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LIVING IN FRANCE

Macron runs and vax pass ends: 6 essential articles for life in France

The President has decided to run for a second - and final - term in office, the vaccine pass will be suspended next week, and a much-loved singer returns after a long absence…

Macron runs and vax pass ends: 6 essential articles for life in France
French president Emmanuel Macron addressing the nation on the subject of the war in Ukraine. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

A day before the official deadline President Emmanuel Macron announced, to the surprise of precisely no one, that he will stand for a second five-year term in office. He already had more than enough signatures of sponsorship before he declared his candidacy.

International events he said, without directly mentioning the Russian invasion of Ukraine in an open letter to voters, meant he could not run a campaign as he had intended.

Here, we examine key points from his letter to the electorate.

Elections: 5 key points from Macron’s letter to the French people

Macron had earlier set a deadline for lifting almost all Covid-19 restrictions in France – including a ‘suspension’ of the vaccine pass requirement to enter a range of venues.

The decision caught some by surprise, but cases and hospitalisations are falling rapidly, which prompted Macron to set a March 14th deadline on the vaccine pass.

Read about the timeline to a mostly mask-free future here.

Calendar: When is France lifting Covid restrictions?

That news, and the long-awaited return of lighter nights – not to mention the blossom starting to appear on the trees, and spring flowers pushing up through the soil – may have you thinking about breaking out of the shackles of a stay-at-home, stay-warm post-Christmas winter existence.

Here, we outline festivals and events that could take your fancy over the next couple of months.

11 things to do in France in Spring 2022

Speaking of a long-awaited return, singer Stromae is back with his first album in nine years. It turns out that there’s rather more to the talented Belgian-Rwandan artist than slick tunes and smart dance moves.

We’ve put together this primer for you.

Stromae: 5 things to know about one of France’s best-loved artists

Journalists at The Local know as well as anyone that moving from one country to another can be difficult, but from bank accounts to driving licences, tipping to customer service, there are some particular challenges for Americans in France, as we explain here.

We point you in the direction of the solutions, too…

What are the biggest challenges for Americans in France?

We can’t pretend it is always easy, however. Sorry. But here’s a handy French word to describe your situation dealing with French bureaucracy.

French Word of the Day: Calvaire

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LIVING IN FRANCE

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. 

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