It was not all bad: Five good news stories from France this week

From cave paintings to free rail cards, our overview of news with a positive angle

Five good news stories from France in the past week
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1. Neanderthal drawings from the Loire Valley are the oldest ever discovered

A group of scientists released their findings on art found in the Roche-Cotard caves in the Loire Valley and say they are the oldest ever discovered.

Some of the drawings, which were created using fingers to ‘engrave’ images into stone, are more than 57,000 years old and predate the arrival of modern humans in France.

A team of scientists used optically stimulated luminescence – measuring the residual energy left in particles from exposure to sunlight – to assess how old the drawings were.

The findings will help reassess the common view of Neanderthals, who should no longer be seen as “brutes”, said Jean-Claude Marquet, co-author of the study detailing the engravings.

One mystery persists, however – what exactly the carvings represent.

“It could be anything, there's nothing that can give us a precise understanding of these populations,” said archaeologist Ludovic Slimak.

“The marks made were based on their own ideas in their heads or in their language, but that doesn't leave any trace,” added palaeoanthropologist Clément Zanolli.

Read more: For sale: Two French Unesco heritage sites. Full history. Price €2m+

2. You will soon be able to leave your luggage at French supermarket Franprix

Supermarkets in Lyon, Marseille and Paris will soon be able to store luggage in lockers whilst you galavant around the city.

A number of Franprix stores are trialling the service before a wider rollout takes place for the 2023 Rugby World Cup and 2024 Paris Olympics.

Currently, 19 shops are working in partnership with left luggage service Nannybag, but more than one hundred stores will eventually take part.

Users pay via the Nannybag website – €6 per bag, per day – and then drop them off at any participating store.

Read more: Amazon Prime customers offered discount at French supermarket Monoprix

3. French youngsters can get free rail pass

Any French teenager between 18 and 20 years old doing National Youth Service (SNU), civic service, or has a youth engagement contract will be entitled to a free, one-month rail pass.

They will be able to take any TGV or Intercités train free for one month, using an unlimited number of trains.

“Many young people do not have the means to travel throughout France, so the idea is to give them the opportunity to do so,” said Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne.

Recently, a number of €1 Annual Youth Railcards were up for grabs, with this policy being an extension of the push for young people to use France's train service.

Read more: Boost for southern France as launch dates set for new ‘TGV’ routes

4. Financial help for joining French sports clubs extended

The ‘Pass’Sport’ – which provides financial assistance for children to join sports clubs in the country – has been extended until the end of the year.

The scheme provides €50 per child for families receiving certain state aids to join sports clubs.

The scheme is nominally aimed at 6 - 17-year-olds, but those up to the age of 30 can apply if they are recipients of disability benefits (allocation adulte handicapé).

Certain students up to the age of 28 are also able to receive the scheme if they receive certain grants to go alongside their studies

Those who are eligible will receive an email over the summer, giving them information on how to benefit – subscriptions made in Autumn 2023 for sports clubs will cover the 2023 - 2024 sporting season.

Read more: Your chance to be a torchbearer for the Paris 2024 Olympics

5. French tightening their bond with their pets, survey shows

Nearly seven-in-10 French people with a pet say they see the animal as part of their family, and almost every pet owner (98%) says they feel a deep attachment to their pet according to a recent study by IPSOS.

Pet owners say that the rise of working from home has contributed to increasing attachment bonds with their pets, and now 62% of dog owners say they would like to take their pets to work if possible.

Further good news from the study shows the notion of responsible pet ownership is gaining ground in France, two years after the introduction of the anti-animal abuse Dombreval law.

An increase in the number of people who think that those who abuse their pets should be called to order, up to 86%, and six-in-ten people believe pet abusers should face jail time.

There is also good news for animal shelters, with 87% of owners saying they would adopt a pet if they had to get a new pet, and 76% ‘firmly condemning’ the abandonment or mistreatment of animals.

Read more: How to raise alarm if you see a pet in distress on your French travels