France extends again its €38 restaurant voucher scheme

France's Finance Minister has announced another extension to the €38 restaurant ticket limit that aims to help the country's battered hospitality industry.

France extends again its €38 restaurant voucher scheme
Photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP

More than 4 million workers in France receive tickets restos, which can be spent in restaurants or at the supermarket or other food shops. They are often distributed to workers whose companies do not have a subsidised canteen.

They are usually limited to €19 a day, but when lockdown ended and restaurants reopened, the limit was raised to €38 a day, in order to help the battered hospitality sector.

The new limit has already been raised several times, but on Thursday Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced that it will continue until the end of June.

The limit was increased to €38 for tickets used in restaurants in June 2020 and has been extended twice – in December 2020 and August 2021. The new end date – the last extension, France’s Finance Ministry has said – is June 30th. 

It had been due to revert to its earlier maximum of €19 per day at the end of this month. Tickets spent in supermarkets will continue to have a daily limit of €19.

These tickets can also continue to be used on weekends until June 30th, Le Maire said on BFM TV, in order to “support our restaurant friends”. 

The deadline for using any leftover tickets restos from 2021, however, remains set at March 15th.

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Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

This weekend represents the first chance to 'faire le pont' and have a long holiday weekend - and the French seem set to make the most of it with warnings of extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday.

Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

Thursday, May 26th marks the Christian festival of Ascension and is a public holiday in France.

More importantly, it’s the first time this year that French workers have had the opportunity to faire le pont (do the bridge) and create a long weekend.

In France, most public holidays fall on different days each year and if they happen to fall on the weekend then there are no extra days off work.

This year that happened on New Year’s Day (a Saturday) and both of the early May public holidays (the workers’ holiday on May 1st and VE Day on May 8th, which both fell on a Sunday).

READ ALSO Why 2022 is a bad year for public holidays

But as Ascension is on a Thursday, workers have the option to take a day of annual leave on Friday and therefore create a nice four-day weekend.

And it appears that many are planning on doing just that, as the traffic forecaster Bison futé is predicting extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday evening, as people prepare to make their after-work getaway and head to the coast, the countryside or the mountains to fully profit from their holiday weekend.

According to Bison futé maps, the whole country is coloured red – very heavy traffic – on both Wednesday and Thursday as people take to the roads to leave the cities.

Map: Bison futé

Meanwhile Sunday is coloured black – the highest level, meaning extremely heavy traffic and difficult driving conditions – across the whole country. 

Map: Bison futé

If you were hoping to take the train instead you might be out of luck, SNCF reports that most TGV services are sold out for over the holiday weekend.