French word of the day: Couvre-feu

The Local France
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French word of the day: Couvre-feu
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond"

It's a authoritarian practice mostly associated with war that has suddenly reentered the vocab of modern democracies - France included.


Why do I need to know courvre-feu?

Because your city may be installing it in the future (if it hasn’t already). 

What does it mean?

Couvre-feu means ‘curfew’, but not in the “teenager having to be home by 10pm” sense. A couvre-feu bans anyone in a given area from exiting their homes between certain times (usually late at night until early morning).

Although it's an authoritarian practice mostly associated with wars that would not usually fly in modern democracies, more than 20 cities in France have now imposed couvre-feux in their respective areas.


They have done so in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus, the highly contagious virus that is circulating actively on the entire French territory and putting huge pressure on the country’s health system.


Many are asking: est-ce qu'on va vers un couvre-feu national? - Are we headed towards a nationwide curfew?

If the government decides to implement a national couvre-feu, it would be a move unseen in modern peacetime. 

The last time France saw such an extensive couvre-feu was when Nazi Germany occupied the country during World War II. 

There have been episodes of couvre-feux since on the French territory (like after the 2005 riots in a Parisian banlieue), but these have been limited to very specific areas and happened on a much smaller scale than what the country is seeing now.



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