Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Following Macron's Visit, French-Croatian Economic Partnership Stoked

December the 1st, 2021 - The French-Croatian economic partnership is set to be ramped up even further and cover a variety of different fields following the French President's recent visit to Zagreb in which he stated Croatia's Schengen readiness.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, last week, French President Emmanuel Macron and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two countries, which is a political declaration with a broader scope in which the two countries will engage in deeper French-Croatian cooperation.

The focus of the public, due to the simultaneous signing of the contract on the purchase of twelve Rafale fighter jets, was the military aspect of future cooperation with the country that is now the largest European Union military power, as well as to open French support for Croatia's entry into the Eurozone and the Schengen area.

This French-Croatian strategic document also brings preferences in bilateral relations between the two economies, part of which refers to the engagement of Croatian companies in the implementation of contracts for the procurement of combat squadrons.

The details haven't been specified, but it is stated that "France is ready to increase the development of further high-value aeronautical support activities at the industrial level in Croatia in connection with the Rafale aircraft."

From this it can be concluded that the doors are well and truly open to industrial cooperation in the aviation industry between the two nations. Cooperation between small and medium-sized and large companies and universities, as well as the participation in industrial consortia financed from the EU budget is also envisaged.

French-Croatian foreign trade relations have only been growing from year to year and the Agreement states that greater importance is needed in increasing the recognition of each country's economies and their investments. In the long run, mutual cooperation in education and scholarships will contribute to this, and in the short term, the foundations for stronger networking will be the two countries' plans which are primarily based on going green and the digital transition, as well as the EU's multiannual financial framework.

In addition to connecting to specific projects, France is also offering its support for the development of technology parks and the ecosystem of start-ups in Croatia, and will share its best experiences in supporting startups and growing companies. With experience in infrastructure projects and the automotive industry, a special space is being opened up in waste management, water management, green energy and digitalisation.

The two countries intend to improve their cooperation in the field of tourism, primarily in the search for models on how to escape from the bings of problematic mass tourism. France is the world's number one tourist destination at the moment, it is visited by the most tourists annually, while Croatia is the European country that receives the most tourists per capita. Therefore, the issue of sustainable tourism is becoming more and more significant, and judging by the Partnership Agreement, the way out will be cultural tourism and joint archaeological research programmes..

There is also talk of cooperation through ITER (International Experimental Thermonuclear Reactor), the construction of an experimental nuclear reactor, the largest investment in science in which all countries of the world participate, and its "host" is France. Getting electricity from fusion energy in France is seen as a priority goal to ensure non-carbon energy sources and sustainable development. This agreement does not, therefore, bring individual projects with specific participants into the ''game'', but instead proposes a proper framework for future French-Croatian partnerships, from which three-year action plans will be adopted at a later stage.

This isn't the first strategic partnership between Croatia and France, as they signed a similar agreement back in 2010, but with the acquisition of the Rafale planes, and also with its 2013 status of an EU member state, Croatia is now receiving more attention.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

French President to Visit Croatia

ZAGREB, 29 Aug, 2021 - French President Emmanuel Macron, one of the most important European politicians, will pay a working visit to Croatia, the Jutarnji List daily reports in its Sunday issue.

Even though the exact date of the visit has still not been agreed, it is expected to happen sometime in October or November, a high source at the Foreign Ministry has told the daily.

The visit is seen by Zagreb as proof of increasingly strong ties between France and Croatia, which could be described as a strategic partnership, particularly since the Croatian Air Force decided to buy French-made Rafale combat jet, the daily says.

A close associate to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has said that Croatian-French relations have been increasingly good, even though that was not so at the beginning.

"In the early 1990s, the then French President Francois Mitterrand supported the Serb side in the wars in ex-Yugoslavia but Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Alain Juppé  pursued a more balanced policy. We now have very good bilateral relations, partly also owing to the close relationship between PM Plenković and President Macron," the associate said.

