Wine to politics: 6 essential articles for life in France

From the latest trends in French wine to the best of the new French TV series, via travel rules updates, here's our pick of the six articles that will help you to better understand life in France.

French wine
Do you know your French wine trends? Photo: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP

It’s France’s most famous industry and wine-producers are fierce in protecting the traditions of their product.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing ever changes within French vineyards, and the last couple of decades has seen something of a quiet revolution as more and more growers turn their back on chemicals and go organic.

We have been talking to some producers about the reasons for their choice and the effect that it has had on the French wine market.

There’s been a few changes to the Covid-related travel rules this week.

You can keep up with all the latest in our Travelling to France section, but the first change covers extra testing requirements for some travellers from the UK.

The second concerns travel from France to the USA, which will be allowed again for non-US citizens from Monday, November 8th, provided they are vaccinated.

And thirdly, there has been yet another change to the system for people vaccinated outside the EU to gain the QR code necessary to use the French health pass.

This has been an ongoing problem, with many visitors from the USA, Canada and other non-EU countries reporting long delays in being able to swap their vaccination certificates for French codes, but now the government has introduced a different system which will hopefully make the process go more smoothly.

Those vaccinated in the EU, Schengen zone or UK have their own system.

If you’ve been following French politics you will undoubtedly have seen coverage of the Franco-British ‘fish wars’ – here’s a quick breakdown of what the dispute is about.

This row is being spun in very different ways on each side of the Channel, so we asked our columnist John Lichfield to take a look at the French political context, and the dilemma that Emmanuel Macron faces as he decides whether to trigger tough new checks on imports from the UK.

ANALYSIS: Macron’s dilemma over the Franco-British fishing spat

A good way to learn more about France, and to improve your French and pick up some colloquialisms, is to watch French TV and films.

We’ve put together a pick of the best French films and TV series to watch or stream this week, from thrillers to romances to the return of France’s favourite baking show.

And if you want to improve your French, here is our pick of the best series that will teach you some really good colloquial French.

6 of the best films and TV shows to watch in France this week

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France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier