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What changes about life in France in February 2021?

The Local France
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What changes about life in France in February 2021?
Illustration photo: AFP

February will bring new Covid-19 health rules and maybe a lockdown, but also other things including new motorway toll prices and a national pancake feast.


France goes on a third lockdown?

The French government is currently in the process of deciding whether or not to impose a third national lockdown, in a bid to slow down the spread of Covid-19 across the country, which has been aggravated by the arrival of new variants of the virus.

President Emmanuel Macron is expected to make his decision known shortly.

State of health emergency gets renewed

On February 16th, the France’s state of health emergency was supposed to expire, but, due to the continuing health crisis, the government decided to extend the period until May 3rd.

READ ALSO: What does it mean that France is extending its state of health emergency until June?

Schools go on holiday

February is a national school holiday month, although schools go on a break at different times depending on their location. Zone A schools break up on February 6th, zone B on February 20th and zone C on February 13th (see the official calendar HERE).

Extending and/or grouping together the holidays is one of the options the government is currently considering as a means of slowing down the virus’ spread, read more about that HERE.

Motorway toll prices increase

On February 1st, motorway toll prices will increase by 0.44 percent on average across France. For details on the local prices, go to SANEF's, the agency regulating motorway prices in France,  overview HERE.


Gas gets more expensive (again) 

Household gas prices decreased steadily in 2020 in France until August, and since then they have been rising nearly every month. 

On February 1st they increase by 3.5 percent on average - 0.9 percent for households using gas for cooking, 2.1 percent for  those using it for both cooking and heating and 3.7 percent for those only using gas for heating.

Electricity gets more expensive too

Electricity prices increase by 1.6 percent for private households on February 1st, according to the French Commission de Régulation de l'Energie (CRE). Professional clients will see prices rise by 2.6 percent.

Cigarette prices change

Cigarette prices in France too have been rising for months, and on February 1st some will go from €10.20 to €10.30. However those currently at €10 will drop to €9.90.

Taxi rates change in Nice

On February 1st the taxi fares in Nice, southern France, increase slightly for those coming from or going to the city's airport. A ride to Cannes from Nice airport will cost €85 instead of €80.

In the rest of France, the minimum fare remains unchanged at €7.30

Students get funding to see a psychologist

Students who wish to see a psychologist may, as of February 1st, apply for a cheque-psy, a new government initiative set up to alleviate the heavy mental costs of remaining isolated due to the pandemic. The details of this scheme are still a bit unclear, but students who wish to benefit from it must make an appointment with their doctor. According to AFP, which cited a government source, the cheque will be for "a certain number" of appointments between "€30 and €40" for each one.


Ski lifts remain closed

France's winter sport sector had hoped to reopen in time for the February school holidays, but due to the deteriorating health situation, they will likely remain shut down for now. 

.. and so do restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres and gyms

When the French government decided to impose a nationwide 6pm curfew mid January in a bid to halt the rising spread of Covid, they said they would review the health restrictions in mid February. But as things are looking right now, France is headed towards a toughening rather than a loosening of the current rules. All establishments that closed in October will therefore with near certainty have to remain closed until further notice.

But 'ticket restos' won't expire

If you are in possession of ticket restaurants, those vouchers commonly used in France to get a warm meal in town, you may use them until September 2021 even if they expired in 2020.

These vouchers should also be valid for 'click and collet', the system of picking up meals in restaurants that has flourished under Covid restrictions.

And it's finally La Chandeleur !

But in great news for everyone who loves crêpes (French pancakes), February 2nd is the day of La Chandeleur.

It's an old religious holiday in France that today is mostly about eating a lot of crêpes, lighting candles and becoming very superstitious.

Read more about La Chandeleur and why the French eat crêpes that day HERE.




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