"The visit is expected to help deepen the economic cooperation between France and Croatia and the talks will also definitely focus on the EU's strategic policy. France is not very much in favour of EU enlargement but it has slightly modified its position, thanks to PM Plenković's engagement, and now it supports in principle the accession of Western Balkan countries, naturally, within a reasonable time," the official said.

PM Plenković said earlier this week that "security-wise, the purchase of (French) military aircraft strategically changes the way Croatia is perceived as it is about to significantly change its status in military terms." France is leading the process of strengthening European defence, in which, judging by Plenković's statements, Croatia will be given an important role, Jutarnji List says.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Friday, 20 August 2021

Slavonian Confectioners Trained Up at Famous Paris Le Cordon Bleu

August the 20th, 2021 - Several Slavonian confectioners have undergone specialist training at no less than the world-famous Académie d’Art de Paris Le Cordon Bleu in the glamorous French capital.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the Regional Centre of Competence (RCK) of the Hospitality and Tourism School from the Eastern Croatian City of Osijek is now richer for six Slavonian confectioners and chefs who underwent a seven-week training at the aforementioned institution.

The training in question was realised within the project activity of the RCK Catering and Tourism School from Osijek in the project VirtuOS - the establishment of the RCC in the tourism and catering sector, which is financed by funds from both the European Union (EU) and the Croatian state budget.

Ivan Kelava and Damir Abramic, teachers of cooking at the Osijek Catering and Tourism School, Robert Batrac, mentor to students from Hotel Osijek and Ruzica Sosic, Dunja Culjak and Sasa Beslic, confectionery teachers from the partner Vinkovci Secondary Vocational School, received this specialist French training and education.

At the academy, the group of Slavonian confectioners and chefs had the opportunity to learn from renowned French chefs who had gained their experience and vast knowledge in world-famous Michelin-starred restaurants. This newly acquired knowledge from the French capital of Paris will be passed on by Croatian teachers to their colleagues, used when teaching students, and also in creating new curricula and programmes.

Namely, the Osijek RCC points out that the training of their teachers and mentors is the cornerstone and foundation of quality education and the promotion of this sort of profession.

The establishment of the Regional Competence Centre will improve vocational education in the tourism and hospitality sector in Croatia, and grants of 95,673,388.62 kuna from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund have been provided for the involved projects.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Quarantine Escape or Something More: How French Youth Live In Croatia

26 June 2021 - One TCN intern interviewed four young French people who recently moved to Croatia about their everyday life, impressions, and preferences here. A look at how French youth live in Croatia. 

They came to Croatia for different volunteering projects regardless of coronavirus pandemic, but likely would recommend their new abode to fellow countrymen as a good place to survive quarantine. The luckiest of them Mathias (26) got a chance to arrive in Split in February 2020, Axelle (22), and Clemence (22) joined him nearly a year later. Mathilde (23) came to Zagreb sometime between this period, in September 2020. 

Is the weather similar to Nice?

The climate is continental – low temperatures in winter and high temperatures in summer. “In Zagreb, there is often a fog during the winter,” Mathilde shares.  Thick fog looks unusual for newcomers and from time to time creates true ‘Silent hill’ views in Zagreb country. “It’s not windy, but you don’t see the light of the sun during two months,” she continues.

On the contrary, Split is a windy city, however, even during the winter the sun shines a lot. There are winds in France, Mathias notes. He fails to find a French analog to the well-known Split ‘bura’, a cold north-west wind that long till 10 days in winter. But there is ‘mistral’ wind in France, similar in the name and effects to Croatian ‘maestral’ that comes to Split from the north-east in summer.

If you’re sensitive to weather, you’ll probably feel winter winds in Split. Summer winds will help you. The wind cools the atmosphere, thus summer heat is handled easier in the Dalmatia. Axelle and Clemence who came to Split for spring and summer characterize the weather solely as perfect. Both moved from the northern part of France and began to enjoy sunbathing here.  Mathias compares the climate in Split with Nice. “Similar in many senses… Apart from the landscape – there are more islands and mountains in Croatia,” he said.

Is air-con needed?

