Drought measures, fuel prices, FIFA awards: The week ahead in France

This week (February 27-March 5) also sees the start of the Paris-Nice cycling race and the 40th anniversary of the death of iconic Tintin creator Hergé

Events taking place this week include the start of debate in the French Senate on the controversial pension reform law, the 40th anniversary of the death of Tintin creator Hergé, a violet festival and the start of the Paris-Nice cycling race
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Monday, February 27

Potential drought measures

Environment Minister Christophe Béchu is to meet with the prefects of the seven major river basins in France this evening to discuss potential water restrictions which could come into effect in the next few weeks.

Four departments - Isère, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Pyrénées-Orientales - are already subject to restrictions and under reinforced vigilance.

In these departments, people are being asked not to water their garden plants during specific hours, not to fill swimming pools nor wash cars and farmers are requested to reduce their usage by up to 50%.

To see more about current water restrictions in France, visit the official government website. You can also check water shortages in your area on the website Propluvia.

Prime minister visits farming salon

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is to visit the Salon de l’Agriculture at the Paris Expo at the Porte de Versailles today (February 27). This 9-day show, attended by the public and professionals, is France’s largest agricultural show and is now in its 57th year. It runs until March 5.

Its events include sales of farm products from across France and the world as well as livestock sales and competitions, agricultural services and a section dedicated to plants, crops, and gardening.

It is traditional for presidents and prime ministers to attend.

This year, the show’s mascot is a Salers breed cow named Ovalie.

Pension reform and left-wing opposition

The Nupes, a left-wing political alliance group which includes La France Insoumise (LFI), the Socialist Party (PS), the French Communist Party (PCF) and the Europe Ecologie Les Verts, is to meet to discuss opposition plans to the government’s proposed pension reforms.

Debate on the reforms, which controversially propose raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, pass to the senate this week after leaving MPs without a vote due to running out of time.

Read more: France braces for standstill on March 7 over pension reform protests

Court of appeal decision on Pierre Palmade

The court is set to return a decision on the house arrest of actor Pierre Palmade, 54, who caused a crash while under the influence of cocaine on February 10. The crash caused severe injury to three people, one of whom also lost her baby.

The decision is set to focus on whether Mr Palmade, who suffered a stroke on Saturday, should be held in a normal prison or in a hospital addiction centre.

Read more: Calls for harder line on drug driving after French actor’s crash

The Best FIFA Football Awards 2022 take place in Paris

‘The Best’ annual event aims to honour both players and coaches. Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe have been winners in recent years.

There are awards for the best male player and best female player and the best men’s and best women’s coaches as well as the FIFA Fan Award, and the FIFA Fair Play Award.

Tuesday, February 28

President visit

President Emmanuel Macron is to visit a college in Jarnac (Charente) for an event on the theme of preventive medicine, a day before he begins a four-country tour of Africa from March 1.

Nuclear strike and march in Paris

Workers at the Institut de Radioprotection and Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN) are set to march in defence of its operation, which they say faces a threat of disappearing due to government reform.

Wednesday, March 1

Eleven changes coming in during the month of March

This month sees restrictions on sales calls, rises to food prices, cap on petrol prices at some stations, fuel aid deadlines and more. See our article below for key changes for March 2023.

Read more: 11 changes for residents and homeowners in France in March 2023

Classical music in Dijon

The 30th annual Les Victoires de la Musique Classique takes place in Dijon at 21:00 at the Auditorium de l’Opéra. It is presented by Stéphane Bern and played on France Musique and France 3.

It aims to showcase existing well-known musicians, as well as shine a light on new and upcoming players.

Thursday, March 2

Pension reform debate begins in the Senate

President Macron has said that he wants the Senate to “enrich” the pension reform law with “whatever it deems to be useful”.

He also said: “The Senate has, several times, passed reforms similar to that being proposed by the government now.”

The highly-controversial bill has been debated in the Assemblée Nationale but failed to reach a vote. The government is hoping that the right-wing Les Républicains party in the Senate will support the proposals.

Read more: Explainer: what is France’s article 49.3 and why is it in the news?

In the event of a non-agreement, the government can technically use article 49.3 to push through the law but as this is in itself controversial it will be hoping to avoid this route.

Another day of strikes against the proposed reforms is set to take place in France on March 7.

Read more: France braces for standstill on March 7 over pension reform protests

Read more: France pension reform: strike and protest dates, calendar for bill

Friday, March 3

The 40th anniversary of the death of Tintin creator

Georges Prosper Remi, better known as Hergé, the Belgian cartoonist who created French-language favourite Tintin, died aged 75 on March 3, 1983.

He was born in 1907. His graphic novels, full name Les Aventures de Tintin, would eventually be published in 70 languages worldwide, sell more than 200 copies and be adapted for TV, radio, film and theatre. They began life as newspaper cartoons in 1929.

Read more: Tintin drawing sells for record €3 million at French auction

Saturday, March 4

Riviera violet festival begins

The Violet Festival, which has taken place in Tourrettes-sur-Loup (Alpes-Maritimes) since 1952, opens today and will last until the end of Sunday, March 5.

It was created by Victor Linton, an artist of Scottish origin who came to live in the village.

It celebrates the violet season and is a celebration of the arrival of spring. There is a floral procession, dances, flower displays and shops selling products inspired by or made with the flower.

Sunday, March 5

Start of the Paris-Nice cycling race

This professional cycling stage race has been held every year since 1933. It is known as La Course au Soleil (The Race to the Sun), because of its route from Paris, which is usually cold in early March to the warmer city of Nice in the Côte d'Azur region.

The most recent winner was Slovenian Primož Roglič.

Part of the UCI World Tour season, it is organised by ASO, which also manages the iconic races of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France. The race will finish on Sunday, March 12.

You can see its route here:

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