Heatwave warnings are being issued around the country as France faces its hottest temperatures of the summer, plus sign up now for our latest Moving to France webinar. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Summer’s heating up
Heatwave (canicule) warnings are sweeping France this week, with some 50 departments placed on orange alert as of yesterday, and four departments—Rhône, Ardèche, Drôme, and Haute-Loire—placed on red alert (see the full map here) for extreme heat. Temperatures are set to peak today and tomorrow (Tuesday and Wednesday), with highs of over 40°C predicted in the south and over 35°C along the Atlantic Coast.
With the “heat dome” (dôme de chaleur) causing high temperatures across France over the past week, the French government has issued advice for residents to manage the heatwave, which includes avoiding going out during the hottest period of the day (11am-9pm), keeping shutters closed throughout the day, drinking plenty of water (a minimum of 1.5 litres/day), regularly cooling your body using damp washcloths or showers, and limiting physical activity.
It’s also advised to check on elderly relatives or neighbours twice a day – if you need (non-medical) assistance or advice, your local Mairie should be your first port of call.
2. Trains to Spain
With the government pledging to pump more money into its national train services, it’s a good time for train travel in France. SNCF launched eight sleeper trains this summer between Paris and Nice, Toulouse, Briançon, Albi, Argeles-sur-Mer, Ax-les-Thermes, Cannes, and Lourdes, and from September 1, two new high-speed train routes will be running over the border to Spain.
Run by Spain’s state-run train service, Renfe, the daily trains will connect Lyon with Barcelona and Marseille with Madrid, stopping at several stations in France along the way. Best of all, ticket fees will be kept low, with the cheapest tickets priced at just €29.
3. Scam warnings
We’ve warned readers about various scams being carried out in France over the past year, and the latest to be brought to our attention is the issuing of fake parking fine tickets. The tickets, which take the form of an official-looking paper ticket attached to the car windscreen, redirect drivers to an unofficial website via a QR code (which also appears very similar to the official government site), where they will be instructed to enter their bank details and pay the fine.
The initial scam (a payment of €35) is then often followed up by a phone call claiming to be from your bank requesting more details to effectuate the payment of the fine – a ploy to get you to reveal more of your personal details.
Reports of the scam have initially been made in Toulouse, but it’s likely to spread across the country, so stay alert and, if in doubt, report it. Remember that all parking fines and tickets will be accessible via the official antai.gouv.fr website, and you will never be asked by officials to give sensitive information over the phone.
4. Moving to France? Sign up for our latest webinar
If you’re looking to move to France, be sure to attend our latest FrenchEntrée webinar, Your Moving to France To-Do List: Visas, Healthcare, Paperwork, where I’ll be joined by an expert advisor from relocation specialists Please Help. We’ll be talking you through all the steps of moving to France, from securing your visa to enrolling in the French healthcare system, changing your driving licence, and all the official steps you’ll need to take to set up your new life in France.
As always, there will be plenty of opportunities to put your questions directly to our expert, and you can also send them to me in advance at [email protected]. Join me on Thursday, 21st September, at 2:00pm GMT+1 (London time) 3:00pm (Paris time) – sign up here.
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