My French respondents almost don’t use air conditioning. Mostly they don’t have a need for it. Axelle actually doesn’t know whether there is any air conditioner in their office. The office is situated on the first floor, it’s cool there. As for apartments it’s normally equipped with air conditioning systems. However, girls in Split are satisfied by shade from the inner yard of their house. During the summer, they just open windows wondering for what purpose these double shutters are designed. They’ve never met such a design in France. Mathilde doesn’t use the air conditioners for ecological reasons. It pollutes the atmosphere a lot.

Why do you apricot jam in a croissant?

Young people are usually simpler with food. Two of them are vegetarians, but they easily adapted to Croatia. “In France, we consume a lot of cheese,” Axelle claims. You can buy some basic cheese here like Emmental, you can buy soft cheese like mozzarella and feta. Mathias who isn’t a vegetarian, but a foodie confirms that fact.  “There is a huge lack of French cheese .” You’ll survive, but you’ll miss cheese. “I need cheese in my life,” Axelle says and goes to buy it without looking at brands.

On the plus side, there are many fresh vegetables in Croatia. Mathilde enjoys visiting open markets – you can talk, practice Croatian, create links with people, and support local producers. And prices are cheaper than in the supermarket.  Furthermore, the open market challenges your traditional tastes. While as in supermarket you’re guided by familiar names on the shelves, open market encourages you to improvise and try something new. Clemence started to eat much more vegetables in Croatia. Mathias who also visited the fish market has enriched his nutrition with seafood.

Food prices in Croatia are lower than in France. However, moving here you should configure your expectations correctly. Prices are lower, but not really low. And, of course, this isn’t about imported items. As a result, Clemence eats less ‘Nutella’ here. Hopefully, it was not a huge loss. Mathilde praises Croatian pastries, whereas she loved French pastries as well. ‘Burek’ is a universal pleasure; it has vegetarian options with cheese or spinach. ‘Burkifla’ or ‘strudla’ are a nice choice for the sweet tooth. The only stuff you should be careful with is a croissant. In Croatian bakeries, they often offer croissants with apricot jam (‘marelica’) and French often describe its taste as disgusting. Just clarify on a cashier that you want a normal croissant!

Wine is wine, if you do it in France, you’ll probably die!

Apart from croissants with apricot jam, one more strange thing the French can occasionally order in a cafe is coffee with cold milk. It’s better to specify what kind of milk you want – hot or cold, because during the summer season Croatian cafes often serve coffee with cold milk as in southern Europe. Axelle came from northern France and never expected to have something hot ordering a coffee. Otherwise, typical for the Balkan region ‘Turkish coffee’ is rarely found in modern Croatia. Expats including my respondents from France don’t like it. “First 2-3 sips are ok, but next you feel this nasty coffee ground…”

A coffee drinking culture must be attributed to the advantages of life in Croatia. You can take one coffee and stay for 3 hours. “You can’t do it in France. If you stay more than an hour, it’s anticipated you will order one more coffee or another drink,” Axelle explains to me. And it’s not only about the economics of cafes. In France, you sit in a cafe for half an hour and then go back to your business. In Croatia, there is this chill way of life. You drink a coffee, chat, and sunbathe, and don’t hurry. Croatians consume a lot of coffee. When it’s too much for Clemence and Axelle, they switch to beer. Mathilde hates coffee, however still has a lot of Croatian friends. She drinks hot chocolate. She misses 'churros’ to hot chocolate.

Mathias spent enough time both in Split and Zagreb and would prefer Zagreb cafes and bars rather than Split ones. Such places have more variety, events, and different peoples there. Mathilde who is been living in Zagreb for almost a year doesn’t attach importance to it. She’s not a huge bar lover. She settles for ‘Antibar club 44’ where she holds her French evening with students. Axelle and Clemence also have their favorite place to drink in Split. In ‘Tri volta’ there is no crowds or fancy drinks as ‘ice coffee’ or ‘Aperol spritz’, but the location and atmosphere are great.

