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What’s coming up? The week ahead in France

Temperatures rise once again, a music festival returns after two years of Covid, the government gets to work after its summer break and more

We look at what the week ahead has in store in France Pic: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Iakov Kalinin / Alesia.B / Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

Another hot spell arrives in France 

This week is expected to bring temperatures which are slightly hotter than the seasonal average. 

Wednesday (August 24) will mark the beginning of the hot spell, with temperatures rising above 30C across the country.

The hot weather will come to an end on Friday (August 26) when storms will move in from the west. The east may retain the high temperatures for a little longer. 

Because it will not last for three full consecutive days and nights, this hot spell cannot be qualified as a canicule heatwave, which has a specific definition in France and only occurs if temperatures remain above a certain threshold during the day and at night.  

Rock en Seine returns 

After two years of cancellations caused by the Covid pandemic, the Rock en Seine music festival is returning on Thursday (August 25) in the Domaine National du Parc de Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine).

Ticket-holders will be able to see performances from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, London Grammar, Tame Impala, Yungblud and Stromae.

The festival will now come to an end on Sunday (August 28), after Rage Against the Machine cancelled their European tour, which had been supposed to feature a performance at Rock en Seine on Tuesday, August 30.

Read more: 'The end of Oasis' smashed guitar sells for six figures in France

Agen hosts the Grand Pruneau Show 

From Friday until Sunday (August 26-28), Agen in Lot-et-Garonne will host the Grand Pruneau Show, a cultural and gastronomic festival organised in honour of the prune, the town’s emblematic fruit.

This family event will involve a market showcasing local products, concerts, street shows and tastings of the first prunes of the year. 

Le Grand Pruneau Show has been running since 2005, and welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Government returns from break, President Macron in Algeria 

President Emmanuel Macron and his ministers will be returning from their summer breaks for a first Conseil des ministres Cabinet meeting this week, to prepare for a difficult autumn ahead. 

The overriding theme of the government’s discussions will be the president’s “energy restraint” policy, which aims to save gas and electricity supplies amid concerns over shortages linked to the war in Ukraine. 

The autumn will also see the president launch the Conseil national de la refondation (CNR), which will bring elected officials together with members of the public and figures from the world of business to discuss themes such as education, healthcare and public services. 

This week, President Macron will also be making a visit to Algeria in a bid to “deepen the bilateral relationship” between the two countries, and “reinforce Franco-Algerian cooperation”.

This will be the president’s second official visit to Algeria, and comes 60 years after the Évian Accords peace treaties, which brought to an end more than seven years of war with France and recognised the former French colony as an independent nation. 

During his presidency, Mr Macron has placed particular emphasis on his “duty to remember” the past, and especially the Algerian War. 

He has described colonialism as a “crime against humanity”, and made a symbolic visit to the widow of Maurice Audin, a mathematician who was tortured and killed by the French army in 1957. 

150 years since La Vierge Noire de Douvres-la-Délivrande was crowned

This week will see various festivities to mark the 150th anniversary of the crowning of the Vierge Noire (Black Madonna) de Douvres-la-Délivrande (Calvados) by Pope Pius IX. 

Douvres-la-Délivrande was once the home of the Celtic Yvrande clan, and its church was a holy site dedicated to the mother goddess. This goddess was identified by the Romans as being their Ceres (the Greek Demeter), who is sometimes associated with an African origin. 

It is thought that the Christian image of the Virgin Mary was later superimposed atop this goddess figure, which would explain the colour of her skin. 

The statue was first installed as a symbol of the Virgin Mary in the commune in 626, but was lost and then later destroyed during the French Wars of Religion in the sixteenth century.

In 1580, an exact copy of the original figure was created, and since then La Vierge Noire has been celebrated across the world. 

Today, people come to see the statue as a sort of pilgrimage, with some leaving notes at the Virgin’s feet.

This week’s celebrations, which will centre around a procession through Douvres-la-Délivrande on Thursday, August 25, will also include a mass, light show and concerts. 

Some 36 robes offered to the Virgin by worshippers over the centuries will also be put on display, and a 37th unveiled for the first time.

The full programme of events can be found here.

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