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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

What changes in France in February 2022?

France begins to lift its Covid restrictions in February and there are also school holidays, financial changes and a festival of delicious crêpes, to name just a few events in a packed month.

What changes in France in February 2022?
February means France's Pancake Day. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

Covid restrictions easing – February sees a two-step process of easing some of the current Covid restrictions. February 2nd and February 16th are the key dates to lift rules including a limit on gatherings, outdoor mask rules and compulsory work-from-home. Full details HERE

Booster shot time limit – if you are over 18, it is now necessary to have a booster shot in order to keep your ‘fully vaccinated ‘ status and maintain an active vaccine pass. Previously you were given seven months between having the second dose and getting the booster in order to keep the pass valid, but on February 15th the gap falls to four months. You are eligible for a booster shot three months after getting the second dose. Full details on the time limits HERE.

End of the first-vaccine exemption – when the vaccine pass was introduced on January 24th a little sweetener was added to induce the previously unvaccinated to get their first dose. Anyone getting their first dose before February 15th can use a combination of their first vaccine certificate and a negative Covid test in order to access vaccine pass venues until they are able to get the second dose. This exemption ends on February 15th and from then on people will have to wait until seven days after their second vaccine dose in order to use the vaccine pass.

Electricity prices rise – prices for electricity tariffs rise by 4 percent on February 1st. It could have been a lot worse, though, as the energy regulator estimated that it would have been a 44 percent rise had it not been for the government’s decision to cap prices rises in an attempt to ease the cost of living crisis.

Tobacco price rises – some cigarette brands are increasing their prices from February 1st – Fortuna Cool and JPS Cool will rise from €9.70 to €9.80, while Gauloises Blondes Bleu and News Rouge will reach the €10 mark, compared to €9.90.

Sales end – the winter sales in most of France end on Tuesday, February 8th, although in some border areas they end on January 30th.

School holidays – schools have a two-week holiday in February, but the exact date depends on which zone you are in. Zone A holidays run from Saturday, February 12th to Monday, February 28th, Zone B from February 5th to 21st and Zone C February 19th to March 7th. It has also been announced that some Covid restrictions might be relaxed in schools once they restart after the February holidays, but the details are yet to be announced.

Motorway tolls rise – if you use the French autoroutes you will be aware of the tolls charged at each péage. But from February 1st these tolls increase. The exact price rise varies by area, but the average rise across the country is two percent.

La Chandeleur –  February 2nd marks La Chandeleur aka the French pancake day. As well as eating lots of delicious crêpes, the French also have a complicated and fun set of superstitions around this day which apparently bring good luck for the year ahead.

READ ALSO La Chandeleur: The day the French go crazy for crêpes

Parrainage season begins – the French presidential election moves up a gear in February as the parrainage season officially opens. This is the system whereby wannabe candidates must secure nominations from at least 500 elected officials in order to be included on the ballot paper. Parrainage collecting officially opens on January 30th and presidential hopefuls have until March 4th to secure the 500 signatures. In reality, most candidates have been working on securing the required promises for weeks already.

READ ALSO Why French village mayors could sink Zemmour’s presidential bid

End of Covid home-tests in supermarkets – Supermarkets will no longer be able to sell Covid home-test kits (autotests) after February 15th. Normally anything even vaguely medical-related can only be sold in pharmacies (even cough sweets) but the soaring demand for Covid home tests lead the government to grant a special exemption for supermarkets to sell them. This originally expired on January 31st, but was then extended until February 15th.

Nice Carnival – The Nice carnival is ranked among the top three in the world alongside Rio and Venice and has been going on since the 13th century. The opening ceremony is scheduled for February 11th although a jam-packed calendar of activities is scheduled until February 27th. The theme of this year’s event is “King of the Animals”. You can find more information HERE. Naturally, changes may be made depending on the latest Covid situation.

Savings – For anyone with a Livret A savings account, there is good news. The interest rate will rise on February 1st from 0.5 percent to 1 percent.

Baby boxes – the government will begin distributing ‘baby boxes’ to the parents of newborns containing essential items to help take care of the baby. The scheme will begin in deprived areas and isolated rural areas.

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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

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

Monday 

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.

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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

Thursday

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.

Saturday

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.

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