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France Travel News 08/18/2010

  • Busted: France cracks down on topless sunbathers

    In France, where Brigitte Bardot helped make topless sunbathing on Mediterranean beaches de rigueur in the 1960s, the inland towns of Perpignan and Cavaillon are the latest to outlaw unclad torsos, although fines of up to 38 euros ($49) apply only to those who refuse to get dressed after being approached by the police, reports London's Independent. (According to the Independent, Perpignan's new crackdown is based less on bare bosoms than on the boorish behavior of visiting English rugby fans, who stripped off while in town for a match.) Paris, where an artificial beach has graced the banks of the Seine River each summer since 2001, bans topless bathers as well.

  • Ancient temple complex discovered near Le Mans

    Excavations near the antique city of Vindunum (now Le Mans) have revealed a vast religious site dating from the first to the third centuries AD with remarkably well-preserved offerings. Sometimes archaeology requires imagination. And you need it to conjure up the vast complex of temples that stood nearly 2,000 years ago on this flat two-hectare strip of land, in what is now Neuville-sur-Sarthe, 4km to the north of Le Mans.

  • Swimming ban on French Riviera beaches after shark alert

    It's the height of the holiday season but tourists visiting the popular French Riviera have been left high and dry after a shark sighting prompted a swimming ban. The chilling alert was issued yesterday after lifeguards patrolling in a motorboat spotted a creature measuring more than seven feet long. ‘We were taking no chances and issued the swimming ban immediately,’ said Michel Cagnaire, who is in charge of public safety in the resort of Cagnes-sur-Mer, near Nice.

  • European Fires Spreading, 8.15.10 Portugal, NE Spain, France, Russia

    In Southern France, a fire was put out on the outskirts of Marseilles, "sparked by practice shelling by the military." Hundreds of homes were threatened, no deaths. Marseilles retirement home had to be evacuated. In a slide picture, "east of Marseilles," it shows evacuated residents watching the fire and the caption reads that the fire is "one of the worst to hit France in recent years." Another slide shows a Marseille resident protecting his eyes with ski goggles and face with a large, blue handkerchief.

  • BBC News – Bomb hoax hits Lourdes pilgrims

    Thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims were evacuated from the Sanctuary of Lourdes in France after a bomb scare which turned out to be a hoax. The threat came as 30,000 worshippers gathered for the annual Feast of the Assumption, one of the pilgrimage site's busiest days of the year. Police gave the all-clear for the site to reopen after a search by bomb disposal teams with sniffer dogs.

  • France ends height rule for joining police force

    France has ended restrictions barring people under 1.6 metres (5ft 3in) from joining the police force. The country of Napoleon imposed minimum height requirements for police centuries ago, raising them over the decades as the average size of Frenchmen rose, but the rules have come to be seen as discriminatory.

  • Missing French chef’s body found stuffed in freezer

    The body of a retired restaurateur who's been missing for two years has been found in a freezer in the French city of Lyon, police there told CNN Wednesday. The corpse of Jean-Francois Poinard, 71, was discovered Tuesday in the apartment he had shared with a girlfriend in Lyon, regarded as the culinary capital of France.

  • France extradites suspected mafia boss to Italy

    French prosecutors say a suspected mafia boss who had been among Italy's top 30 fugitives was handed over to Italian authorities after he failed in his appeal to stay in France. The prosecutor's office at the Aix-en-Provence appeals court says 40-year-old Guiseppe Falsone was handed over Wednesday under high security. Falsone was arrested in June on a street in Marseille, and he argued in French court that he was not a mafia boss. The court rejected his appeal.

  • Tour de France 2011: Race to head north to Brittany after Vendée start

    With the 2010 edition of the race barely over, the rumours are already circulating as to the route of next year’s Tour de France. Race organiser ASO confirmed long ago that the race will start in the Vendée region on the West coast, but according to newspaper Ouest-France the race will then head north into the region of Brittany.

  • Famed restaurant guide turns travel agency

    Last week, Michelin launched a new "experience" brand called Michelin Food & Travel, in conjunction with niche tour operator Roadtrips Inc, which will allow gastronomes behind-the-scenes access to Michelin-starred restaurants. Michelin says that its guests will be able to participate in private kitchen demonstrations, sample the wares of local food artisans and take part in wine tastings, truffle hunts and other culinary experiences.