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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

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

From Covid boosters to transport strikes, via school holidays and more football, here's everything that is happening in France this week.

On the Agenda: What's happening in France this week
Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

Monday 

Covid boosters – a second booster of the Covid-19 vaccine is now open to everyone in France, the health minister confirmed on Friday. François Braun encouraged people to get their second booster shot before Christmas, especially if they intend to travel to visit people in high-risk groups such as elderly family members.

Tuesday

Ukraine conference – beginning of the international conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine, held in Paris.

Nice attack verdict – a verdict is expected in the trial of eight people in connection with the 2016 terror attack in Nice that killed 86 people. The attacker – who drove a truck into crowds who were celebrating July 14th on the Promenade des anglais – was killed at the scene, but eight people have been charged with helping him or being aware of his intentions.

Wednesday

France v Morocco – the French team take on Morocco in the semi finals of the men’s football World Cup, being held in Qatar. French president Emmanuel Macron will travel to Qatar to cheer on Les bleus.

Tax deadline – if you believe you have made a mistake in the tax declaration that you submitted back in April/May, you have until December 14th to correct it online

Thursday

Pension reform law – Prime minister Elisabeth Borne was due to present to parliament the government’s detailed plans to reform the pension system, including raising the retirement age from 62 to 65 – however it was announced on Monday that this will be delayed until January 10th to “allow more time for discussion”. The plans are already implacably opposed by politicians on the left, unions and (according to polling) the vast majority of French people.

READ ALSO What you need to know about France’s controversial pension reform

Christmas bonus – the Prime de noël will be paid out to around 2.3 million low-income households.

Friday

Eurostar strike – UK-based drivers and security staff on the Eurostar will strike, leading to disruptions to services between London and Paris. Strikes are also planned for Sunday, December 18th and December 22nd and 23rd. 

School term ends – schools in France break up for the Christmas holidays on Friday (or Saturday, for those that have Saturday morning classes) and traffic is forecast to be heavy on Friday night as families make their festive getaway.

Film screening – if you’re in Paris, the film club Lost in Frenchlation is screening the new biopic Simone (about the life of Simone Veil) with English subtitles – full details here

Saturday 

Miss France final – as ever, the inexplicably popular beauty contest will be screened on French TV on Saturday evening.

Sunday

World Cup final – the final of the men’s football World Cup, which France may be playing in, depending on whether they beat Morocco on Wednesday.

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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

What changes in France in April 2023?

From Easter holidays and practical jokes to spring festivals, a referendum on E-scooters and the final decision on controversial pension reform - here's what is happening in France in April.

What changes in France in April 2023?

Poisson d’avril 

April 1st is the day of ‘April fish’ – when France goes crazy for practical jokes. Basically France’s version of April Fool’s Day.

READER QUESTION: Can you explain the French ‘poisson d’avril’ tradition?

Benefit revision – To keep in line with inflation, social benefits, including as the family benefit offered by CAF will be increased starting on April 1st by 1.6 percent. This social benefit is intended for families with dependent children and is intended to help them with their expenses related to the education and maintenance of their children. The amount of the family allowance varies according to the number of dependent children and the household income. 

Other benefits, like the RSA, a work welfare benefit aimed at reducing the barrier to return to work, will also be increased by 1.6 percent.

READ MORE: France’s family benefit system explained

End of the winter ‘Trêve Hivernale‘ – During winter months, tenants who stop paying their rent cannot be evicted in France due to the trêve hivernale (winter truce). However, this ends on March 31st, meaning on April 1st evictions in France can begin again.

READ MORE: Trêve hivernale: Why you can’t be evicted in winter in France

Income tax declaration portal – Starting on April 13th, you will be able to go online to the Impots.Gouv.Fr website to filling in your tax declaration. Depending on your location and situation, you have between 6-8 weeks to file the declaration. Almost everyone who lives in France has to do this, as do some second-home owners with earnings here, and the deadline for doing so depends on how you declare and where you live. 

READ MORE: The French tax calendar for 2023 – which taxes are due when?

Easter – Easter Sunday falls on April 9th this year. Easter Monday – April 10th – is a holiday across France but Good Friday is only a day off work if you live in the Alsace-Lorraine region, for complicated historical reasons connected to wars with Germany.

Easter Monday will be the first public holiday of 2022 that doesn’t fall on a weekend. In 2023, only two of France’s 11 jours fériés fall on weekends – New Year’s Day (a Sunday) and Armistice Day (a Saturday).

May will be a particularly nice month, with four public holidays this year. Holidays that can be ‘bridged’ in 2023 are Ascension Day on Thursday, May 18th, and Assumption, on Tuesday, August 15th. 

