While theaters and concert halls are down, some museums and heritage sites began to reopen in May, and their numbers are expected to increase significantly in June. According to the recommendations of the Department of Heritage of the Ministry of Culture dating from May 8, the reopening is subject to two criteria: the ability to implement protective measures for agents and visitors, on the one hand, and the attendance, on the other hand, which must be “Of a very predominantly local nature, in order to avoid that the reopening does not cause too many displacements, in particular by public transport”.
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The implementation and interpretation of these criteria give very different results according to regions and cities. This diversity is explained by the decentralization of the reopening decision, subject to the agreement of the prefectures, the regional directorates for cultural affairs (Drac) and the municipalities.
If the national museums (among which many of the great Parisian museums, the Chagall Museum in Nice, the Magnin museum in Dijon, the Porcelain museum of Limoges…) remain closed, the museums of the territorial communities, which represent 82% of the museums of France, are experiencing various situations. Even in the green zone, the main cultural institutions in the regions generally remain closed, such as the Fine Arts museums of Nantes, Rennes and Bordeaux, or the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi.
However, some large museums have reopened, such as the Soulages museum in Rodez, which has been welcoming the public since May 21. In Nice, the Matisse Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Mamac (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) have welcomed visitors since May 13. Le Mamac, which only offers a partial version of its exhibitions, even offers free admission to the public until the end of the month. Conversely, in Marseille, all of the city’s museums remain closed. The Grenoble museum has announced its reopening for Wednesday, May 27.
Number of real “Small museums”, as Edouard Philippe called them in his speech on April 28, also took advantage of the opportunity to reopen their doors: the Image Museum in Épinal, the Kerazan Manor in Finistère, the Mandet Museum in Riom, the Ingres Museum -Bourdelle in Montauban. However, in Arles, the Camargue Museum and the Réattu Museum, which had announced their reopening in May, will ultimately remain closed until June.
Castles and heritage
Again no uniformity. And sometimes somewhat curious situations … Large sites in the Val-de-Loire such as the Château du Clos-Lucé (which welcomed 500,000 visitors in 2019!), The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, the Château d’Ussé and the Château de Blois opened to the public, despite their more national than local influence. This is also the case for the castles of Vaux-le-Vicomte (Seine-et-Marne) and Chantilly (Oise), however located in the Paris region and in the red zone. Curiously, in Chantilly, the park remains inaccessible to walkers … The Chaalis Abbey, near Ermenonville (Oise), also benefits from the administrative green light and opened for Ascension.
Sometimes, it is simply the parks and gardens of the castles that offer flowers and foliage for contemplating the former confined, such as Château de Chambord and Château de Fontainebleau (from May 25). On the other hand, the park of the Palace of Versailles, the domains of Sceaux and Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine) remain closed.
Amidst this great diversity, host Stéphane Bern added a touch of cacophony by asking the State and heritage sites “A little imagination” to speed up their reopening, Friday May 22 on France Inter. The host said he did not understand the closure of major heritage sites like Chambord, Fontainebleau or the Palace of Versailles. “In these large rooms it is so easy to receive only 10 people! “, he launched.
We did not expect to see the amusement parks quickly return to service in view of the crowds, and especially the children, whom they attract. Yet the Puy du Fou (Vendée) (two million annual visitors) announced, Thursday, May 21, its reopening on June 11, claiming to have been informed of a decision by the President of the Republic to reopen tourist sites and theme parks , in the green zone, on June 2.
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Puy du Fou will open “With health security measures which are validated hand in hand with the State, it is a Puy du Fou adapted to the situation”, assured Nicolas de Villiers. Among the health measures in place, the park plans in particular to reduce the capacity for hosting various shows and barrier distances. The teams will be equipped with masks and a suitable catering will replace the buffet.
For the moment, the main French amusement parks, Eurodisney (more than 14 million annual visitors), Futuroscope (1.8 million), Parc Astérix (1.8 million) and PAL, amusement park and animal of Auvergne (500,000 visitors), have not yet announced a reopening date.