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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

The week in France: What’s happening this week

From the festival of love to further relaxations of the Covid rules and a transport strike, here's what is happening this week in France.

The week in France: What's happening this week
PDAs in front of tourist sites are, fortunately, optional on Valentine's Day. Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

This week sees a relaxation of travel test rules. The new rules, announced by prime minister Jean Castex and effective from Saturday, February 12th, mean that fully-vaccinated travellers from any country will no longer need a negative Covid test in order to enter France

Monday

Valentine’s Day – the festival for lovers falls on a Monday this year. The day is less of a big deal than it is in the US, but it’s still celebrated among couples and hopeful lovers in France.

READ ALSO 5 things to know about Valentine’s Day in France

Paris wine show – The Salon du vin Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris will run until Wednesday evening at the Porte de Versailles. Thousands of wine producers will offer tastings and discount prices inside the large conference hall. You can buy tickets here. Vaccine passes will be necessary. 

Terror trial begins – the trial begins of four men suspected of being accomplices in the murder of a Catholic priest in 2016. Father Jacques Hamel had this throat slit in front of his congregation as he celebrated Mass. The two killers were shot dead by police at the scene, but four men suspected of being accomplices go on trial on Monday in Paris.

Tuesday

Vaccine pass changes – the vaccine pass has been in use since January, but from February 15th the rules around it toughen, while a temporary exemption for people getting their first vaccine is removed.

  • Boosters – at present your vaccine pass will deactivate if it has been more than seven months since your first dose and you have not yet received a booster shot, but on Tuesday this limit drops to four months. The four-month limit affects only people who have not yet had a booster – anyone who already had the booster is fine, even if their gap between second and third doses is more than four months.
  • Positive tests – proof of recent recovery from Covid can also be used for the vaccine pass, but while previously a positive test could be used for six months, on Tuesday that drops to four months. Full details on how to use recovery certificates HERE
  • End of first-shot exemptions – as a sweetener to those who were not vaccinated when the vaccine pass came in, the health ministry announced that anyone who got their first shot between January 15th and February 15th would be able to use the first dose plus a negative test in order to access vaccine pass venues. This exemption ends on Tuesday and now the vaccine the vaccine pass requires everyone to have a full vaccination course, with seven days after the second dose.

Home-test kits withdrawn from supermarkets – from Tuesday, only pharmacies will be allowed to sell Covid home-test kits (autotests). Normally the sale of medical products is strictly limited to pharmacies only, but over the New Year period, as case numbers soared, supermarkets were granted a special exemption to sell them as well.

Wednesday

Covid rules relax – Wednesday marks phase two of the relaxation of Covid-related rules, with three changes coming it.

  • People will again be allowed to eat in cinemas and sports grounds, as well as on trains and planes. This has been banned in order to ensure that people remained masked in indoor spaces
  • Cafés and bars will not longer be limited to table service only
  • Concerts and music gigs can once again take place
  • Nightclubs reopen and the ban on dancing in bars is lifted

CALENDAR: When is France lifting Covid restrictions?

Thursday

Green presentation – The Green party’s presidential candidate Yannick Jadot will be on France 2 TV outlining his policies ahead of the elections in April. At a rally in Paris, far right Rassemblement National leader Marine Le Pen will present her election manifesto. 

Petit prince exhibit – The Paris Musée des Arts Décoratif opens a new exhibition dedicated to the French literary classic Le Petit Prince – full details here.

Friday 

Metro strike – workers in the Paris public transport network will walk out on Friday in an ongoing pay dispute. The industrial action will affect the Paris Metro, bus and tram services and some RER lines. The city public transport authority RATP will publish a complete list of which services will be running by Thursday evening.

School holidays – schools in much of France have already begun their two-week February holiday, but on Friday schools in Zone C – which includes Paris and much of south west France – break up. If you’re in the Paris region, traffic is likely to be heavy on Friday evening as families go away for the holidays.

The government has announced a new Covid protocol for schools which will come into effect as they return from the February holidays.

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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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