Calendar: School and public holidays in France for 2023

Eid al-Fitr – Marking the end of month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan, the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr is expected to fall on April 21st or 22nd this year, depending on the lunar calendar.

Spring holidays for schools – Schools also get a two-week break around Easter time, but the exact dates vary between the different school holiday zones.  Zone A, which includes both Lyon and Bordeaux, has holidays from April 8th until April 24th. Zone B, which includes Aix-Marseille, Nice, and Strasbourg,  has holidays from April 15th until May 2nd. Finally, Zone C, which includes Paris, Toulouse and Montpellier, runs from April 22nd to May 9th.

READ ALSO Is there any kind of logic behind France’s school holiday zones?

Pension deadline – Friday, April 21st is the deadline for France’s Constitutional Council  to decide the fate of pension reform. The decision could come sooner, but this deadline could become an important date for action by unions. 

More strikes? It is possible that strike action will continue into April. Certain industries have called for rolling strikes that may continue into the month of April, as well. You can keep up to date with The Local’s strike calendar – found HERE.

Festivals – There are several festivals and activities happening across France this April. Starting with the annual music festival, the Printemps de Bourges, taking place in the central French town of Bourges. This is four-day music festival will run from April 18th to 23rd this year. It has a wide range of acts booked and it’s also a favourite place for scouts to sign new talent, so it’s a good place to hear the ‘next big thing’.

Next up – the Banlieues Bleues – Running most of the month of April (until the 21st), this will be the 40th year for the festival that has brought jazz and blues greats to Paris’ suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis. The event consists of a series of concerts running over several weeks.

If you are a fan of ham, you may want to remember the dates for the Foire au Jambon – which will take place from April 6th – 9th. The Foire au Jambon started in 1462, and it takes place in Bayonne. It celebrates every stage of the creation of the famous hams that proudly bear the Basque town’s name. 

Finally – the Festival international du cerf-volant et du vent (Kite Festival) – taking place from April 8th – 10th. This will be held at the Châtelaillon-Plage in the south-west département of Charente-Maritimes. An annual event, people come to enjoy the big kites, little kites, competition kites, fighting kites and more. Plus, kite surfing and kite-building workshops. This event is perfect for families. You can find more information HERE

READ MORE: 14 places to visit and festivals to enjoy in France this Spring

Energy cheque – Some 5.8 million low-income households in France are set to finally receive their delayed 2023 “energy cheque” from April 21st, the government’s energy minister has announced. 

READ MORE: Millions of French households to be sent ‘energy cheque’ in April

In 2023, the French government has also created a benefit for households who primarily heat using wood. Applications must be submitted by April 30th for this. You can find out how to do so HERE.

Navigo pass reimbursement deadline – Public transport authorities in the Paris region have announced they will offer reimbursements for certain travel pass holders who suffered from delayed and limited services in 2022. The reimbursements will be allotted as part of two campaigns – one for people who held Navigo passes during the final months of 2022 and another focused on those who encountered the most difficulties with certain parts of the RER system during the calendar year of 2022.

To benefit, you must apply for the reimbursement online by April 14th. You can find more information HERE.

Paris marathon – Despite rumours that industrial action might lead to the cancellation of the Paris marathon, set to take place on Sunday, April 2nd, organisers told France Bleu that the event will go on as scheduled. The race will start around 8am at the Champs-Elysées.

Scooter referendum – Paris scooter referendum – inhabitants of Paris (or at least those on the electoral roll for the municipal elections, which does not include non-EU citizens living in the city) will be invited to vote on Sunday, April 2ns on whether to ban dockless electric scooters. The ride-hire scooters (trottinettes) have been the subject of much tighter regulation in recent years, but the citizens will get the final say on whether they should continue to be allowed. Privately-owned scooters are not affected.

READ MORE: ‘Inherently unsafe’ – Why Paris readers want e-scooter rental schemes banned

Paris café terraces extend – It was originally a Covid-related measure, allowing cafés to extend their terraces into adjoining outdoor space, parking spaces etc, but now the city of Paris has decided to allow extended terraces every summer, with a paid-for licence, from April 1st. The deputy mayor of Paris, Olivia Polski, confirmed to French daily Le Parisien that the terraces would make a comeback in 2023.

Olympics deadlines – The second phase for Olympics tickets – a draw for tickets to single events – began on March 15th. You can register for the draw until April 20th, 2023, 6pm CET. If you are chosen, you will receive word on May 9th by email. The portal to register as an Olympic volunteer is also currently open

READ MORE: Paris 2024 Olympics: How can I get tickets?

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