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What’s coming up? The week ahead in France

Surprisingly high temperatures, a tax payment deadline, debate on the 2023 budget,  flu vaccination campaign launch, strike action and more

We look at what the week ahead has in store for people in France Pic: Rido / Natursports / SpeedKingz / Praew stock / Shutterstock

Refinery strikes continue 

Strikes are continuing at five TotalEnergies refineries and depots today (October 17), after the CGT union refused to sign a salary agreement which was approved by two other unions. 

CGT coordinator Eric Sellini has said that TotalEnergies bosses “do not seem ready to return to the negotiating table”. The union has said that the strikes currently involve 60-80% of the staff who normally keep the refineries running.

Yesterday (October 16), 30.1% of petrol stations across France had run out of at least one product, while on Saturday it had been 27.3%.  

Read more: Fuel strikes renewed, what is the situation at French petrol stations?

This industry action is set to be joined by a national, interprofessional strike tomorrow. Transports, nurseries, manufacturing and some care services are set to be affected as a result. 

 Read more: Which sectors are expected to join strike in France next Tuesday?

Unseasonably warm weather 

The beginning of this week is set to be particularly warm, especially in the west and south west of France, after a high of 30.9C was reached in Dax (Landes) yesterday. 

Read more: France set for week of hot weather with 30C expected in south west

This afternoon will bring highs of 22-28C in the west and south-west, and tomorrow (October 18) it will be 22-24C in Brittany and Ile-de-France. 

Such temperatures are becoming more and more common, Météo France has said. 

Indeed, it is not the first time that France has experienced a week of similarly hot weather in October, Frédéric Nathan, a forecaster at Météo-France, told Franceinfo. 

He said that mild weeks of weather had happened in October in previous decades but that this year’s highs were “in line with a crazy summer in terms of heat”. 

Budget debates continue 

MPs are to continue to discuss the budgetary measures laid out in the government’s projet de loi de finances pour 2023 this week. 

The budget bill has been met with opposition within the Assemblée nationale, with 3,500 amendments proposed by MPs from other parties. 

For this reason, the Conseil des ministres (Cabinet) has approved the use of article 49.3 of the Constitution “if the situation requires it”. 

This article enables the government to unilaterally pass a bill on financial or social security issues, but it can also be risky, as it could result in a vote of no confidence. 

There have been suggestions that article 49.3 may be triggered today, but Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has said that although the government is discussing the possibility of using it, it will not happen immediately. 

Read more: French cabinet approves right to use 49.3 rule to ease budget deadlock

Taxe foncière deadlines 

If you own a property in France, you only have just a little more time left to pay your taxe foncière for this year if you pay in one annual sum.

Bills were sent out from the end of August, and depending on the way in which you pay, the deadline could come at midnight tonight (October 17).

This is only the case if you do not pay online, but rather by more ‘traditional’ alternatives such as cheque, TIP Sepa interbank transfer, cash or by card at a tabac.

If you pay your annual bill online, you have a little longer before time runs out. In this case, the deadline is October 22 at midnight. 

Read more: Reminder: annual taxe foncière payments are due this week in France

Saharan sand 

Skies over France are expected to acquire an orange hue today and tomorrow, as a cloud of sand from the Sahara Desert moves over Europe. 

“A moderate south or south-easterly wind [...] climbing up from the north of Africa towards the south of France from Sunday, is bringing sand from the Sahara Desert,” weather service Chaîne Météo has stated. 

The phenomenon will be especially noticeable in Aquitaine and around the Pyrenees. 

Flu vaccination campaign begins 

France’s annual winter flu vaccination campaign begins on Tuesday October 18.

Read more: French winter flu epidemic fears: How to get vaccinated

Flu vaccinations can be carried out by a doctor, a nurse, a midwife or a pharmacist. 

The vaccination campaign is aimed at the most vulnerable people, and can include: 

  • Over-65s 
  • People with heart or respiratory problems
  • People with a chronic liver condition or cirrhosis
  • Obese people 
  • Pregnant women 
  • People who work on cruise ships or as tour guides, for example, and who come into contact with many different people
  • Healthcare workers 
  • People who work with young children or the elderly
  • People who live in the same house as a newborn baby or an immunosuppressed patient

You can find out more about this on the government website.

If you are invited to receive a flu vaccination, you should have received a letter in September or at the beginning of this month, containing a bon de vaccination (vaccination voucher). This reflects that your injection is covered by Assurance maladie and that you do not have to pay for it.

If you have already used a bon de vaccination before, you need only go to your pharmacist, present your voucher and ask for the vaccine.

You can then arrange to receive the vaccination from any of the professionals listed above and the injection will be free of charge as well.

Toussaint school holidays 

The Toussaint school holidays will begin on Saturday, October 22 across the country. 

This autumn break lasts for two weeks, with pupils returning to class on Monday, November 7.

Biennale d’art contemporain 

Lyon’s Biennale d’art contemporain exhibition is in full swing and will run until the end of the year. 

First launched in 1991, the exhibition takes place every other year, alternating with the Biennale de la danse de Lyon. 

This year, the event centres around the theme of ‘Manifesto of Fragility’, exploring how said fragility can be viewed as a form of resistance. 

Read more: Biennale de Lyon art fair now one of France’s key cultural events

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