Covid rules to cheese shortages: 6 essential articles for life in France

As winter approaches, France faces a cheese shortage.
As winter approaches, France faces a cheese shortage. Here are six articles you need to read this week. (Photo by JAMIE MCDONALD / AFP)
From the latest Covid restrictions to gender-neutral pronouns via the great cheese drought of 2021, here's our pick of the six articles that will help you to better understand life in France.

Winter is coming. But the cheesemakers aren’t ready. 

After a particularly wet and cold summer, farms have struggled to produce enough hay – an important source of nutrition for lactating cows. This could mean shortages of cheeses like Saint-Nectaire, Cantal and Bleu d’Auvergne towards the end of the year. 

We have been exploring this story and its possible link to climate change. We have also prepared a list of the best cheesy winter dishes in France – should you be lucky enough to get your hands on the ingredients. 

While there are no lockdowns or curfews currently on the cards for the festive break, the French government has introduced a raft of new Covid restrictions to tackle a fifth wave that is spreading through France at “lightning” pace.

The coming days, weeks and months will see the booster shot programme expanded to all over 18s, the return of mandatory mask wearing and tougher conditionality on health passes

To help you better stay on top of the new rules, we have prepared a calendar showing when each change comes in. You can find more information on the Covid-19 section of our website

Calendar: When do France’s new Covid measures come into force?

Its convenient location, good transport links, comparatively cheap property market – not to mention the stunning countryside and great food and wine – have long made France a popular destination for Brits looking to buy a second home. Thousands of Brits have invested in French property and travel regularly to spend time in their home-away-from-home.

But Brexit has ushered in a host of new restrictions for that you need to be aware of and staying on top of them can be hard.

We have been working on a guide on everything you need to know as a second home owner in France. From the 90-day rule to pets – we’ve got it covered. 

Brexit: What has changed for British second-home owners in France?

This week saw tragedy in the Channel. On Wednesday, at least 27 people died trying to cross from France to England, after their dinghy sank at sea. It was the single deadliest disaster ever recorded on the intensively-used migrant route. In response, French government has vowed to crack down on people smuggling. 

The incident has only added further fuel to the ongoing bonfire of Anglo-French relations. On Friday, the French Interior Minister cancelled a planned meeting with his British counterpart over a letter written by British PM Boris Johnson.

Our columnist, John Lichfield – who as a journalist has been covering Calais migration issues for 24 years – looks back at the genesis of the tragedy, and why the British government is deluded when it comes to attacking France on migration.

OPINION: France protects UK from migrant crisis, a fact Britain will never accept

Last week, a French dictionary had to issue a public defence after deciding to define the gender-inclusive pronoun, ‘iel‘, after coming under fire from the French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. 

“Defining words used in the world allows people to better understand them,” wrote the Petit Robert dictionary in a statement. 

All languages evolve. So we have published some guidance on how to use ‘iel’ correctly and on the adjectival agreement that must go with it. Welcome to the 21st century. 

French word of the Day: iel

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