France steps up security to protect French Jewish communities following the attacks in Israel, how Friday’s mass strike could affect your travel plans, and the France Rugby World Cup moves on to its quarter finals. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Strikes set for Friday
France’s Intersyndicale – the group representing the country’s eight main unions (CFDT, CGT, FO, CFTC, CFE-CGC, Unsa, Solidaires and FSU) – has announced a day of strikes this Friday, October 13th, to protest austerity and the rising cost of living in France. The mass day of strikes and demonstrations is likely to affect transport across the country, so if you are planning to travel this weekend, make sure to double-check whether your train, flight, or metro services are running.
Cancellations by SNCF and airlines are typically announced 48 hours in advance, and many flights arriving and departing from Paris and Marseille have already been cancelled. It’s not yet clear whether schools and other state-run services will also be closed.
2. France responds to Hamas-Israel attacks
The shocking large-scale attacks on Israel carried out this weekend by the Palestinian militant group Hamas have led to tightening security to protect Jewish communities and monuments around France. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin pushed for urgent reinforcement in both police presence and surveillance to protect France’s Jewish population, which is the largest in Europe (and the third-largest in the world, after Israel and the US) at around 500,000. Although Darmanin insisted that there was no “clear-cut threat” to Jewish communities in France, security has since been stepped up at Jewish schools and synagogues throughout the country.
French President Emmanuel Macron released a joint statement yesterday (Monday, October 9th) alongside leaders from the US, UK, Germany, and Italy expressing their “steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism.” You can read more about the current situation here.
As the conflict continues to escalate with mass casualties on both sides, France is advising against all but essential travel within the affected regions (see the government’s official travel advice here), and many airlines cancelled flights to Tel Aviv over the weekend.
3. France Rugby World Cup quarter finals
The Rugby World Cup 2023, hosted this year in France, is moving on to its quarter-final matches this week. The first quarter-final matches (Wales-Argentina in Marseille, and Ireland-New Zealand in Saint-Denis, Paris) will take place this Saturday, October 14th, with the following matches taking place on Sunday, October 15th, with France taking on defending champions South Africa in Paris and England playing Fiji in Marseille.
4. Moving to France with children
The fourth edition of our Moving to France webinar series will focus on moving to France with a family, covering subjects such as enrolling your children in the French healthcare system, settling your kids into a French school, and international schools in France. I’ll be joined by a panel of experts for the free live event next week on Thursday, October 19th, 10:00 am UK time/ 11:00 am French time.
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