By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 22 May 2020 • 11:01
A beach in southern France has become the country’s first to reopen for sunbathing after two months of coronavirus confinement, but places must be booked two days in advance and slots last just three hours, La Grande-Motte’s internet beach booking system was inundated within minutes of offering a place to sunbathe.
Roads leading to beaches, which have recently reopened, notably in the north and west of the country, saw a massive influx of people last week and the news of beaches about to reopen fully sparked off a frantic search for available beach sunbed spaces.
Last weekend, hundreds of French beaches reopened to runners, swimmers, and anglers but sunbathing or picnics had been banned as part of social distancing measures seeking to prevent a second infection wave.
However, at La Grande-Motte in the southern Hérault département, the first sun-worshippers arrived early on Thursday morning after booking via the internet one of 66 coveted spaces for up to six people and cordoned off by ropes and wooden stakes.
Customers were saddened to hear they could only book up to three hours although it did not affect demand which within the last hours has seen bookings for the next month filled completely.
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