France's most famous beach is being privatized, and the locals are not happy
Summer is almost here, which means it’s almost time to hit the beach. But it won't be all fun in the sun at this French beach.
La Baule beach, a 12 km (about 7 miles) long beach in Brittany, western France, is one of the largest beaches in the world, and one of the most famous in France. Now that a significant portion of the beach is being privatized, many Parisians are upset.
For decades, tourists and locals gathered at the large resort to take in the sunshine and luxuriate at La Baule’s many hotels and beach clubs. At the end of December, 5.4 km (about 3 miles) of the beach was handed over by the Loire-Atlantique department to French utilities company, Veolia.
According to The Local, Veolia plans to “renovate and maintain the access to the beach, maintain the toilet facilities and take care of the management of the 35 businesses that operate along the 5.4km stretch including bars, restaurants and beach clubs.”
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The change in management is due to the aftermath of a 2014 storm that left a good portion of the beach demolished. Mounting costs convinced local authorities to bring in an outside company to manage it.
But the privatization will also mean many long-standing businesses will be destroyed for temporary structures that can be taken down when out of season.
“The cost of [temporary structures] is estimated to be between €200,000 and €700,000 which businesses say will naturally lead to rent increases of 57 percent,” The Local noted. Many businesses will be forced to sell.
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Businesses that remain, however, will have to take up more space with extra tables and deckchairs to increase turnover and combat rising rent. This unfortunately leaves less space for vacationers themselves.
If you plan to have your summer vacation in France, just be prepared for a crowd.