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What’s coming up? The week ahead in France

The trial into the Nice 2016 terror attack begins, Fête de l’Humanité, France’s largest popular gathering, takes place, storms are on their way and more

Storms forecast across France

Storms are expected to pass over much of France today (September 5), and 77 departments have been placed under a yellow weather warning. 

Only the Atlantic coastline, the south-east and Corsica are expected to be spared.

A yellow weather alert does not require special action from residents, but those affected are asked to be vigilant to the situation as it evolves. 

The storm warning should last until the early hours of tomorrow morning at the earliest.

Eight stand trial for Nice terror attack 

Today (September 5) marks the beginning of a trial relating to the 2016 Nice terrorist attack, with seven men and one woman to be tried for their alleged involvement in the events of July 14. 

On that night, Tunisian-born terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove into the Fête Nationale crowds walking down Nice’s Promenade des Anglais in a lorry, killing 86 people and injuring hundreds more.

He was then killed by police forces at the scene. 

Three of the eight defendants in the trial are accused of being part of a terrorist organisation, and of helping the attacker obtain weapons and the lorry. Two of them face 20 years in jail, and the other a life sentence. 

The other five defendants are accused of indirectly helping Lahouaiej Bouhlel through arms trafficking activities. 

The trial will take place in the same courtroom as that of the Paris November 2015 terror attacks, but will also be broadcast in Nice. 

A verdict is expected to be handed down in December.

Read more: Eight to stand trial six years after Bastille Day attack in Nice

Fête de l’Humanité

This weekend will also see the Fête de l’Humanité, the largest popular gathering in France. Visitor numbers peaked at nearly 800,000 in 2018, although in recent years the Covid pandemic has pushed this figure down. 

The festival is organised by L’Humanité newspaper, in order to fund its activities.

People come from all over the world to set up food and drink stalls at the event, which spans the worlds of politics and entertainment, with concerts, debates, exhibitions, film screenings and more.

Because of the festival’s size and L’Humanité’s political leaning, La Fête de l’Humanité is seen to kick off the left-wing’s ‘political year’, and activists belonging to various different groups come together to discuss and debate.

This year, the festival will take place between Friday and Sunday (September 9-11) in Brétigny-sur-Orge and Le Plessis-Pâté (Essonne).

Euro falls further below dollar 

A euro is worth less than $0.99 today (September 5), putting it at its lowest level since December 2002.

This drop has been precipitated by uncertainties over Russian energy supply to Europe.

Gazprom announced over the weekend that the Nord Stream gas pipe, which was due to be reopened on Saturday, would remain shut indefinitely after “oil leaks” were discovered. This will lead to further price rises in Europe.

Paris Design Week begins 

Paris Design Week will begin on Thursday (September 8), with events taking place around the capital. 

These will include the trade show Maison&Objet, which gives 3,000 brands and designers the chance to showcase their wares, as well as other installations, talks, workshops and tours situated in hundreds of venues across the city.

The design week will come to an end on September 17.

The Conseil national de la refondation launches 

After his re-election for a second term, President Emmanuel Macron promised that he would create a Conseil national de la refondation (National Rebuilding Council). 

This body, which will bring together figures from the political, economic and social spheres, is now due to be launched on September 8, in a bid to make decisions more collaborative and less centred on the highest levels of government. 

The Council will look to develop several long-term reforms, focusing on issues including full employment, healthcare, education and social care.

However, its launch has been opposed by members of the major opposition parties, including the Rassemblement National, Le Parti socialiste and Les Républicains.

The Council is a nod towards the Conseil national de la résistance, which was created during World War Two. 

Related articles 

9 changes for residents and second-home owners in France in September

French schools are back: what changes for the year ahead?

Inflation, climate, pensions: a tough ‘rentrée’ for French government

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