On Friday Célestine had to go for her two yearly roadworthy test, so I got to sit around at the testing station and read the newspaper. The local newspaper is La Nouvelle République, founded by Michel Debré, a government official from Amboise, as an underground newspaper during World War II.
I thought it would be fun to give a glimpse of the local news in the Loire Valley today, so here is my summary:
- Farmers are relieved that the wheat crop has not been damaged too much with the recent poor weather. It has made the harvest tricky to manage, but quality is OK. The rain has been very good for the maize crop on the other hand.
- The cool and wet weather has resulted in a very poor honey yield for apiarists.
- Winemakers are having a bad year, after severe frosts, now there is a lot of mildew, which means a lot of fungicide is being sprayed around.
- Tourism visitor numbers are down 20% for July and August compared to the same period in 2019.
- A study has revealed that 1 autoroute user in 4 admits to sometimes chucking rubbish out their car window while driving. This figure has been the same for the past several years.
- The Chateau of Villandry has set up its own Covid19 testing station, in one of the pavillions. It is an initiative of the owner, Henri Carvallo and funded by the Tourist Office. They are testing 100 people a day, who are unvaccinated and would otherwise not be able to enter the gardens. The Chateau Royal d'Amboise has also set up a testing station. It has proved difficult to find a lab partner to run these stations. The labs pay the staff and charge €30 per test. They have struggled to find staff for these testing stations, as most suitably qualified people are already working. They have been distressed to find that visitors are quite prone to insulting and abusing staff and think the testing should be free. Once the numbers of people requiring tests drops ie as more are vaccinated, they will close these testing stations. 1.2% of tests are positive, in line with the rest of the population. It is the asymptomatic cases they are picking up.
- The Piscine du Lac (the big swimming pool complex in Tours, one of my favourite places) has received lots of complaints that swimmers must present an EU Covid Certificate (aka Pass Sanitaire). Numbers of swimmers per day have dropped from 4000 in July 2019 to 400 in July 2021.
- Emma and Léo were the two most popular baby names last year in the Touraine Loire Valley. Nationally, the two most popular names were Jade and Léo. Other popular names are Louise, Alice, Louis and Arthur.