France introduces the first phase of its two-step plan to relax Covid-19 restrictions, plus crêpes are on the menu for La Chandeleur. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. France Eases Covid-19 Restrictions
While France continues tightening rules regarding vaccinations (see last week’s News Digest for the latest on the Vaccine Pass), the first phase of relaxing Covid-19 related health restrictions begins from tomorrow. From Wednesday, February 2nd, masks will no longer be mandatory in outdoor spaces, and large-scale events (which are currently capped at 2,000 attendees for indoor events and 5,000 for outdoor events) will once again be able to take place.
France also ends its compulsory ‘teletravail’ (remote working) rule, which required all eligible workers to work from home for a minimum of three days a week. Remote working remains a recommendation where possible, but it is no longer compulsory.
The second phase of lifting Covid-19 restrictions will start from February 16th and will include the reopening of nightclubs and the reopening of food stands in sports grounds and cinemas.
2. Tax-Free Interest On Savings Doubled
Interest rates on France’s popular tax-free savings account, the Livret A, have doubled from 0.5% to 1% as of today (February 1st).
All French residents have a right to open a Livret A, and the savings accounts are free from taxes and fees – you don’t need to declare it on your annual tax return either. You can save up to €22,950 in a Livret A, and there are no restrictions on withdrawals, making it a convenient option for short-term savings. However, if you’re looking for long-term savings and investment opportunities, it might be best to consider other options – read our article on savings accounts in France for more advice.
3. Pancake Day
If you live in France, don’t forget that tomorrow is ‘Pancake Day’! February 2nd is La Fête de la Chandeleur (or simply ‘La Chandeleur’) in France, and there are a whole host of traditions to celebrate the big day. Naturally, French crêpes are the star of the show, but before you break out the frying pan, be sure to read our 7 Need-to-Know Facts About La Chandeleur.
If you’re wondering what the French do for Shrove Tuesday – the day most Brits and Americans know as Pancake Day – it’s celebrated here as Mardi Gras, and crêpes often still make it on the menu. Our recommendation? Celebrate both and treat your French friends to some British or American-style pancakes on March 1st (just don’t dare to call them crêpes!).
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