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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

On the Agenda: What’s happening in France this week

From the return of France's parliament and the unveiling of the government's pension reform plan to a large lottery prize for Friday the 13th and the world ice swimming championships - here's what is happening in France this week.

On the Agenda: What’s happening in France this week
Pedestrians walk past an advertisement indicating discounts in a shop, during the winter sales, in Rennes in 2021. (Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP)

Monday

Hunting Secretary of State for Biodiversity Bérangère Couillard will announce the government’s plans to make hunting safer. Early reports suggest that a ban on Sunday hunting is unlikely.

Rail travel –  SNCF relaunches its ‘carte familles nombreuses’, offering discounts on rail travel for families with three or more children aged under 18, in a digital format. The scheme has been operating since 1921, but was temporarily halted in December to allow for the creation of a new online application portal. You will be able to order your new cards here from January 9th.

Courts – One of France’s biggest recent health scandals will be back in the news as  – two years after being sentenced to a fine of €2.718 million for “aggravated deception” in the scandal linked to a weight loss drug, Servier laboratories appeal against the conviction.

Parliament – French legislators will come back to the office today after their Christmas break.

Tuesday

Pension reform – Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will unveil details of the planned pension reform – originally planned for December 15th. The plans are highly controversial and unions have already called for strikes and demonstrations. 

READ ALSO 5 minutes to understand . . . French pension reform

Hospital strike – the union FO has called for an ‘unlimited strike’ for hospital workers to protest at under-funding of the health service. Key workers in the health sector are barred from striking, so industrial action normally takes the form of demonstrations outside hospitals.

Wednesday

Bargain hunt – The strictly regulated winter sales kick off in stores across most of the country on Wednesday, and run for almost four weeks.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about France’s 2023 winter sales

Hospital strike – the union FO has called for an ‘unlimited strike’ for hospital workers to protest at under-funding of the health service. Key workers in the health sector are barred from striking, so industrial action normally takes the form of demonstrations outside hospitals.

Thursday

World ice swimming championships – the world championships in the sport of ice swimming begin in the French Alpine resort of Samoëns, 500 swimmers from 42 countries are expected to take part. The contest lasts until Sunday. 

Friday

Could it be you? – Friday the 13th could be lucky for someone in France, with a minimum guaranteed Super Loto prize of €13 million up for grabs.

African Nations Championship – if you’re in a part of France that has a large Algerian or Moroccan population, expect some noisy bars over the next few days as the African Nations Championship gets underway. Host nation Algeria take on Libya on Friday at 8pm and Morocco play Sudan on Sunday at 5pm.

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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

On the Agenda: What’s happening in France this week

From the French pancake festival to school holidays and another mass strike, here's what is happening in France this week.

On the Agenda: What's happening in France this week

Monday 

Anti-discrimination plan – Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government plan to combat racism, anti-semitism and discrimination based on origins.

Tuesday

Strikes and demos – January 31st is the second ‘mass strike’ day in the ongoing battle between unions and the government over pension reform. Expect severe disruption on public transport, school closures and possible power cuts. The day will also be marked by demos in towns and cities across France – the last one saw 1 million people take to the streets, and unions are hoping for a similar turnout.

Pension strikes: What to expect on January 31st

Some unions have announced their intention to continue with industrial action into February, so keep an eye on the latest updates HERE

Wednesday

Immigration bill – the immigration bill – which includes, among other things a requirement for foreigners to take a language test in order to obtain certain types of carte de séjour – is presented to the Council of Minister, before it comes before parliament.

Language tests and easier expulsion – what’s in France’s new immigration bill?

Electricity bills rise – from Wednesday, domestic electricity bills can rise by a maximum of 15 percent after the 2022 price shield expires.

READ ALSO What changes in France in February

Thursday 

Pancake day – the French festival of La Chandeleur is a celebration of the crêpe. It’s not a public holiday, just a chance to eat lots of yummy pancakes and indulge in some of the stranger pancake-based rituals (crêpe on the wardrobe, anyone?) which are said to bring good luck for the year ahead.

La chandeleur: The day France goes crazy for crêpes

Saturday

School holidays – schools in zone A begin the two-week February holiday on Saturday. The February holidays have different dates in different zones, with one B beginning holidays on February 11th and zone C on February 18th.

Reader question: Is there any logic to France’s school holiday zones?

Sunday

Rugby – France take on Italy in Rome in the opening weekend of the 6 Nations rugby tournament, with the French team hoping to repeat last year’s result, which saw them win the tournament.

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