The week in France: What you need to know

There's a big legal change this week, as well as film awards and more school strikes.

The week in France: What you need to know
Having a beer in a café now requires proof of vaccination. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP


Vaccine pass – France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass today, meaning that negative Covid tests will no longer be accepted for entry to a wide range of venues including bars, cafés, restaurants, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, theatres, tourist sites and long-distance trains.

If you are not fully vaccinated (which includes a booster shot for most adults, including those who are only visiting France) you will need either a certificate of Covid recovery or a certificate of medical exemption to enter the above venues.

Both the recovery certificates and medical exemptions need to conform to French formats – you can find them HERE and HERE.

The vaccine pass is required for everyone aged 16 and above, while children aged 12-15 can continue to use the health pass, which allows for a negative Covid test no more than 24 hours old.

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

Booster shots – Also on Monday, the Covid vaccine booster shot programme opens up to under 18s – here’s how teens and their parents can book appointments.

Rail strike – a rail strike on Monday will affect travel in the south west of the country as workers walk out in a dispute over pay and pensions.


Presidential trip – President Emmanuel Macron travels to Berlin for meetings with new German chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Anti-conversion therapy law – MPs adopt a law banning the use of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for gay people. Although such practices were previously illegal, prosecutions relied on charges of assault or false imprisonment, rather a specifically targeted law.


Strike – there are calls for workers at electricity supplier EDF to strike in protest at the government measures to contain energy prices.

Film awards – publication of nominations for the 2022 César film awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars.


Left primary – voting begins on the Primaire populaire de la gauche – this is an attempt by the French left to unite under a single candidate in the 2022 presidential elections, rather than spilt the vote between multiple candidates from leftist and green parties. However, several high-profile candidates have said they will not take part. 

Schools strike – teaching unions have called for another one-day strike in protest over the government’s handling of Covid in schools. This will be the third consecutive Thursday of strikes, although last week saw just 2.5 percent of teachers walk out, according to the Interior Ministry. Unions say they are focusing on January 27th for a major day of action and protests.

READ ALSO Why are French teachers striking and what does it have to do with Ibiza?


Winter sales – The sales end in Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Meuse and Vosges. These départements, all in border areas, began their sales period earlier than the rest of France. In the rest of the country, sales run until Tuesday, February 8th.

Double payments – Sunday was the original end date for a scheme that gave double payments to any medical personal for overtime hours. However, health minister Olivier Véran has announced that this will be extended until February 28th in order to recognise the “exceptional mobilisation” of health workers during the current wave of Covid cases. 

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On the agenda: What’s happening in France this week

From a new government and a tax deadline to a public holiday and an influx of football fans in Paris - here's what is happening in France this week.

On the agenda: What's happening in France this week


Council of Ministers – this will be the first meeting of the Council of Ministers from the newly-formed French government, announced on Friday. The regular weekly meeting of the highest-ranking French ministers tackles all aspect of government.

READ ALSO Who’s who in the new French government

Paris transport strike – services in the city’s bus and tram network will be affected on Monday as staff take strike action in a long-running dispute over service reorganisation. Metro services are not affected.


Tax deadline day – this is the first deadline for the completion of the annual tax declaration online, and it applies to people who live in départements 1-19 or those who live outside France. For help with completing the declaration, head to our tax section.

READ ALSO Who has to fill in the annual French tax declaration?

Besson case – the court of appeal is set to publish its judgement in the case of the film director Luc Besson, who has been accused of rape.

Marseille literature festival – the literary festival Oh les beaux jours begins in Marseille.


Music festival – the festival of electronic music Nuits sonoré begins in Lyon.


Ascension Day – The Christian holiday of Ascension marks the first public holiday of the month. Normally May 1st (workers’ day) and May 8th (VE Day) are both holidays in France, but this year they fell on a Sunday, meaning no extra day off. Ascension also represents one of the rare chances to faire le pont in 2022.


Champions League final – If you’re in Paris, expect it to be full of Spaniards and Scousers as Real Madrid take on Liverpool for the Champions League final at the Stade de France. The final was originally set to be held in Russia, but was relocated due to the invasion of Ukraine.

READ ALSO What Liverpool fans coming to Paris for the Champions League final need to know

End of Cannes film festival – the film festival ends on Saturday after two weeks of celebration in the southern French seaside resort.