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France in 2016
What really needs to happen in France in 2016
Photo: AFP

What really needs to happen in France in 2016

The Local · 6 Jan 2016, 17:38

Published: 06 Jan 2016 14:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Jan 2016 17:38 GMT+01:00

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France will no doubt bring in plenty of laws and rules changes in 2016 as it does every year, but how many will really improve our lives?

Here are things the government could do that would please us at The Local.

End the ban on swimming shorts

Skin-tight speedos, skimps or budgie-smugglers might look fine and dandy when worn by a finely toned and tanned Frenchman. But French authorities need to spare a thought for us slightly plumper and pastier "Anglos Saxons" and end the 1903 ban on the wearing of swimming shorts or Bermudas in public pools.

Let's face it most French people who share the pools with us would be in favour of this too. The rule might have been brought in for hygiene reasons but the government needs to think about the mental health of French bathers.

Limits on car horn usage
Photo: Piano Piano!/Flickr
France loves to introduce new road rules, but they never seem to be the right ones.
A major headache in France (quite literally sometimes) is the overuse of car horns. And it needs to be stopped.
What we'd really like to see is the invention of a "car horn limit". For instance, French cars could be fitted with devices that allow for 10 seconds of horn use every year. If a motorist exceeds this, they automatically get another ten seconds of "beepage" and a €250 fine. Seems fair.
Oh and drivers who don't stop at pedestrian crossings should lose their license.
France must win Euro 2016


President François Hollande needs to start sending brown envelopes to referees because if ever France was in need of being united it’s right now. And luckily for the French they have a football tournament in 2016 that could provide just the fillip.

Remember those scenes of the Champs-Elysées when France, with its team made of players of all different ethnic origins, won the World Cup on home soil in 1998. We’d happily forsake a British or Irish team winning to see the French spirits lifted after a nightmare year. Allez les Bleus!

Ban transport worker strikers

French police are banned from striking to maintain law and order and avoid chaos so for the same reason why not extend this to transport workers too? Yes, we are talking about you, RER drivers, SNCF workers Air France pilots and Air Traffic controllers. Or at least your strikes should be limited to Sunday mornings between the hours of 6am and 8am.

Sell ibuprofen in supermarkets

Photo: AFP

French authorities need to have more sympathy for those with hangovers who can’t find a chemist open on Sunday morning. A plan to allow supermarkets to sell the likes of ibuprofen and paracetamol was mooted and then scrapped last year.

Surely if there are condom machines in Paris Metro stations, we can buy ibuprofen in normal shops. We are not asking French pharmacies to give up their sacred right to sell suppositories. 

Scrap CDDs and replace them with “jobs”

Temporary contracts or CDDs as they are pretty much all that seems to be going these days in France. The problem is, apart from the fact they only last a certain period of time, is that you can’t really get anywhere with them. If you want to rent a flat or get a loan you almost always need a CDI (permanent contract).

The government is planning to push through labour reforms this year and they could do with scrapping CDDs altogether. Let’s just have one type of contract called “a job” that doesn’t have a time limit, but one from which employers can actually sack you from without spending two years in an employment tribunal.

Massive sign for the Eurostar at Gare du Nord
Photo: AFP
One of the hardest things to find in Paris is the gateway for the Eurostar in the Gare du Nord station -- especially if you arrive by Metro (rather than walking in the front door) or RER. All we ask for is massive neon signs at the right places pointing travellers - especially tourists - in the right direction, rather than the current miniscule 'eurostar' signs.

Scrap the le and la from the French language
Photo: Tim Green/Flickr
It's 2016, why do we still have gender in language? In case you don't speak a single word of French, the words le and la mean "the" in a masculine and feminine form, respectively. 
These arbitrary rules are confusing for language learners who risk looking foolish for saying "le table" or "la livre" and don't add anything to the conversation. We'd like to see "le" and "la" scrapped in favour of something more gender neutral. Perhaps one of "li", "lo", or "lu" would do the trick. 

Owners to meet victims of dog poo crimes

Photo: Paul Evans/Flickr

The new fashion to tackle crime is to force criminals to meet up with their victims to learn of the trauma they have caused in the hope they will feel remorse and never do anything wrong again.

Steep fines to end the age old problem of dog mess on French pavements are not working so we need a rethink.

There’s no reason why rogue dog owners shouldn’t be forced to visit the homes of their victims to hear of the suffering incurred by having to clean dog shit out of the carpet or scrape it out from the cracks in the grips of their shoes.

Stop charging extra for the terrace seats
Why on earth are we paying extra money to sit on the terraces of Paris bars and cafes? In fact, we'd wager that many tourists don't even realize that the prices are often different if you're inside or even cheaper at the bar. In the name of equality just scrap it, those who get there first get the best seats. 
Story continues below…
Ban minimum card payments
France to scrap minimum bank card paymentsPhoto: AFP
Let cash die, please. Let's embrace cards. It's 2016 after all. There was talk early last year about scrapping the minimum payment- which can be as high as €15 - but we haven't heard any developments since May. Please, let us buy our croissants with a credit card. 

Stub out smoking on enclosed terraces

Photo: AFP

So France introduced the smoking ban, forcing everyone to light up outside on terraces of bars and cafes. Then people complained it was too cold so bars built walls and roofs around the terraces and everyone was happy again.

But in winter sitting on these “indoor” terraces eating dinner is like dining in Serge Gainsbourg’s living room. So France needs to either get tough or just scrap the smoking ban.

Crackdown on Gallic grub

French cuisine is fantastic. Boeuf Bourgignon, Coq au vin and tartiflette should be awarded the Legion d’Honneur.

But in the 21st century there’s really no need for pigs intestines and colon (Andouillette) to be anywhere near a plate in a French restaurant. Tripe and calf's head could be banned too and people should be forced to eat snails without Garlic butter. The Escargot population would soon be booming.

Enforce a time limit on politicians' careers

The year 2016 will see the race for the Elysée hot up but we are likely to be faced with a choice between the same old candidates: Hollande, Sarko, Alain Juppé, Marine Le Pen probably the effervescent François Bayrou. French politics needs new blood, new ideas so the government should be brave enough to put a time limit of 20 years on the career of a politician and do it quickly. 

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