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On the Agenda: What’s happening this week in France?

From holidays and carnival to crucial political debates and two strike days, here's what is happening in France this week.

On the Agenda: What's happening this week in France?
Preparations for the Menton lemon festival. Photo by VALERY HACHE / AFP


Pension reform bill – the controversial pension reform bill heads to the Assemblée nationale where debates – probably stormy ones – will begin.

READ ALSO 5 minutes to understand French pension reform 

Ski world championships – the world championship ski event begins in the French Alpine resorts of Courchevel and Meribel. 


Strike day – a third one-day mass strike will take place on Tuesday, so expect significant disruption on services like trains and city public transport, plus demos in towns and cities across France.

What to expect on the February 7th strike

Final day of sales – the winter sales end in most parts of France on Tuesday. You can learn more about the French winter soldes here.


Refinery worker’s strike – French oil refinery workers began their 72-hour strike on February 6th. Wednesday was set to be the last day, though unions could call on workers to walk out again.


Nice Carnival – the fabulous carnival in the southern city of Nice begins on February 10th and runs until February 26th. This year is the event’s 150th anniversary, and you can find more information about schedules and attending on the website here.


Another strike – there is another one-day strike action on Saturday, with disruption expected to be similar to Tuesday. 

School holidays – schools in Zone B – which includes most of northern France and also Nice) begin their two-week February holiday on Saturday. Schools in zone A are already on holiday while those in Zone C (south west France and Paris) begin the following week. 

Lemon Festival – on the border between France and Italy is the little town of Menton, which each year hosts a festival of lemons which includes a parade with floats made out of (what else?) lemons.

READ MORE: Bears, lemons and pig-squealing: 9 of France’s strangest festivals

France v Ireland – As part of the second round of the 2023 Six Nations rugby tournament, France will play Ireland in the 6 nations rugby tournament at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin at 3.15pm French time.

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On the Agenda: What’s happening in France this week

From yet more strikes and a pension crisis to an international day to celebrate the French language, a royal visit and the start of Ramadan, here's what is happening in France this week.

On the Agenda: What’s happening in France this week


No-confidence vote – the government faces votes of no confidence in parliament over its use of Article 49.3 to push through controversial pension reforms without a vote.

Paris garbage strikes – Paris police have begun to use the power known as “requisition” on striking trash collectors, forcing them back to work under threat of prosecution, at the request of the government. Unions had originally voted to extend action until Monday, March 20th, at which point unions would vote once more to determine whether to extend. As of Friday, waste workers had continued to block some waste treatment centres near Paris.

International Day of the ‘Francophonie’ – a day to celebrate French language and Francophone culture across the world, the International day of Francophonie is a day to recognise the over 369 million French speakers globally. 

READ MORE: A language expert’s top three tips for learning French


Nuclear bill – parliament is due on Tuesday to examine the bill to step up France’s nuclear energy programme.


Start of Ramadan – For Muslim people across the world, the holiday Ramadan will begin on Wednesday, March 22nd.


Strikes – the eight main union federations announced a new day of “strong mobilisation” on Thursday, March 23rd, in the ongoing pensions battle. Expect disruption on services including public transport – find the latest in our strike section HERE.


FootballLes Bleus will play the Netherlands on Friday at Stade de France in the first of the qualifiers for the Euros 2024.

Film screening – The film Petites will be screened in Paris with English subtitles at the Luminor cinema near Hotel de Ville. You can find more information HERE.

Festivals – there are two festivals that begin on Friday, March 24th. The first is the Saint Mont Vignoble en Fête, which brings together wine lovers of the world, unite, in the delightful Gers department in south-west France for three days of cultural and gastronomic eventery. Then, there are the Banlieues Bleues which bring jazz and blues greats to the Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis.


Royal visit – The UK’s king Charles III will visit France for his first foreign state visit since ascending to the throne. 

Changing times – The clocks go forward by one hour on March 26th – even though the EU had a plan to end this practice back in 2019.