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HEALTH

France increases contactless payments limit to €50

The contactless payment limit in France has been increased from €30 to €50 to coincide with the lifting of the country's lockdown.

France increases contactless payments limit to €50
Photo: AFP

In an effort to make it easier for people to maintain social distancing, the French Bank Federation (FBF) agreed to raise the limit to €50, with the new rule taking effect on Monday, may 11th, the day France began to lift its lockdown.

The goal of the measure is to make it easier for people to pay without touching the card machine even when purchasing larger quantities.

The World Health Organisation has advised people to use contactless payment instead of banknotes or coins, to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. 

France was already working on increasing the contactless payment limit to €50 by 2021, but has hurried the process in light of the coronavirus crisis.

“There won't be a 'big bang' on Monday May 11th,” said Loys Moulin, Director of development at the French bank card group Groupement des Cartes Bancaires CB.
 
The transition would be “very complex,” Moulin said, as “all of France's 70 million bank cards are concerned.”
 
When France increased its contactless payment limit from €20 to €30 in 2017, a lot of people had problems with their cards not being compatible with the new measures. According to CNEWS, it took three years to ensure that all cards authorised the new rule.
 
If you are having trouble paying by contactless for purchases above €30, you should contact your bank. In the “vast majorities of cases” there is no need to exchange the bankcard, according to Moulin.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Life in France: 5 plants that (allegedly) repel mosquitoes

Summer in France brings lots of good stuff and some deeply annoying things, like mosquitoes. But did you know that there are plants that you can add to your garden or balcony that will repel these deeply unwelcome visitors?

Life in France: 5 plants that (allegedly) repel mosquitoes

If you’re one of these people who are attractive to mosquitoes then you’ll know the misery of spending the summer covered in itchy red lumps – and the bad news is that the rising global temperatures mean that ‘mosquito season’ in France now lasts longer.

It’s a common problem and in the summer French florists and garden centres often sell ‘anti-moustique‘ plants.

We’re not promising a 100 percent repellent rate, but these are some plants that apparently help.

In good news, most of them are small enough so that you can grow them on your balcony or in a window box if you don’t have a garden.  

Mint (menthe)

A common herb that many people might already have in their gardens, but mosquitoes apparently hate the lovely, fresh scent of mint.

And even if it fails to ward off the bugs, at least you can use the leaves to garnish food or make a nice big jug of Pimms (which might distract you from your horrible, itchy bites).

READ MORE: France’s most toxic plants and berries to watch out for

Marigolds (Rose d’inde, sometimes known as Souci)

These are a popular choice to add a touch of colour to a window box or balcony, as well as to a garden, and have the added benefit of warding off mosquitoes.

Gardeners like them because can boost the growth of other plants when planted together.

Rosemary (romarain)

Another aromatic herb that humans love and mosquitoes apparently hate.

If you’re planting it in the garden use a container because it has a tendency to spread and take over your garden. If you don’t want to grown it, or don’t have the space, you can always add a couple of sprigs to your grill when barbecuing to help keep the mosquitoes away as you dine outdoors.

Lemongrass (citronelle)

You’ll certainly be aware of citronella scent from various mosquito-repelling products including oils and candles, but you can also grow it in the your garden.

It grows quite big so might not be suitable for small gardens or window boxes.

Even if it doesn’t succeed in keeping insets away, you can use it in cooking to add a lemony flavour.

Wormwood (absinthe)

The final one on the list is usually said to be the most effective, but should be used with caution as it is toxic if eaten.

You can grow it in your garden or in a window box, but take great care that it doesn’t end up with your edible herbs as it will make you sick – if you have a garden when children or animals are present then it’s probably best to avoid this one altogether, but on the plus side its pungent scent will keep mosquitoes away.

As the French name suggests, wormwood is one of the main ingredients in the drink Absinthe and is what gives it the distinctive green colour.

Legend has it that wormwood is the active ingredient that makes people hallucinate after drinking absinthe, but in fact the drink is not hallucinogenic and never was. It is extremely strong though, which might explain some of those ‘visions’!

Other tips

Mosquitoes like to hang out and to breed in water or long grass, so you can help keep them away by eliminating their favourite spots. For example;

  • Keep lawns trimmed
  • Eliminate sources of stagnant water eg old plant pots that collect rainwater
  • Keep your gutters clear
  • If you have a pond consider installing a small fountain or pump, as mosquitoes usually won’t lay eggs in moving water
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