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France website crashes on launch

Bastille Day saw go live, providing information on living, visiting and working in the country

A NEW official website providing information about France in five languages including English has launched - and promptly crashed. went live this morning to coincide with the fête nationale and is available in French, English, German, Italian and Spanish.

The site aims to promote the country to tourists but also to provide residents with practical information about all elements of life in France - including studying, working, setting up a business and day-to-day living.

However a number of the links in the English section are broken and the server hosting the site crashed within hours of launch.

The prime minister's office, which is managing the new online project, said the site would grow in the coming months and it will contain some 12,000 links to other online resources including Météo France and tourist offices.

National holiday

Today's Bastille Day celebrations are set to be a more low-key than in previous years, with a number of events cancelled because of the economic crisis.

Nicolas Sarkozy's July 14 garden party has been cancelled, as have a number of other official summer receptions.

The traditional Champs-Elysées military parade will go ahead as usual, starting at 10.00 with a flyover by 79 planes led by the Patrouille de France.

Some 4,000 military personnel will be taking part, including representatives from 13 African countries to make the 50th anniversary of their independence.

The ceremony will close at midday with 38 helicopters flying overhead and a parachute jump on the Place de la Concorde. The parade will cost about €4m to stage.

The official state reception in the Elysée palace that traditionally follows the parade has been cancelled, saving an estimated €700,000.

The traditional Champ de Mars open-air concert is also cancelled. Last year's, with Johnny Hallyday, cost €1.5m.

However there will still be fireworks on the Champ de Mars from 22.30.

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