs were at first to limit the number of people inside but within hours had to close all together.

As soon as the new life rules came into play it made for interesting times, life then started to change more and more as the restrictions continued to come in and yet there was still a feeling of being able to move on to an extent with freedoms not totally abolished and for the better good.

After that first evening, every day businesses were told to close to the public and if you could manage to work from home that was the best option.

One of the main attractions the Cote d'Azur is known for is our stunning surrounding landscapes with the precious blue Mediterranean sea lapping against the long coastline. People were just getting used to the closures and overall limitations, so naturally they headed towards the beaches.

You could sense there were people nervous about what was happening and already worried about their future while others decided to treat the invisible Covid-19 like a bit of a reason to holiday.

Which at the time meant too many people were gathering at the various beaches and not staying inside so soon after those in authority barred everyone from going near any of the beaches but depending on where you live one could still see, smell and hear the waves hitting the shore. There still was life even if the blue waters were so close but yet so far away. 

For weeks now people have gotten used to filling out the (previously hand written or printed off) online attestation form on their smartphone before leaving their residence so that if stopped by the police they can scan the code it produces. Some of the current restrictions are: limited exercise to an hour outside every day and within a 1km radius of your home and only within certain hours.

Essential workers can go their jobs, while doing this you may be checked for such reasons before getting on trains, buses and in your car at checkpoints. One can go for quick trips to the grocery store, pharmacy or doctor appointments.

And some cities quickly enacted curfews anywhere from 7pm to 6am. Wear a mask if possible, social distance and staying home are the main rules.

President Macron gave a very strong, all encompassing and encouraging speech this past Monday night.

Basically now we will continue to be under confinement until May 11th as what we are doing as citizens is working which means we also currently will not have any new restrictions. After that date, a very small select number of schools and businesses will be allowed to re-open.

Further to that Macron said,"May 11 will be the start of a new phase. It will be progressive and the rules can be adapted according to our results."

So again, it's a day by day issue but easily handled.

One thing that seems to have stood out for us in the luxury industry, this is the time of year businesses are really ramping up for high season with the adrenaline going. Even the so called luxury lifestyle gurus would be making plans to head this way, getting in contact, trying to make their mark, grab a piece of the pie so to speak and attempt to make some quick cash in the region. You can see them coming from a mile away.

Many things during this time period have been remarkable. The sense of strength of communities coming together, people are being more helpful with each other, little things are no longer taken for granted and one of the best times is at 8pm every night when everyone stops what they are doing at home and go out on their terraces or front yards to clap and cheer for all the honorable health care workers and front line industry staff doing the best job possible in such a horrendous time.

Although life may never be the same again, hopefully this virus will be over soon and we can carry on with some valuable life lessons.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Coronavirus and the French Riviera

Well, as of early Saturday night some not so unexpected news came in quickly from the Government of France about the next steps that would be taken to try and contain the Coronavirus. 

The first message was that starting immediately any restaurants, bars and nightclubs along with other places people usually gather would have to close by midnight. 

About an hour later it was stated that further restrictions would come into effect. Starting Sunday all shops and services would close for the foreseen future with only supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and tabacs deemed essential being open on a regular basis. 

This really wasn’t that much of a surprise as President Macron in his speech only a few days before declared that schools and universities would be closed as of March 16, 2020. 

Needless to say, this has been a very odd time in not only France but around the world as we all grapple with what has been going on.
With the new changes implemented, we were curious how the city of Nice was reacting. In walking around, to be honest, life seemed as normal, in fact it felt much like years ago when shops were regularly closed on Sundays.

People seemed to be enjoying life as normal as possible, sitting at the beach, watching the waves or on benches in parks under the clear, sunny blue skies taking in the surroundings.

We walked by a number of grocery shops, there was no lineups, the checkouts had a normal amount of people buying products. Before finishing our stroll in the city, we went into one of the larger grocery chains to find again, an average amount of people doing a regular shop and the shelves looked stocked and noon, no panic at the checkouts.

Obviously things can change but what we have already noticed online is businesses and groups of individuals are coming together to help support each other in the various communities in France. Very heart warming.

We are feeling positive that through this tricky time, things will eventually pass and we have a number of creative plans in the works not only for our luxury businesses but since we have already developed a shared economy for the past number of years in France, we want everyone to benefit from the natural rewards of the country.

One of those smaller plans is to keep promoting all that France has to offer, this was actually upon the suggestions of our regular clients and followers who have told us that our posts on social media have been inspiring and lifting their spirits, it is even more so now a pleasure for us to do.

The LGBTQ community is strong here in France and so is everyone else seemingly working together as one.

If you ever have any questions about the situation here in France, feel free to connect with us.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Les Thermes Sauna Masculin in Marseille

Exciting news came to the gay community in the city of Marseille a couple of months ago with the addition of the brand new Les Thermes Sauna Masculin!
After almost a year of top to bottom renovations, this expansive sauna has been reconfigured with more than 600m2 among three levels of play space.

Each area has been well thought out to offer you the maximum in socializing, cruising and adventurous hook up spots.

With a feeling of warmth, cleanliness and comfort, this is truly one of those places in Marseille where you can leave your cares behind.

Upon entering Les Thermes, you will be greeted by friendly and discreet employees putting you at ease as soon as you enter, especially if it is your first time in this type of establishment.

Totally soak in the atmosphere while meeting new friends at the bar or go for a swim in the large pool.

Around every corner in Les Thermes there is something new to experience and more men to meet.

Grab a quick shower and relax in the Hamman or Finnish Sauna. Close by you will find the extensive cruising area where most of the cabins are configured and they all offer something unique such a sling room, some cabins equipped with glory holes or even just private rooms. Whatever suits your pleasure.

If you have a kink you need worked out, head to the lower level of the club, otherwise known as the "Fetish Zone" with a large communal mattress, sling cabin and play room with porn video monitors.

Les Thermes is a great place to hang out and a must visit on your next trip to Marseille as the spacious new sauna has a rotating variety of themes day and night that always brings in the best crowd.

You'll definitely leave with a smile on your face!

Photos courtesy of Les Thermes Sauna Masculin