For members


Restaurants, festivals and crowds: What changes in France on Wednesday?

Wednesday, June 30th marks the fourth and final stage of France's plan to lift lockdown - so what changes?

Restaurants, festivals and crowds: What changes in France on Wednesday?
Photo: Ian Langsdon/AFP

On May 3rd France began a four-stage journey towards lifting lockdown and on Wednesday that journey reaches its final stage.

All stages have been contingent on the health situation but at present, despite concerns about the increase of the Delta variant, health trends in France are still going in the right direction with case numbers and hospitalisations continuing to fall.

READ ALSO Is France heading for a Delta variant surge like that in the UK?

What changes?

Some of the things that were originally scheduled for June 30th have already happened – the curfew was lifted 10 days early on June 20th and the requirement to wear masks outdoors was scrapped on June 17th, although there are still plenty of places where a mask is compulsory.

The main change on Wednesday is that decisions on a range of issues are passed back to local authorities, rather than being set by the government.

Although venues like bars, cafés, theatres and cinemas have already reopened there are limits on how many people they can accept while bars and cafés are limited to 6 per people table with a ban on bar service.

This could now change, but the final decision is down to the local authority, based on the health situation in their area.

So we could be heading back to a range of localised restrictions that mean you can have dinner or drinks with 7 friends in one area, but only 5 friends in another.

In fact on Wednesday, one local authority in south west France announced that it is delaying stage 4 until at least July 6th.

Concerts – concerts and live music events are currently only allowed if the audience is seated, but from June 30th that restriction is scrapped and standing audiences are allowed again. Events that have more than 1,000 people in the audience will require a health passport to enter, providing proof that you are either fully vaccinated, have recently recovered from Covid or have received a negative test in the past 72 hours.

Full details on how the health passport works HERE.

Festivals – the standing audience rule means that festivals can also go ahead – with a health passport – although several of France’s bigger summer festivals have already been cancelled.

Nightclubs – nightclubs stay closed for just a little longer, but reopen on July 9th. Entry will be with a health passport.

Large crowds – indoor events have previously been limited to 1,000 people, but this limit lifts on Wednesday, although entry to events of more than 1,000 people will be with a health passport.

Travel – not actually part of the French reopening plan, but on Thursday, July 1st, the EU health passport comes into effect to make travel around the Bloc easier – find out how it works HERE.

Member comments

  1. It is not the final stage! you still are forced to wear that silly mask in many places even when you are vaccinated, yet you can sit down in a restaurant without a mask, because apparently when you eat you can not get covid. A logic rule would be chewing gum or a mask, the choice is up to the individual, as is vaccination. Final stage……. It is final when I have my freedom back, don’t have to be vaccinated for certain bennefits, don’t have to walk around with a useless mask.

  2. So don’t go to places where you have to wear a mask if it’s that important to you. Bingo! Free at last! That was easy, wasn’t it?

    It’s a question of respect for others to wear them when required, but you’re the one that matters…

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For members


What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer


But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.