It’s an interesting time for cars in the pandemic era; Across France, people indulge in them for more unusual activities, but not everyone is fully delighted.
The car is the new safe space, as proven by religious services
The New York Times reported how the car became the ultimate PPE, a safe place to picnic and hang out. In some cases, worshipers attend car services – the Genoa Baptist Church in Westerville, Ohio calls it “come as you are, but stay in your car”.
And this is a trend that is played out across France. In Châlons-en-Champagne, the diocese organized its first “automobile mass” to allow the celebration of religious and religious services.
And people get around government bans by protesting in cars
Some people in France have found a way to get around a government ban on groups of 10 or more gathering in the same space – by protesting in their cars. In Marseille, 130 vehicles gathered at the symbolic Porte D’Aix (the Marseilles equivalent of the Arc de Triomphe de Paris), then crossed the city.
It’s not uncommon for the French to protest in their vehicles, but normally it’s to block the roads – in French, they call it a snail operation, where the goal is to reduce traffic to a snail’s pace to make a point, whether it be farmers, ambulance drivers, or 2019 Youth Vests (protesting against social inequalities).
On December 5, 2019, the most significant strike day in France’s recent history, truckers blocked many roads across the country and put the country in neutral.
And Drive In cinemas are the new craze…
Drive In cinemas across the country have taken off. Le Monde reported how a film program takes place in Bordeaux, on the largest square in France, Place des Quinconces, offering the Oscar-winning Parasite and French comedies like Le Grand Bain. For ten days, the square has housed more than 220 cars at a time. The festival then moved to Marseille and the north of France.
… but not everyone is happy
The Vélo-Cité bicycle promotion association called Drive In a terrible idea because it promoted polluting vehicles.
According to Business Insider, the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF) was also unhappy, saying in a press release that it regretted the economic and media damage it would cause to French cinemas, diverting viewers from the only thing that deserves ‘be fought for the moment; how to reopen French cinemas.
The FNCF wrote to the CNC (National Cinema Center) to demand a ban on Drive In cinemas, claiming that they do not comply with the strict health protocols currently required by the government.