The last Eurostar train to leave the French town of Bourg Saint Maurice before the rescheduled Brexit date of 12 April will be the focus of a major anti-Brexit demo by five French ski resorts on Saturday 6 April.
With the UK (possibly) on the brink of leaving the EU, Bourg Saint Maurice, the railhead for many of the major French ski resorts, has decided to stage its anti-Brexit demonstration at 9.30am with the support of Val d'Isère, Les Arcs, Tignes, Villaroger and Sainte-Foy.
The UK market makes up 48% of foreign visitors to Val d'Isère each winter and it is over 40% in other resorts such as Les Arcs and Meribel.
Unsurprisingly, locals are anxious that the Brexit chaos may make a significant dent on future tourism to the area and the ski resorts of the Haute Tarentaise want to send a heartfelt message that perhaps it is not too late to reconsider Brexit and, of course, they want to show how important their British clients are, commercially!
The demo will start at 7am in front of Bourg Saint Maurice train station. French hoteliers, ski instructors, shopkeepers, and seasonaires who make their living from the ski industry are planning a raucous send off for the passengers boarding the final direct train of the season as it leaves for St Pancras.
The show of support is being coordinated by the town's tourist board, which will be handing out more than 150 croissants. European, British and French flags will decorate the station along with banners showing support for UK visitors and anti-Brexit slogans. Rousing and nostalgic music such as Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy', 'We'll Meet Again' by Vera Lynn, God Save The Queen and La Marseillaise will blare over loudspeakers from 7am onwards as passengers begin to arrive.
Michel Giraudy, Mayor of Bourg Saint Maurice Les Arcs and Marc Bauer, Mayor of Val d'Isère, said: 'We are Europeans! It seems unimaginable for our parents who built Europe to build a new barrier between France and Great Britain. It is incomprehensible for our children born in Europe, who travel without a passport, to face new constraints. And it is unacceptable for the British people living in Haute Tarentaise, and of course for the 500,000 British people who visit our region each winter, to disrupt their holidays in France.
'The British are at home here, they have always loved the Alps. They are conquerors of many peaks including the Matterhorn and the Meije in the 19th century, and ski pioneers from the beginning of the 20th century.
The Eurostar focus is symbolic of this relationship. As Michel Giraudy added:
'Today the British people are so close to us thanks to the Eurostar serving Bourg Saint Maurice from London every weekend in the winter season. If the Brexit is confirmed, they would have to rebuild a border control in Bourg Saint Maurice, in the heart of the Alps.
'Those who have imagined and built the Channel Tunnel must think that it is fake news, but it is not. It is the opposite of how we should be living together in Europe.'