France

France's Loire Valley sees steep tourism decline amid coronavirus pandemic

Half-marathon runner Yosi Goasdoué trains in the park of the Château de la Bourdaisière in the French town of Montlouis-sur-Loire during the country’s nationwide lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
Half-marathon runner Yosi Goasdoué trains in the park of the Château de la Bourdaisière in the French town of Montlouis-sur-Loire during the country’s nationwide lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. © Guillaume Souvent, AFP

The grounds of Chambord Castle, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site in France’s Loire Valley, are empty of visitors. Only essential staff are present to maintain the castle during the country's coronavirus lockdown. The steep drop in tourism hasn’t just hit the valley’s largest attractions: One local proprietor of holiday homes told FRANCE 24 that all of his reservations for the next month have been cancelled. Eighty percent of his lodgings were booked at this time last year. “This isn't a drop in business: it's business disappearing,” he said.