Another heatwave for France?
This week could mark the third heatwave of the year for France, with temperatures expected to intensify today and tomorrow (August 1 and 2) before a peak on Wednesday.
Highs of 40C are predicted in parts of the south east, and the southern half of France should see temperatures of 35C. In the northern half, the heat should reach 30C, apart from in Brittany and around the Channel, where it will be slightly cooler.
Five departments in southeastern and southern France – Pyrénées-Orientales, Gard, Ardèche, Drôme and Vaucluse – are under orange heatwave alerts today.
Les Chorégies d’Orange draw to a close
This is the last week of the Chorégies d’Orange opera festival, which takes place every summer in the Théâtre Antique d’Orange ancient Roman amphitheatre (Vaucluse).
The week ahead will see several musical events, including a Ukrainian Freedom Tour concert from the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, with pieces from the likes of Chopin, Beethoven and Brahms.
Les Chorégies d’Orange will come to an end on Saturday, August 6.
The end of France’s Covid state of emergency
Yesterday (Sunday, July 31) marked the end of France’s ‘state of emergency exit plan’ with relation to the Covid pandemic.
The government has made use of this to introduce such measures such as travel restrictions, venue capacity limits, curfews and Covid vaccine passes.
It also means the end of the Conseil scientifique, the group of medics who advised the government on Covid strategy.
The ‘state of emergency plan’ is being replaced by a new phase, described as one of monitoring, anticipation and advice in the face of new health crises.
Last week, Parliament passed the government’s loi sanitaire bill, which does away with health pass requirements for international travellers arriving in France but includes the possibility of imposing a pre-departure PCR test rule on foreign arrivals.
This measure will only be implemented if a new, dangerous variant of Covid emerges.
Children under 12 will be exempt from the testing requirements if they come into force. The government will have the power to introduce this rule until March 31, 2023.
You can find out more about this in our article below:
Livret A and LEP interest rates go up
Every six months, the governor of the Banque de France judges whether the interest rate of Livret A savings accounts should rise.
This instant-access, regulated tax-free account saw its interest rate increase to 1.0% in February, and today (August 1) it rises again to 2%.
The interest rate associated with another savings account, the Livret d’épargne populaire (LEP), is also increasing from 2.2% to 4.6%.
Increases to pensions and social benefits
August 1 will also see basic pensions as well as the revenu de solidarité active (RSA), the prime d’activité, allocations adulte handicapé and allocations familiales benefits increased by 4%.
The rise, which will apply retroactively to July, comes as part of the government’s law on spending power, which was passed by MPs today (July 27).
Nuit des étoiles 2022
This weekend (August 5 to 7) marks this year’s Nuit des étoiles, which will involve 476 special events in 335 communes around France.
The weekend enables astronomy lovers to meet with scientists to learn about the skies above us through workshops and telescope observation sessions. Using a telescope, it is possible to see Jupiter, Saturn and sometimes Uranus and Neptune, as well as the Moon and its craters, seas and mountains.
La Nuit des étoiles is organised by the Association française d’astronomie (AFA), which has created a map of all the different events taking place around the country.
For example, in Paris’ Parc Montsouris, the AFA will be setting up telescopes in the night of August 4-5 so that local people can stargaze for free.
Similarly, in Lyon, the AFA will provide telescopes from 21:00 on August 5 in Villeurbanne, which the public will be able to use for free.
Fire in Landes
A new fire began in a Landes forest around the commune of Mano on Sunday evening (July 31).
It has burnt 150 hectares of woodland and firefighters are still working to bring it under control today. However, the local fire service has said that the flames “are no longer progressing” and that no one has been hurt.
Another fire which burnt 350 hectares in Gard has now been brought under control. Six firefighters were injured in the fight against it, one of them seriously.
The prime Macron is tripled
The government’s tax-free prime Macron, which enables some employers to pay their employees a bonus to protect their spending power, is being tripled from €2,000 to €6,000.
This only applies to businesses which have signed a profit-sharing agreement or which have fewer than 50 employees.
The prime Macron was first introduced in 2019 amid the gilets jaunes crisis.
It will remain in place until December 31, 2023.