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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

This week in France: What you need to know

From the lifting of Covid restrictions to a pancake festival, here's what is happening in France this week that you should know about.

This week in France: What you need to know
Go crazy for crêpes on Wednesday. Photo: Jean-Francois Monnier/AFP

Monday

Signature chasing – expect to see a lot of mention of parrainage in French media, as presidential candidates can now begin the formal process of collecting signatures to support their election bid. In order to get onto the ballot paper for the 2022 presidential election, candidates need to secure a minimum of 500 signatures from elected French officials such as MPs and mayors. Here’s how this system works.

Lelandais trial – the trial begins in Grenoble of former soldier, Nordahl Lelandais, for the murder of eight-year-old Maëlys.

Tuesday

Motorway tolls rise – users of the autoroutes face an increase in toll charges from February 1st. The exact rises vary between areas, but across the country the average rise is two percent.

Crack meeting – A meeting is planned in Paris, organised by the government, to tackle the issue of crack cocaine in Paris.

Strike at unemployment offices – unions are calling for employees of the Pôle emploi unemployment office to strike in protest over pay and working conditions.

Savings boost – the interest rates on the Livret A savings account will rise from 0.5 percent to 1 percent.

Chinese New Year – festivities begin to mark the Chinese New Year – 2022 is the year of the tiger.

Wednesday 

Lifting of Covid restrictions – this marks the beginning of a two-step lifting of restrictions, with the scrapping of rules on gatherings sizes, outdoor mask-wearing and compulsory work-from-home. The second stage will be on February 16th. 

Calendar: When will France’s Covid restrictions be lifted 

La Chandeleur – France’s ‘pancake day’ is on Wednesday, and is basically a festival eating lots of delicious crêpes. If you feel that you might need luck or prosperity for the year ahead, however, there are some crêpe-based rituals that claim to bring that.

Thursday

Demonstration – demonstration in Paris, called by the country’s largest union the CFDT, of essential workers, to raise awareness of the rising cost of living.

Saturday

School holidays – schools in zone B, which encompasses most of northern France but also to Aix-Marseille area, begin their February school holidays. The two-week February holiday varies depending on which one 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.

Sunday

Rugby – France hosts Italy at the Stade de France for the opening weekend of the Six Nations rugby tournament. The restrictions on crowd sizes have been lifted just in time for the game, but other restrictions remain and you will need a vaccine pass to enter the ground.

READ ALSO The Covid rules for watching sport in France

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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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