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There’s No Need to Bring Your Own Book to the Beach

Etretat

Summer is all about conquering the outdoors, from going on a hike to beautiful mountain tops to getting a perfect tan at the beach. If you’re going to be in France this summer, swing by one of the pop-up seaside libraries for a different experience at the beach.

Readers have been heading down to the book-filled beach huts that authorities have set up along the coast of Normandy in northern France and other beaches around the country. Travellers can take a break from sunbathing or swimming and head on to the seaside library for a quick read. Picture this: sitting back in a deckchair at the seaside library while listening to the waves and being towered over by dramatic cliffs along the coastline.

Etretat is one of the 12 French resorts where authorities have opened library beach-huts specially for the summer. From now till 26th August, you can find more than 1,000 books filled in each of the wooden huts. The “Read At The Beach” scheme has been introduced in Normandy since 2005 with three such beach-huts and has welcomed more than 38,000 readers as of last year.

Herault

Elsewhere in the south of France, the Herault region has attracted approximately 21,000 book enthusiasts to its beach-huts last year. The idea has been taking off in various countries such as Australia, Bulgaria, Israel and Spain as well.

Here a Normandy, you are more than welcomed to dive straight into a book while you’re at the beach. The only condition is that readers have to stay in the deckchairs provided, and they are not allowed to bring the book along with them down to the sea — just a measure to prevent sand from getting in between the pages.

This summer, approximately 400 chairs are available around the beach-huts. Travellers can visit daily from 2pm to 7pm. There’s no need to worry if you’re not well versed in French, there are also books available in English, German and Italian, catering for an international crowd.

Of Cirques and Adventure: Reunion Island

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Mention France, and images like the Eiffel Tower, berets, and baguettes come to mind. But did you know that France also consists of several islands scattered around the world? These French overseas regions are part of the EU, and adopt French as their official language.

One of the most interesting of these is undoubtedly Réunion Island.

Set adrift in the vast Indian Ocean, it’s actually closer to Madagascar (and Mauritius) than it is to anywhere in Europe. And as an island destination, its selling point is not about sandy beaches or stilted chalets above the water – this is because Reunion has what other islands lack: adventure.

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The Heart of Corsica

Just offshore from mainland France lies Corsica, an island that’s known for its fierce independent streak as well as its rugged landscape that encompasses jagged mountain ranges, fragrant maquis scrubland and dramatic coastal cliffs.

View of Ajaccio

Most visitors prefer to bask under the Mediterranean sun at seaside towns like Ajaccio (birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte), Bastia and Bonifacio. Once considered susceptible to invasion, the coastal areas were developed only in the early 19th century, so if you want to understand the country’s history and culture, head inland to its mountainous core.

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