Dispute over Grand Ducal family holiday spot
(CS/na) A stretch of beach in the south of France is making headlines in local media, after a lawyer claimed that it is illegal to have the area closed off for the Luxembourg Grand Ducal family's summer vacation.
A roughly 100-metre stretch of beach on the southern coast of the French department Var has long been the royal family's summer vacation spot. In 1949 Grand Duchess Charlotte even purchased some of Cabasson beach near the Fort de Brégançon. With a change in maritime law, the beach was returned to the French state in the 1980s but has remained a Grand Ducal favourite.
For security reasons, however, the beach is closed off to members of the public during the stay of the Grand Duke and his family, with a ban on approaching closer than 100 metres to the coast – with a French lawyer claiming that this is against the law.
Cited in the “Var Matin”, the lawyer states that French maritime law specifies that all beaches need to be accessible to the wider public. Talking to the paper, the lawyer said that he has nothing against the Grand Duke, but that he cannot accept a regulation that leads to a disadvantage for other families.
A spokesperson for the royal household explained that the beach was not being privatised for the Grand Ducal family but merely reserved, also saying that the presence of Luxembourg security agents incurs not costs for the French state.
The local mayor, also consulted by the paper, meanwhile commented that the beach, because of its location, is actually not very popular, as it can only be reached on foot over the rocks at the bottom of the nearby fort. This also makes it easier to police for the royal family's security guards.
There had been no complaints so far, except by the lawyer and one family, the mayor of Bormes added.
This is unlike the situation in Vallauris on the French Riviera where 150,000 people petitioned against the closure of a stretch of beach near the villa of Saudi Arabian king Salman, who was holidaying in the area with a roughly 1,000-strong delegation but cut his holiday short in early August.
Here, a 300-metre ban on approaching the beach was enforced. Additionally, a lift was installed for the king to access the beach, which is a popular spot among locals in the summer.
In Var, the mayor of Bormes, who has been in office for 18 months, is already planning the return of the Grand Duke next year. “I met him for the first time this summer,” he is quoted as saying in the paper, “and we agreed a joint visit of the Brégançon fort in the summer of 2016.”