First beaches reopen as France softens virus lockdown

Footprints stamped the auburn beaches of a Western French city on Wednesday (May 13) for the first time in months as the first beaches in the country reopened to the public during the country's gradual deconfinement period.

Some strolled, some jogged, as the nine-kilometre stretch of sand in La Baule-Escoublac welcomed back beachgoers after closing in mid-March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has to date killed more than 27,000 nationwide.

"You can't even imagine the pleasure we have of being able to again walk on the sand," local beachgoer Francois Le Chevalier said.

France started lifting a two-month confinement period on Monday (May 11).

The closure of La Baule's beaches, which normally welcomes around 30,000 beachgoers during the tourist season, has been a bane for the city's restaurants, cafes and its 36 tourism industry establishments.