In public drinking beyond bars and its terraces, the biggest surprise for the French was a way of drinking wine. Croatian youth usually dilute wine. Red wine plus coke has the special name ‘bambus’. White wine is diluted by sparkling water. Both kinds of wine can be watered down. This practice has a simple explanation: diluting enhances the taste of cheap wine that youth usually buy. Also, this practice is known in Italy and Spain, but not in France. Wine is wine, Axelle claims emotionally. “If you do it in France, you’ll probably die!” Clemence echoes.

Let me pay for anything!

Nobody from my young respondents spends much money on entertainment mainly because of plenty of outdoor activities. Mathias became a true expert in hanging out with people in Split. This activity requires only being at the right place at the right time. That is late in the evening on Matejuska pier and after midnight on Ovcice beach. Girls prefer Matejuska, because the public is more varied there. Youth and locals gather on Ovcice beach. In fact, Axelle and Clemence once visited the Croatian party where they were the only foreigners. It was not bad, however, it’s certainly easier to start a conversation as the majority speaks English.

Axelle shares that she would like to visit the ‘Froggyland’ museum in Split. Till the moment she didn’t manage it. With Clemence and other friends, she also tried to go to the cinema, but finally, it was ‘sold out’. Split actually discourages finding these kinds of entertainment. When you have leisure time, go straight to the beach, read a book in the shade, relax, run along a coastal line – there are so many easy ways to enjoy in Split. Mathias concludes that museums didn’t impress him and the cinema was normal. You can watch original American or French movies with Croatian subtitles.

Mathilde has succeeded to go to the cinema about 10 times. Interested in art she visited several museums in Zagreb. She’s visited once a classical concert at the Croatian National Theater. It’s a pretty good cultural gathering, although Mathilde recognizes that she would have better if it were not for the language barrier. She doesn’t go to the cinema or museum spontaneously, only when friends invite her. A pleasant surprise is that an inviter pays. Croatians are very welcoming and open people, thus you often fall into situation “Let me pay for anything!”

Where is the name of the bus stop?

Croatian hospitality is one of the reasons to make traveling your hobby here. Mathias and Axelle recall the other reasons. Croatia is a comparatively small country, most destinations are easily reached. There are a lot of historic towns, wonderful nature places. Islands aplenty stand alone. “You go on the islands and suddenly feel like you are in another county on vacation. I like island vibes!”  Axelle and Clemence visited Vis together loved the nature of the island-geopark.

Zagreb is a student city in Croatia. There are more students and more expats as well than in Split, therefore society seems more liberal and open-minded. Varazdin looks like a typical Central European town. Pula is pretty boring during the winter, but nice in summer, Mathias lists his travel within the country. “I’m not a fan of Slavonia. This is not a region for tourists, except Vukovar, maybe, for those who are interested in history. It’s good to visit when you live in Croatia for a long time,” he says.

Split is a very special story. Mathilde surprises by its closeness to mountains and sea. French who constantly live in Split loves it for a combination of historical heritage and daily dynamic life. “Diocletian’s palace is a miracle, Clemence tells. I like to go for a walk there. And now after many walks, I can say that I really know it.” Axelle stresses one more advantage: “A lot of sights are situated next to Split – Solin, Klis fortress, etc.” Omis, a tiny city with rocks is suited for hiking, meanwhile, there are enough hiking places just by the way from Split to Omis.

In regards to transport within the country Mathias’s used to prefer trains in France. A train as a comfortable and ecological means almost doesn’t exist in Croatia. It’s a disadvantage. But my French respondents quickly learned how to deal with buses. They usually travel by bus. The fact that bus stops in Croatia have no names was a little challenging for the first time. Axelle remembers how she was checking her way on Google maps. “It just takes some getting used to. In France each stop has a name.”

Could you, please, write down the name of this movie in Croatian for me?

“I don’t see any difference in culture between France and Croatia,” Mathilde states. The point is that the French consider ‘culture’ as a broad concept, barely the same that ‘civilization’, i.e. Croatia relates to the same European Christian civilization as France. Looking in-depth Croatian culture is not well-known in France.

