Researchers seek volunteers for Covid trial in Paris nightclubs

A team of scientists is looking for volunteers to participate in a trial in two Paris nighttime venues to see whether indoor clubbing increases the risk of transmitting Covid-19.

Researchers seek volunteers for Covid trial in Paris nightclubs
Le Cabaret Sauvage in La Villette will host one of the test events. Photo: ALAIN JOCARD / AFP.

The project will take place on Saturday night (June 26th) and will evaluate whether it is safe to re-open nightclubs under pre-pandemic conditions. It will look at the risk of transmission in a closed venue, at full capacity, between people who are fully vaccinated and not wearing a mask.

After remaining closed for 15 months, nightclubs in France will be allowed to open from July 9th, on the condition that indoor venues respect a 75 percent capacity limit, and partygoers have a valid Covid health pass (pass sanitaire).

The study dubbed Reviens, la Nuit (Come back, the night) is looking to recruit 4,400 fully-vaccinated volunteers aged 18 to 49, without any serious underlying health conditions, who live in the greater Paris region of Île-de-France.

Half of the volunteers will actually attend the event, while the other 2,200 will act as a control group. All participants will self-administer a saliva Covid-19 test before Saturday night, and again one week later.

The event will take place in two Paris venues – La Machine du Moulin Rouge and Le Cabaret Sauvage. The bar will be open, and there will be no social distancing rules, so attendees are encouraged to dance as they normally would in order to replicate the “atmosphere of the dance floor”.

After the event, researchers will ask participants to describe what they did.

“If ever we find people who contaminated each other, are there factors which could show that certain behaviours are more associated with contamination than others?” Dr Liem Binh Luong Nguyen, one of the leaders of the study, told France Info.

The trial is being led by Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris, and the ANRS Maladies infectieuses émergentes. The venues will be disinfected, antibacterial gel will be available, and a ventilation system will be installed ahead of the events.

Last month, rock group Indochine played a trial gig at Paris’s Bercy concert hall ahead of the return of concerts, as France gradually re-opens a cultural sector which has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

You can sign up for the nightclub trial by visiting

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Everything you need to know about France’s 2022 summer sales

In France, you can only shop the best deals twice a year - during the soldes. Here is everything you need to know about this year's summer sales.

Everything you need to know about France's 2022 summer sales

They happen twice a year – Each year, France has two soldes periods: one in the winter, usually starting January, and another in the summer, usually starting in June.

This summer, the soldes will start on Wednesday, June 22nd in most parts of France and run for four weeks, so even though you might be tempted to go on the first day, keep in mind they’ll be going on for a while.

They are progressive, so items will be continuously marked down as the soldes wear on. If you wait, you are risking that your favourite t-shirt might sell out quickly, but if you’re lucky it might end up marked down even further.

During 2020 and 2021 the government altered sales dates and time periods to help shops cope with closures and lockdowns, but now we’re back to the usual timetable.

This is the only time stores can have “sales” – Technically, the soldes are the only time that stores are allowed to have sales, but the definition of ‘sale’ is important.

Basically, the French government qualifies a ‘solde‘ as the store selling an item for less than they purchased it for.

During the rest of the year discounting is allowed in certain circumstances, so you might see promotions or vente privée (private sales, usually short-term events aimed at regular customers or loyalty-card holders) throughout the year.

In these situations the stores might be selling items for less than their original price, but they are not permitted to sell the item for less than they bought it for. 

Shops are also permitted to have closing-down sales if they are shutting down, or closing temporarily for refurbishment.

They are strictly regulated by the French government – Everything from how long the soldes go for to the consumer protection rules that apply to the very definition of ‘solde’ is regulated by the French government, and the main purpose of this is to protect small independent businesses which might not be able to offer the same level of discounts as the big chains and multi-national companies.

Whether you shop in person or online, the same rules apply.

As a consumer, you still have the same rights as non-sales times regarding broken or malfunctioning items – meaning you ought to be entitled to a refund if the item has not been expressly indicated as faulty. The French term is vice caché, referring to discovering a defect after purchase.

On top of that, stores must be clear about which items are reduced and which are not – and must display the original price on the label as well as the sale price and percentage discount. 

READ MORE: Your consumer rights for French sales

They started in the 19th century – France’s soldes started in the 19th century, alongside the growth of department stores who had the need to regularly renew their stock – and get rid of leftover items.

Simon Mannoury, who founded the first Parisian department store “Petit Saint-Thomas” in 1830, came up with the idea.

Funnily enough, this department store actually is the ancestor for the famous department store Le Bon Marché. His goal was to sell off the previous season’s unsold stock in order to replace it with new products.

In order to do this, Mannoury offered heavy discounts to sell as much merchandise as possible in a limited time.

The soldes start at different times depending on where you live – The sales start at the same time across most of mainland France, but there are exceptions for overseas France and certain départements, usually those along the border.

France’s finance ministry allows for the sales to start at different times based on local economies and tourist seasons. 

For the summer 2022 sales only two parts of metropolitan France have different dates; Alpes-Maritimes sales run from July 6th to August 2nd, while on the island of Corsica they run from July 13th to August 9th.

In France’s overseas territories the sales are held later in the year.

You might qualify for a tax rebate – If you are resident outside the EU, you might be eligible for a tax rebate on your sales purchases.

If you spend at least €100 in one store, then you qualify. You should hold onto your receipt and tell the cashier you plan to use a tax rebate so they can give you the necessary documentation (a duty-free slip).

Then when you are leaving you can find the kiosk at the station or airport dedicated to tax rebates (détaxe) and file prior to leaving France. For more information read HERE