Health checks, Covid vaccine drive: 5 practical updates from France

We also look at how to benefit from free online French classes and whether you should buy your wood pellets for heating before autumn to save money

Our weekly wrap of the articles you may have missed
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1: Free health check-up for 45 - 50 year olds

From October 1 this year the 45 - 50 age bracket will be the first to benefit from a new government measure that will see people given three free health check-ups.

They will be informed of availability either by letter or text.

The check-ups will focus on illnesses common with that age group, such as breast and prostate cancers.

In 2024, free check-ups will be extended for two other age brackets, 20 - 25 and 60 - 65 year olds, focusing on illnesses and health issues more common to their age brackets.

Read more: Free health check-up for 45-50 year olds in France: how will it work?

2: Homeowners who use wood pellets should buy now

If you heat your home with wood pellets or fuel oil (fioul), you are advised to stock up now.

Prices are unlikely to fall and could begin to rise relatively soon as people begin to buy in bulk before a winter rush for the resources.

Despite prices being lower than last winter they are at historically high summer levels, which is putting some people off buying now as they hope prices will drop.

This is thought unlikely to happen, however, and those who wait could be caught by rising prices.

Read more: If you heat French home with wood pellets now may be good time to buy

3: Date set for new Covid vaccination drive

The next drive for people to get their Covid vaccinations will start on October 17.

It will focus on making sure over 65s and vulnerable people are vaccinated against the disease, but may open to the wider population – especially if the current rise in cases continues.

Our article covers other important questions about the campaign, including which vaccines will be used, and how it works in tandem with flu vaccines.

Read more: Five questions on France’s new Covid vaccination campaign

4: What to do in a lightning strike

Although France is currently suffering through a heatwave, there have been a number of summer storms (with more to come).

Our article covers a number of tips on what you can do if you find yourself when lightning strikes.

The tips cover both what you can do when inside and outside, and even when driving.

It also covers practical advice about how to get help – landlines should not be used during a lightning storm, for example, but it is fine to use your mobile phone.

Read more: Big storms, lightning in France: tips of what to if at home or out

5: Free online classes in French using a MOOC

This article gives an overview of MOOCs – massively online open courses – as an alternative way to learn French.

These classes, usually free to join, have no set structure and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.

Lectures and lessons are available to download and view in your spare time – instead of watching them live – and course materials are usually provided as well.

There are government-backed MOOC classes in French, covering levels from absolute beginner to intermediate, perfect for those settling into French life to get to grips with the language.

Read more: What is a ‘MOOC’ and how can it help you learn French for free?