France makes the headlines as riots and unrest sweep the country; meanwhile, the summer holidays kick off, and we’re answering all your questions on retiring to France. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Riots sweep France
The dust had barely settled after months of strikes and protests over Macron’s controversial pension reforms when another wave of riots swept the French capital. The unrest was triggered by the death of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, who was shot dead by a police officer in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre last Tuesday (June 27th). While initial reports stated that the teenager was driving towards the officer when he got shot, this account was quickly discredited by video footage shared over social media, further enraging protesters and reigniting long-standing frictions between the French authorities and the public, as well as deeper racial divides in French society (read more about the incident here).
Protests and demonstrations quickly escalated, spreading across not only the Parisian banlieues (suburbs) but other cities around France and continuing for five days. These have been the worst riots that France has seen for almost two decades, with more than 3,000 arrests being made, an estimated 5,000 cars burned, and hundreds of buildings damaged and looted.
While protests have continued over the past two nights, the worst of the riots seems to be over, and the majority of the unrest remains confined to suburban areas on the outskirts of large cities rather than tourist areas. However, France has put in place a number of local and national restrictions to contain the violence, including a nationwide curfew on bus and tram services, which will stop at 9pm (the Paris metro and intercity trains and buses are running as usual), a ban on ‘large gatherings’ which has led to several events and festivals being cancelled, and a ban on the sale of fireworks.
Continuing unrest remains extremely localised, so you are travelling to France this week; we advise researching the situation in the area you are visiting prior to travel.
2. France cancels Covid app
France has announced the end of its TousAntiCovid app, the app that was launched in June 2020 and used as proof of Covid vaccination and testing for travel as well as for France’s Health Pass and Vaccine Pass during the pandemic. As of last Friday (June 30th), the app has been officially put to rest, with no further updates available from this point on. You will still, for the time being, be able to access the app and your vaccination certificates if required.
3. Schools out
Lycée students will have been anxiously awaiting news of their baccalauréat results today – the final results were sent out to students via email between 8am and 10.30am on Tuesday, July 4th. For younger students, the results of the diplôme national du brevet will also be released this week, between July 5th and July 12th, depending on your French departement.
With exam results in the bag, schoolchildren across France can also celebrate the start of the summer holidays or les grands vacances this week, with schools breaking up this Friday, July 7th. It’s not just kids, either – many workers head off on their summer vacations between now and the end of August. Businesses and public services around France often slow down their workload accordingly or switch to a more relaxed “summer schedule”, so make sure you double-check opening times and service hours during this period.
4. Your questions answered on retiring to France
Our next FrenchEntrée webinar is NEXT WEEK, Thursday 13th July 2023 at 11am London (BST), when I’ll be joined by a panel of experts to answer all your questions on retiring to France.
This is the second of our series of free Moving to France webinars, and we’ll be taking a look at the different options for pensions, QROPS, and tax considerations; how to get into the French healthcare system; and what you need to know about French inheritance law, estate planning, and wealth management.
Sign up now here (and if you can’t attend, sign up anyway, so we can send you the free replay!).
I look forward to seeing you all there!
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