France is preparing for the arrival of British King Charles III this September, while parents around the country start preparing for La Rentrée. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. King Charles III set to visit France
British King Charles III is set to visit France this September after cancelling his original state visit back in March due to the long-standing protests over President Macron’s pension reforms. Recent reports by French newspaper Sud-Ouest have earmarked the King’s visit for 20th September, around six months after the original visit was planned.
The official schedule for the King’s visit is yet to be announced, but it is expected that the newly coronated King, along with Queen Consort Camilla, will visit Paris and Bordeaux as originally planned.
This will be the monarch’s first visit to France since taking the throne, and although it will no longer be his first overseas state visit as King (after the French trip was cancelled, that honour went instead to Germany), it is still be heralded as an important step in mending French-British relations, which were notably strained in the wake of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
2. France goes on holiday
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the entirety of France is already on holiday in August – with many workers taking their annual leave, it’s a notoriously slow month, with many small shops and businesses closing their doors and many professionals unavailable for appointments until September. However, today – Tuesday 15th August – is also a public holiday in honour of the Catholic festival of Assumption.
If they aren’t already enjoying their summer break, workers across France will get the day off, but you may still find many bars, restaurants, and shopping centres stay open, as this isn’t a major festival. Aside from special church services, you probably won’t see many celebrations either.
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that, as the holiday falls on a Tuesday this year, many workers will seize the opportunity to “faire le pont” – enjoy a four-day weekend – and there’s likely to be a surge of traffic on the motorways and around large cities this evening as vacationers return home from the beaches and countryside.
3. Families receive back-to-school allowance
As we reach the halfway point of the August holidays, this is also the time that French families begin thinking about la rentrée, the day when schools reopen. One thing that expat parents often find different in France is the sheer amount of school supplies required for each child – schools send out a long list of items, including stationery, textbooks, a sports kit, and art supplies, all of which must be purchased for each child prior to la rentrée.
The good news is that not only do shops and supermarkets often offer special deals and promotions on such supplies throughout August, but the government also offers a back-to-school allowance – the allocation rentrée scolaire or ARS – to help lower-income families fund these back-to-school expenses. More than 3 million families across France receive the aid, which applies to children aged 6 to 18 enrolled in school.
If your household annual earnings fall under the threshold, which starts at €25,775 for households with one dependent child, you will qualify for the annual per-child allowance of €398,09 (for children aged 6-10 years), €420,05 (for children aged 11-14 years), or €434,61 (for children aged 15-18 years).
To receive the allowance, you must be registered with the CAF, and the amount will be automatically credited to your account. Payments will be issued tomorrow, Wednesday, 16th August.
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