This week in France: What you need to know

A man dressed as Santa Claus poses on the beach during the traditional Christmas swim in the French city of Nice. Here's what you need to know for the week ahead.
A man dressed as Santa Claus poses on the beach during the traditional Christmas swim in the French city of Nice. Here's what you need to know for the week ahead. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
From extra pay for hospital workers to an expansion of the vaccine programme and season 2 of the cringiest Netflix show ever made, here is what you need to know for the week ahead in France.

Monday 

Extra pay for French hospital workers 

Hospital workers in France will see overtime pay doubled – although it is unclear how long this rule will remain in place.

“We owe them a lot,” said Prime Minister Jean Castex. “We owe them our recognition for their commitment during the holidays.” 

European Medicines Agency decision on Novavax authorisation

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to announce whether or not the Novavax Covid vaccine is approved for use in Europe. On Friday, the Novavax vaccine became the first protein-based vaccine to be approved by the World Health Organisation. 

Even if the EMA gives its approval, it could be some time before this vaccine is rolled out across France. The French government has repeatedly insisted that France has sufficient stocks of existing vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer. 

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Flight route between Clermont-Ferrand and Paris closes  

The airport of Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne has announced that is cancelling all flights to and from Paris from December 20th until the Spring. Airport officials blamed the pandemic for the decision. 

Tuesday 

Médecins Sans Frontières marks 50 year anniversary 

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without borders) is a French NGO that has been providing medical assistance to people in disaster zones, typically in the context of armed conflict, for half a century. It currently operates in more than 70 countries around the world and employs some 41,000 people. 

The organisation has launched a communications campaign to mark its 50 year anniversary in the hope of raising more funds. 99 percent of its financing comes from private donors. 

Parisian comedy opera takes to the stage again

La Vie Parisienne was a comedy opera first staged in 1866. It poked fun at high society and was inspired by wild nights out in the French capital. “From the bravos and cries of laughter, this parody of Parisian life could not have gone better,” wrote a critic from the Le Figaro newspaper at the time. 

A modern adaptation of this production will be staged at Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Elysées until January 9th. You can buy tickets HERE

Wednesday

France could move one step closer to vaccinating all 5-11 year olds 

The Haute Autorité de la Santé (la HAS) will issue guidelines at the beginning of the week as to whether or not children aged between 5-11 should get vaccinated against Covid-19. Currently, at-risk children of this age (those who are immunodeficient or have other co-morbidities such as obesity) are already eligible for vaccination

If they are in favour, vaccinations of all 5-11 year-olds can begin from Wednesday, December 22nd, announced health minister Olivier Véran.

Season two of Emily in Paris is released 

It is the series you love to hate. And it’s back. The first season of Emily in Paris was blasted by critics as an exceptionally vapid take on life in France, full of saccharine cliché. Yet viewing figures were through the roof. You will be able to stream season 2 on Netflix

Friday 

The perfect moment to get tested before Christmas

The French government has recommended getting tested for Covid before meeting up with friends and family for Christmas celebrations. Read the latest guidelines HERE

If you plan on taking the train to visit friends or family, you will need to wear a mask and carry a health pass. Also bear in mind that public transport services will likely be extraordinarily busy and there will be heavy traffic on the roads. 

Saturday 

Christmas 

Merry Christmas! Unfortunately the Christmas Day falls on the weekend this year and in France, December 24th is not considered a bank holiday – which means no extra day off. 

The government has recommended that people avoid large gatherings over the festive period. 

“The less of us there are [at gatherings], the less we are taking risks,” said Castex on Friday. 

Bear in mind that further Covid restrictions could be announced during the week. We will be sure to keep you updated. 


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