Are French Restaurants More Likely than American to Survive the Lockdown?

France is not unique in seeing its service industry shut down in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But compared to other countries, France has a robust safety net of social security, unemployment, and healthcare. France has also implemented emergency measures that may prevent many of these businesses from going under.

As French restaurants begin to slowly reopen for outdoor service, the culinary landscape in France looks very different when compared to the United States.

Government Aid: Two Countries, Two Philosophies

In March, President Emmanuel Macron said he would do “whatever it takes” to ensure that no company, big or small, collapsed under the financial weight of the pandemic. He announced 300 billion euros in loan guarantees and tax exemptions. The government also played a role in negotiating rent forgiveness for restaurants.

Perhaps even more helpful, at least in the short-term, were easy-to-access “solidarity funds:” 1500 euros per month given tax-free to small businesses, compounded with an additional allowance of up to 2500 euros from URSSAF, a social security union for small businesses. On April 15, Gérald Darmainn, Minister of Public Action and Accounts, also announced that the restaurant industry’s taxes and social charges – about 750 million euros – would be forgiven instead of merely suspended for the duration of administrative closure.

In the U.S., by contrast, most small restaurants didn’t qualify for loans, while huge corporations like McDonald’s and Shake Shack did. According to the New York Times, big chains were able to access “tens of millions of dollars while many smaller restaurants walked away with nothing when the $349 billion fund was exhausted [April 16].” The Los Angeles Times reported that those small businesses that did qualify were reluctant to apply for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program because of the “strings” attached to loans.

Restaurant Workers Feed Us, But Can They Eat?

As far as restaurant employees are concerned, in France, most are secure within the net of the country’s robust social structure. When forced closures were announced mid-March, restaurant workers were encouraged to first use up their paid vacation (an average of about five weeks per year) before becoming eligible for partial unemployment (the equivalent of 84 percent of their salary.) Continue reading “Are French Restaurants More Likely than American to Survive the Lockdown?”

France’s Assa Traore honoured for her anti-racism activism at BET Awards

International activist Assa Traore, whose brother Adama was killed in French police custody four years ago, was given the BET Global Good award on Sunday.

Traore thanked BET, an American television channel dedicated to African-American and minority people, for the award, calling it “an acknowledgment of our fight.”

“It’s an acknowledgment for all the victims, for all the families who keep fighting for truth and justice,” she said in a video message played during the virtual awards ceremony.

The award is “BET International’s recognition of public figures who use their platform for social responsibility and goodness while demonstrating a commitment to the welfare of the global Black community,” according to the channel’s website.

Before her brother’s death, Traore, who has been dubbed the French Angela Davis after the US political activist, had never been someone who campaigned for a cause.

But the 35-year-old mother of three was thrust into the heart of the global fight against police violence and racism by the death in Minneapolis police custody last month of George Floyd.

For four years, she campaigned, organized demonstrations, spoke out publicly and gave numerous interviews after alleging her brother was killed by the police. An investigation is still ongoing.

For a long time, the “Adama fight” remained a local battle unnoticed outside France. But the death of George Floyd has catapulted it into the global consciousness.

Thousands of people demonstrated in Paris in early June and hundreds of others took to the streets across France against racism.

“In the name of my brother, I will change everything I can change,” Traore told AFP on Saturday.

Source: France’s Assa Traore honoured for her anti-racism activism at BET Awards

Black Visions of France: the Other Expat Writers You Should be Reading – Frenchly

From James Baldwin to Jake Lamar, there are so many incredible black writers who have made Paris their home.

Langston Hughes

Every white writer who’s been to France has an essay, a memoir, a novel, or a poetry collection about the country. It’s practically a rite of passage. But Paris didn’t cease to exist once Hemingway was done with it. There are countless black writers who expatriated to France and wrote about the country with just as much insight and skill. So if you want to understand or live the expat experience, it’s time you start reading about the other side of it. (Consider also purchasing from a local black-owned bookstore, like Sisters Uptown Bookstore in NYC, Mahogany Books in Washington D.C., or Black Pearl Books in Austin.)

James Baldwin

Where to start, but with James Baldwin? The Harlem-born writer moved to Paris in the middle of the twentieth century, at the age of 24, to escape the racism and prejudice he faced in America. In addition to works like Go Tell It On The Mountain and Notes on a Native Son, one of Baldwin’s must-reads is Giovanni’s Room, a quasi-autobiographical novel about a young black man who takes up with a handsome Italian in Paris, and one of the seminal works of black queer fiction.

Continue reading “Black Visions of France: the Other Expat Writers You Should be Reading – Frenchly”

End of Covid-19 lockdown serves up relief for Paris restaurants

Restaurant and cafe owners in Paris cheered their chance to get back to business Monday after the government said they could once again open their dining rooms, three months after being shut to blunt the coronavirus outbreak.

The sooner-than-expected reopening for the Paris region was announced by President Emmanuel Macron late Sunday, shortly before officials reported just nine COVID-19 deaths in the previous 24 hours — the lowest figure since March.

“The bulk of the epidemic is behind us,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said Monday, though he cautioned that “this doesn’t mean we can stop fighting the virus.”

Until now, restaurants in and around the capital could only serve clients on outdoor terraces, even as eateries in the rest of the country opened fully earlier this month.

Read More at FRANCE24: End of Covid-19 lockdown serves up relief for Paris restaurants

How much does a French vineyard cost?

vineyard

A single hectare of Burgundy grand cru vineyard cost €6.5m euros on average in 2019, which is up by 4% versus 2018, according to French land agency Safer.

That’s if you can find anything to buy, of course; if vines change hands within top Burgundy climats then buyers often deal in values of less than one hectare.

Safer figures show that average prices for Burgundy grand cru vines have risen by 71% since 2012.

If that you think that sounds prohibitive, then some winemakers in the Côte d’Or would likely agree. Safer cited ongoing concerns among producers about rising land costs and the difficulties this poses for wineries within France’s inheritance laws.

Elsewhere in France, it will come as no surprise to see the best-known appellations topping the vineyard price charts.

A single hectare in Bordeaux’s Pauillac appellation cost €2.3m per hectare on average in 2019, up by 5% on 2018, while Pomerol rose by 6% to €1.9m per hectare.

In the Côte des Blancs area of Champagne, vineyards cost a little more than €1.6m per hectare last year, up by 2% versus 2018.

However, there is a huge disparity in vineyard prices in France – as you might expect, given the size of the country’s wine industry.

Across France, appellation controlée (AOP) vineyards cost €148,000 per hectare on average in 2019, up by 0.5% versus 2018, said Safer.

Prices for AOP vineyards have more than doubled since 1997, but some were still well below the average.

A single hectare of Faugères vineyard in Languedoc (now Occitanie) cost €16,000 per hectare on average in 2019, having not changed since 2018.

Prices can vary significantly within some areas for different plots, depending upon their quality potential.

Outside of the AOP zones, French vineyard prices rose by 1.5% on average in 2019, to €14,400 per hectare.

It’s worth noting that buying a vineyard is just one step in a winemaking dream that is likely to involve significant up-front costs in general. Seek professional advice before making any decisions, of course.

Source: How much does a French vineyard cost? – Decanter

Paris bans George Floyd protest planned at US Embassy

PARIS – French police have banned a demonstration planned to take place in front of the US Embassy in Paris on Saturday as protests mount around the world over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The Paris police department said on Friday it had decided to ban the demonstrations because of the risks of social disorder and health dangers from large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trouble had broken out at another anti-police demonstration in the French capital on Wednesday. Thousands had turned up despite a police ban on the event in memory of Adama Traore, a 24-year old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation which some have likened to Floyd’s death.

Unrest has broken out across the United States after the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died after a white policeman pinned his neck under a knee for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

Source: Paris bans George Floyd protest planned at US Embassy