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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

This week in France: What you need to know

From flu vaccines to Thanksgiving and the first Christmas markets, via a meeting of the Defence Council on the latest Covid situation, here's what is happening this week in France.

Christmas market in Reims, France
Many of France's Christmas markets open this week. Photo: Francois Nascimbeni/AFP

Monday

President Emmanuel Macron visits his hometown of Amiens where he will announce an extension to the Bibliothèque nationale de France programme.

Tuesday

The flu vaccine programme opens up to everyone. Launched last month, flu vaccines have previously been reserved for those in high risk groups but from Tuesday the programme opens up to anyone who wants one.

READ ALSO How to get the flu vaccine in France

Anyone in a high risk group (eg the elderly, those with medical conditions, pregnant women, healthcare workers and carers) is entitled to the vaccine for free, but the rest of the population will need to pay. It costs between €6 and €10 for the vaccine itself, plus the standard appointment fee to have it administered, which is partially reimbursed for those with a carte vitale.

READ ALSO How to get the flu vaccine in France 

The vaccine is on offer via GPs and pharmacies and if you’re eligible for a Covid vaccine booster this can be given during the same appointment.

Tuesday

The French foodbank charity Restos du coeur launches its winter appeal. Expect to see collections at local supermarkets where charity workers will be asking shoppers to buy a few extra items and donate them to those in need.

Wednesday

A verdict is expected in the trial of French footballer Karim Benzema, who is accused of being part of a plot to blackmail a fellow France international over a sextape.

Wednesday

Ministers hold a meeting of the Defence Council to examine the latest Covid situation in France, and whether extra measures are needed. Although cases in France remain lower than many neighbouring countries, case numbers have doubled over the past week as the fifth wave hits at “lightening speed”.

Thursday

International day for the elimination of violence against women – events are planned in most French cities to mark the day.

Thursday

Americans celebrate the festival of Thanksgiving.

READ ALSO Reader tips: How to create an authentic Thanksgiving in France

Friday

This is the day that many of France’s larger Christmas markets open, including the markets in Strasbourg, Colmar and Reims. They generally run until the end of December and offer stalls, entertainment and French festive treats including vin chaud (mulled wine), pain d’épices (gingerbread) and huitres (oysters).

READ ALSO 11 of the best Christmas markets to visit in France this winter

Friday

French midwives begin industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions.

Sunday

Beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.

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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

This week in France: What you need to know

From the lifting of Covid restrictions to a pancake festival, here's what is happening in France this week that you should know about.

This week in France: What you need to know
Go crazy for crêpes on Wednesday. Photo: Jean-Francois Monnier/AFP

Monday

Signature chasing – expect to see a lot of mention of parrainage in French media, as presidential candidates can now begin the formal process of collecting signatures to support their election bid. In order to get onto the ballot paper for the 2022 presidential election, candidates need to secure a minimum of 500 signatures from elected French officials such as MPs and mayors. Here’s how this system works.

Lelandais trial – the trial begins in Grenoble of former soldier, Nordahl Lelandais, for the murder of eight-year-old Maëlys.

Tuesday

Motorway tolls rise – users of the autoroutes face an increase in toll charges from February 1st. The exact rises vary between areas, but across the country the average rise is two percent.

Crack meeting – A meeting is planned in Paris, organised by the government, to tackle the issue of crack cocaine in Paris.

Strike at unemployment offices – unions are calling for employees of the Pôle emploi unemployment office to strike in protest over pay and working conditions.

Savings boost – the interest rates on the Livret A savings account will rise from 0.5 percent to 1 percent.

Chinese New Year – festivities begin to mark the Chinese New Year – 2022 is the year of the tiger.

Wednesday 

Lifting of Covid restrictions – this marks the beginning of a two-step lifting of restrictions, with the scrapping of rules on gatherings sizes, outdoor mask-wearing and compulsory work-from-home. The second stage will be on February 16th. 

Calendar: When will France’s Covid restrictions be lifted 

La Chandeleur – France’s ‘pancake day’ is on Wednesday, and is basically a festival eating lots of delicious crêpes. If you feel that you might need luck or prosperity for the year ahead, however, there are some crêpe-based rituals that claim to bring that.

Thursday

Demonstration – demonstration in Paris, called by the country’s largest union the CFDT, of essential workers, to raise awareness of the rising cost of living.

Saturday

School holidays – schools in zone B, which encompasses most of northern France but also to Aix-Marseille area, begin their February school holidays. The two-week February holiday varies depending on which one you are in. Zone A holidays run from Saturday, February 12th to Monday, February 28th, Zone B from February 5th to 21st and Zone C February 19th to March 7th.

Sunday

Rugby – France hosts Italy at the Stade de France for the opening weekend of the Six Nations rugby tournament. The restrictions on crowd sizes have been lifted just in time for the game, but other restrictions remain and you will need a vaccine pass to enter the ground.

READ ALSO The Covid rules for watching sport in France

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