This Week in French News
Nicolas Sarkozy Found Guilty
Former French President was found guilty of corruption and condemned to 1 year in prison and 2 years probation. He immediately appealed which means that by French law he’s innocent until proven guilty again in a different court of law. What is he accused of? Let me grossly simplify it for you: Long ago there was a rich woman called Elaine Bettancourt who ran Loreal. She made a large campaign contribution to Sarkozy and a judge started investigating to see if they followed the rules.
Sarkozy didn’t like being investigated and asked a friend to look into the evidence they had against him it in exchange for a good word to be transferred to work near Monaco. Eventually, Sarkozy was found NOT guilty in the campaign donation matter but he was found guilty for asking his friend (a lawyer) to snoop around for him. Is he going to go to jail? Like I said, technically the second his lawyer filed an appeal he’s not guilty any more. But I would be stunned if he actually went to jail. Especially for asking his lawyer to snoop around for him.
When Will France Re-Open for General Travel?
On the Covid-19 front we’re now just over 5% of the French population vaccinated with 1 dose and under 3% with 2 doses. The Prime Minister, Jean Castex, made a presentation to the country this week where he set an objective of 10 million first vaccines in arms by mid-April, 20 million by mid-May and 30 million by “the summer”. People over 50 with no medical issues will be eligible for vaccination starting mid-April.
There is a clear effort to speed up the vaccination process. When I looked at the French vaccine dashboard just now, I saw that there are 2.3 million doses of vaccine sitting in freezers in France. That’s too many. I understand that they want to reserve doses for people who have priority first, but it’s a fine line between being prudent and being careless because vaccines only help when injected.
But most of you my listeners are in the US, Canada, Australia, England, New Zealand. What does that mean for you? Will France be open for general tourism by the summer on 2021?
As things stand today, I don’t think so. But we may have vaccine passports by then, it’s possible vaccination campaigns will go faster than planned (that’s what happened in the US), there are a lot of moving pieces here. I think if you find a great deal on a plane ticket and this is money you can afford to lose, by all means go for it! But if you want a sure thing, it is best to wait until late 2021 or later.
Notre Dame de Paris Reconstruction Update
Things are still on-track for a planned re-opening in 2024, but they are still working on securing the site and preparing it for construction. Reconstruction will start in September 2021 according to our Minnister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot (article in French).