Axelle purposely read about Croatia before coming here to have basic grounding. After 4 months in Split she knows, for example, Split raised pop-diva Severina. Clemence listens to rapper Nucci. Although he’s from Serbia, his music can be related to the ‘Balkan turbo-folk genre. They would like to know more popular songs, movies. etc. Croatians are glad to recommend some good stuff, but a problem is that they pronounce names in Croatian, and it’s difficult to catch and to remember too.

'Pomalo’

My respondents note the obvious visual difference – there are only white people on the streets. Society is more homogeneous. Dress is more homogeneous as well – no brassy, no sexy. “Don’t distinguish yourself,” the Zagreb expat concludes. Otherwise, Mathias and Clemence report that in Split people care about appearances much more, than in cities of France. Clemence is used to seeing fancy girls with big sunglasses and other attributes in Split every day. “Even on Monday morning… Once I was walking down the street in my probably worse-than-usual, after-party look. These girls looked at me really oddly…” she remembers.

Streets are cleaner in Croatia. It’s clean in France, Axelle stands up, but you can see some trash from time to time. Croatians are not taught since childhood to sort the garbage, to recycle as much as it’s done in France. “From the first glance they seem less informed, but in real life they’re more concerned,” Clemence shares her observations. Streets are safer too. “I feel really safe here. I have no fear,” French girls from Zagreb and Split agree in this. In France, you’d better go in a group of 2-3 girls together at night. And anyway somebody will impose a conversation, follow you. In Croatia, you can calmly be alone on a street at any time.

In memory of their blissful stay in Split two of my respondents and one more French girl did tattoos with the Croatian word ‘pomalo’. It’s literally translated as ‘slowly’, ‘quietly’, ‘little by little’. “Our tattoos mean more than literal sense. I mean more when I say ‘pomalo’ Clemence explains. ‘Pomalo’ commonly used to describe a Dalmatian/ Croatian mentality in one word: ‘take it easy’, ‘don’t rush’, ‘with pleasure’, ‘relax’, ‘hello’, etc.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

President Zoran Milanović Hopes For Macron's Re-Election Next Year

ZAGREB, 9 June, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday that the 2022 French presidential election would be crucial for the "European story" and that he hoped Emmanuel Macron would be re-elected.

The French president was slapped by a man from a welcoming crowd during a visit to the south of France on Tuesday, as shown by video footage of the incident.

Milanović described the incident as "bizarre," saying that it was "unbelievable that security allowed that person into that area."

"This only shows that next year in European politics will be cursed because Macron is going for re-election. I would like him to win, rather than Le Pen and that generally claustrophobic and nervous policy of suspecting everyone who is not white and Christian, and unfortunately European policy has turned into that," Milanović said in response to questions from the press during a visit to the northern island of Krk.

"In Germany, whoever wins in September will more or less continue the present policy, which is moderate and well-balanced, while things in France are a bit different," the Croatian president said.

For more about Politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Fighter Jet Decision to Alter Croatian Military Import-Export Balance

May the 22nd, 2021 - The Croatian military and its export-import balance is set to alter quite significantly following the country finally having made a decision on the purchase of fighter jets, ending a saga which seemed to be endless.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, Croatian military export-import balances are going to undergo changes over the coming years, because after a recent session of the Defense Council, it has now become clear that the Croatian Government will finally make the official final decision on the procurement of a combat squadron next week.

This decision will primarily change the current relationship in which Croatia exports more weapons and other military goods and services than it imports.

Last year, according to a report submitted to the Government by Economy Minister Tomislav Coric yesterday, Croatian military exports in 2020 were worth a total of 835 million kuna, and imports amounted to just under 129 million kuna.

The report doesn't provide a detailed overview of those exporters, nor does it go into deal about the types of goods and services it deals in, but most of the exports relate to HS Produkt, the Karlovac-based arms manufacturer, which normally accounts for the majority of exports, followed by Sestan-Busch, which produces helmets, and Dok-ing, which sells its self-propelled machines for demining, and Viktor Lenac from Rijeka, which was engaged in the overhaul of vessels belonging to the US 6th Fleet.

