A new study shows which French regions have been most hit by rising food prices, plus the latest on France’s pension strikes and why you might still be waiting on parcels from the UK. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Third week of pension strikes
Another series of strikes are taking place this week in protest against President Macron’s proposed pension reforms. Debates started on the pension bill in the Assemblée Nationale yesterday (February 6th), and today (February 7th) marks the third in a series of nationwide mass strikes.
Much like the previous two strikes, delays and cancellations are expected on local and national trains and public transport, along with closures of schools and other public services, and demonstrations in towns and cities across France. That’s not all – there are also a further two strikes planned this week!
Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 8th) sees the continuation of the oil refinery workers’ 72-hour strike, which began on Monday, and has seen some shortages of petrol and diesel at gas stations. Finally, a fourth one-day mass strike will take place on Saturday, so expect delays and cancellations on public transport and further demonstrations.
2. New study details France’s rising grocery prices
A new study carried out by France Info has compared rising prices of grocery shopping across France to see which areas have been most impacted. With inflation in France rising to 6% in January 2023, many households have noticed a bump in their weekly supermarket shopping bills and the study showed that the average price for a basket of 37 commonly bought items (including flour, pasta, rice, milk, and eggs) is now €104.31 in France. This is 15.6% more than it would have cost 12 months prior (in January, 2022).
Interestingly, prices have not increased uniformly across the country – the rises have been steepest in the Paris and Île de France regions (little surprise there), as well as in the southern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. At the other end of the scale, the Vendée department of Pays de la Loire has seen the smallest bump in prices – that same basket of goods costs on average €99.30 in the Vendée in comparison to €124.44 in Paris.
3. Cyber attack affects UK to France postal service
The British Royal Mail confirmed on January 17th that it had been the victim of a cyber attack, leading the postal service to cancel all deliveries of parcels to EU and other international countries. Letter services that didn’t require a customs declaration were resumed shortly after, and parcel services have now resumed, but many French residents are still waiting for parcels sent from the UK in January.
The good news is that the Royal Mail now seem to be working through the backlog, but they still warn that international parcel delivery may take longer than usual and that customers using tracked delivery services “may notice different tracking information as items leave the UK.”
If you are hoping to send items from the UK to France, note that Post Office branches still aren’t accepting new parcels; however, you can use untracked, International Tracked, International Tracked & Signed and International Signed for services online.
P.S. How to watch the US Superbowl in France
For our US readers living in France, if you want to tune in to this weekend’s Superbowl, which takes place on Sunday, February 12th, at 6.30pm Eastern Standard Time, it will be shown for free on French TV channel L’Equipe. The only catch is you’ll be staying up a bit later than usual to watch the game – kick-off is 12.30am Monday morning in French time!
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