Last year was significantly better than pre-pandemic 2019, which isn't something many can boast of, and which was otherwise one of the worst for the military industry, in which exports stood at 493 million kuna. The record year for Croatian military exports was 2016 with almost 1.7 billion kuna in exports, twice as much as was recorded last year.

If the government concludes a contract to procure the French Rafale, finally putting an end to the very tiresome story surrounding fighter jet procurement, the first of those planes would start arriving in Croatia during 2024, when, depending on the agreed terms, imports of the military sector are likely to jump by 100 million euros per year.

However, if the military connection between Croatia and France, which is the most militarily powerful member of the EU following the departure of Great Britain, follows, there are justified expectations that additional space will need to be found for the Croatian military industry.

Since Croatian producers, as well as institutes and faculties, are interested in the establishment of the European Defense Fund, which will initially boast of figures of between 5 and 7 billion euros in the coming years, it is more than clear why more and more Croatian producers want to dip their toes into the lucrative niche of military production.

For more, follow our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

French Institute in Croatia Launches Hospitality Programme

ZAGREB, 4 May, 2021 - The French Institute in Croatia has on the occasion of its 100th anniversary launched a Hospitality programme which in cooperation with various institutions enables close public contact with artists.

The programme is adapted to Croatia's specific context, featuring the consequences of the health crisis and earthquakes that hit Zagreb and Sisak and Petrinja in central Croatia and is aimed at developing a programme of valorisation of Croatian artists in the premises of the French Institute where they can present their works and establish contact with a new audience.

The planned encounters are aimed at enabling a privileged experience and relationship with artists and their works, something that has been absent during this period of restricted encounters.

The institute has called on artists to participate in the programme, saying that they will be issued with a 'carte blanche' to take over the institute's premises for specific encounters with the public and to present their works.

For more about diplomacy in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 11 January 2021

TV Show 'Croatia Along Waters' on French-German TV Channel ARTE

January 11, 2021 – After the French travel show "Echappées Belles" recently dedicated one episode entirely to Croatian beauties, the France-German TV channel ARTE continued with promoting Croatia by showing the rich Croatian river heritage in a TV show named "La Croatie au fil des eaux "(Croatia along waters).

As reported by Danijela Mihalić Đurica, the Croatian National Tourist Board Director in France, the TV show "La Croatie au fil des eaux" (Croatia along waters) was broadcast on the famous and watched French-German TV channel ARTE, which specializes in cultural programs and documentaries about nature and travel.

In a show produced by the Croatian production company Šafarek, for 45 minutes, the richness of the biological diversity of Croatian regions and the beauty of Croatian national parks and nature parks are revealed to the French and German audience.

From the Drava across the Danube, Gacka, Zrmanja to the Neretva delta, viewers can enjoy Croatian natural river heritage diversity. They can learn more about almost 300 different species of birds in the Nature Park Kopački rit or the European storks' village Čigoč. Besides, the show also mentions the "kingdom of bears" in Gorski Kotar, the impressively large trout of Gacka river, the "temple of birds" in the Neretva delta, and "the cascades that line like pearls on a necklace," as the show describes the cascades of the Skradinski Buk waterfall in the National Park Krka.

The author of the show, well-known Croatian biologist and photographer Goran Šafarek, pointed out that he made the film in an effort to promote Croatian nature, as well as Croatia itself. "I tried to show many hidden gems of our country, which can certainly enrich the tourist offer outside the main tourist destinations," Šafarek said.

More than 800,000 viewers watch the popular ARTE channel, and in addition to Germany and France, the show will be broadcast in Italy and Spain.

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Friday, 18 December 2020

Croatian Beauties in Popular French Show 'Echappées Belles'

December 18, 2020 – The popular French travel show "Echappées Belles", or "Beautiful Escapades", dedicated one episode entirely to Croatian beauties.

The Croatian National Tourist Board reported that the show "Echappées Belles" dedicated to Croatia was broadcast in primetime on the French state television station France 5.

Danijela Mihalić Đurica, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board in France, said that the popular show "Echappées Belles" will significantly help maintain Croatia's visibility in the French market, given that more than 1.5 million viewers watch the show. Positive promotional effects are expected at the time of the resumption of sales and reservations.

"Namely, due to the epidemiological situation this year, many French people spent holidays at home, which is why it is expected that next tourist season they will travel mostly to close, accessible, and safe destinations. Therefore, we believe that Croatia will take one of the leading positions in the French market," said the director.

This travel episode about Croatia was created due to a collaboration between the French television station France 5 and the Croatian Tourist Board, with the support of the tourist board system. The show shows famous tourist destinations, revealing to viewers unknown facts about the local population's lives and customs.

This time, the show presented Istria and the islands of Pag and Cres as locations of incredible natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, emphasizing gastronomic potential and exceptional hospitality.

An article about Mljet, Hvar, and Korčula, published by one of the most influential French women magazines "Femme Actuelle" confirmed that Croatia is positioned on the French market as a fascinating and attractive tourist destination. The magazine, which has a circulation of half a million copies, is followed by more than three million readers. The author of the article is the renowned French journalist Thierry Lacour, who emphasized that he is fascinated by Mljet's natural beauties, the urbanism of Korčula, the scents of Hvar's lavender, and the impressive vineyards.

"In a country with more than a thousand islands, diversity is constant, and Mljet, Hvar, and Korčula are a concentration of the best that Croatia has to offer, preserved nature, as well as an abundance of historical heritage," said Lacour.

However, the French media have previously highlighted Croatia as a top destination. "Echappées Belles" presented Croatian tourist offer back in June 2017, as well as Istria last summer, when the popular French show "Cuisine Impossible" on French TV channel TF1 also promoted Slavonia and Croatian islands. Other French media also wrote about Croatia, including the prestigious French weekly magazine Le Figaro, which dedicated many pages to Sinj Alka.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Croatian and French Cities Porec and Noisiel Commit to Future Cooperation

As Morski writes on the 28th of October, 2020, the Mayor of Porec, Loris Persuric, held a meeting via video link with the Mayor of the French city of Noisiel, Mathieu Viskovic, on the topic of cooperation and the conclusion of an Agreement on Cooperation and the Establishment of Friendly Relations between the two cities of Porec and Noisiel.

Noisiel is a city that belongs to the metropolitan area of ​​Paris, in the department of Seine-et-Marne in the French region of Île-de-France and has a population of just over 15 thousand. It is part of the eastern Paris suburb and the Marne Valley, where Disneyland is located, as well as the Menier Chocolat chocolate factory (now the headquarters of Nestlé France SAS) in Noisiel itself. In addition to industrial development, Noisiel is at the same time a city that is inevitably connected to the development of the French capital Paris and its metropolitan area, and is excellently connected with it in terms of urban planning and traffic.

Back in 2000, the Ministry of Culture and Communications named Noisiel a city of art and history with a special focus on industrial heritage - more specifically the heritage of the industrial chocolate manufacturer Menier - whose 19th-century UNESCO-protected facilities are a modern heritage created by the Marne Valley and green a heritage made up of parks and planned horticulture throughout the city.

The mayor of Noisiel, Mathieu Viskovic, whose family has roots in Croatia and Istria, expressed satisfaction that there is an intention to create a special friendship between Porec and Noisiel.

As soon as the epidemiological situation allows for it, a delegation of the city of Noisiel will visit Porec, and then formalise the agreement that has already been initiated with the representatives of Porec.

Mayor Loris Persuric said that there is interest in making friends on both sides because, apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Noisiel is also a city inhabited by representatives of the Croatian diaspora who want to strengthen ties between the two countries.

It's worth noting that since back 1978 and the beginning of the friendship with the Italian city of Massa Lombarda, Porec has made various forms of friendships with as many as 11 cities. There is a special friendship between Zabok, Porec and Crikvenica, and together they organise cultural events. There is every reason to believe that this new friendship between Porec and Noisiel will be of satisfaction to many in both European cities.

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